Missed/non-recovered game

Southern Heritage

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
280
My buddy brought this up this past week. Talking about the Facebook pages every day are talking about people loosing deer. I cant help but think they dont know how to track. i also think the 6.5 came about and I I personally like it. However it took trial and error to find a bullet that worked well for deer. Something most won’t do. I’ve never lost one with a rifle but lost two bruisers with a bow. Found one a year later where he sunk in a swamp that dried up. I took note the swamp had dried and said I’m going to walk it. He was 50 yds from where I saw him go into the water. Then I never found the other one. Back to tracking it shocks me how many people can’t find blood or sign on tracking.
 

roosterdown

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
43
Location
Afton, MN
We have a lot of prairie ground on our land. Today - literally today, first day ever - bought and launched a drone to attempt to locate two bucks that we felt were well-hit but we were never able to find...one 5 weeks ago, one 3 weeks ago. And I'll be damned if I did not find one of them in the first 4 minutes. Of course, the coyotes left a small fraction of one gram of meat...
 

InkedElkSlayer

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 8, 2022
Messages
552
Location
Western Montana
I don’t want to derail the topic, the original post was about relativity close range rifle hunting recovery percentages…
While I would say that rifle hunters have to have higher overall numbers of animals not recovered each year due to sheer numbers alone, I would say that the percentage of bow hunters who hit something and don’t recover it is incredibly higher on a percentage basis. Especially with elk. Every year I hear countless stories about guys hitting bulls and losing them.
No, I’m not a bow vs gun guy. But I think the margin of error with a bow is minuscule. And especially over the last few years, we’ve seen an exponential increase in adult onset elk hunters. I think a lot of bulls are getting arrowed in the guts and ass each September. But yes, poor decisions and/or poor outcomes occur every fall with bows AND rifles in hand.
 

gabenzeke

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
747
Another thought I had ....I've lost track of the number of times I've been told by people they lost a deer and the blood trail just petered out only to offer to look with or for them and find it myself. Sometimes with shockingly little effort involved.

Sent from my Pixel 6 Pro using Tapatalk
 

nam1975

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
122
Mature Whitetail are amazingly tough. They’ll go a long way on one lung, liver hits etc.
Some dog trackers in Ohio are finding 25 + deer a year. And this is with cross bows and close shooting with slug guns and 45-70.

Some just simply don’t know how to track. Blood type and how long to wait. Blood spots directly across from each other equals 2 holes etc.

The best tracking advice is go slow, then slow down!
Look up, down all around at each drop of blood.
 

Donny Land

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
93
Location
Conroe, TX.
My buddy brought this up this past week. Talking about the Facebook pages every day are talking about people loosing deer. I cant help but think they dont know how to track. i also think the 6.5 came about and I I personally like it. However it took trial and error to find a bullet that worked well for deer. Something most won’t do. I’ve never lost one with a rifle but lost two bruisers with a bow. Found one a year later where he sunk in a swamp that dried up. I took note the swamp had dried and said I’m going to walk it. He was 50 yds from where I saw him go into the water. Then I never found the other one. Back to tracking it shocks me how many people can’t find blood or sign on tracking.
I didn't state this in my 1st post, but I feel this is a huge factor as well. Not patting myself on the back but, I hunted with a guy for 8 years, and had to go find every deer he shot....this guy COULD NOT track blood or sign.
 

