Comparing the Different Methods of Tracking Deer

You know your arrow flew true, you see your prize deer jump and run, and you feel the hunter shakes set in. After waiting for calmness to return, you know that the true hunt is about to begin. Making the shot is only the beginning, now the work sets in. Your target has run, now you need to verify the hit, and begin to track it down. The last thing you want to do is lose your trophy. There are methods that will help you find your deer and avoid the terrible feeling of losing what you worked hard to obtain.

Tracking it down

You know this method; it has been used for centuries. After you have waited long enough to ensure you won’t startle your wounded deer, the first step is take a mental picture of where you shot the deer. Remember that scenery changes as you move closer, so you will want to make certain you have identified precise landmarks. Once you get to the where the deer was hit, you will be able to tell a lot from the blood. If it smells bad, you know you got a gut hit and you will be in for a long tracking. Gut shots take a long time to bleed out. If the blood is pink and frothy your deer has been hit in the lungs and will only run 100-150 yards.

After you identify the type of hit, you can begin the search. Make certain you stay to the side of the trail in case you need to backtrack. When you find one blood spot don’t move until you find the next. Sometimes the blood can clot and your blood trail will vanish, if this happens you are going to need to look for broken branches, and footsteps. The complexity of tracking down a hit deer has caused more than a few hunters to pull their hair out in frustration. If this has ever happened to you, there is a better way to find and recover your deer.

The Pro-Tracker System

One of the best things about the Pro-Tracker system is you can connect it to your favorite arrow. That’s right, if you prefer Easton, Carbon Express, Gold Tip, or Cabela’s Outfitters, your new Pro-Tracker System will screw right into the tip. You will only notice a slightest shift in trajectory, but it is easy to adjust your equipment. The Pro-Tracker system comes with two dummies to allow you to practice without fear of damaging the real equipment. The Pro-Tracker has a transmitter that attaches to the animal’s hide. The handheld receiver can pick up the deer no matter where it runs. You will be able to find your deer with pinpoint accuracy. Since the Pro-Tracker is waterproof, this makes tracking in the rain a breeze. The Pro-Tracker system is a revolutionary method that will help you find your fallen trophy ever time.

Talkin’ Bout Turkeys: Where to Hit a Bird

As you guys know from our last blog post, we are crazy excited for turkey season. It’s a little over a month away and we are already making good use of our dummies and scouring the internet for new amazing calls. In all this anticipation though, we realized this was also a perfect teaching opportunity for our resident hunting novice, who has never hunted a turkey. We went over different arrows with her (as you all read in last month’s newsletter), helped her pick out a brand new bow (she chose the Bowtech Carbon Rose), but then we realized we missed a very important lesson: where to aim on a turkey, and more importantly, why.
While there are several ways you can hit a turkey, you want to make sure that your shot will incapacitate your bird; poor shots result in a wounded bird escaping and increase the risk that you lose the animal altogether and the animal then dies elsewhere. That is a no win all around, and we felt the best way to avoid that is to discuss the different areas where you can aim that generally lead to a solid kill shot. It should also be mentioned that the type of broadhead you use will also come into play when deciding where to place your arrow. Turkey anatomy is a bit different than most people realize. First, you have to take into consideration that a good portion of the bird is feathers and the body itself is relatively small in comparison to the bird’s overall size. Because of this, the internal organs also sit more towards the bird’s rear and higher than most people would initially guess; making hitting certain spots even more important.
One of our favorite, and generally the easiest, ways to make sure you hit a good mark is to hit the turkey in between struts while he is facing away from you. This shot is in most cases fool proof. As long as your aim holds, you will more than likely either snap the turkey’s back (thus preventing flight) or hit a vital organ or two. This position works well for any type of broadhead, but this is also where a mechanical broadhead will definitely shine. Unfortunately, while this is a perfect position for novice hunters, turkeys are rarely compliant and you will more often than not see them strutting. While you can still hit organs when they are in a strut, the feathers make sighting in the right spots much harder. In this instance, it is better to attempt a heart shot by aiming for the turkey’s vent.

