RotoMetals2WidenersTitan ReloadingADvertise here
Inline FabricationMidSouth Shooters SupplyLee PrecisionRepackbox

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Lost my first deer

  1. #1
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Posts
    2,346

    Lost my first deer

    Took me almost a week dealing with the disappointment of not recovering a deer I hit last Saturday morning it was a first and new low for me . It was the last day of our Pa late flintlock season . A friend let me hunt his 180 acre farm something he don't let a lot of people do but he knew with my medical condition I couldn't hunt very hard . I was sitting under his pavilion were we target practice and have camp fires it's a little bitty strip of woods maybe 40 yds across and over grown fields on both sides of it . I didn't really expect to see much but I appreciated his offer to me . I had just fired up my little propane heater and getting comfortable sitting at the picnic table I look up to my left and two small doe are walking just 20 yds away at the edge of the field . I grab my rifle sitting on the table and cock back the hammer and shoulder it in one smooth motion front sight lands right behind the shoulder and I fire ! She takes off down across that 40 yd strip of woods and up the other side she was running but not super fast but taking long high jumps . I reload and walk over where she stood at the shot found just a little hair so that was a good sign I'm color blind so can't see blood unless there's a lot of contrast and there ain't on grass and leaves . My bud texts me asking if I needed help he shows up and finds blood drops right away about ever 4-6 feet about a quarter sized drop on her trail we follow it about 75 yds up in the high grass 40 yds away she jumps up and runs another 100 yds in the over grown field up the hill. We stop and leave her be for an hour and half . By this time it's starts to sleet and changing to rain , we start back on the trail but any blood is washed away we followed the train she took and went to the last place we saw her. No hair no blood anywhere . Started doing circles in that 4 ft tall high weeds walked around for 3 hours in the rain nothing ! I was sick ! As I said first deer I lost after hitting it and the feeling of guilt I felt as it was a honor to be asked and allowed to hunt on my friends land an in my mind let him down for not recovering the animal . He told me don't sweat it it happens but still stings a lot for me. Least the yotes got fed ! Only thing I can think happened is I pulled the shot and hit low and missed the heart/ lungs . But still drew blood . 40 years of hunting deer and it finally happened .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,053
    Stuff happens. You tired hard to track that doe and did all that could be done. I have heard of people that use dogs to track wounded deer but that is not practical in every situation either.

    I hope it does not sour you on trying again next time. Being successful for 40 years is quite an accomplishment so remember that!!
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    S.E. Michigan
    Posts
    250
    40 years of hunting.... I would say that's a fine record of wins vs loss.

    I have not lost a deer, but I have felt that sickness of losing one while I was frantically looking for the deer. All kind of thought in the head, beating myself up. Going over what I could have done differently. Luckily I have found mine, but luck could have just gone the other way.

    Do not 2nd guess your shot. My son's very first deer 2 years ago was using a 30-30, 75 yards. He shot that deer double lunged and we only found it because there was snow on the ground and we could see the sparse blood. It walked nearly 800 yards. 400 of which was through a cedar swamp. Bedding down then getting back up to walk every 75 or so yards (we were not pushing him). The autopsy showed that this buck had walked with one whole lung missing the other partially collapsed. I don't blame the 30-30. The vitals looked like every other caliber I have used on a deer where they only run 40 yards. This buck was just the Hugh Glass of his breed. Sounds like your Doe was the same way.

    I guess I'm trying to say do not beat yourself up. Do not blame your weapon, do not blame your skills. It's a part of this tradition we play at. That doe is going to do everything she can to never be found. You just happened to shoot the one in 1000 (or the 1 in 40 years) that had the metal to not become your dinner.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    2,964
    The coyotes might not of gotten fed! I went on muzzleloader hunting this year and pull the trigger in my deer ran like it always does after the shot. I went to go look for it couldn’t find any hair blood etc. and went looking for about 200 yards in the way it went. I figured there I s a first for everything, a clean miss!..I never miss!!! Lol

