Regretfully, some bad news


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Well, I've got some tough news to share after 2 or 3 sleepless nights. I shot a big one Friday night, would have been my biggest deer ever, probably by far, an 8 possibly 9 pointer at our land in Maine, a typical heavy set north woods Maine deer. It couldn't really have gone any better, I don't get but more than 2 days to hunt in Maine each year as it is my parents second home for the last 10 years and I've been making it a point to get up there and bow hunt each year for the last 4-5 years, with my primary hunting happening here at home in Massachusetts. 

I saw a couple of nice doe Friday morning on stand, went back out for the evening sit and had a doe and 2 fawn come in around 5:30 and come within 5 yards of my stand, at around 6:15, 15 minutes before the end of legal shooting light I caught movement to my right and see a deer coming in on the exact path I walk in on to get to my stand, it puts his nose to the ground and immediately I can tell it was a buck, so get the bow ready as it looks like he's going to come in on my exact path and below my stand, turns out he cuts off the path and decides to swing down behind me, not the greatest of shot lanes behind me, anyways he gets to a spot 15 yards behind me and I let out the typical "meh" to stop him, he stops instantly and gives me really what couldn't have been a better shot opportunity, I settle in and release the arrow. I think I hit him good but the arrow doesn't penetrate very well, he goes crashing through the woods and ends up running about 60 yards out of sight from where my father was sitting in his stand. We ended up finding blood and tracked for over 400 yards until about 11:30 Friday night, blood trail started running very thin and dry at that time so we decided to call it quits and try again in the morning. We went back out to blood trail for 2-3 more hours Saturday and lost blood, at last sign of blood I saw a deer take off about 75 yards up in front of us, about 20 minutes later my father saw it again, we couldn't however ever find where this deer had bedded down.

I believe we were in this bucks core area and he is still alive, I shot a 2 blade rage and believe I hit the better part of his front shoulder, I've been replaying in my mind all the things I could have and should have done differently and honestly I thought I made an almost perfect shot, obviously not, the only thing I think I could have done differently is take another 5 seconds to focus in on the final target, hind sight is 20/20. 

We have/had about 5 potential mature/shooter deer on camera up there, most we've ever had this early in the season, most years past the shooters tend not to show up until early to mid November, that being said I am going to try and get back up in early November for gun season to hopefully have another encounter with this deer, if not him, one of the others. 

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Sorry to hear that, unfortunate part of hunting that happens to most of us at some point.  If your dad had tc pics of the deer before, would suggest seeing if he gets anymore.  If not, would sure be keyed in on any buzzards circling near where you lost the last blood.  Good luck either way.

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6 hours ago, wtnhunt said:

Sorry to hear that, unfortunate part of hunting that happens to most of us at some point.  If your dad had tc pics of the deer before, would suggest seeing if he gets anymore.  If not, would sure be keyed in on any buzzards circling near where you lost the last blood.  Good luck either way.

yeah William and Martin, we're still running cams in multiple locations, just don't get to check them that often. That's what I'm hoping though is we catch him on Cam again. I was watching all day Sunday for crows/buzzards and didn't see anything. I'm almost certain he's still on hoof, based on us seeing something take off only a short distance from where we lost last blood. Additionally, one thing I didn't mention was that my father went into that area again Sunday evening to observe (can't hunt Sundays in Maine), as soon as he got there a deer took off back into what I think is the core bedding area for this particular deer. At that point he backed out, with the intention I'm back there in a few weeks.

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Sorry to hear you lost him.  From the details it sounds like you may have hit the shoulder/leg joint area right in front of a heart shot.  Unfortunately, I've been there once before.  I saw the arrow hit a buck there thinking it was a good hit too but saw I had very little penetration as the buck trotted off.  Never found him.  A few days later I was talking to my buddy Gene about it.  His said his son had recently had the same thing happen to him.  Gene went into detail explaining how what looks like a great shot can hit that one spot and a broadhead won't go through it.  In 2018 the same thing happened to one of our guest in Missouri.  He hit one of our best target bucks that year in that shoulder/leg joint area and ran out of blood trail.  Looked the next day...never found it.  A couple of weeks later the same buck was killed by another guest about ~400 yards away from the stand where he was winged.  The broadhead was still in the should/leg joint area.  My buddy skinned the hid back and took a picture of it with the broadhead in it along with a picture of the buck.  Then he sent the pictures to his guest that had previously hit the buck.

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Unfortunately, it happens and then we play it over and over in our minds.  Maybe for years.  I hit an elk in the shoulder my first year elk hunting and still think about it almost 40 years later.  I know that elk survived that hit, but still.

Maybe that buck will give you a second chance.

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