Advice on locating game after the kill

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


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  1. Rich Coyle

    Rich Coyle Well-Known Member

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    I once "lost" an cow elk. Everything had frost, including the elk in the herd. Eventually I almost fell over it in the two foot high grass. It was no more than 200 yards from me when I shot it and yet took about half an hour to find it.
     
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  2. charliewhisky

    charliewhisky Member

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    I have had this problem repeatedly, both as a bow and a rifle hunter.

    A trick I use is to carry a white paper towel in my pocket and after the shot I place it where I will be able to see it from the estimated distance where I think the hit took place. this resolves the problem of orientation when you are trying to establish the sight line from the other end. I suppose a piece of tin foil would allow accurate ranging too.

    Prior to moving to the kill zone, think about the movement of the deer as you fired and which direction it was facing. Think about vegetation that would have helped determine the probable fastest route for the game because it probably either went away from you or took the easiest path if one existed. ( My last buck did not know where I was and charged directly at be when I missed a close shot for some reason. I dropped him at 20 feet.)

    Think about any noise you heard to assist in direction. Breaking sounds of brush or rustling leaves. Think about any additional game noise or movement that occurred after the shot. Other game may have followed your target.

    Carry a small amount of toilet paper or tissue. Tear off pieces to mark blood trails that get sparse. You can waste a lot of time trying to find that last drop of blood that it took you five minutes to find when you need to reestablish your search grid. It will also provide a visual representation of the general line of flight, something you will lose track of because you are focused on the ground.

    Look at waist level for blood and tissue spay as the initial blood trail. Drops won't usually start for some distance (determined by the type of hit and its effect on movement.) High grass or crops allow blood to transfer that is too sparse to drop and will often show a followable trail, and it is easier to spot sometimes from a distance which will speed tracking. don't wait to start tracking when leaves are falling and wind is blowing. You will lose the trail quickly as it is covered over.

    Always look up when faced with obstacles that would have impeded a deer’s continued movement in the direction you think it took. I have seen blood on tree trunks eight feet off the ground and used it to extrapolate direction when no ground trail existed.

    When all else fails, mark the place you think the game was and search a circular path around it. Expand the path each time by the farthest you are sure you have been able to effectively eyeball. Look for disturbed leaves and broken branches. Look ahead for your game. I have searched the ground for an hour looking for blood only to look up and see a downed whitetails white tail 50 yards on.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  3. memtb

    memtb Well-Known Member

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    charliewhiskey, Very good suggestions! Though,I didn’t mention it....I have done similar. Though I used “blue ribbon”, as I’m colorblind. When I was just a kid, starting to hunt by myself....I read about using orange or red “flagging” hanging from tree limbs, marking the blood trail. Once, when using this method in Louisiana... I turned and looked back at my “flagged” trail. It wasn’t there, it vanished! It was then I realized how bad my color vision was....I have trouble with reds, greens, and browns. Blue stands out like a “neon light”!

    Also, white paper towels may present a problem in areas of snow. Again, the “blue” should work well for most people! Yellow, is probably not a good option.....one may find themselves following the wrong trail! :D memtb
     
  4. villagelightsmith

    villagelightsmith Active Member

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    Basset=Miniature (sawed-off) Bloodhound. If he can't find it, it ain't there.
     
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  5. IllinoisBurt

    IllinoisBurt Member

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    I really appreciate this thread. It's been a question I've thought about often but thankfully haven't had to experience. Most all my hunting for years was short range affairs, whether archery or shotgun due to limitations in Illinios. Done plenty of blood trailing, but always had an easy location to start the search. My western trips to Colorado for whatever reason animals thankfully pop up less than 150 yards away and dropped in sight. Here in Alabama now it seems deer are still a somewhat short range affair though it is rifles now. Definitely like the gps/compass idea and will keep it in mind for next potential western trip.
     
