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Tracking a Deer after the Shot

This is part of a series of posts, discussing methods to track a deer from the moment you have released the shot, to recovery.  For the whole set of posts, view here.

Where did you hit the deer?

Following a blood trail tells you alot about the shot that you made. In the picture above, you can see that my arrow shaved off some longer white hair. From that, we think about the areas of the deer that white hair is on, and that is on the chest, and belly. Neither are ideal shots. I tracked this deer for about six hours after the shot, and then again for days after. It was a very hard time to go through, not knowing how injured the deer was, and whether or not I would find it over the next rise.


  • Back hair is long, dark (often black-tipped), and coarse.
  • Neck hair is like short back hair except it is light-colored on the front of the neck.
  • Brisket hair is very dark and is twisted near the junction of the neck and the body.
  • Side hair is short and brown with dark tips.
  • Bottom of the rib cage is a mixture of white and dark brown hair that is straight, moderately long, and thick.
  • Belly hair tends to be white, long, fine, and sometimes twisted.
  • Tail hair is very long.
  • Hair on top of the tail is dark brown tipped with black.

Observation after time has passed:

Be aware of any wildlife activities in your area. Crows or ravens calling, squirrels barking, or vultures circling may indicate the presence of a downed animal. Look around the surrounding area for game trails, openings in fences, thick cover—anything that could attract a running animal.