Advice on locating game after the kill

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by SavageHunter11, Oct 8, 2019.


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  1. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    So hunting season is almost here (for me at least) and I'm hoping to get some advice on an issue that's plague me since I started hunting big game. When the time comes for the shot, I get so focused on the reticle and the animal in front of me that from the time I pull the trigger to when I pull the rifle down then animal has disappeared. Last year I searched two hours for the buck I dropped dead to rights in a patch I was certain I dropped him on only to find him 60 yards further away. I am so focused at the time of the shot on doing everything else right that my brain refuses to remember just exactly where the animal is (and I range and dial/holdover for all my shots too and this somehow keeps happening). Going into my 6th year of whitetail and this has happened on 3 of the 4 deer I've shot. Hoping to find a tip to have this not happen again. I always seem to misjudge about 50 yards to where the deer was standing. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. X47guy

    X47guy Member

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    We run into this issue shooting over ag fields as there isn’t much to go by when trying to pick a landmark. We usually range the animal, then have someone go towards the direction the animal was and range back to us.

    A good dog also helps.
     
  3. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    This is essentially what I'm hunting as well. Wide open, featureless grasslands. I've questioned bringing a tall reflector pole that I can stake in my hunting spot and range off of but the idea kinda feels silly and like there's a better option.

    I would love to bring my dog but my Dane would hate the cold and would much rather nap under his heated blanket than come out into the field with me...he's a big baby
     
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  4. WildBillG

    WildBillG Well-Known Member

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    Maybe try studying the area you are hunting before looking for the animals to hunt. This is not always possible as some times an animal just jumps up and you have to shoot. Another thing I try to do is to walk in as straight of line as possible to where I shot. It sounds like though that you need to make some sort of quick land mark note as to where the animal is standing. This will require time and training on your part. If you start now it will be easier then waiting for years to come. Warm up on this by shooting coyotes or other pest now.
     
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  5. KyCarl

    KyCarl Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    If legal a dog is hard to beat. He can smell things way smaller than we can see!
    A friend has an old Basset he works on a string. Slow but 100% effective!
     
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  6. JohnWess

    JohnWess Well-Known Member

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    Here is what I do.
    1. Range and dial/holdover (Remember the range if possible)
    2. Concentrate on the shot as you are. You have to kill the deer in order for there to be a deer to find.
    3. After killing, take a mental picture and pick out some land mark. It could be a tree 1000 yards behind where you shot the deer or a mound right behind it. It doesn't matter, just some sort of landmark. I then leave something where I shot from that I can hopefully see from around where the deer is (an orange hat is perfect for this).
    4. I have to Points of Focus and a Deer dead between the two and x amount of yards from my orange hat (where I shot from).

    This is what I do to look for a dead deer, blood, or any sign of a hit if I feel I missed. I hope this helps.
     
  7. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    There are some GPS solutions where you can measure out from your point and drop a pin. Compass and a rangefinder work well if you leave something/someone at the shooting position. This is one of the reasons I shoot a much lower power scope, field if view is very important to me so I can just watch everything before I come of the rifle.
     
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  8. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    There aren't any land marks. It's all open grassland with small, 5 foot high hills (bumps) every couple hundred to thousand yards...I wish I had some landmarks to help located deer.
     
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  9. slas

    slas Well-Known Member

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    I lost a good buck doing the same thing a year ago on a 250 yard shot. Couldn't find any blood for the life of me, looked for hours. He circled around and went down 50 yards behind my blind in a low spot. I found his bones the next morning after following the crows who were working what was left of him....
     
  10. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    I lost a great public land buck the same way my first year. When we found him 2 days later because of the turkey vultures we realized we had probably been only 20 feet from him multiple times but with 4 foot high grass you almost have to walk on them to have a hope of finding them.
     
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  11. del2les

    del2les Well-Known Member

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    Take a compass azimuth from your location to the impact area. Before leaving your shooting location, mark the spot with bright surveyors tape. I use bright orange. If in grassland, you can carry a thin collapsible tent pole, old fishing pole, etc to extend your marker above the grass. If possible, take a range before leaving. Once enroute to the area, take a back azimuth as you go to stay on line.
    We used this technique in the military for land nav, and we were able to locate small objects hundreds and thousands of yards away. If the animal has moved from the impact locale, begin a 50 meter back and forth zig-zag off the center line and only extend the distance as far as you can see the ground in the grass.

    Also, there are varied thermal game locators you can buy from several sports stores and online.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  12. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    This is actually an awesome idea. I wish I could have thermal optics in the field to locate game but South Dakota's GFP has strictly banned all thermal, night vision, and lighted reticle optics of any kind for big game hunting.
     
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  13. del2les

    del2les Well-Known Member

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    These game finders are NOT illegal, as they are not sights/scopes. Just do a google for thermal game finder.

    https://www.opticsplanet.com/aimsho...=connexity&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=google
     
  14. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    They are absolutly illegal to have. The SD GFP specifically marks it in their hand book that you are not allowed to be in possession on this type of optic (handheld and firearm mounted alike) while hunting. It is not illegal for me to own in my state but it is illegal to have with me while hunting