SoloWilderness

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
368
Location
Pine, CO
I've been on one hunt where we lost a bear that we knew was solidly hit. Friend is a very good shot and had a solid hit on a big bear (watched through the spotter by another friend up above our basin). Shooter saw him do a summersault at the hit, and assumed he was down. We found blood, and grid searched the area looking for more, searched the entire mountain side looking for more than the 2 big liter size splashes we found of bright red blood. Followed tracks and scuff marks into thick brush, and never found the bear. Mistakes we made in hindsight: 1. Once the friend on the spotter saw the hit and saw the bear tumble, he assumed he has dead, and headed down off the ridge to help break it down. Didn't watch it until we recovered it. 2. We were in a big V shaped basin with thick brush and deep V cut ravines. I came down to help him recover the bear, didn't see the shot myself, as I had been working in on him from a different angle, and was out of sight. Friend was flustered, had found the blood, and saw the scuff marks from the tumble at the shot location, but couldn't find the bear. My mistake was assuming he had missed something being flustered and re-searched the area looking for more blood and sign, instead of getting to another high point and helping him look with my glass into areas we couldn't see from the ground. In hindsight, I wasted time re-covering ground, instead of expanding the search area faster. We might have recovered that bear if we hadn't made these two assumptions. These were all very experienced, skilled western hunters, with many animals and tracking jobs under their belt.

First elk I ever took with a bow, when I was very young, was a less than optimal hit, at the outside edge of my range. Penetration wasn't good, had hung up in the shoulder, I saw the arrow wagging as he ran into the brush. I let him be for a while then started tracking. Blood was spotty but had a good line of travel from scuff and stumble marks. Tracked him until dark, about 1/2 mile. Marked the spot, as the blood was getting thin, and went back to camp to get help. Came back in the morning with 2 friends at first light and we picked up the trail from my flagging. Blood petered out, so we started grid and spiral searching. About another 200-300 yards from where I ended my track the night before, we found the arrow sticking out of the ground, point up, in what looked like a 5-gallon bucket of blood. Kept grid searching and found the bull another 50 yards down the hill. Bull had laid down and pushed the arrow in and finished things. Point being, don't give up, even if you know the shot was less than good, mark every spot of blood, or other sign indicative of a wounded or hard running animal, and get help if you can't find it yourself.
 
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Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
809
Location
Montana
To support nam1975, I recommend having some flagging in your vest or at least sticking a stick in the ground at the last blood spot so if you lose the track you can back up to the last spot. If you still can't locate more sign start making circles to pick it up. I lost a track once on the edge of a fir thicket. I made about three circles, went back to the last sign, stepped into the jungle and found the cow.

Finding game is patience, persistence, and experience. If you don't have the last one, you will have double up on the first two.

Sometimes having a partner offset from the track will help seeing the animal when you are hot on the track.

Sorting a blood trail out of herd of 30 elk tracks can be challenging even in snow.
 

nam1975

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
122
To support nam1975, I recommend having some flagging in your vest or at least sticking a stick in the ground at the last blood spot so if you lose the track you can back up to the last spot. If you still can't locate more sign start making circles to pick it up. I lost a track once on the edge of a fir thicket. I made about three circles, went back to the last sign, stepped into the jungle and found the cow.

Finding game is patience, persistence, and experience. If you don't have the last one, you will have double up on the first two.

Sometimes having a partner offset from the track will help seeing the animal when you are hot on the track.

Sorting a blood trail out of herd of 30 elk tracks can be challenging even in snow.
Toilet paper to mark!
 

tater

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
383
Location
BC
I have met more than one guy who buys a box of twenty rounds and feels they are set for the next four hunting seasons.
The average Fudd picks his rifle up two days before season, hammers three downrange into a paper plate sized group at 75-100 yards and figures he has a critter slayin' death ray that is ready to make meat.
Heads out and cranks a couple off at an animal (not even sure of range), it doesn't drop. He walks over doesn't see any blood and carries on to the next.
There are also some guys with bows that have the same mentality.

Unfortunately been that way since long before social media.
 