  6. RSWeir

    RSWeir Member

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    Good advice about locating far off landmarks, dogs etc., etc. Since you know the range to the animal, after shooting it walk out to that range then do sweeps left to right (at that range) and see if you can locate blood. A good boiler room shot should produce a noticeable spray of blood which can get you started on a blood trail to the animal. This requires practice because often you need to be able to see relatively small blood spots on the vegetation. I hunt goats and pigs in grassy steep terrain and this system has served me well for 50+ years. We do have the advantage of lots of trees and rocks...however, it's easy to get confused even with all of the landmarks.
    Goof luck
     
  7. RSWeir

    RSWeir Member

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    Good luck that is!
     
  8. Vol1975

    Vol1975 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe—
    Try a less kicking gun. Years ago when I shot at game I literally could see the muzzle flash through the scope and most of the time I never lost sight of the animal.
    Even the impact and fall of the animal.

    Got into reloading heavy and shooting off a bag with magnum guns. Developed a flinching habit because of it the recoil and shooting those magnums. Basically took my eye off the target.
    Make a long story short get a good Muzzlebreak for the magnums and used lesser recoil rifles. Got back to seeing the animal fall in my scope but it took a while to get into that fold.

    Try having a friend load some rounds without u knowing which are live and or dead. u shoot it.
    If u have a flinching problem the dummy round will show u.

    May be ur problem may not. Easy check
     
  9. DavidleeCole

    DavidleeCole Well-Known Member

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    If you getting within 60 or so yards your doing real good. After I shoot i follow through with the shoot and aim at the spot again and zoom back a little bit and look around for any things that stands out, a patch of green grass, an old Bush, rock, brown grass just any thing. You got at least 20 minutes to let the animal settle down n get sick if it was not a heart lung shot. Then I walk to the place and dont take my eyes off it resisting the urge to look around for the animal or any thing else. That's my number one problem leading me to a hard chase. There is a free app called and measure you can drop a pin and stretch out a distance before you head out or as you go. But a good beagle is the best blood tracker ever nothing can beat one. Remember keep the dawg on a leash the whole or you will run a big chance of losing your dawg for a while or for good. And if the animal is still not dead they will jump em up then it's a long time till the animal goes down. If you use a leash you can pull the dawg back and make a quick finish shot then let them have thier prize. I use blood dawgs every year either for me or someone else and have lost 2 of my best for no leash.
     
  10. del2les

    del2les Well-Known Member

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    Today, I received a written response from GFP regarding the question of heat/thermal game locators after a kill, and here is their response. Emphasis mine:

    From: Nachtigall, Bruce <[email protected]>

    "Mr. *****,

    "There is nothing currently in our rules or law prohibiting the use of this game locating device at this time because it is not an optical device. So it can be used in South Dakota at this time. I have attached our night vision/ thermal imaging/spotlight law below for reference. This law has seen several revision in recent years."

    41-8-17. Night-vision equipment and artificial light in hunting prohibited--Exceptions--

    (snipped for brevity)

    For the purposes of this section, night-vision equipment is an optical device utilizing light amplifying circuits that are electrical or battery powered. The provisions of this section do not apply to a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's duty.

    Respectfully,
    Bruce
     
  11. del2les

    del2les Well-Known Member

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    Oct 24, 2007

    Monday, I received a written response from GFP regarding the question of heat/thermal game locators after a kill, and here is their response. Emphasis mine:

    From: Nachtigall, Bruce <[email protected]>

    "Mr. *****,

    "There is nothing currently in our rules or law prohibiting the use of this game locating device at this time because it is not an optical device. So it can be used in South Dakota at this time. I have attached our night vision/ thermal imaging/spotlight law below for reference. This law has seen several revision in recent years."

    41-8-17. Night-vision equipment and artificial light in hunting prohibited--Exceptions--

    (snipped for brevity)

    For the purposes of this section, night-vision equipment is an optical device utilizing light amplifying circuits that are electrical or battery powered. The provisions of this section do not apply to a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's duty.

    Respectfully,
    Bruce
     
  12. SavageHunter11

    SavageHunter11 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I don't understand exactly what a game tracker is. I'm envisioning something like the Leopold LTO Tracker and when I asked my hunting county's conservation officer he said the LTO was a no go as it was a monocular thermal imaging device. So I might not understand what you mean by "game tracker" (or I have a conservation officer playing dumb)
     
  13. del2les

    del2les Well-Known Member

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    Just click the links for their usage, how they work, etc. GFP approved their usage.