Blood Trailing with a Bow

So you’re probably thinking, oh this just another article telling me to back out if I think I made a bad shot. Well… you’re wrong and right. This time you’re going to learn about the evidence your arrow leaves you, and how this is the most important information you have.

I had a personal problem with doe that I double lung shot earlier in the season. It happened like this; I shot the doe perfectly broadside at 24 yards. The shot felt great however, I went in much to fast, just thirty minutes or so after I shot her. I found blood very quickly and very plentifully, I had tracked about eighty yards and I heard a deer jump up and take off running. I figured this was just another deer bedded down. I soon came upon a massive pool of blood and the blood stopped after that. I marked my spot on my phone and picked up the trail the next morning. I did not find blood for another eighty yards, and when I did it was very spotty. I soon began to lose the blood trail and after about one hundred it ceased completely. I searched for another couple of hours but I was never able to recover the deer. I do not want this situation to happen to anyone else, so I made this four part guide on how to track a deer with a bow.


1 of 4: Gut Shots

Gut shots… everyone’s biggest fear. The best way to tell if the remnants on your arrow are gut remnants is by smell checking. Sometimes a deer can be shot in the gut but still make contact with the liver making it seem as though you made a good shoot because you have blood on your arrow. Always smell your arrow, you will know if it is a gut shot because it will have a distinct stench. When you have gut shot a deer always mark where the deer was standing and back out for at least six hours before taking up the trail.

2 of 4: Liver or Muscle

Liver and/or muscle shots can be tricky to identify. Usually the arrow will be covered in super dark red blood. When you identify this you should wait at least four to five hours before taking up the blood trail.


3 of 4: Oxygen rich Artery/Heart

These are the ideal shots and they get the job done quick. They are typically light to medium red in blood color. The animal expires very quickly and suffers little to none. It is a good idea to wait at least one to two hours to track these deer just to be safe.


4 of 4: Lung Shots

The ideal shot for a hunter other than a heart shot is a lung shot. Arrows will typically be light colored blood with bubbles in it.
[Image Source: Ryan Kirby (commissioned by Realtree)]

These bubbles indicate the oxygen from the lungs. When dealing with a lung shot deer, it is best to wait at least one to two hours to track them.


A personal preference in arrows is the Black Eagle Arrows’ Zombie Slayer.  I hope this guide helps you and any of your friends who need tips on tracking deer. Good luck hunting!


Leave a Reply