Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 57

that my perfect shot was a clean miss. The pass-through shot had zipped through the deer’s vitals and struck the ground so fast that it appeared, from my elevated vantage point, that I had missed low. I suspect this same phenomenon has fooled quite a few bowhunters, who also concluded they had missed when their shots were actually fatal. A case in point: a few years later I grunted in a rutting buck, made a clean shot, followed a massive blood trail, quickly recovered the buck, and began filling out my tag. My task was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a deer crashing through the woods toward me. I looked up just in time to see a nice 8-point collapse dead barely 10 yards away. There was no mystery as to what had happened. A bowhunter on stand on the adjacent property had scored on yet another rutting buck. As I field-dressed my buck, I waited for the other hunter to arrive and claim his prize. A half hour passed as I completed my field-dressing chore, but the other hunter never appeared. Before I began the drag back to my truck, I called up into the woodlot. “Hey, buddy, your buck is down right here and he’s a nice one!” “What?” came the mystified reply from some 60 yards away. “You mean I got him?” “Just follow the sound of my voice,” I replied. “He’s right here.” It didn’t take the other hunter more than a few minutes to clamber down from his stand and rush through the woods to me. I congratulated him as he filled out his own tag. He had no idea he had hit the buck, and could have sworn he shot under it. He was a young hunter who fell for that same “optical illusion” that had fooled me. I don’t know if he would have gone looking for his arrow or not; I like to think he would have — after all, the responsibility of following up on each and every shot is central to the bowhunting credo. Finding and retrieving the arrow is a critical part of that article of faith. Even if I hadn’t heard the buck crash in the first example here, when collecting the arrow and finding it slathered with blood and hair,
NOVEMBER 2011

the misconception of a miss would have vanished, and I subsequently would have trailed and recovered the deer anyway. The same is probably true of the hunter in the second event — assuming he had the good sense to collect and inspect his arrow. But finding the arrow is not the first step the archer must take after the shot. That step begins the moment the arrow is released. In the excitement — buck fever — of drawing on a nice trophy and taking a shot far too many bowhunters fail to visually track the flight of the arrow. This takes some discipline and concentration, but if a bowhunter can focus on the arrow’s flight and determine the point of impact on the deer, it provides an immediate clue as to what is involved in tracking and trailing. Such clues can dictate how long to wait before taking up the trail. While most conventional bowhunting wisdom preaches a wait of anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, knowledge of where the deer was hit can influence this decision. If the vitals have been solidly pierced, a half hour is plenty. Double lung a deer and it’s down within 60 yards. Heart-shot deer might go as far as 200 yards or more. A shot farther back on the body generally misses the lungs and tears through the liver. This often happens on moving deer that take just one extra step as the archer launches the arrow, or with some deer that jump the string. A liver-shot deer takes a while longer to succumb to the effects of the shot, so a minimal two hours before trailing is well advised. Conscientious bowhunters avoid shots at moving deer, a worse-case scenario that too often results in the dreaded gut-shot deer. While a gut-shot deer is mortally wounded, it might take a full day or more for the animal to expire, but the archer remains ethically obligated to recover it. Most experts would advise an extended wait before pursuing such a deer. Chasing after a poorly hit animal can push it, making recovery more difficult, particularly if it finds refuge on adjacent posted property.
57



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011
History of the Whitetail
Contents
Beagles, Brushpiles and Growing Up
Public Input and Deer Management
Doodles Along the Delaware
Driving
Room 204
2010-11 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
Need a Life Jacket?
The Legacy From A to Z
Hunter Access Liability Protection
Thanksgiving Bear
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Fun Game
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - History of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Beagles, Brushpiles and Growing Up
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Public Input and Deer Management
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Doodles Along the Delaware
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Driving
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Room 204
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 2010-11 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Need a Life Jacket?
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - The Legacy From A to Z
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Hunter Access Liability Protection
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Thanksgiving Bear
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - bb1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - bb2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover4
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