    I didn’t understand it because I just sighted in the gun the other day and it was 2 inches high at 100 yards and I can shoot three shots all in the same hole with this in line. The problem was is my deer was standing in brush and my bullet deflected... That was my excuse anyways. Well I sucked up my pride and went out two days later. As I walked up to my stand I looked and there was a deer standing 10 yards away from where I shot at the other one the other day and “missed”. It’s head was hidden behind a tree so all I could see was its rear end and it’s ribs just about all the way to its front shoulder but it’s front legs And head were completely hidden behind a tree. I figured I saw enough ribs that I could put a kill shot on it. I leaned my gun up against the tree for a steady shot and let the smoke fly. That deer ran 30 yards down the hill and ran past me about 75 yards in full on leaps. I honest to God thought I missed again and figured my scope was off from the way it reacted. I loaded up my muzzleloader and instead of walking 30 yards to my right where I saw the deer last where it came running right past me I went up into the woods to look for blood from the original shot because I figured maybe there were two deer and the one I shot ran around the other side of hill crest and this was a different one bedded by it. When I got up into the woods there was no blood, no hair! So I figured I’d go in the direction I saw the deer run right past me almost knocked me over leaping and looking as healthy as an ox. I walked in that direction and the last 15 yards I had 3 little drips of blood about the size of a pencil eraser and sure enough it was laying 15 yards in front of the three drops I found right where I saw it last. The deer bled internally. When I field dressed it the liver was blown in half and the last few inches of the lungs were tore up and liquified. That little deer had a will to live... And to my surprise when I took it home to skin it apparently this was the deer I shot at the other day. I skinned the top of his back giving it a hair cut! So at least I followed up on it and finished it off. Otherwise the scab was almost healed and that little deer would’ve lived another day if it would’ve saw me again. So your deer might be out there living another day waiting for you for next season doing just fine.

    Here’s my muzzle loader deer I harvested but I gave a haircut to a few days earlier...

    I aimed for its shoulders and you can see I skinned the top of them going right over at the top of the deer. With 2 inches high in this being a small deer in a branch or flinch it didn’t take much. To my defense it was standing in a lot of brush and I should’ve waited for a clear shot I figured my 300 Grain Thompson Center shockwave would blow right through the brush and hit it without defection...







    And here’s the shot that put it down after a good run with no blood...


    Entry hole...




    And exit...



    You can see with the bullet hit high just below the back bone and exited between the second and third last rib on the other side. It’s pretty common with this bullet to even with perfect broadside shots poking through both lungs and or a heart all my deer have ran a good 60 yards with poor blood trails. I’ve shot over least a dozen deer with this load to know what to expect now. Accept for my first miss miss the other day I know when I pull the trigger my deer is dead I just have to find it. This deer has gone the furthest with the worst blood trail of them all... And it was a really small deer. Most down within sight unless they go the over ridge after being shot that I sit on. It happens to us all once in a while but hopefully your deer is live and another day like this one would’ve if it would’ve ran into me again.

    If I would’ve had found blood from this deer from two days prior it probably would’ve gave me an ulcer to the point I wouldn’t have went out muzzleloader season for the rest of the year. I just feel bad when I wound an animal and I can’t find it. Hasn’t happened since bow hunting and the early 90s for me. I shot a deer and I couldn’t find so I hung up my bow for the rest of the season because I couldn’t live with my conscience and felt so bad. I Remember listening to all the guys at archery league back in the 80’s that used to talk about all the deer they used to shoot and couldn’t find... And they kept going out hunting to wound more. Hopefully they’ve all gotten better since then and gained a conscience.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-24-2020 at 12:31 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    East Central Illinois
    Posts
    1,301
    That is a bad, bad feeling. I have been hunting 33 years and have lost 1 and had one stolen while tracking it. My daughter got her first last year and grazed one this year, almost 4 hours of tracking and hunting later, we could not come up with it. The blood ended at a swolen creek and we could not pick it up on either side an 1/8 of a mile up or down the creek. She was really upset by it. She does not have a problem with the idea of killing it, but has a problem with the idea of not seeing it through to the point we brought it home. To her it was a wasted life... raised her right!

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy gumbo333's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    NE by the Mighty Mo
    Posts
    169
    Though you do everything right, nobody tells a deer to do it right. Some have a tremendous will to live, some can run a long, long ways after they should be dead. Some may run nearly a mile, seems like long after their blood has drained out, then finally drop like a rock. Just the way it is. If they run into heavy cover, tall thick grass and weeds, they are nearly impossible to recover. You just have to make the best of it, you tried your best.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    1,737
    Just curious RU shooter, what caliber was your gun?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Posts
    2,346
    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    Just curious RU shooter, what caliber was your gun?
    It's a 50 cal cast round ball 70 gr of 3F , doe I shot last year went 40 yds with the same load and about same range had to finish her off with a knife though.
    Where she ran In that tall stuff I coulda walked right past 10 ft away and not see a thing unless the white belly was facing me.
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master redhawk0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    North East, USA
    Posts
    966
    This was year 44 for me. I've had two get away from me...one...just this past November.

    I was moving into a new place I hadn't hunted before. I was following a rock wall and found a location where there was a large pine, and two smaller maples right next to the wall. I decided this would be a good place since it gave me a place to sit when I'd get tired, and the trees helped to break up my silhouette. On the other side of the large pine tree was a small hemlock with boughs that bent down to the north of the rock wall.

