For deer hunters, especially bowhunters, learning to read blood and other signs is an essential skill that must be developed to responsibly retrieve game. Deer are tough, hunt long enough and you will have to track a wounded deer.
Lessons Learned in the Field
Every hunt is different, every kill is different, every blood trail is different and every recovery is different. We met on the trail back to truck as the sun set, we gave him time, we sat under the stars, we went over how he called him in, how long he could hear him before he stepped out, how he was broadside and quartered away at the last second, how he watched his lighted knock as he crashed through the woods, how his gut told him the shot was a hair back and liver rather than lungs. We followed the blood, got lost in the woods, ended back where we started, restarted countless times, crawled on our hands and knees, and looked and looked some more until our flashlights ran out of life. We went home heart broken and empty handed to a sleepless night.
All night and all day it replayed in my mind. Where we went wrong, where we didn't spend enough time, where last blood was, where we took a wrong turn, where we must have missed something. I worried, and then I gave it to God. I asked him, that if he was down, may I have the courage and the senses to put in the time and recover him. I went straight from work back to the stand where he shot him, I retraced my steps, followed the trails, got lost a few more times and the sun started to set. Discouraged and intimidated bc I was alone out there. It may have been his shot but this was our kill. I decided to try one more trail before going back to last blood, somehow I felt I was headed in the right direction, completely opposite from where we thought he had gone. I stepped out into another field, and on the edge about 30 yds away I caught a glimpse of what I thought was horns, and I was right. Never had I been so grateful.
The recovery was only the beginning. There I was with a lot of work in front of me. Alone after dark, with a flashlight, my backpack and my knife. You don't realize until your out there alone, how much having that other person there to tackle everything with truly means. So by flashlight light, I gutted my very first deer alone in an open field under the stars. Then I got to tackle getting him back to the truck, up into the truck and home to my okie. It may not mean much to others, but I'm one proud hunter to have that under my belt. I am so grateful for those lessons learned in the field.
This recovery was not easy, but persistence paid off. Check out our next article on tips for having your own blood tracking success.
Without a doubt, this recovery would not have been possible without the help of my Survival Hax flashlight. We had several other flashlights and head lamps and mine outlasted all of them, was brighter then all of them and the zoom capability came in extremely helpful for scanning the timber around me while staying on the blood trail. I would have had much more difficulty following the minuscule blood trail without it.
Watch this awesome video on the versatility of this incredible flash light below! Know a hunter that needs this? Get it here.