Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

Have you ever lost an animal?

Calif. Hunter

Active member
Dec 13, 2000
Apple Valley, CA, USA
I did once. I hit a wild hog, not sure where. My buddy and I tracked him about 100 yards into and through the brush, with very little blood evidence of a lung hit or gut hit, and the blood trail ended. We went back to camp to get our other friend and his dogs. We tracked him for another mile with no more blood, so finally had to decide that it was a minor wound. (I've seen hogs with a quarter of a leg shot off and fully healed, so I have a lot of respect for their ability to survive.)
I'm just curious, as I know that if you hunt a lot, you're gonna lose an animal eventually. :( (Except for Greenhorn.. ;) )
The first elk I ever shot with a bow. Since Iv'e been basicaly a loner in the sport. I created some bad habits. They are a long time fixed. But then I used to set my finger on the release trigger until I was ready to shoot. Well I was waiting for a spike bull to come out of the brush, my fingers were cold and the bow was just kind of pointed in the general direction. Well the cold heavy finger set the release off before I was ready. The 100gr thunderhead hit the elk in the rear leg joint and broke away from the shaft. I trailed him for three days. But since I was still pretty green, I could never quite catch up with him. I still to this day feel guilty. :confused:
Then to top off everything. This year I had a nice cow in my sights at 35 yards. The sun had almost set over the horizon. I was in sage brush and she was standing in the sun quartering away. I thought she was totaly in the clear. The arrow was almost to her and reflected off an unseen stem comming from the ground. It hit her in the brisket. I spent the next two days on my hands and knees following the little tiny blood splatters the size of grains of sand. It was tough going. After three miles of crawling on hands and knees, she had made it into another group of elk and disapeared. I spent another week looking for any sign of the herd or my wounded elk. They had all done like elk do when pushed a little and disapeared for parts unknown. :confused: :confused:
Yup. The first deer I ever shot. I still don't understand why I couldn't find it???

Back in the early '70's I went on a hunt in the Okanogan area of Eastern Washington.
The shot was about 70 to 80 yards on a mulie doe that was standing on a small rise. Just as I pulled the trigger she turned to drop of the small hill. The bullet hit her in the near ham and knocked her ass over teakettles. As I cycled in a new round she flopped up onto three legs and ran down off the knob and out of sight dragging the hind leg.
When me and my hunting partner got to the impact area we found blood all over and a big piece of bone laying in the dirt. We thought that it would not be a big deal following her up and finding her dead. The amount of blood was incredible. The shot was on an angle from back hip to off shoulder. The caliber was 308 with partitions.

We followed the blood trail down the small hill and into a bottom that worked it's way down towards a creek. After maybe 300 yards the blood was getting thinner. Tracks were getting harder to see in the leaf covered ground. We slowed way down and eventually had to start marking last spots with toilet tissue and looking on hands and knees. Soon enough we lost all blood and tracks. We were in heavy leaf covered ground down in the creek bottom and had covered well over a mile. The afternoon had gone and we decided to mark the last known sign well and come back in the morning.

We never did find that deer. We looked well into the next afternoon and just could not figure it out. We circled the entire area on a long route outside of the area and never did find any other sign. We looked next to every log and stump we could see. We walked up and down the creek looking under blow downs.
To this day I don't have a clue. It was a bad deal to hit a deer in the hip like that, but you would think that partitions would penetrate well into that deer.
It was a very dissapointing experience. I hate to wound and not recover. I have not forgotten it either.

Calf. Hunter,

As a matter of fact I have, a whitetail buck in 1996, Januaray 15th to be exact. Shot him with an arrow in the ass (not where I intended to hit him). I left him for several hours. When I came back to follow up, he jumped from the bed where he would have otherwise died, and he ran off. Almost had a second shot a few hours later, but flubbed it. I looked for him for the next day, the next two weekends (believe weekend warrior even helped), and never found him. I know the shot killed him and a boy found him the next spring about 1/2 mile from where I shot him. Bummer, but that happens sometimes when things don't go right. I did what I could to find him. He was a very nice big whitetail buck.

