Finding Your Wounded Deer

Disclaimer: This info may help inexperienced hunters.  No, one solution is correct for every situation.


Is there anything worse than losing a buck you know you have shot?  Here are some common sense ideas for avoiding that long search.

A Wounded Animal is a Dangerous Animal! *

First Rule

After shooting and watching a deer fall, most hunters let down their guard.  This is when most deer are lost.

While you busy congratulating yourself, a deer that was momentarily stunned (and fell down) may get up and run away.  A hunter should be ready to shoot again.

If you see any sign that the deer is still alive — shoot again.  This holds true for arrows as well as guns.

If you have hit a deer in the neck, high on the back, or in the head, he might only be stunned.  Always make sure the deer is down permanently.

To bring this rule home, here’s a quick story about the awful experience of Randy Goodman, deer hunter.  It is a quick read; click on “deer hunter” and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Things to Watch for After Shooting

We all want our shot to kill the deer quickly, without suffering.  However, that doesn’t always happen.

Watch the wounded deer’s actions.  Limping or running on 3 legs, usually means he has a leg or shoulder wound.  Some deer instantly sprint away; generally this means this deer has been mortally shot.

A heart shot is usually indicated by the deer jumping and kicking out his hind legs.

Finding a Wounded Deer

I have yet to hear of a wounded deer that left bread crumbs for a hunter to find him!  I think trailing one is the worst thing about deer hunting.

Richard P. Smith, in his book, Deer Hunting,** has a lot to say.  I’m going to paraphrase some quick helps and return to this issue again soon.

Quick Tips

  • Once you realize the deer is moving, get help.  The deer may smell, sense or hear the other hunter. A moving animal is often easier to find:  (1) blood may continue to drip, (2) he is less likely to collapse in one of his hiding places or his bed.
  • Are dogs are legal in your state? Many states say dogs must be on leashes while searching.


Next Time: Interpreting Signs to Find Your Wounded Deer


This is the companion to my website:


* This rear window graphic is used by permission of ClearVue Graphics


** Deer Hunting, 3rd Edition, by Richard P Smith, available thru his website.

Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 12:03 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

One Comment

  1. […] About Blood Signs While Hunting Recently, I wrote an article about finding a wounded animal, Finding Your Wounded Deer.  There are so many facets to this problem that I want to attack it from a different […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: