About the Study Guide

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Like a detective collecting clues to pursue a suspect, a hunter must gather a variety of “hit data” to help track the animal after it has been shot.

  • Notice where your shot strikes the animal. This gives you a rough indicator of:
    • How long it will take your animal to die
    • How long to wait before beginning the recovery process
  • Make a practice of carefully observing every movement of the animal. Does it collapse instantly, run away, or hump up and walk away?
    • If the animal humps up, there’s a high likelihood of a gut shot.
    • If the animal instantly collapses (spine shot), immediately shoot it again.
    • If the animal remains upright and leaves the area:
      • Watch it as long as possible to determine the direction of travel.
      • Listen as the animal flees—you may hear it fall to the ground. Also listen for a death moan, breaking brush, or rolling rocks.
      • Note the time, landmarks around the shooting area, and where the animal was standing or last seen.
      • Take a compass bearing.
  • Investigate the ground and trail after shooting before assuming you missed.