Your take on dealing with a wounded animal ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by westcliffe01, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

  3. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  5. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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

     
  6. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    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.

    So true.
     
  7. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Wow ! I will admit that I didn't read all the rules, but I wasn't expecting a "no ethics" rule. Moderator, feel free to delete the thread. I don't want to discuss whether we should hunt or not, nor debate the necessity of killing, but the concept of a humane death was something which supposedly differentiated gentlemen from savages.

    I have personally been disappointed with the footage on the Sportsman channel, since I don't think it improves the image of hunters in the eye of the non hunting public. I can see however, how the role of game fences on private land changes the situation, since there is basically no way that a wounded animal is going to get onto someone else's land and result in a trespass condition. But the price associated with that privilege (over $1000 and up) would result in a lot fewer people being out there hunting and consequent loss of population control. So far, there are enough people who can afford the flight to South Africa and the trophy fees that so far demand still exceeds supply and the prices remain high.
     
  9. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully this doesn't get deleted.

    Ethics aside completely, there is a legalilty issue here.

    Trespassing without permission for any reason is illegal (in Wyoming anyway).
    However, so is intentionally leaving edible portions of game animals to spoil or waste.

    If an animal was hit in the vitals and the warden happens to come up on us while we are cutting off the unspoiled parts the following day, we could receive a citation for wanton destruction.......don't quote me on the terminology, but it's something like that. Some wardens may consider leaving an animal for 12 hours when it was obviously hit in the vitals, to be abandonment.?

    Just as some consider illuminated reticles illegal, even when the regulations don't specifically mention them.:cool:
     
  10. NONYA

    NONYA Banned

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    WTH not?We are grown men,if you cant discuss your opinions on matters like this without them being deleted by the internet police whats the point of a forum?gun)Its a catch 22 here in MT,if the animal crosses on to private and they wont let you retieve you get charged with wasting game,if you go get it its tresspass,either way you loose it.If it happened and I know they wont let you retrieve Im not asking,MT F&G doesnt provide any incentive for doing the right thing,if you try to you just turned yourself in for a ticket they WILL write you.
     
  11. flyin lizard

    flyin lizard Well-Known Member

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    This just an FYI responce, Here in New York state the person that "Reduces the animal to Possession" has legal ownership. So if I shoot it on my land and my neighbor shoots it and drops it on his land its his deer.

    Back to the theme of the post,, when I go in the woods I TRY to take only high percentage shots because if an animal goes more then 200yds it may very well go by someone else. I shoot a lot of relaxed ,calm management does and most of the time they go less than 25 yards with a bullet just behind the shoulder and my meat loss is minimal. However if one goes longer I am prepared to track it no matter what time of the day it is. If I determine that I have made a gut hit, which does not take long, then I will back out and call Deer Search Inc. and with a leased tracking dog and certified handler we will go back to the track and work it, but in the case of a paunch hit D.S. recommends waiting at least 6 hours before trailing and with them I have recovered paunch hit deer still alive but too weak to run further, so a finish shot was used. So in closing I will say every case is its own, you know your abilities, what the animal did after the shot etc. personally I wait about 5 minutes, make some mental notes then go to the spot and start looking for sign. As for the "hunting shows" on tv, some are getting to be a bit much and give to much fodder to the anti's, and thats all I will say about that..
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  12. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Because as you have correctly characterized them - ethics are opinions. But ethics are more engrained in the genetic fabric than what would otherwise be described as simple opinions. They're opinions that some people are willing to die for. Worse yet, everyone has one. Don't mak'em right. They're on the order of individual or group belief systems, morals, religions. Al-Qaeda commits suicide bombings to enforce their ethics and morals.

    But primarily and most importantly, the guy that created and controls this Forum says so. You don't like it - you know what the alternative is...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  13. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    My take on dealing with a wounded game animal, is recover them using the best strategy that fits the individual circumstances. Sometimes this will mean letting the animal set so the hunter can follow the blood trail up to a dead animal. The circumstances can be so different. Sometimes it's raining, sometimes it's not. Sometime's there's drifting snow, sometimes there's not. Sometimes the animal will spoil if left overnight (largely dependent on the size of the game animal and the temperature), sometimes it won't.

    I archery hunted the first 13 years of my hunting career. On marginal hits, the more successful method for retrieving the animal was to let it set for several hours, because there would generally be a good blood trail up to the first bedding location. But after bedding down and laying still for awhile, the external wounds would clot and the animal wouldn't leave a blood trail after it was jumped out of its first bed. So it was very difficult to follow the animal, lacking any blood trail after the animal was pushed out of its first bedding location. Therefore we’d let the animal lay and cross your fingers that after several hours passed and you did take up the trail and encounter the game animal, that internal bleeding would have been sufficient to result in death, or at least the ability to close the distance to a delirious animal and finish it off.

    If the animal was still healthy enough to jump up and run off after several hours in its first bed, then the odds were good that it might survive anyhow - unless it was gut shot.

    On a gut shot animal struck with an arrow, leaving the animal lay overnight isn’t a bad option - if rain isn’t in the forecast, if the temperature isn’t deadly hot, and if bears and/or coyotes are unlikely to destroy the animal prior to morning. Because after the animal is pushed out of its first bed, you’re unlikely to have any blood trail to follow for purposes of retrieving the animal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  14. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    The best, and only, reason you need is that Len foots the bill for this site and the site rules say we don't discuss ethics. There are no "internet police" around here, just guys that follow the site rules, which you have obviously never read.

    I won't go into details, again, because it's come up so many times before and been explained many times before.

    If you don't like the site rules please feel free to take your attitude somewhere else.