When shooting, no matter if it's with a gun or a bow, one of the most important things we learn is following through the shot or holding up the weapon and making sure you see where you hit the animal or target. This helps with the reduction of flinching and dropping arms, resulting in a better shot overall. As hunters and purveyors of hunting media, one thing we may miss when we are new is that the follow up in terms of watching the animal after the shot is just as important, if not more so, than making a good shot. This is something that I have somehow been good at from the start, it is also one of the hardest things to do in the heat of the moment.
Here is an example, last week I shot a buck with my bow. After the shot, I watched him run and bed down. Despite my shaking body 20 feet up in the air as the adrenaline rushed, I just watched him. I did not think my shot was great and I wanted to see what he did. He got jumped by a bobcat and then ran to 125 yards, lie down, and die in some of what looked like the gnarliest brush I have seen.
While it is hard to say what would have happened otherwise as we did not follow the blood trail, watching the deer as long as I could made the recovery easier. I took a picture from the tree, when we went to look from a different angle, I pulled out the picture I took of where he was, pointed and quickly after my friend spotted his antlers sticking out of the grass.
Keeping your head (or my buck fever crazed head) after you make the shot, long enough to even just watch the direction they went will always help you once you start the recovery. This is the first thing someone will ask you if they are helping you recover so they can start looking for a blood trail. The second part of the follow-through is patience. You must wait unless you physically see it die. From experience, it is way worse to bump an animal that would have otherwise laid there and died and potentially lose it due to your impatience.
These things come along with experience and as we mature as hunters, hopefully, and become more patient they will help you have better recovery percentages and make the journey to finding your animal a little less stressful.
- Jaimie Robinson, Huntress View Team Member
Follow Jaimie on Instagram at @mymomhunts.