I headed out to the same location that I hunted on Saturday 1/28/2012 when I saw all those deer that morning. I had high hopes and nothing to lose so to speak. I took one of my friends that hunts with me along and put him in the tree where I had been in and I took a gamble that the deer would come from this area, so I sat in a different tree. I am sure glad I did... just after 7 a.m. I heard crunching and around the hill comes 3 does. One was a fawn, one a yearling and one a big doe with the big doe in the lead. They came right down the trail as I had hoped, but much faster than I had thought. With no time to stand or really make any movement as the lead doe walked behind a tree 19 yards away, I drew back my bow. She walked just beyond the tree and I let my arrow fly. I had a perfect broadside shot at 19 yards, I couldn't ask for anything better this late in the year. After letting the arrow fly, I heard the "thump" of an arrow hitting it's planned target and the doe ran off almost sideways as her legs were moving faster than her body. I watched the 3 deer run up the hill, and as they ran off I only saw 2 keep running after about 80 yards. I thought my deer was down and I knew just where she was, well no plan is set in stone. My friend and I decided to wait a while and see what else was moving since it was so early. I didn't end up seeing anything else, however my friend did a see a big group of does feeding along but too far away to shoot. Around 8:30 a.m., we decided to go find my doe and head home, planning an easy recovery and short drag... We had seen crows that kept going back to this same area which also happened to be the same place I last saw the deer I shot. Needless to say, we headed right for that area and.... nothing..... So I back tracked down to where I shot the deer and my friend and I started a zig-zag pattern back and forth around the area she had run. After 15 - 20 minutes neither of us had found anything so we started walking towards each other so we could go back to where I shot her and try seeing if we missed anything. On my way there, I see blood on a tree and when I looked at the base of the tree I saw a small pool of blood and same parts of organs. We then were able to keep up a blood trail that wandered up this hill and just kept going. The first point of blood was 80 yards from where I shot her. The parts of her organs told me I did not hit the deer where I had thought, even though replaying it in my mind I know where I was aiming and it was a broadside shot. However, after thinking about it several times over, she did flinch when I released.
We continued to follow the blood trail for another 200 yards before it started to dry up and we were starting to question if we would ever find her. At this point the amount of blood she lost and the fact that it had been 3 hours, I was pretty sure she would have expired, I just did not know where. We followed little tiny drops of blood that in many cases were so small and were only on little tiny twigs on the ground. After the blood got less and less and we had not found any for 30 or 40 yards, we were almost at the point of giving it a rest, marking the trail and backing out for a while and coming back after a few hours with a fresh mind and full stomach. Before we lost the blood, I had started to notice a set of tracks that were smudged like a deer that couldn't walk straight (drunk deer) or maybe it was my deer. These prints followed the same trail, but so did many others. Regardless, I suggested we follow these tracks for a little ways and see what came of it before we left. So we started walking along and after 50 more yards we found one little drop of blood but enough to make us continue following these tracks. Just then my friend looked around a tree and there she was, the doe I had shot 30 yards in front of us fallen down against a small tree. She ran in total about 350 yards, so see even a perfect broadside shot if the deer has a mind of it's own can flinch and land you tracking a deer for a considerable amount of time. In my case, we tracked this doe for a little over an hour, which is a lot longer than I like, but I am just sure glad I found her, and found her before the foxes did.
The picture of the doe is below, what a great morning to shoot a deer yesterday and I am super happy I was able to harvest a late season doe and add to the freezer.