    It was dark when I found this spot, and I proceeded to take my pack off, belt with drag rope/knife, and started removing the debris from between the trees. My next step was to bend/break a few of those hemlock boughs so I had a better access to a shooting lane. I just turned off my head lamp when I heard a deer coming in from the direction where I walked in. I suspect another hunter from my party walked the road and spooked her my direction. This deer defied all known logic from what I've ever seen deer do in all my 44 years.

    So there I was, not 100% ready and she walked into the area that I hadn't cleared to my north. I was using a Win 94 30-30 with PC'd cast and open sights. Standing on one foot, leaning as far as I could, moving the boughs out the way with my rifle I took a shot...immediately I said...REALLY, DAVID!!!!! I couldn't believe I took that bad of a shot....Even the rifle sights were canted...yes...I certainly know better after 44 years of deer hunting.

    Anyway....I went the 50 yards to where the deer was and found a little hair and 2 drops of blood about every 8 steps. (1" of snow on the ground) I followed this deer straight up the side of the mountain about 100+ yards. 20 yards from a main trail...the blood trail ended. This main trail had tracks going both directions. I went about 100 yards each way from where this deer met the trail....after 90 minutes and no more blood...I finally gave up.

    I'm certainly not proud of my performance....but it happens...I kicked my self over it for that entire day. I look at it as a learning experience....what else can you do.

    redhawk

    The only stupid question...is the unasked one.
    Be Alert....we need more lerts.
    Not all who wander....are lost.

    If more government is the answer, then it was a really stupid question. - Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    380
    I commend you for feeling bad that you lost that deer. I was bow hunting with a guy who shot a buck and it looked like someone dumped a 5 gallon paint can of blood. Never found that deer. While we were looking for it, he shot another deer and just figured since he got another one, the search could be over. Me and his son still looked for the rest of the day. If we found it, I was going to hang my tag on it so it wouldn't go to waste. Never did find it and I never hunted with him again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    Posts
    17,879
    "cock back the hammer and shoulder it in one smooth motion front sight lands right behind the shoulder and I fire"

    I feel your pain and sorrow. That is exactly why I no longer use that shot with any firearm and since not using it I have not come even close to losing any animal.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  12. #12
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SW Pa.
    Posts
    2,346
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    "cock back the hammer and shoulder it in one smooth motion front sight lands right behind the shoulder and I fire"

    I feel your pain and sorrow. That is exactly why I no longer use that shot with any firearm and since not using it I have not come even close to losing any animal.
    That's gonna be a hard habit to break for me but I hear what your saying break bone and worry less about meat
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    NE Nebraska
    Posts
    618
    I have lost a couple too, it is a 'sick feeling'! That being said, you took a shot with a capable weapon, well within your range, you looked, let her lie down and looked again. I wouldn't ask more of any deer hunter. My problem is the Guys who take a long range shot, see the deer run off, figure they missed, and start looking for another deer to shoot at!
    While muzzleloading his 2nd season, my 13 year-old Grandson learned a valuable lesson without me saying a word. Opening morning he took a shot at a fork, at about 35 yards, using a .50 cal percussion rifle, round ball, resting on crossed sticks. The fork ran into the timber, after 30 minues , we looked, no blood at the site, found blood drops 20 yards out followed it to his fork. That afternoon another in our party took a shot at a doe later in the afternoon, we looked till 8pm, followed lots of blood drops with 4 other hunters, never found his doe. I don't think I will ever have to say another word about it, yes he may lose one too, but it wouldn't be because he takes it lightly! Tom

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    Posts
    17,879
    Quote Originally Posted by RU shooter View Post
    That's gonna be a hard habit to break for me but I hear what your saying break bone and worry less about meat
    That was the conclusion I came to years ago and haven't regretted it since. Also, we might consider how much meat one loses not finding the shot animal...….vs a little extra hamburger...….
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Quilcene, Washington
    Posts
    3,024
    Almost lost one myself two months ago. The buck was in full rut mode when I got the first shot at him with 50 cal PRB. No reaction at all to the shot so figured I missed but I continued watching the does he was chasing. He came out again 10 minutes later and I took a neck shot from 60 yards - DRT. When I skinned him I found the first shot hit him a shade high below the spine going between two ribs on either side. He had completely (!!!) bled out internally and was operating on testosterone only before I hit him with the second shot as he still chased the does. There was not a hint of a blood trail or hair where he was first hit. I have lost three deer in 54 years and he would have been the fourth had he not been so hopped up on testosterone. Strange things can happen.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    southern MO
    Posts
    2,793
    RU shooter, I want to congratulate you on 40 years of hunting. That is a long time and it sounds like you have done very well for yourself and have the right to call yourself an ethical hunter. With over 40 years of successes you are way ahead of the game. I'll join the others and say not to over think what you did wrong or anything of the sort. It happens to all of us if we stay at it long enough. It says a lot about your ethics that you are very concerned about it. I'll join the others and say don't let this spoil your future hunting seasons. Don't quit. We need folks like you out there making a statement about hunting. It will go better next time.
    Mark 5:34 And He said to her (Jesus speaking), "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,823
    Wow, that's nothing to feel bad about. It's been 10 years since the last, but I just lost a deer this year under the same conditions. The shot was good, but I didn't even get a chance to find blood. The ground was already frozen at the time, but no snow on the ground. Before I could even look, it started raining, washing away any chance of tracking. I did my absolute best, but the 4 of us and two days of looking couldn't find it. A neighbor says his dog might have found it, and not too far from my deer stand weeks later. Could just have easily been any other dead deer. No point in worrying about it now.

