John's Journal...

How to Find a Buck Deer Thatís Hit with Todd Amenrud

What Happens Once You Shoot

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Todd Amenrud of Ham Lake, Wisconsin, the director of public relations for Mossy Oak BioLogic, has taken many deer with his bow and never has failed to recover an animal he has arrowed. Even if you’re a master hunter and an excellent shot, if you fail to recover your deer, your hunt will be less than successful. In this week’s upload, Amenrud will teach us all how to recover the whitetails we shoot - with our bows or our guns.

Click to enlargeIf I can find the arrow, I can gain more information about the shot. If there’s pink blood on the shaft, I can assume I’ve got a lung shot, which will put the deer down quickly and mean that I should have a very-short search. If dark blood that’s almost black is on the shaft, I probably have made a liver shot. Bright red blood will mean I’ve got a chest shot.
I also look for stomach matter on the shaft. Even if I don’t spot any stomach content on the arrow, I’ll smell the shaft. If the arrow has a strong odor to it, then I’m convinced I’ve made a gut shot – whether stomach matter is on the shaft or not. If I see fat on the arrow, I realize I didn’t get a very good shot, because more than likely I’ve hit the brisket or grazed an area that’s not a vital hit. Then I know I’ll have a long search and that when I do locate the deer, I may have to take a second shot. If I find fat on the arrow, I’ll wait a longer time before I begin my search than I generally will wait to give the buck an opportunity to lie down and stiffen-up. Once I’ve examined the arrow, I recheck the landmark where I’ve last seen the deer to be certain I can pinpoint that site when I return for my search. With the knowledge I’ve gained from the arrow, I leave the woods.Click to enlarge

When most hunters leave their stands after arrowing deer and plan to return to that same area, they mark their trails with flagging tape or toilet paper, but I don’t. A marked trail will show other hunters where you’re hunting and possibly allow others to go back in and pursue your deer while you’re gone. So I try and leave the woods Click to enlargewith no trace of ever having been there and read landmarks to enable me to get back to my hunt site. Oftentimes leaving a wounded deer in the woods is one of the most-difficult elements of recovering a deer for most sportsmen. Most of us seek the instant gratification that comes with finding the deer we’ve arrowed. However, if we go in search of that gratification immediately after our shots and chase the animals, we may drive the deer out of the region and never recover them.

To recover arrowed deer, I always leave the woods once I’ve made a good hit. Then I generally return to my vehicle and take off some clothing, since I’ll be doing a lot of walking and working hard to drag the deer out. Heavy clothing will do nothing but hamper the job of getting a downed deer out of the woods. I also attempt to get some help from others in tracking and trailing my deer. Usually I stop and eat lunch or supper – depending on the time of day. I stay away from the area where I’ve shot the deer for at least 2 hours before I attempt to make the recovery. When I return to the site, I climb into my tree stand, if some light is available, and try to spot the landmark I’ve used to identify the last place where I’ve seen the deer. Then I come down the tree and start searching for the blood trail.

Tomorrow: How to Track and Trail Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Find a Buck Deer Thatís Hit with Todd Amenrud"

Day 1: What to Do first
Day 2: What Happens Once You Shoot
Day 3: How to Track and Trail Deer
Day 4: What to Do if the Deer’s Trail Ends
Day 5: Recovering Deer in Water


Entry 537, Day 2