My dad took up hunting with a crossbow a few years back and has only had the opportunity to shoot a doe in the past. Quite contrary to most, I took up hunting before my dad and have many more hours of bowhunting and deer tracking experience on my side. Last night I received the following text from him:
Shot at the 6 pointer. Must have shot too high. Watched where he ran. Couldn’t find any blood anywhere. Blew an easy shot.
Not knowing what I might find, I showed up and had him walk me through the details. After placing him in his shooting position and then having him direct me to where the deer was standing when he shot, I found his bolt stuck in a tree not far away. It was covered in blood so we now knew that he definitely hit the deer. There was no hair and the blood was on every part of the shaft so it couldn’t have just clipped it. There was no foul smell either, so it was not a gut shot. I did not see an immediate trail of blood on the ground so I had him direct me to where he watched the deer run. After a few minutes I had a blood trail and from there on it was fairly easy to follow.
We followed the blood trail for maybe 120 yards through the woods and there lie the deer. The shot was a little high but still in the vitals and a good hit. I think my dad said for some reason he was looking at his 30 yard pin rather than the 20. I have made the same mistake before. It can be an easy mistake to make when you get caught up in the excitement of a deer walking into shooting range – you don’t always pause and take the extra time to judge your shooting distance or realize you are aiming with the wrong pin.
All in all it actually turned out to be a pretty easy tracking job. That just goes to show you should never be too quick to give up on finding a deer. Call some friends and get fresh eyes, you may be surprised how quickly your outlook might change on something that looks hopeless. I had the same experience last year when I couldn’t find a deer. I called a couple of good friends and we were relentless, and we found the deer.
I’m just excited for my dad now that he finally arrowed his first buck that he’s been after for so long.