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Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

 
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  #1  
Old 07-21-2011, 07:51 PM
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Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

Guys, I have been out of hunting for many years (since the early 70's to be honest). The last time I had an opportunity was while my uncle still had a huge family farm which saddled a mountain range in the Orange Free State (South Africa). Base was at about 4-5000ft and rose to probably 9000ft and the climate was dry, so no snow covered peaks. I was about 8 years old when he and his sister had a falling out over their inheritance (my uncle was the only family member actively involved on the farm and she had moved to the city and only wanted money.) It about killed him when he had to sell and of course he never owned another piece of property like it after.

My family moved away, and then starting in the 80's hunting became directed at foreign hunters who had more disposable income and the price of a hunt quickly rose well over what a regular working class person could afford. For those who don't understand, there is no concept of public land hunting in South Africa. If it is public land, conservation is in effect and hunting is banned, except for professional culls by rangers out of helicopters. Otherwise, hunting as we know it is all carried out on private land for whatever price the landowner (and wildlife manager) asks.

So in an attempt to get to the point, the hunting culture instilled in South Africa was that one never walked away or abandoned a wounded animal. There was no going home for lunch or overnight and coming back the next day to look for it. This rule applied all the way from a Springbuck to a lion or Buffalo, some of the most dangerous animals one could ever want to encounter.

So I have been rather perplexed by the apparently widespread practice of leaving shot game out in the field overnight with no attempt to track it whatsoever (even whitetail deer, which are hardly the most dangerous game). Even more perplexing, this behavior has been shown on the Sportsmans channel by many different hunters shooting rifle, bow, pistol or whatever ?

So I would ask: is this being shown in order to encourage other hunters to do the same ? Is it considered humane to leave a wounded animal to die slowly over hours and potentially to be eaten alive by wolves or coyotes ? Is it reasonable to behave in this way when there is a high likelihood of the meat spoiling, so the hunter is showing that the only value in the animal is the rack ?

I fully understand that this kind of behaviour is "comfortable" for the hunter. Tracking and stalking a wounded animal at last light is never fun. But virtually every example shown on TV had the animal expired less than 200 yards from where it was shot. Most of the time it had taken a line that was known to the hunter at the time he took his shot.

I would at least try to track it down with the only consideration being dangerous terrain, something that should be weighed before taking the shot. If alone, get backup, come back and try to find it. On that last hunting trip in mid winter at about 7000ft, we lost one of the hunters in the group. My uncle and father and several other men (in the days before cell phones) left us kids in the pickup parked about 30ft from the edge of a precipice and searched all night for the hunter until it was discovered that he had fallen and walked in a delirious state onto a neighboring farm, still dragging his trophy. He couldn't remember his name or where he lived etc, so he got taken to hospital where someone identified him many hours later.

So what do you think ?

I think about this stuff now since I have just gotten back into firearms ownership and thinking about a winter Texas hog hunt. I have been practicing regularly, but I always believe that one needs to have thought about how to deal with all potential outcomes before you are put on the spot without a plan.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:05 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

I've never left them until the next day (If I could help it). There's been a couple times in my life that it got dark and looking for them with flashlights didn't prevail, so we had to come back next morning. Personally, especially with non-dangerous game, I don't support the "wait till dawn" mentality that you've seen on some TV programs.

Dangerous animals that have been hit questionably.? Sure, maybe that's the safest way to do it. I think bowhunters do this more often than rifle hunters too.

Bad thing about getting them out after dark is that the photograph is in the dark too.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:16 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

The reason for not pursuing a wounded animal is because without knowing you have made a fatal shot, deer can go for miles and miles. So often the best thing to do is not to push them and just let them lay down and die. This might not be the most humane thing for the deer, but it's more likely that you will recover the animal. Also, if you push an animal it may run off the the property where you have permission.

