You shoot a buck with your bow and get on the trail. At first the sign looks great. But if you see the buck’s running trail–blood spraying out onto leaves and grass–slow to a walking trail—smaller and smaller droplets of blood that fall straight down to the ground–stop and back out immediately! That deer is NOT double-lunged and on death run; rather, he took off but now is slowing down and likely looking for a place to lie down. Back out and give him time (2 to 5 hours) to do just that. Chances are when you come back, you’ll find him dead in bed not too far away.

Most bowhunters get overly excited and don’t wait nearly long enough before tracking a buck. You put so much time and effort into finding and hunting a big deer and finally getting a 30-yard shot at him, why blow it by blood-trailing too fast? Go slow on a blood trail, analyze any changes in the sign and back out when you need to.