Working smarter not harder - deer dragging


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As part of my recent deer recovery I did something I had never done before - I tossed the deer into the creek and floated him down stream to save my back and get him to a better extraction point. I figured if they can float logs - I can float a dead deer - worked like a charm. Also never recovered a deer wearing chest waders - scratch that off the list as well. I walked the creek that I thought this deer crossed incase he didn't make it across and got swept away - he didn't get swept away, but I am damn glad I had my waders vs just my rubber boots.
My solution is a flat bed trailer and rear winch on the atv.
The deer was in this thick nasty tangle of a jungle on the neighbors place and there was even some standing water in places. I was just pleased they allowed me to look for the deer. I don't have an ATV/UTV just a small tractor so tearing thru the neighbors places wasn't an option. Dragging him by myself up and over the various hills and hollows thru the understory wasn't something I looked forward to. Sounded like a good way to give myself a stroke to be honest. So we just went roll'n, roll'n roll'n on the river (stream).
j-bird…I'm surprised that deer is not more chewed up by coyotes, birds, varmints, etc. Do you have coyotes in your area? A week old deer around here in that condition would be unheard of.

If it was a liver shot I would have expected him to have died the day you shot him, and be in a lot worse condition. If it was all gut shot, then I can see how he would have lived for several days and only recently expired.
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We once pulled a moose out via a drainage ditch and it worked great! The temp was -18 and we quartered him with a chainsaw and pulled him out on plastic kids sleds.
j-bird, Congratulations on he recovery! Have you put the pieces together enough to fill in the blanks of your story? I'd like to hear your theory of how the whole thing went down now that you've recovered him.
Just be advised there is a lot of bacteria in that water that can get to that meat. Not saying it will spoil, but it is something to think about.
I can speak directly about hair slippage on your cape. Keep that skin below 32. The hair will fall quickly if it's warm. As a taxidermist be very careful if your gonna get a shoulder mount.
Not sure how much of this I covered in my "sleepless night" post but here goes. Shot the deer Saturday morning right as the rain let up. He was coming right at us and as he quartered toward and to my right I aimed at the leading shoulder. Shot felt good, but the deer didn't go down. He simply turned and ran off with tail tucked. Turns out I pulled the shot left and the bullet didn't enter the upper chest cavity - it entered half way up his side and exited almost at his boy parts. The liver was shattered, but I never touched the lungs or heart. The deer ran into the cover and was gone. We took up the trail right away and found a weak blood trail. Because of other family obligations later in the day we pushed on for the recovery. At one point I thought we spooked a doe - looking back I think we bumped him from his bed. We continued on (again not thing we bumped him). We lost the blood and as such we got the dogs out. Turns out one of them found the buck but bumped it from it's bed and the deer ran into a large area of standing water. I know the dog bumped the deer - he simply made that sound like he does (he is part coon dog and has that yip when he is chasing and a bawl when he finds something). He bawled and then changed to the yip - I knew that was bad news. We where done for the day. I went back sunday with water redheaded, but the creek still very flooded. With no sign of the deer or blood I still looked and looked and looked. I found nothing sunday. I had to suspend the search thru the week - I wouldn't get home until it was dark. I picked up the search again this Saturday. I started on my side of the creek and worked the dogs and a grid pattern through areas. Where my side was complete, I walked the crrek bottom - in case the deer tried to cross the creek, but didn't make it and was in a snag. I walked roughly a mile stretch of creek bottom in my chest waders and still no luck. I then moved across the creek and begin the grid searching again. We worked from one edge of the neighbors property and continued to work further and further. I was working the last realistic section and I simply saw the deer laying there. The dogs never gave me any sort of sign. Looking back I screwed up several times and I know it. We started tracking to soon, we didn't back out and we pushed the deer maybe more than once. If I had used my head there is a chance I would have had my deer that sunday.

I was surprised that the yotes had not found the deer either, there was no blood so I think that made it difficult for them to find the deer. The lost blood trail thru the then standing water I think was a big part of that. The yotes have been active lately, but I don't have a huge issue with them - I am surprised however that they didn't get to the deer in a weeks time. The meat wasn't any good which sucks, but I have the piece of mind that I did find him. I am not planning on putting him in a shoulder mount - I have larger deer on the wall - I will more than likely go euro or skull cap. If I tried to put another deer on the wall right now my wife would shit a kitten!
So do you think (in hindsight) that he crossed where you originally thought he had? How far did he go after crossing the creek? Also, how long after the shot did you last bump him? I want to learn from your experience.
Jeff - I think he crossed where I think he did - he went another 1/4 to 1/2 mile from where we bumped him last. If you want to learn from my mistake here is a good list:

#1 - ALWAYS wait for a broadside shot - even with a firearm. The margin for error is much greater and 2 holes are far better than one.
#2 - If you don't see the deer go down - give it at least an hour.
#3 - after you start the blood trail if you don't find the deer within 100 yards (especially if the trail is weak) - mark the last spot and back out yet again for 2 hours.
#4 - If you even think you bumped the deer - back out and wait it out.
#5 - always error on the side of caution if at all possible
#6 - only resort to the dogs as an absolute last resort not a "short cut".

I broke all of these rules and I know better and knew better at the time - but my head wasn't screwed on straight at the time. I essentially tried brawn over brains - and well I lost. The deer gods brought all of this to the forefront of my thoughts as I was kicking myself in the butt.
Thanks, j-bird. I have done some things right and done some things wrong in those types of situations. Your situation had some factors (where you hit the deer, how far it went, how long it took him and the water factor) that made me interested in filing the information away in my mind. I lost a very big buck in KS because I broke rules 2 and 3 above, yet easily recovered my biggest buck ever because I gave him 8 hours on a marginal hit after sneaking out of the area, so it all counts in the learning process. I am seriously impressed with the hard work and persistence you showed in your search- very commendable!
Jeff - I appreciate the comments. I beat myself up over this whole thing for over a week and simply decided to continue to look until I couldn't look anymore. I knew I screwed up and I never tried to hide that or blame it on my equipment. There are things beyond our control, buy you can bet your ass the next time I have a deer run off these events will quickly come to mind. The key is learning from your mistakes - ignoring them simply leads you to make them again. Like I said I knew better, but for some stupid reason I just didn't think. Some lessons we have to learn and in my case re-learn the hard way. Maybe I thought I was smarter than I was - I don't know, whatever the reason - it put me in my place and maybe I needed it.