MTGunner

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Messages
68
Location
NW Montana
During my hunt in Spain for Ibex I had to take a 300 meter plus shot across a deep canyon that prevented me from recovering this animal the same day. The guide, a very young energetic in shape young man, dissuaded me from even attempting to accompany him during his attempt to recover this Gredos Ibex. I can tell you that I was furious and adamant that I wanted to go. We climbed into the steep, rocky area only so far. Damn tough country. My guide called a halt to our attempt. He contacted a mountaineer, with dogs, and my Ibex was recovered the following day. Cannot tell you all the angst I put myself through that night. My ram was recovered and all turned out well. But, just knowing there was a possibility of loosing an animal is Very stressful.
BTW, wind was blowing and was holding on the shoulder. Damage to the muzzle was due to dropping untold feet down a mountain face. MTG
 

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Pony Soldier

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 31, 2021
Messages
809
Location
Montana
Got to thinking about blood sign. I've killed a number that other than hair and minor spray , they left no sign of being hit especially if the hit was a little high in the ribs. Once the chest starts to fill with blood then you get a trail.
 

Cant hit em

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
3,357
Id like to add this to the conversation….……If you hit an animal , find blood trail and never recover the animal , do you notch that tag and stop hunting that tag for the season ?
 

Deadfall

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
1,339
Location
Montana
There are a lot of people that do not take the time, or put in the effort, to learn and properly recover game. People are not patient, are inherently lazy and also lack knowledge.

Lots of guys are afraid the dark. Seriously... they really can't handle being in the woods after the sun is down.

In my life I can think of 1 my dad lost (scope was way off), 3 I have lost (2 rifle 1 archery) 1 my wife lost (atchery) and one bull my buddy lost but probably survived.

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This
 

HeavyAssault

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Messages
64
Shot placement and the ability to track thru the woods would be my suspected reasons people can't find their game after the shot.
I've walked plenty through the woods. I try to take mental notes on what's going on by what's on the ground, what's happened to the vegetation, where is the mud/dirt, etc etc etc


I will say this there's some truth about walking through the woods in the pitch black. If you ever spook a few turkeys out their perch a grown man can scream like a woman pretty easily. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: But that's a story for another time.
 

Ikmclean

Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
82
Location
Lovell, WY
I have only lost one doe I shot at last light, watched it run into a heavy timbered draw and was unable to locate it that night, was able to locate her next morning although the coyote's left me nothing. I'm very hesitant to shoot anything at last light anymore and have passed on several animals since.
 

Don Qui Puncher

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
1,030
Location
Boston Ma
I’ve been tracking deer with my hound this year, only archery and the actual recovery rate is terrible. We have found 4 dead and jumped 7 out of wound beds, I have waited 24-36 hours on every track. I know a few people with atrocious hit to kill ratios, this year 5,6,7 shots with one recovered. One guy is 13 shots in 2 years with 2 deer for the freezer.
 

loganwayne

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
237
Location
Western NC
I've lost 2 deer total In my time hunting both with archery in the same dang place. I also missed two deer with a rifle. ALL of these times I either wasn't expecting the animal to be there or what it did. Or I didn't get settled before the shot.
I'm also red green colorblind I have a hell of a time finding blood. I won't shoot unless I know one of my buddies is around in case I need help tracking and I'm also training my pup.
 

Steve300xcw

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Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Messages
199
Location
.
Glassed up a bear this year. 350yards and moving out so I hauled ass and closed the distance a bit. 1st shot was 180yrds from a rest as he is slightly quartering away. 2nd shot after he turned heading my way. Dunno what happened, never even found any blood or hair
Got to thinking about blood sign. I've killed a number that other than hair and minor spray , they left no sign of being hit especially if the hit was a little high in the ribs. Once the chest starts to fill with blood then you get a trail.

Made a snap shot on a blacktail few years ago. Knew it was a bad shot soon as it went off. Broke the front leg even with the bottom of its chest, and opened about a fist sized hole in the bottom of its chest. Zero blood! Even where I found it bedded down. Found some hair, bone fragments and meat chunks in a few spots. The lack of blood amazed . Turned into a rodeo, but didn't loose it.
I will say this there's some truth about walking through the woods in the pitch black. If you ever spook a few turkeys out their perch a grown man can scream like a woman pretty easily. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Walked into the middle of a herd of open range cows a lil before daylight. Stopped as you could feel something was nearby, an then holy shit! Was like the Night blew up lol
 
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