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Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

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Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

Old 11-22-2008, 10:58 AM
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Default Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

Hello everyone. I've got story to share and am looking for a little help, information or advice. This was a muzzleloading hunt but I know I'd get the best informationand feedback from this forum. So Mods, please don't move! I posted a pic. of a buck we nicknamed the Hulk just a few days ago (I cannot post a pic here on this dial up computer), just search my recent posts and look at the thread "A Bull of a Buck!" to see his pic.

Well i was hunting a stand just 60 yards from where the pics was taken and figured I'd have a good shot of seeing him yesterday afternoon. Well about 5 he comes tearin out of his bedroom chasin a doe into a food plot. I had just told my brother on the phone that I was planning on passing on the 2 130" bucks we have and another 115" that we'd seen cause I wanted to hold on Hulk. He was my 'dream buck.' Just a massive body and neck with a heavy set of antlers.

Anyway, I immediately identify the buck as Hulk and shoulder my muzzleloader and prepare to shoot. He was 105 yards away presenting a perfect quartering away shot. With a steady rest (although with cold fingers and a case of buck fever) I squeeze of the shot feeling great about it. Wrong! I see him take off with his tail up heading towards a creek bottom. He then makes a hard left into the timber and I'm sure I've missed. While trying to reload I see him on top of a basin with his head down to the ground just standing there (no ethical shot presented itself). I then just barely see him drop on the backside of the basin and he was either picked up the trail of the doe or I figured he was hit badly after seeing him with his head down do long and he was bobbing his head up and down as he ran.

Well I round my bro and we go check for blood. Nothing for the first 50 yards then we pick up good, bright red blood for about a 50-60 yards. It was where we found this blood that he was walking and standing with his head down as I had mentioned before. Then around the spot he took off again the blood abruplty ended. My brother and I looked for 3 hours last night (after backing out for 4 hours after finding the intial blood) to no avail. My dad joined us this morning and we picked up drops for about 15 from the spot we had last marked the night before and that was it. We looked for 5 hours this morning but to no avail.

When we had the decent blood for the short period of time I was optimistic as I thought I only got one lung. However, if I had only gotten one lung I do believe he would have eventually bedded down and expired. Again, the overall blood trail was poor at best. It was solid for about 50 yards and then completely stops.

So my questions are: What did I hit? Did this deer die, if so how long did it take him? Did he survive? (I'm hoping yes). I honestly think he may have survived judging his reaction after the shot, the lack of blood and the fact that his trail was heading straight up hill.

It's just sickening to get a bead on a buck of a lifetime, one you have patterned and hung the perfect stand for and blow the opportunity[:'(]. But, that's part of the game and that's why we hunt.

Thanks for your time and reading this and I appreciate your thoughts and info.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:27 AM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

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Old 11-22-2008, 11:57 AM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

Well Cody I guess all I can do is ask a couple more ?'s I think might help us determine what happened.

First... are you POSITIVE of the range? And what yardage is your smokepole zeroed at?

Second...was the blood just bright red... or was it pink... bubbles? No bubbles? Any hair or muscle tissue? Was he walking or standing when you shot?




Based only on what you have told us so far, it sounds to me like you probably just grazed him. Might have jerked the trigger? But based on him running with his tail high and stopping and looking back and around... thats not typical hard-hit-deer behavior.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:59 AM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

I had the same situatuion with a doe last year. I thought I had nailed her until the smoke cleared. She was standing there broadside and ran off with her tail up jumping like I had missed. So I gave ita few and went to wear she bounced over the fence. Good blood there, and a trail for about 50 yrds then it disappeared. Never found her after hours of searching. Well the best part of the story is I was able to harvest the same doe a week later with the bow. I know it was her because she had a perfect bullet hole straight through the brisket. (Later review revealed my scope was loose). Point is your deer may have lived.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:58 PM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

ORIGINAL: SwampCollie

Well Cody I guess all I can do is ask a couple more ?'s I think might help us determine what happened.

First... are you POSITIVE of the range? And what yardage is your smokepole zeroed at?

I am positive of the range. My brother, dad and I went out looking Saturday morning and I took my range finder and ranged it at 105 yards.

ORIGINAL: SwampCollie



Second...was the blood just bright red... or was it pink... bubbles? No bubbles? Any hair or muscle tissue? Was he walking or standing when you shot?




Based only on what you have told us so far, it sounds to me like you probably just grazed him. Might have jerked the trigger? But based on him running with his tail high and stopping and looking back and around... thats not typical hard-hit-deer behavior.
The blood was bright red. After my initial post my brother and I did a lot more 'looking for deer' rather than actual tracking. Even still we went back and back tracked the blood trail. We actually found more blood than the original search (The first tracking job was merely a "Yes I hit him! Lets follow the blood job"). I also found a small piece of bone, maybe half inch in size. Tough to tell what it was. Again, we found no hair or muslce tissue. No hair at the shot site either which surprised me? As I said before, the blood was bright red but in spaces in was almost a purple. But then again it was that blood that we found on our second search when we really examined the blood.

The more I think about it the more I think he survived the hit. Like you said, he showed no signs of a hard hit deer, he ranup hill after the shot and picked up the trail of the doe he was chasing immediately. I'm thinking maybe a brisket shot? I'm very inexperienced with this stuff.Like I said before the actual blood trail lasted less than 100 yards and it was solid at best for a mere 20-25 yards.

Sadly though, I think you may be right about the trigger. I shoota Traditions Pursuit II and really LOVE everything about it EXCEPT the light trigger pull. It's one thing to compensate for it at the range but another while on stand holding on a nice buck. I was steady on him and had a decent rest, but I think you are right, that with the light trigger pull I wasnt as steady as I should have been.

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, we've been visiting my grandparents over the weekend. Thanks a bunch for your help Andy, I really appreciate it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:08 PM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

I didn't read the other posts so I'm saying this based on my own thoughts. Man..I would have to say you may have been far back? Did you shoot this buck off hand with no rest? I hope he lives..but if you were far back he could die. Have you continued to walk the area and follow all those deer runs? I would keep at him for your own sake of mind..even if you just find the antlers...

If you keep looking..and looking..you can go into the next year feeling like..hey...maybe he did make it...He just may make it. Sorry and good luck with this great story.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:10 PM
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Default RE: Help With Blood Trail (Please don't move)

ORIGINAL: MichiganWhitetails74

I didn't read the other posts so I'm saying this based on my own thoughts. Man..I would have to say you may have been far back? Did you shoot this buck off hand with no rest? I hope he lives..but if you were far back he could die. Have you continued to walk the area and follow all those deer runs? I would keep at him for your own sake of mind..even if you just find the antlers...

If you keep looking..and looking..you can go into the next year feeling like..hey...maybe he did make it...He just may make it. Sorry and good luck with this great story.
Thanks buddy. I was in a Gorilla Hang On with two arm rails. I'm a right handed shooter and I had to turn almost as far right as a I could. Even still, I felt good about my rest and felt steady enough to take the shot. If I hadn't, I would not have taken the shot.

We called the neighboring property owners and they said if they found him then they would let me know. We've also been paying attention to crows and buzzards and no signs there either. If he's dead, someone will eventually find him and I'll eventually find out. After doing some reading

I'm almost positive I hit him in the brisket, question now is, does this kill him? Thanks for your support Mich. He's a buck of a lifetime.
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