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I learnt from a guy with a tracking dog, that deer will head for water also. Sometimes a good thing to know.
I was told that as well ... I have witnessed that twice, one with a compound bow liver/gut hit. And the second with a recurve, one lunged. The trail went a couple hundred yds . Both died very near water.
Coincidence...? Idk.
 

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I've chased down an awful lot of deer. I long since abandoned making any assumptions when I start out to retrieve one. I always use lighted nocks when I shot them with a bow because if I see that arrow go through Bambi, I know where it was hit, and what the arrow hit on the way through. Be it arrow or bullet though, there is no assurance whatsoever that you'll have decent blood to follow. Doesn't make one iota of difference what you shoot them with, some of them just never read the book about what they are supposed to do when they get shot. Bambi can have a ferocious hole all the way through both shoulders, hitting shoulder bone, destroy the heart, destroy the lungs and still make things difficult.

Prepare well before hand for whatever you might face. There is no such thing as too much flashlight. There is no such thing as too waterproof
footwear. While you can generalize how far a deer might run given a certain hit, there is no way to know how far or fast an individual deer might run, nor how well it will bleed, nor how quickly that gruesome blood trail might seal itself off and become nothing, nor how far an individual deer may go while putting a lot or very little blood on the ground! Some deer go down where they stood at the shot and the same damned shot might allow a deer to manage to travel 300-400 yards.

Having recovered quite a few deer other people have shot and given up on, it is my opinion that if a deer makes it more than 100 yards betting on the average person recovering it irrespective of the blood trail is a coin flip proposition. Double the distance and halve the recovery. Double it again and halve it again. Double it again and it's more like 10% at best. A prepared person, who won't quit and has a lot of experience can come close to 100% regardless of distance. During the time I spent banding woodcock in the spring I found many dead deer that were in heavily bow hunted areas and appeared to be bow hunting losses. MnDNR was reporting 30% wounding losses from bow hunting. I hope that we are but a small fraction of that now with much better bows and broadheads, but I have no data to support that hope, and rifle hunting still runs around 10%.

Archery gear and rifles and ammo have improved greatly since then and there is really no excuse for anywhere near that kind of losses. But...Anyone can buy a deer license. Many are not really competent with their weapons. Few have really good skills and equipment to recover what they hit. We now can use a tracking dog to assist recovery. That should help, but while my setter is trained and has yet to fail, I would need a lot of convincing to put her down on a deer for someone I did not know well. Money alone would not convince me. I also do not know that she couldn't get lost trying to sort out a trail intermixed with a lot of other deer and not leaving the area directly. She did find one for me in snow that backtracked 100 feet or so and then went another couple hundred yards bleeding to beat hell, but that doesn't mean she is as good as she looks. That will take more recoveries. I have seen too many dogs go to birds at improbable distances to begin to think I understand how they function.
 
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