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11pt 11-13-2008 08:40 PM

Am I a total idiot? - updated
I was out this evening in a stand that always produced some pretty good action. It was windy and I hadn't seen anything so I thought the night was going to be a wash. All of a sudden I heard splashing in the water behind me and I turned around to see a doe with a basket 8 on her tail. I already shot a smallish buck , so I figured I would try for the doe. I grabbed my bow and then she ran the other way with the buck following. I thought she had seen me or something but a few minutes later here she comes again. I thought the same buck was with her but I did a double take and realized this was a completely different buck and he was HUGE!!!! I didn't count his ppoints since I just knew he was a shooter.

I was standing at this point and ready to shoot. She was going to lead him right past me when I heard crashing and it was the smaller buck running in trying to run off the big one! The doe ran off and the two bucks were staring each other down not 25 yds from my stand (no shot). They made a couple bluff charges at each other but it was obvious who would be the winner. I even got to hear the big one snort wheeze at the little one. First time I've heard that in the wild. I can say that just having the only seat in that theater tonight makes all the hours in a stand worth it.

Anyway, when the big guy started to move off I figured he would follow the doe, so I found the first opportunity and drew. He stopped just short of an opening so I held until he moved again when I let the arrow fly at about 30 yds. It was getting dark, but it looked like a good hit. The buck did a mule kick and ran about 75 yds when he slowed to a walk and disappeared into the brush along an old railroad bed.

I sat in my stand another 15 or 20 minutes before I even moved. I then left all of my stuff and climbed down and walked the opposite direction from where the buck went. I went home and called a friend and it was at least 2 hours before we got back out there. We even walked the long way around the field.

First I found the FRONT half of my arrow with blood, bits of stuff?, and white hair on it. Pass through right? We then quickly found the trail. It started slow but then I found the back half of the arrow with blood all over it. Then the blood really gushed for a while. Then it just petered out when he headed back out into the open field. After that we just headed home and will look for him in the morning.

Now hindsight is 20/20 and it would be easy to say at this point that I should have done something else, but what the hell?????? If it looks like a good hit and you find good blood after waiting 2 hours would anyone have done anything different? I don't like playing the "woe is me"card but why can't I be that guy that hits a deer in the back leg and watches it fall over 30 seconds later. I hate that guy.

Bowman4440 11-14-2008 06:47 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot?
Kinda sounds like maybe you hit him a little far back? Did you find guts on the arrow(the stuff you described)? If thats the case he should be a dead deer and if you didnt jump him he should be bedded withing 100-200 yards? The mule kick usually means it was a good hit. Was he quarting anyway?

ostdc 11-14-2008 07:39 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot?

11pt 11-14-2008 09:28 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot?
Well we went out this morning to look for him again. We managed to find exactly two more spots of blood 20-30 yds apart on the same general line he seemed to be taking. I can't figure out what happened. If the first thing I found was the broken head end of the arrow with blood , hair, etc on it it must have been sticking out his far side but still in him solidly enough to break off because the tail end of the arrow (also covered in blood) was found about 20-30 yds later. So it must have been sticking out of him and then fell out as well. The point is it had to be a pass through (sort of) and it couldnt have been in the guts since I doubt they would have stopped the arrow let alone held it firmly enough to break it in half. Also even though there was a lot of blood, we didnt find a bed.

I've attached an aerial photo of my hunting area. The blue is the path I took out of the field and the red is the blood trail. It was aGOOD trail where it is solid.The yellow hashed area is the area we searched this morning. The open area is just Nowhere to hide. I figure one of three things happened. 1) I thought that since he was headed along the fencerow when I lost sight of him, he would continue along that path and not turn 90 degrees out into the field. Perhaps he saw me walking out and bolted to God only knows where. 2) We bumped him out of the fencerow while tracking but I think this is unlikely as we never found a bed. 3) I didn't actually spook him, but he headed out across the field and stopped bleeding. He could be anywhere to the north I suppose.

FYI- the field is at least 1/4 mile wide

Do you think I have reason to believe that he is even dead? I don't get it.

kickin_buck 11-14-2008 09:47 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot?
Judging from the blood trail you marked, I believe this buck has circled back on you. It does not appear you have searched south of where the shot took place, it might be that you do not have permission to be there. If that is the case, I would talk to the land owner and see if you can take look at it. If you have today off of work, I would get back out there and check every piece of thick cover, every laydown, and every ditch in the area.

