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How to Blood Trail a Deer Using Basic Forensics

September 06, 2013
How to Blood Trail a Deer Using Basic Forensics - 5

Identify Where the Bullet or Arrow Struck
Take the time to assess the blood that you find along the trail. Is there any stomach fodder, suggesting a gut shot? Frothy blood with bubbles indicates a lung shot. Look for hair and tissue on the ground, and at the relative position of the blood on vegetation. If there’s blood on both sides of the trail, the bullet or arrow likely passed through.

Identify Direction of Travel

Blood drops that fall perpendicular to the ground create round spots, but blood that strikes the ground at an angle creates an oval or elongated drop mark with a tail. When trailing deer, the tail of a drop of blood points in the direction of travel. If drops of blood are perfectly round, the deer was standing still when he bled.

Use the Right Tools
Criminalists use chemiluminescent liquids like luminol and flourescein to find blood stains that might not otherwise be visible. These chemicals react with hemoglobin and make bloodstains glow. Now deer hunters can apply this same technology to searching for wounded deer. Bluestar Forensic’s Latent Blood Reagent ($48; bluestar-forensics.com) comes in tablets that you dissolve in water and spray on the ground where blood might be present. The stain reacts with blood and glows blue. Bluestar is easy to use, and the reaction is so dramatic that this spray can be used for daytime tracking as well as in low light. Small reagent kits are available that can be easily carried into the field with your gear. Each reagent kit includes two packs of two tablets and is small enough to carry in your pack.

Photo by Russell Graves/Windigo Images

Comments (5)

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from LovesOutdoors wrote 43 weeks 4 days ago

I don't care if it is gimmick, or forensics or a tracking dog. Shouldn't we all put the animal down humanely and as quickly as possible?

There is not a hunter on this earth who would want an animal to suffer a slow aggrandizing death because their shot didn‘t hit the kill zone.

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from peteyraymond wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

Fortunately I haven't lost too many blood trails. The ones I have lost, however, showed very little blood sign and my arrows showed no indication of a mortal wound on the deer. The point about the direction the tail of the blood drop points to is something I hadn't thought about. I'll definitely check that out the next time I'm following a blood trail.

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from rcmich wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

If it works, don't be so quick to criticize those who use it. Better to use it and not loose a deer. Some hunters in my family are also colorblind and often can not see blood that is obvious to me. If this helps them it gets my vote.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jh45gun wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

Just what we need an other gimmick. I would not buy it. Make a good shot and you can trail them easy. If not take your time and look. If you have to track at night a Colman Gas Lantern beats any flashlight on the market as it covers such a wide area and lights things up well.

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from officerdom1987 wrote 44 weeks 5 days ago

I was always told taking the shot is the "easy" part; the work starts after the shot. During my years of hunting, I have found this to hold very much truth. I enjoy a good track, it let's us all play detective. However, as I stand for my opinion with other articles I have commented on, using this Blood Reagent spray and special flashlights is completely ridiculous. You're taking the sport out of a sportsman. The challenge is using skills to get your trophy, not some expensive brand-named chemical to find your track. Generations and centuries before us didn't need blood reagents to find their deer. I will never say hunting became "too hard" that I need some of today's advancements; I live for the challenge.

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from officerdom1987 wrote 44 weeks 5 days ago

I was always told taking the shot is the "easy" part; the work starts after the shot. During my years of hunting, I have found this to hold very much truth. I enjoy a good track, it let's us all play detective. However, as I stand for my opinion with other articles I have commented on, using this Blood Reagent spray and special flashlights is completely ridiculous. You're taking the sport out of a sportsman. The challenge is using skills to get your trophy, not some expensive brand-named chemical to find your track. Generations and centuries before us didn't need blood reagents to find their deer. I will never say hunting became "too hard" that I need some of today's advancements; I live for the challenge.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rcmich wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

If it works, don't be so quick to criticize those who use it. Better to use it and not loose a deer. Some hunters in my family are also colorblind and often can not see blood that is obvious to me. If this helps them it gets my vote.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jh45gun wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

Just what we need an other gimmick. I would not buy it. Make a good shot and you can trail them easy. If not take your time and look. If you have to track at night a Colman Gas Lantern beats any flashlight on the market as it covers such a wide area and lights things up well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from peteyraymond wrote 44 weeks 4 days ago

Fortunately I haven't lost too many blood trails. The ones I have lost, however, showed very little blood sign and my arrows showed no indication of a mortal wound on the deer. The point about the direction the tail of the blood drop points to is something I hadn't thought about. I'll definitely check that out the next time I'm following a blood trail.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LovesOutdoors wrote 43 weeks 4 days ago

I don't care if it is gimmick, or forensics or a tracking dog. Shouldn't we all put the animal down humanely and as quickly as possible?

There is not a hunter on this earth who would want an animal to suffer a slow aggrandizing death because their shot didn‘t hit the kill zone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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