Technically, deer are property and even if you shoot a deer 'here' on your property, then it runs 'there' onto someone else property, technically it becomes the propery of the guy over 'there' and if you don't have permissoin on that property, you can't cross that line without technically trespassing.

I know this first hand. I had a buddy shoot a deer and we tracked it for more than a mile. As we tracked, we heard a gunshot in the distance. We kept up the tracking and eventually it lead us to a guy standing over the deer. We said "that's our deer" "we shot it". The man replied, I shot it too AND it's on my property so it's my deer. Much as it didn't seem 'right' he was correct.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:23 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by trebark View Post
The reason for not pursuing a wounded animal is because without knowing you have made a fatal shot, deer can go for miles and miles. So often the best thing to do is not to push them and just let them lay down and die. This might not be the most humane thing for the deer, but it's more likely that you will recover the animal. Also, if you push an animal it may run off the the property where you have permission.

Technically, deer are property and even if you shoot a deer 'here' on your property, then it runs 'there' onto someone else property, technically it becomes the propery of the guy over 'there' and if you don't have permissoin on that property, you can't cross that line without technically trespassing.

I know this first hand. I had a buddy shoot a deer and we tracked it for more than a mile. As we tracked, we heard a gunshot in the distance. We kept up the tracking and eventually it lead us to a guy standing over the deer. We said "that's our deer" "we shot it". The man replied, I shot it too AND it's on my property so it's my deer. Much as it didn't seem 'right' he was correct.
You are correct on the trespass part, technically we still gotta have permission even just to recover wounded and/or dead animals.

I guess I can see your point if we don't know for sure where the animal was hit, or how well they're hit. Yes, they can go for miles if they're not hit in the vitals. On the other hand, hit in the vitals and they're not going far and not staying alive very long.

If I am having trouble finding an animal, it's usually not because they went too far. It's usually because I am looking in the wrong area, a little too far away or slightly off course type of thing.
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Last edited by SBruce; 07-21-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2011, 08:45 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

Careful with where you go with this guys. This is from the site rules.

Quote:
2) We do not discuss ethics. To do so will result in the post or posts being edited or deleted.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:49 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SBruce View Post
You are correct on the trespass part, technically we still gotta have permission even just to recover wounded and/or dead animals.
Many people have the mistaken idea of 'hot pursuit'. That if you shoot a deer and you're actively pursuing it, you can cross property lines without permission and recover the deer. The reality is that if a deer crosses a property line, you must leave the property you are on and enter the other property by 'normal' means (e.g. drive down their driveway). Then seek permission from the property owner to enter their property.

Quote:
I guess I can see your point if we don't know for sure where the animal was hit, or how well they're hit. Yes, they can go for miles if they're not hit in the vitals. On the other hand, hit in the vitals and they're not going far and not staying alive very long.

If I am having trouble finding an animal, it's usually not because they went too far. It's usually because I am looking in the wrong area, a little too far away or slightly off course type of thing.
So true.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:50 PM
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Re: Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

I was watching a video the other day and they bailed on the trail way early and in the morning the coyotes had found it not to mention these guys were hunting in tee shirts so you know that animal spoiled. As I was thinking about it and I think it depends on where you hunt and how you were raised. I don't havet to worry about loosing an animal to property lines and I'm hunting for meat and it is not a sport to me so getting an animal fast and keeping the meat in good shape is the motivation so I get it hell or high water.
If I were hunting on small properties I could see wanting to just let it bed up as soon as possible and not bump it out and have it die where I can't at least make an attempt to retrieve it.
I was also raised that if you pull the trigger you track stuff down and confirm it clean or put it down. It helps that most of my hunting is usually in snow so it's much easier to track so I can walk them down but some of these guys are shooting animals in areas where you need a dang good blood trail or for them to stay close since the tracking conditions are not good.

Bottom line for me is somethings bug me that I see but I'm not standing in their shoes at the time so I really can't know the reasons for the decisions and so I just make an effort to make my decisions the best I can.
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