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Catus Magnus 10-21-2006 12:59 PM

Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
I'm up a tree in my climber, about 50 yards from river... and three big does walk right up to the tree. Not a runt in the line. I observe - they're all the same size, I decide to go with #2 - when #1 doe busted me as I shouldered rifle. They scattered - #1 runs up hill and stops to eyeball me, and BOOM I shoot her broadside. Big cloud of blackpowder smoke; it clears and she's down, lets out a very loud & pitiful BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHT a couple time, and that's it.

Well... the other two deer ran a few yards and stopped; I can barely see one through the trees. I'm watched them a moment, thinking, maybe I'll shoot TWO deer. So then I start to reload: pour in powder, start bullet in muzzle, pull out ramrod and ram bullet home... at this point, the down deer starts a-kicking. I'm surprised; more surprised, when she staggers to her feet and runs about five yards, falls again. Now I'm fumbling with primer... she runs a few more feet... falls... then runs a little half-circle, and down... then is off and out like a shot. I'm stunned. If I'd brought anything other than the muzzleloader, I could have gotten her a 2nd time.

Well... I finished loading... climb down from tree, walk to where she fell.Ground is stirred up, there's blood. Little more blood a few feet a away. Another hunter walks in at this point; we end up looking for that deer for two hours. No bloodtrail to follow, only found blood in a couple places where she'd fallen.

This hurts. She was hit with 240gr XTP, which has performed fine in the past; I'm guessing I didn't get into the lungs. A couple times while following trail, early on, we caught just a whiff of stomach. We looked hard - real hard - and couldn't find her. I wish I'd missed.

cayugad 10-21-2006 01:11 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
The story you related is one that many of us have experienced in our hunting experiences. Better luck in the future.

frontier gander 10-21-2006 01:33 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
That sounds like a high spinal shot. 2 of our deer did that this year and both were hit high towards the spinal cord. My brothers deer came tumbling down the mountain, kicked and rolled around. Then she stood up and started to run off and he got her again and put her down. My doe did the same thing but i got her a lot quicker with a second shot before she could get up and run. I have no clue wheather that deer will live or not. Ive seen shows on tv where a bow hunter got a high spinal shot and they said it would be fine due to the lack of arterys in that area. You did the best you could looking for her.

Wolfhound76 10-21-2006 03:33 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
That's hard. I had that happen on 2001 while I was holding a muzzleloader. The one I shot was a nice8 point though. [:@] I wasn't aiming anywhere near the spine. I had a powder problem (Clean Shot now American Pioneer). I hit him, he went down and started crawling toward the treeline. When he got to the treeline he got up and walked off. I got reloaded just after he got into the trees. I looked for 4 hours tracking him drop by drop until thetrail dried up.

setter77 10-21-2006 04:16 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
Deer are tough sometimes and I know your pain, still kick myself of a buck I never recovered 5 years ago. I saw one do similar to what you described, that someone else had shot, I ended up putting it down only to find the other guy had only skinned it across the knee with his bullet.

Catus Magnus 10-21-2006 07:31 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
Well, Gents, I think I know what happened.

I'm about 99% sure Ihit right above backbone. Here's why: I was aiming for the high front shoulder this morning; you know what happened. When I got home for lunch,I walked back into woods behind house, and setup target at 60 yards. Got a rock-steady rest and fired one shot - bullet hit near 6" high. I'd adjusted last week; I think I had brainfade adjusted up when I meant to adjust down. So when I shot for the high front shoulder this morning I suspectI hit the area right above spine. This hurt and stunned deer, but didn't destroy anything vital. Evidence?Little blood, and how the deer seemed to recover as time when. Anyhow ... I adjusted scope requisite clicks (it's 1/4" @ 100, just figured the diff for 60)- gave rifle a while to complete cool & swabbed/cleaned barrel, inorder toduplicate a cold barrel shot - and fired again. Bingo - 1" high at 60 now, windage was fine. Shots where I'm at are going to be not much more that 60 yards, all have been less, so far.
[/align] [/align] I've got good confidence in the rifle & bullet - this is the first time I've hit one withmuzzleloader & lost it. Ijust have to put it in right spot.[/align] [/align] Went out this evening, saw nothing. Right as it got dark, I had a very happy good new/bad news thought while sitting in the climber: If a deers walk up, I'll kill it and we'll have another 50lbs in the freezer. On the other hand... if no deer walks by, I don't have to field dress it and then drag it for 30-40 minutes back to the car!

No deer tonight :)


mayguy 10-23-2006 05:20 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
I had the same experience 3 yrs ago. I shot a nice 8 point at about 40 yds with my 44 mag handgun. It droped in its tracks and kicked a few times, then still. I started to get down from my tree stand and he jumped up and ran like he hadn't been hit. I was shooting 300 gr XTP at about 1400 fps, so nearly the same as a muzzleloader. There wasn't alot of blood and only on one side of the trail, aparently the bullet didn't exit.
I tracked him for probably close to a quarter of a mile before he went into a swamp with nearly waist deep water and ice. In over 35 yrs of deer hunting that is the first one I lost. It makes you feel sick to loose a nice rack like him. I'm sure he ended up being Coyote food.

outdoorslover 10-25-2006 02:21 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
I wanted to share a story too.I was in my stand and spotted a doe coming behind me. When it was at 20 yards, I drew and shot right over it's back. I thought for sure I was done, but the deer just stood there. I nocked another arrow and drew again. This timeI aimed lower, but the deer ducked the arrow and I watched it fly over it's back. I thought for sure I had missed it, but on looking at the arrow it had blood on it. After trying to figure it out, I got back in my stand and watched some more does go by and passed on them. After looking forblood for about an hour Ihad to give up. I am positive now that it was a hit high up on theback and I probably just grazed it.Just thought I'd share the story.

Underclocked 10-25-2006 02:35 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
Of course many of us have experienced similar, saddening events but I think the lesson learned from this one is ALWAYS shoot a target to test impact after any scope/sight adjustment. Not trying to be critical, but I think that is a solid recommendation.

Catus Magnus 10-25-2006 03:25 PM

RE: Hit deer, knocked deer down, deer leaves
I absolutely, positively agree, Underclocked - that is exactly what I did not do, after adjusting scope, and that is why I lost that deer.

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