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Too High??

Discussion in 'Indiana Bowhunting' started by trdtnlbwhntr, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. Is it possible to hit a deer too high in the chest? Regretfully I shot a doe this past weekend at about 25 yards. I thought i drilled her and when she took off I could see my feathers sticking out of her side. I heard the arrow clanking on everything as she ran back through the woods behind me. I thought i caught lungs for sure. I waited three hours because I had that feeling it was up a bit. I went back and trailed her for about 50 yards before I found the first really good blood sign. She was headed downhill then turned to parallel the ridge out of the woods and it looked like somone took a hose and sprayed bright red blood all over the place. She then went downhill into a ravine, then up one of the biggest hills on the farm bleeding like no other the whole way up it. Once on top we found where she must have stopped to catch her breath and then took off down the hill all the while bleeding really well. We could pretty much just walk and follow her. The arrow didnt come out of her and after two more ridges and hollers that she traversed both up and down and bleeding pretty well with bright blood she crossed the logging road and stopped where we found our last good blood sign a puddle of blood and a tree that had blood smeared on it. After that she was done... no more bleeding. I spent another hour walking half circles back and forth but to no avail. I walked every ridge and holler out and didnt find anything. All in all it was about one and a quarter miles from where I shot her and she didnt bed up once. I had the windage right on the shot it was perfect in those regards. In the whole trip she didnt bed down once you could see spots where she started to turn a tight circle like she was going to bed down, on the shot i heard a loud crack.. I know the arrow broke a rib going in and I think it lodged in the off side shoulder high of course. Because of the distance the angle didnt have much of a downward angle. From the time of the shot til I lost blood it was over five hours. I have beat myself over this for the last couple of days. I dont know what else i could have done and it sucks. Everyone that helped me on saturday reassured me that a mortally hit deer will bed down and that i probably hit her too high... So to make a long sobering and humbling story shorter can you hit a deer too high and not kill it... the blood was bright like lung blood but there were no bubbles. There was a lot of it and that makes me think it wasnt just a meat hit. I did everything i could do to find that deer, but it still kind of eats at me inside to know that i could have killed that deer and not found her... What do you guys think about it? Is there really a "no-mans" land up above the lungs? Ive beaten myself up over this like i said ever since we walked away from the woods. So did I kill that deer or not or can you in fact hit a deer too high and miss the goods.
  2. The spine of a deer actually lies on a plane lower in a deer's body than most people think. However, there is no separation between where the lungs stop and the spine starts. As long as you're below the spine, you're in the lungs (if you're in the right area laterally that is). Seems like the deer are tough this year...I just tracked a doe my buddy shot last night for several hours before deciding that the deer wasn't mortally wounded. He thought everything looked good...actually saw blood running out of her as she fled. Tracked blood that wasn't real good through a cornfield for quite a ways before it just petered out. Sorry about your luck, Dustin. Sometimes you think there's no way a deer could go that far with a hit like that, but they do some crazy things.

  3. If I did in fact get lungs then i shot the bionic doe of the woods. She ran up and down those hills like it was nothing. Baffling. I guess i tip my hat to her will to survive. It just sucks... and as an ethical and moral hunter it should burn a little inside.... i guess im doing something right I suppose.:rolleyes:
  4. I disagree JL,

    I think there is definitely a void area between the spine and the lung area/kill area. I hit a doe there once too and lost it. My cousin hit a 9 point in that area with a bow and never found it. 2 weeks later a family friend killed that deer in shotgun saeson. We found the scars in the hide when skinning it to confirm the location. That deer was perfectly healed and healthy. Scars were like scalple cuts, it weighed 195 field dressed.

    I had another cousin shoot a buck that had a slug hole in it just below the spine. The shot was perfect left to right, just high. That deer acted hurt, but was doing ok. It was the second day of gun season when he shot it.

    I measured a 10 point for a kid two years ago. He shot it on the last day of muzzleloader season. The deer was in poor shape and only dressed 165 lbs. It had a healed over, but infected slug hole in the same spot, just below the spine but high in the chest. Left to right the shot was perfect, but it was high.

    You are right about the spine being lower on the top of the back then many people think.
  5. Here is a useful link to anatomy of a deer.

    In the link you can see how low the spinal cord drops at the shoulders.

    I refer to it quite often. Especially when I evaluate a questionable hit I might have made on a deer. I have this terrible problem of not aiming low enough on a deer for some reason. I know I have this problem, yet I aim high most every time. It always results in a found deer, but I cuss myself every time why I did not aim lower. Just a mental problem. I think I'm always afraid of shooting under a deer.
  6. Thanks DEC, this is helpful. I must have just missed the heart on the buck yesterday. I shot low right in the heart area. There is a very fine line sometimes between a kill shot and a superficial wound.
  7. I'm with you JL, but how do explain my observations? Do the deer live with one lung nicked?
  8. Tough one, TBH. Don't let it bother you too much. Not all shots come out perfect, sometimes luck seems to play a part in whether or not one bleeds out. Sounds like you did the right thing with the amount of time spent waiting after the shot and looking for her. I could list several occasions of bucks and does shot high with gun and archery equip. that lived. Never ceases to amaze me how much they can bleed and live.

    Thanks for the link to the anatomy exhibit, I'm putting one in the truck.
  9. Stranger things have happened. Two years ago, I thought I had shot one right in the boiler room. That deer ran all day long, and I ended up never finding it. I have read articles about people gutting deer and finding five inches of an arrow stuck in the lung and in the heart. For sure deer can and do recover from one-lung hits. Deer are tough animals, and if your broadhead does more tearing than cutting, you run the risk of the blood coagulating and ending your track. I don't have all the answers, and it seems like some years deer are a lot tougher than others. I know two people that have lost two deer this year. My buddy (after losing his second deer) has been diligently studying the anatomy that DEC posted. He's come to the conclusion that he's been aiming too low. A wounded deer, though we never like to have one, is sometimes part of bowhunting. Hopefully, we learn a little bit from it. I'll try to find that article I referenced in the beginning of this long-winded post.
  10. If it makes you guys feel any better I ran across an article a few years ago that was defending the ethics of bowhunting. It had the following conclusions: Of the deer shot by hunters with a bow, 82% were recovered. Of the 18% not recovered, 80% of those deer lived. They used radio collared deer to prove this. The defense was that since the broadhead is like a scalple and doesn't pull hair and dirt into the wound like a slug, survival rates are much higher.
  11. Sorry to hear about your deer getting away. On the other hand nature has a way of healing itself just like everybody has been saying. Good luck on your next shot.