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Thread: Heartbroken

  1. #1
    Getting the hang of it

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    the good:
    My first year bowhunting and i'd like to think i put in effort. i stll hunt/ ambush with my cross bow all from the ground. all on public land as i only have access to one private property for turkeys. so i'd like to think this type of hunting is difficult to say the least. Last 3 weekends i have hunted at sun up to almost sundown. long days and yesterday around noon i was rewarded. i had bumped 2 does in this one area on separate days at opposite times of the day so i figured it had to be some kind of place deer liked. i set up 25 yards from where i had seen the does with a decent but not great shooting lane. 1.5 hours go by, i rattle and 15 minutes later a 1.5yr old 4 pt comes in. i heard him a about 50 yds out but couldn't see. he pops out at 15 yards to my right, and stops and stares. he sees me but doesn't know what to make of me and not enough to scare him off, doesn't scent me. he turns and i figure he is going to run but he resumes natural activity and starts heading toward my shooting lane. i shuffle a bit, he hears it, and again i'm sure hes gone. tail half raised but he keeps walking. now hes in the window 25 yds away broadside, i let out a "meep" to stop him and he turns 30 deg towards me. i let my shot fly, he jumps and runs off. a good sign.

    the bad:
    i listened and i don't hear a crash. it happened so fast but i had a bad feeling i hit high, plus the angle he was facing me wasn't ideal. the only morning i forget my range finder in the truck. i had to estimate how far i was. i guessed at 30-35 yds. i was wrong. after the shot i paced off and 25 yds is generous. wait 15 min and go look for the bolt. its gone i can't find it and i don't remember watching him take it with him. I call some friends to help me search, i wait about 1hr for them to get there then we begin. i find a few drops of blood 5-10 yds form where he was hit. keep walking and the blood trail is picking up but still just dots, i also find blood on the sticks and small trees from him rubbing off. 50 yds ahead we find a small dinner plate sized pool of blood with some bubbles. the blood isn't pink and frothy, nor is it crimson red, just normal blood colour. we track this blood trail for 100m and now its starting to pick up, more and bigger drops spaced closer together and i keep thinking we're going to find him. there are consistent drops with little pools once every 50m or so where you can tell he stopped, but i'm not confident this is a large volume overall. we find a very small pool again with bubbles at the divide btwn pines and hardwoods 300m from the shot. and basically thats it. we miraculously find 5 more baby drops, each spaced 10 m apart and thats that, no more blood. we create a line and sweep but turn up nothing. hes gone. after 5 hours and night coming we have to call it. what a heartbreaking turn of events.

    People say this type of thing comes with the territory of hunting but i'm just so disappointed in myself looking back at the unknowns, the range, his not so ideal angle. maybe too quick to search and we pushed him, but I touched the trigger and cant take it back now. Just an awful feeling.

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  3. #2
    Post-a-holic

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    You hunt long enough & unfortunately it happens to all of us.

    When I recall my blunders in the past it was because I rushed the shot & wasn't thinking clearly. I have learned to read the animal & wait for that perfect shot. I still have my moments though. This weekend in Michigan I had the biggest doe I have ever seen making her way to the bait pile. I instantly reached for my bow. Yep she saw me do that & was on high alert. Instead of freezing for the right moment I went to raise the bow to shoot. She picked me off & ran like you know what. That was my only opportunity in 3 days of hunting. arrrrrrrrgggg Again it was because I rushed the situation. Next time I will try to remember my goof up & use it as a learning tool.

    Best thing to do is re-group yourself both mentally & physically & get back out there. Chances are that deer will survive if it stopped bleeding. Unfortunately you will never know & the fact that it bothers you displays you have a high standard of ethics.

  4. #3
    Has too much time on their hands

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    Sounds likely that you hit him high and no vitals were hit. If so, there’s a good chance it will survive. You will relive that one for weeks to come ! It happens, figure out what caused this and learn from it. You might consider putting a piece of marking tape on a tree in your shooting lane at a known distance. Use that to help judge your distances.

  5. #4
    Member for Life

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    There is a spot between the spine and the lungs that an arrow can pass through without any real damage, it is possible that this is where you hit.

    It seems like a high hit scenario as you said, blood pooling and coming out later down the trail but you did all that you could, way more than many do.

    Sure it sucks but you did all that you can, I bet next time the range finder makes it into your bag, learn from it and move on, hopefully this will be your only story like this, it happens to anyone who hunts long enough.

  6. #5
    Elite Member

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    When a deer is already nervous try not to use the "meep" to stop them. If they're already on alert the extra sound is sometimes enough to send them right over the edge. Hope for it to stop on its own or pass on the shot.

    Sounds like you guys put in a great effort on the search and as already said, if you hunt long enough sooner or later things don't go as planned.

    For what it's worth I hit one high once and tracked it for a couple of hours, came back the next morning and tracked again for hours and over a kilometre before losing the trail. My buddy saw the deer alive and well two weeks later. Holes were scabbed over on both sides.

    Sent from my SGH-I747M using Tapatalk
    "where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go"
    ​- Ernest Hemingway

  7. #6
    Member for Life

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    That's too bad..... feel for you.
    "Everything is easy when you know how"
    "Meat is not grown in stores"

  8. #7
    Just starting out

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    Tough for sure. About 15 years ago I took an eight point that had a broad head lodged just above the spine near the shoulder. The broadband was scarred over and covered in tissue
    They do sometimes survive a high hit. If you hunt the same area a lot with preferred spots for your stand you can put some yardage dots out on the trees so you do not always have to use your range finder. Less movement is always a good thing when you are on the ground.

    Sent from my SM-G900W8 using Tapatalk

  9. #8
    Just starting out

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    You gave it a good go, good for you. To bad it turned out that way. They are tough animals and I have seen them recover from wounds that are hard to believe, like carrying a broadhead and about two inches of arrow in the brisket for two years, The deer was harvested by a family member on the same piece of land and the original wound had completely healed and the animal was acting normal. Hard to believe! You may get another crack at him down the road.

  10. #9
    Getting the hang of it

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    Definitely sucks. I missed back to back days once. Almost cried lol just the worst feeling. That's why it's a sport and not called killing.

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