Blood Trailing: Most Unrecovered Deer are Lost due to Lack of Patience


Blood Trailing: Most Unrecovered Deer are Lost due to Lack of Patience

Those amazing fall colors don’t help when blood trailing.
(Image: Screenshot from video)

In this video, Jeff Sturgis provides some common-sense advice on blood trailing and recovering deer after the shot. He’s wordy as always, but the distilled advice is solid: A hit deer will die within a few hundred yards if you’ve made a decent shot, as long as it is not spooked and pushed before it dies.

We all know hunters who make a lot of shots on deer, and who lose a lot more hit deer than most hunters. This can very often be attributed to a lack of patience — period. If you give the deer plenty of time to die before blood trailing, it will.

One interesting thing he mentions for folks concerned about coyotes, which ate a doe I shot in 2019, is to leave an article of clothing in the area where the hit occurred. A jacket loaded with human scent would surely be a reasonable deterrent to any coyote. He cites an incident from this season when they returned to find some does the morning after, and found coyote tracks following the blood trail from the hit site, but the coyotes retreated when they got to the jacket & hat the hunters had left behind.

There are some deer which can’t be recovered anyhow, but that is the exception to the rule. I myself have failed to find only one deer that I hit, and I know for certain I pushed it too early, as I heard scrambling in the woods nearby when I got to the site of the hit. I should have been patient, but that sometimes comes hard to me.

Jeff and I don’t always agree, but we are definitely on the same page in this: Be respectful of the game. Take only sure shots, never a “hail Mary.” And if you don’t see or hear the deer fall and you aren’t 100% certain of your shot placement, wait, wait, and wait some more before you begin blood trailing.

Enjoy the video, which also contains some good stories & footage of bucks he and his son took this season.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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