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Wait quietly for at least 30 minutes after your shot. Allow the animal to lie down and die from massive blood loss.

Bowhunter wearing camoflauge clothing

Locate and examine your arrow when the animal moves off.

  • Stomach contents on the arrow indicate a poor hit.
  • Wait several hours before beginning to track a gut-shot animal.

Look for blood and other tracking signs.

  • Check nearby vegetation for indications that the animal moved past.
  • Look for overturned leaves, broken branches, and footprints.

Walk beside the game sign. Walking directly on blood or other sign may destroy the trail.

Mark your trail with bright-colored material.

  • If you can't find new sign, a marked path will allow you to start from the last located sign.
  • If you lose the trail, begin to walk in widening arcs in the direction the animal headed.

Approach downed game cautiously.

Walk up to the animal from the rear and stay clear of the legs.

  • Watch the animal's chest for signs of breathing.
  • The animal's eyes will be open if it's dead.
  • Tap the animal with a long stick to check for a response.
  • If it's still alive, quickly place another shot in the vital area.

Tag immediately if required by law.