While we love us some good back shots, we have found turkeys also love to have a good stare down. If you decide that the staring contest has gone on long enough and you want to be declared a winner and have dinner, aim just below where his beard begins. The goal here is to snap the turkey’s neck or hit some major arteries or vitals. Most mechanical broadheads do a great job in this instance since they have a large cutting diameter when deployed. Fixed broadheads are also a solid broadhead here because they tend to have really great penetrating power which you will need for this shot to be a success. This shot can be a bit tricky though, so practice is definitely your friend here.

Luckily, in this instance the shot placement is basically the same whether the turkey is strutting or not, but it should also be noted that more often than not this shot will also cut off part of the turkey’s beard, preventing it from becoming a nice trophy. Just keep in mind that the turkey itself is much smaller underneath those feathers and therefore you need to make sure you have a good, tight grouping. The other thing to keep in mind here is that the turkey’s organs are located near the back of the bird, so you need to make sure your shot has good penetrating power. Some people also use this position as an opportunity to use guillotine type arrowheads, however we prefer to go the more traditional route sans decapitation.
Obviously, there are other positions the turkey may be in (like strutting around broadside), but we’ve found that if we wait it out until the turkey settles into one of the positions we mentioned before, we have a much better kill rate and run less risk of the bird running or taking flight. Turkeys can also be tricky in the sense that sometimes even if you do get a lung shot or hit organs, they will still either take flight or flee and the blood trail left behind is very hard to follow. Spine shots are one way to guarantee this won’t happen, though you need lots of good practice in to make sure your aim is solid as the spine while long, is narrow giving you little room for error. Another way to ensure you don’t lose your bird is by using your Pro-Tracker. Our transmitter will hook into the bird the same way it would in an animal hide and prevent losing your prize.

Tips and Tricks for getting your Turkey

1. Scout out your location. Turkeys can be tricky sometimes and we’ve found the best way to enjoy your hunt is to know what to expect. This means knowing where the divisions between public and private lands are, as well as what the landscape and terrain look like. Turkeys love acorns, so areas with large amounts of Oaks along with low-lying shrubs are perfect areas to begin scouting. If you don’t have oaks, finding an area rife with native plants that have nuts or fruit along with shrubs will be a perfect place to begin. One of our favorite tricks before a hunt is to hop onto Google Earth and check out a good aerial view of the area we are heading to. Not only does this show us a good layout, it helps us determine which areas should give us the best chance of finding a good turkey. Plus, we also love Google Earth because we can then zoom in and get a great up-close ground view and map out key roosting spots and potential terrain issues. Once you get a good aerial, it’s always great to walk the location, but if you don’t have time Google Earth is usually accurate enough.

2. The morning of your trip make sure to check the weather. You want to know not only the norm (sunny, cloudy, etc), but also wind speed and direction. The wind direction will directly influence potential roosting spots and knowing the direction in advance will help you to pinpoint the best locations for success.

3. The night before your hunt, you should comb the area and look for the turkey’s roosts for the night, this will help you pinpoint precisely where your hunt should begin the next day. Once you get to your preferred area, do a quick sweep to look for signs of a flock. You should see scratching areas as well as some places with feathers, droppings, and some food remains. Since turkeys shift roosts based on the weather, make sure that the droppings are relatively fresh before setting yourself up to wait on the birds.

4. Pick a good set up location where you have a good sightline, but are still relatively hidden where you don’t mind hanging out for awhile. Sometimes hunts go quick; sometimes you get to hang out waiting for your birds for hours, so getting a spot that is comfy is key. Big trees not only provide a back rest, but also give good wind cover and provide nice shade. Brush piles are also good for concealment, though they tend to be slightly less comfortable than a nice tree. Lastly, you always have the option of a blowdown; whether you can find one or decide to make one yourself.

5. When you do your call, it is always best to make it sound like a flock of turkeys rather than a single one. The turkeys are more likely to respond to a call from multiple birds, plus the more calls, the louder the calls are and also the father they travel; making your hunt that much more likely to be a success.

6. While you’re scouting make a note of the time you notice the birds up and moving, going down to roost, or strutting. If you come back multiple days in a row you might notice a pattern, which can result in better placement for your set up location.

7. Check your gear! Not only do you want it to be in tip-top shape, but you want to make sure it is noiseless. Once you’re geared up, move around a bit; move your arms, legs, bend a few times, heck even take a jump or two. If you can hear it moving, you need to reconsider what you’re wearing.
Well, those are all of our favorite tips. Do you guys have any tips or tricks to add?