Looking for some advice

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woods89
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Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:57 am

Hello, second post here as I just posted in the intro section for the first time. Been lurking here since early summer and have really learned a lot from this site!
Two days ago I went into an area I hadn't ever hunted before in the morning and set up blind on a big hardwood ridge here in South Central MO. This is a big block of state land that gets a fair bit of pressure in gun season but not much bowhunting. I got set up about 1/3 of the way down on the leaward side close to the head of a ravine just as it was getting light. At about 8:00 I heard something up on top of the ridge and turned slowly to see a really nice 8 slowly following a little doe right towards me. They crossed just behind me but I had no shot opportunity due to the way they were moving and the amount of brush right there. The doe moved down ridge a little and then for some reason circled around and came back headed just a little down slope from me. The doe was just slowly moving and the buck would take a few steps and the stand still for a while. The doe moved past me and I could see I was going to get a shot at the buck. He got about straight down slope from me and stopped behind a little tree and I was all ready to draw as soon as he stopped moving. After about five minutes he started walking and I hit full draw. He got to my lane at about 20-25 yards and I hit the release.
Due to the sun filtering through the trees I lost sight of my arrow in flight and he turned and tore down the ridge and up the side of the next one. As he came up the other side I saw what no hunter wants to see. Most of my arrow was still hanging out of the entry side. He ran up the other ridge, stopped for just a bit, and then was gone. I sat in my tree saddle for a bit and then climbed down to look for blood. I didn't find any so I gathered my stuff and made a big circle back to my truck so as not to disturb the area. I went home for a few hours ( not fun!) and returned about 4 hrs after the shot with my brother. We searched the entire area I saw him run through for blood and didn't find a drop. We may not be the best blood trailers in the world but we have followed a few tough ones and I'm confident that if there had been any blood on the ground within 100 yds we would have found it. We started grid searching from there and covered the surrounding 2-300 yds. This was fairly open hardwoods so I don't think we would have walked by him. This morning my wife and my dad went down there with my dad's dog ( not a blood trailing dog but we thot maybe she would give us some clue if he was laying in the area) and searched again but with no luck.
The shot was at about a 45% angle down and he was just slightly quartering away. My pin was right behind the shoulder and as far as I can remember should have exited at the bottom of the off side shoulder. Keep in mind the angle should have had me hitting a little high if anything. My dad thinks maybe I hit a little low and my broadhead lodged in the sternum and went just under the heart. That is possible but with circumstances I feel like my arrow should have impacted a little higher than that. For those interested my setup is a Bowtech 101st Airborne at 60#/ 27.5'' shooting Gold Tip Kinetic 400s and Grim Reaper Razortip 1 3/8'' so not a real low energy setup. I shoot all year to stay sharp and shot out of my saddle before season to get used to it. I passed several marginal shot opps as this deer was in the area to get this shot, and I don't know if I've ever had more confidence in a shot than this one. I knew that deer was gonna die! This one really bothers me as I do my absolute best to hunt ethically and hate the thought of causing unnescessary suffering.
Not sure what exactly I'm looking for here but have any of you had a hit like this? From the little I could see as he ran off the arrow looked like it was in the vital area but just not a lot of penetration. The lack of any blood really stumps me. What steps do you guys take to make clean kills out of your opportunities? How do you keep your confidence up after something like this? I realize I'm opening myself up for some criticism here and thats fine as long as it's constructive. I feel like a bit of a beginner at my age and would welcome whatever advice you have.

Hayward


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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby ttsbuck » Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:50 pm

Is it possible that you hit him in the shoulder ? I have done this and like you said when that deer turns to run and you see all that arrow sticking out, yea a bad feeling. I have hit 2 in the shoulder and neither one left much of a blood trail just an occasional drop.
woods89
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:17 pm

That was my first thought when I saw the arrow sticking out and it is possible. I try to stay away from that shoulder bone with a bow if at all possible but kind of thought that my setup would make it through at least one shoulder. I do know that the front part of that shoulderbone is tough! My dad thought that maybe the steep angle was a factor as I was 15 feet up in a tree and the buck was 5-10' downgrade from me. I also didn't hear any loud crack or anything at the shot, just the typical wet thud. At this point I'm not sure of anything though! Definitely an awful moment when you see that much arrow on the wrong side.
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby Wlog » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:12 pm

I've seen them go through, hit the inside of the opposite shoulder and get kinda pushed back out when they take off running. But when you hit the opposite shoulder it's usually a double lung shot. How far away from where you shot him when you stopped looking?

