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Blood-Trailing Tips

Keep your cool after the shot and use these surefire tracking strategies to find and recover your deer this season.

  • Mark the spot of the shot.
  • Remember how the deer was standing during the shot, because this info will help you make the best decision as to when to start tracking.
  • Observe the deer’s body language as it leaves and mark the exact location of the last place you saw the animal.
  • If bowhunting, recover and examine the blood on the arrow to determine what kind of hit was made.
  • Heart Shots = bright crimson red color, Lung Shots = reddish pink with air bubbles or frauthy, Liver Shot = medium to dark red blood that is sparse at times. Paunch Shot = limited blood and putrid smelling green liquid with tiny food particles. Neck, Leg, Rear or Loin Shots = average red colored blood trail that typically tapers off after a couple hundred yards.
  • The old saying, “When In Doubt, Back Out” is true if you feel a questionable shot has been made. Pushing a poorly shot deer too soon can lead to disastrous results.
  • Utilize orange marking tape to periodically mark the trail.
  • Take your time and stay positive. Getting frustrated and tracking too fast may cause you to overlook important clues or small specs of blood.
  • Stay off to the side of the blood trail and don’t allow anyone in your tracking party to move ahead. Walking through blood or right on top of signs and clues can potentially cover up the trail.
  • If the trail suddenly goes cold due to a lack of blood, get down on your hands and knees to meticulously look for other types of sign. Leaves turned up, fresh hoof prints and broken twigs may accurately indicate the deer’s current travel direction.
  • Remember basic blood-trailing tips – wounded deer will often travel downhill, take the route of least resistance and head toward water.