Shot elk, pass through but no blood trail

Fogalo

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Mar 19, 2018
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Wisconsin
I tracked my bull 700 yards this year to find him upside down. Shot was shoulder with a lung. He was spooked when I shot him, I think it gave more adrenaline that kept him going. For what it’s worth there was almost no blood I would go back and continue a straight line until I found him.
 

Coveyleader

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Nov 27, 2013
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935
i'll add two things from my experience elk hunting. if you don't find a bull within 200 yds of the shot success rate of recovery drops drastically off, plenty of people still do find elk and every effort should be made to continue to follow the blood trail. however if you track the elk 200 yards and its not dead i think your recovery rate drops below 25%. granted there are lots variables such as terrain and where the elk would feel safe bedding done. if you hunt prairie elk it maybe further than 200 yds since they will want to get to cover before bedding down.

the second is lets say the kill zone on an elk is approximately 16" by 20" (never exactly measured it so this is a swag) within the kill zone there are shots that will bleed and kill the elk instantly and others that may not kill the elk or take a long time lowering recovery success. one of these areas is right above the heart, but but barely clips the bottom of the lung tight to the shoulder. i've seen this shot result in long track jobs and too many unsuccessful recoveries. i believe there are other areas in the kill zone which are similar.

not sure this helps your situation, but this has been my experience seeing probably around 20ish archery hits/kills. i feel for you its one of the worst feelings in the world to not recover and elk especially when you think you made a good shot. I am glad you're putting in the time to try to find the elk. good luck.

I agree 100 percent with your info, no doubt. Elk are weird, if you hit them good they go down within sight many times, just walk to them. They will make you pay if you're anywhere on the outskirts of a good shot.
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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1,286
Sorry but clarify please. How do you mistake a nose for a shoulder?
Wasn't my post but I'll add my take. Bowhunters often don't see the actual hit. Todays bows are fast, adrenaline is pumping, low light can compound the problem. I shot a deer one time that I was confident I had double lunged. The shot was only 25 yards and he was broadside. He did catch me drawing so was very alert. I held low anticipating the string jump. At my release he indeed dropped down so I thought my arrow hit perfectly. What I didn't see was him turning at the same time- that brought his head and neck basically in front of the vitals. My arrow actually hit his jugular. He died within 50 yards.

Perception isn't always reality.
 

SWOHTR

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Aug 1, 2016
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Briney foam
Wasn't my post but I'll add my take. Bowhunters often don't see the actual hit. Todays bows are fast, adrenaline is pumping, low light can compound the problem. I shot a deer one time that I was confident I had double lunged. The shot was only 25 yards and he was broadside. He did catch me drawing so was very alert. I held low anticipating the string jump. At my release he indeed dropped down so I thought my arrow hit perfectly. What I didn't see was him turning at the same time- that brought his head and neck basically in front of the vitals. My arrow actually hit his jugular. He died within 50 yards.

Perception isn't always reality.

Makes sense, thanks!
 

MNTC

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Jun 3, 2019
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508
Location
Colorado
How did the search go today?

Here was my double lung couple pass through from this year.. almost no blood except what he coughed up with chunks of his lungs. Iron will broadhead. Didn't walk further then 30 yards before piling up. No blood trail other then a tiny amount where I first shot him. 20210923_180121.jpg
 
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Bowhunter23

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Joined
Apr 8, 2021
Messages
12
After 3 days and well over 20 miles hiked looking for him I haven’t found anything and have called off the search. Gridded out 1/2 mile in each direction and have been looking for birds/bees and have played the wind to try to smell him. Also have several other hunters in the area who have been on the lookout for the bull as well. My best guess at this point is that I hit in no mans land and he’s hopefully out alive and somewhat well.
 

BDRam16

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
133
Sorry to hear you called the search. No worse feeling in the woods. What I have learned from looking at an arrow after a pass through, is that if it is absolutely dripping blood you likely hit liver. The lungs usually don’t have enough blood in them to coat an arrow like that and a heart shot is usually pretty bright red blood and you would have found him by now. When ever I find my arrow drenched in blood to the point it drips off, I back out and give plenty of time. They’ll usually not go far and bed down and die, but if you track too soon he can run for miles. My guess is that he had some fat on him that plugged the holes up from bleeding externally and that’s the meat you found on the arrow. A shot through the back straps shouldn’t have your arrow coated in blood.
 

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