1. Proper shot placement is the first and most important tip to game recovery… If you make a marginal shot, the wound may not be fatal. In this situation, even the best of recovery systems may not result in a successful outcome.
2. After the shot, watch and listen. Determine the line of flight of the animal.
3. Take note of the last place you saw and/or heard the animal before it disappeared (ex. Tree, bush, rock, etc.)Note if the game stumbles, arches its back, lies down or shows signs of bleeding.
4. Wait a minimum of 30 minutes after any shot before even exiting the stand.
a. On heart/lung shot, 30 minutes is recommended.
b. If possible liver shot, wait a minimum of 2 hours.
c. If possible gut shot, wait 4-6 hours minimum.
5. After giving ample time, proceed to the spot that the animal was standing when the shot was made to investigate all the clues left behind.
6. Look for blood, hair, muscle tissue, or stomach matter. VarmintLights.com makes a great light called the VRL-X for tracking blood. You can mark spots of blood you find along the trail in low light or after dark.
7. If bow hunting, give best effort to retrieve your arrow and investigate broad head, shaft, and fletching for blood.
8. Game usually, but not always, run in a straight line. Day or night.
9. Look for blood on ground, grass, branches, bushes and leaves which will indicate the height at which the animal was wounded and its possible line of travel.
10. Pay close attention to fence crossings and natural barriers, in deer’s line of travel, for hair or blood.
11. When looking at the blood… Not all mortally wounded game leave blood immediately, but start bleeding 10-30 yards from where they were shot.
a. If it appears pink and foamy, indicates a lung-shot has been made. The deer should be less than 175
b. If bright red blood is found, a main artery may have been hit. The deer should not travel far unless
game was spooked.
c. Blood droplets that are dark red and taper off after 200 yards could indicate a muscle shot. Chance
of recovery is low.
d. If little blood, but a lot of hair, time must be given for deer to lie down and expire.
12. When trailing, do not walk directly on the trail. Side step the trail to avoid contaminating the trail and destroying any clues you may need later.
13. If a possible blood spot is located, touch it with a clean white piece of tissue paper to see if it is blood. If no white tissue paper is available touch or wet the spot. If the spot comes off, it’s blood. If not, keep looking.
14. If no blood is found at site of the shot, the shot could have been high with no exit wound. Be sure to give this type of shot extra time before beginning the search.
15. Wounded deer often take the path of least resistance and/or most cover; well used trails, downward slopping hills, runways, thickets, etc.
16. Check water sources. Wounded deer often seek out water, especially if gut shot.
17. On occasion, a deer will backtrack on the same trail to exit.
18. If blood trail thins and/or disappears, place a ribbon at last spot of blood and get help. Two or three pairs of eyes and ears are better than one pair.
19. If you are unsure of the shot, especially a bow shot, pull out and go back to the last placed ribbon the next morning. If you bump a wounded deer, you could lose him forever. “When in doubt, back out.”
20. If needed, walk out circle patterns or grid patterns from last sign of blood. Having help can greatly increase your odds, especially if ample time has been given for the deer to bed down and expire.
21. Watch for buzzards, ravens, magpies, hogs and coyotes around your hunting area. They can clue you into your deer’s location.
Remember: Do all you can and don’t give up. Time is on your side when it comes to wounded game.
Good Luck and Good Hunting and be safe!!!
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AUSTIN, TX 78748
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