Hitting a Deer High

Harrison Hoegh

A few weeks ago Max and I both shot deer high while hunting with our bows. Both deer dropped in their tracks. I got out of my treestand to take my follow up shot, and the buck got to his feet and wobbled over the hill. Max began walking towards the deer and it jumped up and ran through the brush. Both of us ended up following fickle blood trails and not recovering either of the deer. After talking with multiple other hunters and reviewing articles on hitting deer high I have come to a few conclusions about what could possibly have happened.

When a deer drops in its tracks is that you either hit it in the spine, the liver, or near enough to the spine that its nervous system was shocked. I assumed a spine shot, which is something that no hunter desires but is not challenging to recover. If this happens get another shot in the deer as soon as possible.

The reason to get a second shot into the deer quickly rather than walking closer is because there is a chance that you hit the deer in the liver or near the spine. Jared shot a deer in the liver last year and the deer dropped in the field then just looked around as if searching for the cause of pain. A liver shot is a very painful spot for a deer that can drop a deer for some time, but also the deer still has the ability to get up and run off if you try to walk up to it.

The last option is that you hit the deer somewhere in between the spine and the liver. Jared talked with a local hunter who said it is possible to hit somewhere near the spine and stun the deer. This shot often drops the deer on it’s feet but is not lethal. The deer is able to regain control of its back legs after a few moments and leaves a thin blood trail. If you do not recover the animal this is the place you hope you hit the deer so that it lives through the wound.

In conclusion, it is important to get a second shot in the deer, don’t assume the deer is not going to get back up if it drops in its tracks. Also if the deer does get back up, give it at least three hours before tracking it. I found the buck i shot in its bed four hours later and it was still able to run away. I wonder if I had known the location of its bed I may have been able to give it all day and then searched the bed that night.
Thanks for reading. Good luck this week.

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