Never have lost something that I shot with a gun.. but if you bowhunt enough, it will eventually happen, no matter how hard you don't want it to... unless you decide you will never shoot an arrow.
I shot a deer once with an arrow between the lungs and backbone I think, a little high. It ran off with the arrow in it pretty well. I searched for hours and never found either one. I think he left the property I was on, we never found him later. People with guns don't realize they have a hit sometimes. I've guided on high fence places and we find the animals later. If they're alive, the hunter comes back or we finish it off for them and save it. Sometimes the buzzards find them for us. It happens more often than most of us think I'll bet.

I shot a hog once with my 44 that ran into the growing milo field. The farmer didn't want us messing up his milo but did want us killing the hogs that ate it and it got dark. The next morning I found the hog by scent and got him out minimizing milo damage. We put him out for varmint bait and he was completely gone in a week. A bone here, a bone there, but gone. The farmer told me a swarm of buzzards were on him as well as a few varmints. Cirling buzzards can help you find an animal here, but you have to be there within a few days to find them that way.
I'm glad I'm not the only one...either to have lost an animal or been big enough to admit it. I've shot a lot of critters (always with a gun) but have usually been wise enough to be sure of the shot. I don't know what happened with that hog, but they have very small lungs so a slight miss can just be a wound.
Greenhorn - I was just pulling your leg a bit. (and I do mean your LEG) :D I have the utmost respect for you as a hunter, even if I disagree with your attitude and sense of humor sometimes. You have been far too successful consistently to call it anything but skill...but I ain't gonna brown nose.
Yep, I've wounded two critters that got away. One with a bow, one with a rifle. The one with the rifle was a nice whitetail buck I shot when I was in highschool. I tried an iffy running shot and hit just a touch low getting the lower part of the brisket and breaking the off leg near the body. Tracked him for a long time, jumped him twice but couldnt get a shot. Finally lost his track when the snow melted. Felt like crap and I didnt hunt deer the rest of the season.

The one with a bow was an elk. Hit it directly in the shoulder arrow only penetrated about 1.5 inches and then hung there like a noodle. The bull ran a couple steps, the arrow popped out he ran off. I was able to track that bull a long ways over the next few days, he did bleed quite a bit for the type of hit, I thought. But, I really dont think he died, that arrow just didnt go in far enough to get anything vital. Still makes me sick, even though I'm about 80 percent sure he didnt die. The hard part is you just dont really know for sure.

These two cases really made me rethink a couple things. To this day, I'm still very hesitant to shoot at any animal running full tilt. In fact, I've only done it a couple times since, but in each case the animal was close and not moving at top speed.

I also am much more careful about arrow placement these days. I try hard to stay away from the shoulder and get behind it a ways. Theres lots of lung behind the shoulders.
Well........I've lost a few.......

.......having lived for a few decades in a place that allowed me to harvest a couple hundred deer, I can tell a few stories that I would rather not............but like Buzz, I did learn from each "mistake" and cab say that it has been many years since I lost an animal I personally have shot. It will happen again someday, I'm sure........but not without an all-out 110% effort for retrieval from me...........
I lost a nice 4x4 muley 2 years ago. bow hunting, 25 yard shot, made the mistake of looking at his antlers while making the shot, hit him in the side of the head. Dropped him in his tracks. I didn't knock another arrow cause I figured him for dead, when I got about 10 feet from him he jumped up and took off. I found 3 bloody beds in the next 2 days, but never seen him again. Never lost one with a rifle yet, but almost left the 4x7 that I shot in 2000 because I didn't realize I had hit him. he never even flinched when I shot, but after he ran around the hill I climbed down the cliffs I was on to check the trail and found him dead just out of eyesight. I was very glad I had decided to check the trail even though it took some effort to get to it.

Forum statistics

Latest member