    I could see it being a lot harder on a big game only hunter too. As a bird hunter, loosing animals is just part of it, despite your best efforts.

  18. #18
    Lost 1 this year myself. Sons first deer hunt, hit a nice 10 point. Found all sorts of hair and bone and blood where he shot. Deer ran down over an extremely steep river hill, almost impossible to go up/down. Started tracking it down over the hill, blood trail real good. Finally come up to a little knoll and just down the hill on the other side deer was laying. Looked deader than dead, no movement. Me, my son, my brother, and my other son all start congratulating and high fiving. Next thing my boy who shot the deer says the deers moving. Look down and the deer is trying to stand up, wobbling and barely able to stand. We had left the rifle at the top because of the terrain. My brother had a pistol and tried to drop it but missed and never got another chance. We sat for about an hour to let the deer lay down and die. Went down to where it was laying originally and hardly any blood. Start tracking and no more blood or hair. Spent hours searching until dark and went back down the next day for 3 more hours searching. We all felt sick over it, its like the deer vanished into thin air. Our only guess was it made it to the river and maybe washed down river. Terrible feeling, my son was so proud when he knew he'd hit it. It was a nice big buck.

    LETS GO PENS!!!!

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    9,292
    All deer react differently. Some drop instantly, some don’t. I have used .223 to 9.3x62mm over 48 years of hunting them. I’ve only lost one and that was my bad shot combined with horrible terrain and vegetation. My first deer was taken with a 30-30 and a neck shot. The deer fell before I levered another round in. I bought a 22-250 and based on advice from my mentor- used neck shots exclusively. Time went on and the only deer that left after being hit with the 70 gr Speer that I used was a behind the shoulder shot. Luckily, I found that buck but it took an hour to do it with no blood trail. The next season I moved up to .308 and used the Outdoor Life/ Field & Stream shot again. That buck took off like a scalded cat and ran flat out before he stumbled on loose shale and fell. I’ve had the same thing happen with Euro spec 8x57 and other “proper” deer cartridges. Even heart shot deer leap straight up and hit the ground running quite often. I’ll get flamed for this, but if you want to kill deer quickly and stick to the BTS shot- use a lightweight bullet at maximum velocity. Otherwise ( especially with cast) hit those shoulder bones and lose a pound or two of meat. Or use the neck shot. I won’t shoot at a running deer unless it’s within 50 yards or so of me. Just a personal rule for me. I’m sorry for all the lost deer and remorse over it speaks to your collective character. The little cull buck I took last year wouldn’t be still because of my tractor running and I hit him you know where. He danced around luckily instead of running away but I put a finisher as he stopped and was fixing to tip over. I’d have to check my records but I think it was my 16th 22-250 deer, and the first to need? two shots. I’ve only killed one buck with a cast 30-30 (heart and off shoulder), one doe with .50PRB/70 grs black( front shoulders) and one buck with .54 PRB/ 55 grs black( facing me at 44feet through the throat/spine)- all thre dropped within a couple of feet. I’ve been trying for two seasons to connect with my 38-55 or my 44-40 but so far no luck. Neck or front shoulders is where I’m aiming provided the shot is what I consider makeable. Sorry for the long post but that’s how I see it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    2,964
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    "cock back the hammer and shoulder it in one smooth motion front sight lands right behind the shoulder and I fire"

    I feel your pain and sorrow. That is exactly why I no longer use that shot with any firearm and since not using it I have not come even close to losing any animal.
    I just got done cutting meat off of both front shoulders from either the buck or doe I shot gun hunting....I couldn’t tell which one it was... I’m guessing it was the big doe. After I got done boning it out and cutting it up into jerky and the rest of the pieces for burger grinding the total weight was all of 4 pounds. Not a lot of meat to lose or worry about in my opinion. I’m sure after breaking both shoulders you’re still going to salvage at least 2 of the 4 pounds.

    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-25-2020 at 01:13 AM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check