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Bowhunting: When to Start Tracking

You've just shot a deer with your bow & feel you made a good shot. Before you begin tracking there are some things to keep in mind. From the moment I let my arrow fly to the moment the deer runs out of my sight I pay close attention to my shot placement, whether or not the arrow completely passed through, the direction the deer ran and how it was acting. I do NOT take my eyes off of the deer until it is out of my sight. I also keep my ears open to see if I can hear the deer fall nearby. Before I get out of my stand and begin tracking I replay this several times in my mind to help me decide when to start looking for my deer. Was it a complete pass through? If so you will probably find your arrow a few feet behind where the deer was standing when you shot it. Get down and check that site for the arrow and for blood. If you find your arrow, check it over for blood as well. Hopefully the blood is bright red and has no signs of making a bad shot. If you have any question on whether or not you made a good shot it is best to back out and wait a while before beginning your tracking so you don't jump up your wounded deer. If I know it's a good hit I like to wait at least 30 minutes before I get down from my stand and begin looking. If the hit is questionable and you think the shot may be guts or liver I would wait at least a few hours, if not overnight to begin tracking. Once I check out the site where I shot the deer I make my way towards the direction that I remember seeing my deer run to. Check the blood trail along the way & take note of the amount and color of the blood. Once again, hopefully it is bright red and there are no signs of making a bad shot. If your arrow did not completely pass through try finding it, as it probably will be knocked out as the deer is running. When I am on the deer's blood trail I don't continue on until I see another spot of blood ahead of me. If I seem to be running out of blood or can't find where the deer went next I look for tracks, hair, any kind of sign I can find to give me a clue where the deer went next. Hopefully the tracking is short but unfortunately this does not always happen. You can make a great heart or lung shot but the deer still needs some time to bleed out before expiring. If you jump up a wounded deer their adrenaline can cause them to run long distances after the bleeding has stopped, making the tracking much harder. This blog post is mostly for the new archers out there. I hope these tips will help you the next time you shoot a deer!

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