Everybody has wounded deer. If they say they haven't there either lying or haven't been hunting long enough to shoot one. It never gets easier, it's always going to eat at you when it happens.

Despite your gut feeling of a good shot sometimes our eyes can deceive us. I would track him as if I knew nothing about where the arrow hit. If you can't find any blood do a grid search.

Once I had a friend tell me he hit a buck perfect right behind the shoulder. We looked for hours and only found a few drops of blood and no deer. I seen the buck a month later in gun season with a big patch of hair missing right above his shoulder blade. Other than that he was perfectly healthy.
Sometimes when you don't find them you can take comfort in the hope that they are still alive and fine.

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woods89
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:34 pm

We searched an area probably 300 yds wide and 5-600yds long from where I shot him. The reason it was rectangular was because this was a big drainage area and on the narrow side he would have had to climb a pretty steep ridge. We did search all the way up to the top of the ridge and then went further up and down the drainage. I had really hoped that the arrow had hit the off shoulder and worked back once I thot about it at home but when we went back out and looked he had obviously went quite aways. We really searched the entire area within 100 yds of the shot for blood but never found a drop so we started grid searching. I was very careful to circle around the area when I left after the shot in hopes he would bed down in the drainage somewhere and die.
I appreciate the responses! In a way I wouldn't want it to be easy when this happens because the lessons learned wouldn't stand out quite so much then. Its not gonna make me quit bowhunting but I'm gonna do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't happen next time.
As a bit of a side note I just helped my brother recover a decent buck the other night. He took a quick shot on a deer that had him picked off and was a little apprehensive right away about it. We followed up a few hours later and recovered him within 100 yds. He was a little chagrined when he saw his shot location. The arrow went right thru the tenderloins just under the spine but managed to cut a big vein and killed him quickly. I'm absolutely happy that it worked for him ( although he may be a little more careful next time !) but you have to wonder sometimes why a good shot opp turned out the way it did and a slightly questionable one ends in a very lucky recovery. But thats life! lol
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby JoeRE » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:38 am

woods89 wrote:We searched an area probably 300 yds wide and 5-600yds long from where I shot him. The reason it was rectangular was because this was a big drainage area and on the narrow side he would have had to climb a pretty steep ridge. We did search all the way up to the top of the ridge and then went further up and down the drainage. I had really hoped that the arrow had hit the off shoulder and worked back once I thot about it at home but when we went back out and looked he had obviously went quite aways. We really searched the entire area within 100 yds of the shot for blood but never found a drop so we started grid searching. I was very careful to circle around the area when I left after the shot in hopes he would bed down in the drainage somewhere and die.
I appreciate the responses! In a way I wouldn't want it to be easy when this happens because the lessons learned wouldn't stand out quite so much then. Its not gonna make me quit bowhunting but I'm gonna do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't happen next time.
As a bit of a side note I just helped my brother recover a decent buck the other night. He took a quick shot on a deer that had him picked off and was a little apprehensive right away about it. We followed up a few hours later and recovered him within 100 yds. He was a little chagrined when he saw his shot location. The arrow went right thru the tenderloins just under the spine but managed to cut a big vein and killed him quickly. I'm absolutely happy that it worked for him ( although he may be a little more careful next time !) but you have to wonder sometimes why a good shot opp turned out the way it did and a slightly questionable one ends in a very lucky recovery. But thats life! lol



Thats for sure, the aorta artery runs back from the heart to the hindquarters just under the spine and has saved the but of many a lucky hunter's badly placed arrow - and that includes my but on at least one occasion. Get lucky and cut that and they go down fast!

In regard to your original post I agree with most that you caught shoulder and did not get an exit with 60# pushing that mech head on that steep angle. You probably got one lung though unless you were way too high? Anyway, I would search an area a lot bigger than you describe....I have helped recover a couple one lung hit deer that went half a mile or more. One lung deer seem to just keep going till they drop and that's where they are found.
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby dan » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:50 am

With your set up, if you were using a fixed broadhead, the arrow should of passed thru that buck with any frontal hit except shoulder... I would bet you hit the shoulder...
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Jay
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby Jay » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:07 am

Had this happen to me many times. Every time I have hit the front shoulder and never recovered the deer. When you're in the moment it's easy to be off just an inch or two and hit that shoulder bone.
woods89
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:18 am

