John's Journal...

How to Find a Buck Deer Thatís Hit with Todd Amenrud

What to Do first

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Todd Amenrud of Ham Lake, Wisconsin, the director of public relationsfor Mossy Oak BioLogic, has taken many deer with hisbow and never has failed to recover an animal he has arrowed. Even if you’re a master hunter and an excellent shot, if you fail to recover your deer, your hunt will be less than successful. In this week’s upload, Amenrud will teach us all how to recover the whitetails we shoot - with our bows or our guns.Click to enlarge

The key to successfully recovering deer is to not shoot if you can’t make a lethal hit. I’ve passed up some very-big bucks before, because I wasn’t certain I could make killing shots on them. Remember, if you pass-up a buck you’re not sure you can make a good hit on, then you can hunt that deer again another day. But if you shoot and wound this deer, the buck runs off and dies, and you don’t recover him, then that animal is lost and wasted. If you’re not 100-percent confident that you can hit a deer in his kill zone, let him walk. By making the decision before you see the deer not to shoot unless you get a killing shot, when you shoot, you will recover those deer.

The search for the deer begins as soon as the arrow’s released. I use white fletchings on my arrow to help me watch its progress through the air and see the shaft as it enters the deer, although many hunters use camo fletchings or dark-colored fletchings. By seeing the hit andwatching the reactioClick to enlargen of the deer, I usually can determine how far the deer will travel and what I’ll probably have to do to recover him. The buck’s jumping straight up in the air tends to indicate I’ve got a good hit. If the deer stands still after I see the arrow hit him, then I’ve probably made a good shot. If the deer drops down or his knees buckle, I also know I have a well-placed arrow. If a deer arches his back, I may have made a gut shot. Often if you miss, the deer won’t move and may provide an opportunity for you to nock aClick to enlargenother arrow, which is why seeing the hit is so important. If you don’t see the arrow, and the deer is still standing, you really don’t know if you’ve hit the animal or missed him. More than likely, you’ll assume you’ve missed.

 When the deer breaks to run, I watch the way he’s moving and try to identify a tree or a landmark at the point where I last spot him. Not being distracted by other game and concentrating on that site so you have it well-marked in your mind’s eye will be vital to your recovery attempt. Once the deer has vanished, I remain in my stand for 10 to 15 minutes. I don’t want to pursue the deer and cause him to run any further than necessary. When I come down the tree, I try to be as quiet as possible so as not to spook the deer if it’s close by. When I reach the ground, I immediately begin to look for my arrow at the spot where I’ve shot the deer.

Tomorrow: What Happens Once You Shoot

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Find a Buck Deer Thatís Hit with Todd Amenrud"

Day 1: What to Do first
Day 2: What Happens Once You Shoot
Day 3: How to Track and Trail Deer
Day 4: What to Do if the Deer’s Trail Ends
Day 5: Recovering Deer in Water


Entry 537, Day 1