You took your BEST shot. The last thing you remember is pulling the trigger. The sights were on, breathing was good. No flinch, and the shot felt right…now what?
That one good shot was the result of many practice shots at the bench. You can’t rely on years of experience when it comes to accuracy. Marksmanship is a perishable skill. Aging eyes are a common problem when shooting.
Before you go toward the target, wait. Make sure of the exact location. Select some landmarks to mark the spot. Even a huge critter will disappear in the brush when downed. Not all shots leave a great blood trail. Ideally, the critter dropped in their tracks but…
If the target critter was a part of a group of critters, tracking is harder. The group will spook at the shot and all critters mingle together. It may be hard to single out just the one you think you shot.
Years ago, I was hunting, in the snow, on an eastern mountain, for white tailed bucks. Below me I saw several deer in trail with a buck out front. My shot was down hill and at the front right shoulder. I considered the shot angle and aimed at the exit. On the shot, deer went everywhere. I marked the spot and went to the spot slowly. I was ready to shoot again if needed. A double tree was my landmark and I saw no blood as I examined the tracks. No hair was visible.
I felt that I made a good shot. It was a free standing 130 yard shot with a 30-30 lever action Winchester. A 4-power scope was side mounted to the receiver. I had burned through a box of shells getting ready to hunt and sight in the rifle.
Most of the tracks went along the deer trail in the same area. After 20 yards, I saw a drop of blood, them another. As I followed the faint trail, more blood was evident. After 60 yards, I could see a real blood trail. Within 100 yards of the shot lay my buck. The shot was perfect. Most of the blood was coming out where the bullet entered, high on the shoulder. It took some time before the blood fell off the buck.
I approached the buck from behind and touched the eye with my rifle barrel. He was done. My work was just beginning.
Shoot center, shoot smart!
For more Montana Grant, target him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.