Attention to Clues
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.