I killed a doe last year that was hit hard, great blood trail and this it just stopped. I had start to make circles when I seen her laying, she had crawled under a lay down tree top and was almost completely concealed. Also, a friend hit a buck last week with his truck, we went out in the morning and could not find it at first. This buck (with a broken back) had crawled into a ditch and crawled to a narrow spot where again the deer was almost completely hidden. The point of this is, a deer that is not hit great (one lung shot) will have the mind to hide itself in the best cover available. Get back out there and search slowly, checking every single piece of cover you can find. Good luck and keep us updated.

Dopler 11-14-2008 10:00 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot? - updated
How high is your stand? Unless you have a nosebleed stand or you were shooting way down into a gully, I say you don't find this deer.

At 30 yards, the trajectory will flatten out pretty good sothe white hair indicates a verylow hit. I say that you hit him forward and low in the brisket and thearrow did not pass through and when he ran away, his front legs snapped thearrow shaft in half.This shot bleeds good for 50 to 100yards and them dries up really quick.If it's the hit that I think youmade, this deer will be chasing does again this afternoon.

It sounds like you put your 20 yard pin on him and did not account for the extra 10 yards?

11pt 11-14-2008 10:51 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot? - updated
kickin_buck- you're right. I don't have permission to be on the land to the south. In fact, I shouldn't have been on much of the land I searched to the west.I've got a call in to the landowner to see if he will give me permission to look for him. Fortunately one guy owns pretty much everything around there so we'll see. Hopefully he calls me back. I could probably get away with just going but if I piss someone off, I'll never get permission.

Dopler- the stand is only about 15 ft up and it is pretty flat ground. I don't see how it could have hit him at any sort of steep angle. It is possible that it was just a really low shot. I thought I had my 30 yd pin on him, but it was getting pretty dark and my brain tends to go a little haywire when I'm in the presence ofof a bucklike that.

Assuming I can get permission from the adjacent landowner, and given the fact that the blood dried up as he was entering an open field,he could be anywhere across a couple hundred acres. I have a feeling this one will haunt me for a long long time.

PABrent 11-14-2008 11:52 AM

RE: Am I a total idiot? - updated
Are there any high points in the field? Single trees out there? I cant tell you where you hit the deer, but sounds like a liver hit with an exit in the guts. The bowel will plug the hole for the blood trail and the entry wound will not provide much blood because a liver shot tends to pool blood inside of the deer. Same thing happened to my dad a few days ago in ohio. He walked out into a field looked at a tree on a hill and walked ot it and there his deer layed. No blood trail. Dont give up!!

11pt 11-14-2008 05:58 PM

RE: Am I a total idiot? - updated
Well guys, no dice. I searched with a buddy this morning for 3 hours and went back out at noon and walked until dark. The owner of the adjacent property gave me permission so I was able to cover a lot of ground (north, south, etc.). I will say that there are some spots that I couldn't cover thoroughly. Anyone who has ever tried to walk through a patch of phragmites will know what I'm talking about. Plus there were patches that were literally acres of thorns and cockleburs (I'm half tempted to throw out my rain gear). Oh yeah, it rained all afternoon too.

Anyway, I'm not convinced the deer is dead. Here is what we know: pass through, arrow broken in half, white hairs on the broadhead and the arrow shaft, good blood for a while then just stops.

PABrent- I have to disagree with you. I just don't think a liver/gut hit would have resulted in a broken arrow with the two halves 30 yards apart. I think there would have to be bones involved. Something had to stop that arrow. We know it wasn't the spine, which leaves the front shoulders or back legs (I suppose anything is possible).

As Doplersuggested the white hair is indicative of a low hit, especially from a low stand at 30 yds. They have white hair low on the belly, inside the legs,the armpits, etc.

So we have a low hit, bones involved, white hairs, and a quickly ended blood trail. I think I have to agree with Doplerthat this was a front leg/briskit hit. I will keep looking however, as I am able to. At this point the meat is probably ruined (its in the 40s and 50s).

Of course, I'm biased and would love to think he's still out there. Either way, this deer was the reason a guy bowhunts for 20 years and he's the reason I'll bowhunt for many more.

ram96 11-14-2008 07:47 PM

RE: Am I a total idiot? - updated
I had a low pass through on a doe a couple of years ago. White hair and lots of blood, but did not find her.

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