Approaching Downed Game
A downed deer or other large animal should be approached carefully from above and behind the head.
- If the animal appears to be dead, wait a short distance away for a few minutes. Watch for any rise and fall of the chest cavity.
- Notice if the eyes are closed—the eyes of a dead animal are usually open. You can be certain that the animal is dead if the eye doesn’t blink when touched with a stick.
If the animal is still alive, it should be finished with a quick shot to the base of the ear. If you wish to mount the head, place your shot in the heart-lung area. For bowhunters, the only option is placing an arrow in the heart-lung area.
Once the animal is dead, immediately unload your firearm and follow the state regulations for reporting or recording a kill. In New Mexico, you must follow the regulations given in the current copy of the New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information booklet.
- You must record the type of species you harvested immediately.
- You must record the date and time of the kill on your license immediately upon your arrival at a vehicle, campsite, or place of cold storage.
After you have recorded the required information, begin field dressing.