Thanks guys, gives me a lot to think about. The search area is defined somewhat by property lines and an old overgrown clearcut that you can barely fight your way through and see about 5' in. Tracking was hardly possible due to heavy leaf cover. For some reason there wasn't a lot of ruffling to follow either and without blood once we got to where I had last seen him it quickly became a grid search. That said if I can I may try to go root around a little more this week.
This was my first deer shot with these broadheads. I switched from Slick tricks because the last deer I shot with them resulted in a 20-30' pass thru with a lighter arrow and I wanted to leave a little more energy in the animal. I switched to these on the recommendation of a highly experienced local guy and went with the 1 3/8 to try to still keep good penetration. I also switched to Kinetics this summer and noticed better target penetration immediately. My bow ibo's at 340 so as best as I can figure my arrow speed is around 280 with around 65 lbs KE. I have a lot of confidence in this setup ( although I don't just have a ton of experience with it.) but do I need to rethink?
If I could redo I would aim a little further back but with him quartering slightly away and walking slowly right to left I don't know if I would want to get to far back. I do understand things happening in the heat of the moment though, and obviously I must have been off a few inches forward.
Appreciate the civility and good info here. Keep it coming!
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby JoeRE » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:07 am

I shoot fixed blades but am not a Nazi about it. Your setup is fine as long as long as you stay away from heavy bone like the shoulder. Its a trade off that will be debated forever - hit too far forward we wish for a rugged fixed blade, hit too far back and we all want a 2" cutting diameter. If you know how to get a well tuned bow you can shoot a bigger diameter fixed blade broad head no problem if you want a little bit of both worlds.

My guess is you just pulled the shot high and forward and with the steep shot angle caught shoulder blade - we all make bad shots sometimes. The shoulder blade covers a good bit of the lungs with a 45 degree angle.
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby dan » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:48 am

I have a friend at work who shot a big 8 pointer a few days ago, It had a fresh wound right behind the shoulder and when he investigated he found a G5 Expandable broadhead stuck in 3 broken ribs... It never even got thru the ribcage...
Anywho, when I started out I used big broadheads thinking better blood trails, and knock down force. Those deer would act like they were hit with a baseball bat and run like crazy... But I had a horrible recovery rate. I started using pricise sharp small diameter broadheads and started killing a lot more of the deer I shot at. Even zipped thru shoulders and recovered deer with bad shots... Later when I started guiding and working with guides I seen the difference in recoverys between the guys useing fixed and mechs... It was an eye opener for sure. One outfitter I worked with would not allow anybody to use mech's at all after reviewing the results of of his clients for a couple seasons... Like joe said, on a perfect shot, they should be good, but what I seen was a perfect shot that quartered into the far shoulder had no blood trail cause no exit, and also, like my 1st example, a large dia. on a quartering shot can come in con tact with a lot of ribs and have blades on one side opening and turning the arrow because only one side is hitting ribs... One thing I can't argue, is that they do a better job on liver hit deer.

Regardless, I think you hit shoulder, and the buck is out chasing does right now.
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:15 pm

You guys have me thinking on my choice of broadheads. I switched for reasons in my post above and because I often sit within 100 yds of private property and wanted to kill them quick, although the extra 1/8'' of cut makes that sound a little silly now. I would for sure trade that extra cut for an exit on this deer, as I think with an exit he would be hanging in a tree right now. I still have some Grizz Tricks laying around, may have to check flight and get them in my quiver for the rest of the season. They sure are cheaper! My Grim Reapers would work sweet for turkeys next spring!
Dan, I sure hope he is. My dad says ''get back in a tree in that area and get another crack at him!". And I may just do that!
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby woods89 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:39 am

Well I put my Grizz Tricks back on my hunting arrows this morning. I realize that shot placement is king, and that will continue to be my main focus, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about it the last few days and decided that if I have another shot in a less than desirable spot I would rather have a small pass thru than a big wound with little penetration. Gonna use the Grizz Tricks this year and maybe try Vipertricks next season ( maybe I'm headed for the other ditch lol!). In this steep country so many of my setups have the potential for a really steep shot. Not knocking the Grim Reapers at all as I know a lot of guys like them but it will make it easier for me on the next deer to know I have a tough fixed blade on the end of my arrow.
Thanks for the advice, folks. Feel free to add more if you wish!
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Re: Looking for some advice

Unread postby JROD157 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:12 am

When a deer is hit high, it can take some time for the blood to fill up to the hole from the arrow. I have seen lung hit deer bolt up to 100yds without blood on the ground, before it comes flowing out. Additionally, you may have entered above the first lung (no mans land)hit the top of the off lung, and lodged in the shoulder. Depends on how he was quartering. In which case that is a tough track job and potentially a deer that is still alive. Regardless of the outcome, when you feel you have exhausted all measures to find your deer, that is all you can do. Hope you find him.

100 grain muzzy 4 blade is my preference

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