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Salmon Unlimited Member
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Joined: 08:06am - Sep 18,06
Posts: 1769
Location: Montrose

Post Posted: 11:30am - Dec 11,17 
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Well, my plan worked..... to a point. In the morning, was able to work up a small ditch in a picked corn field leading to a small set of woods and determined I'd be able to easily slip in there for the afternoon hunt without spooking any deer. I got out there for the afternoon, setup and ready. 20 minutes before the end of shooting time, the deer follow the script perfectly and come out of the woods into the picked corn field at about 125 yards to start grazing. One of the big does starts working her way towards me. Knowing that eventually she'd see me, I had the muzzleloader up on the shooting stick with the cross hairs right on her chest and she's walking towards me. I know if I'm going to get the shot off, I'll have to do it before she spooks. She gets about 75 yards away, stops, looks around, then looks right at me - BOOM! The smoke clears, and I see her face plant hard on to the ground. She's kicking around on the ground, tries to get up, falls back down. Tries to get up again and falls down again. Then she gets up, jumps over the 4' fence back into the woods and bounds away. There's a bunch of blood where I shot her and where she jumped the fence but then it gets spotty. Tracked her to the next fence line where I found more blood, then the next fence line where we find more blood, then the next fence line where we find more blood and 3 8" pools of blood spaced out about 10-15 yards into a tilled corn field. Then the blood trail stopped. We searched another 300 yards across the tilled corn field up to another set of the neighbor's woods, but never found any more blood or sign.

Obviously, I'm devastated that we never found the deer. I've shot plenty of deer straight on in the chest with the muzzleloader and all but this one have dropped and never got up. I've re-played the shot in my head dozens of times and can't figure out what happened. I obviously hit her hard because she went down like a load of bricks. I obviously didn't hit the vitals or she would have at least laid down at some point along the 800+ yards or so that we tracked her. On a straight-on shot.....there doesn't seem to be much you can hit that wouldn't be vitals. I was shooting up at her and my ML shoots about 1.4" high at 75 yards. I aimed at the base of the neck just above the belly hair. She was higher than me so the upward angle should have put the bullet right through the vitals....but it sure didn't seem so. Absolutely everything about the hunt went perfectly.......except seemingly my shot placement. I can't believe I messed this up.

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Dave
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Joined: 08:19am - Jun 17,07
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Location: Gurnee

Post Posted: 04:03pm - Dec 11,17 
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Tough one. I would look again at the last point of blood entering the field. She very well could have seen something and doulbled back on the point of entry to the field, which makes it confusing or difficult to realize with blood already lost getting to the edge of the field.

The blood being pooled may suggest a buildup in either the chest or abdominal cavity, only spewing out when an excessive amount built up.

Unfortunately, its the late evening hours that make it difficult to follow up and after all that time she may have started clotting and stopped bleeding enough to spew out more. Not much you can do but give it your best as you did. Also tough if you have to work the next day.

I feel for you..... been there, done that.

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Joined: 07:27pm - Jun 23,13
Posts: 381
Location: Palos Park

Post Posted: 06:40pm - Dec 11,17 
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It sucks when you are a responsible hunter (as I assume you are) and a wounded deer gets lost. Too many people out there pulling the trigger and never should.

Have you ever killed with the smoker you were shooting? Too many people don't understand the vast variance from shot to shot, or the lack of penetration a powder gun can have compared to smokeless powders. Using a chrono over many shots, knowing your powder, and projectile selection help a lot with this. Most people have never taken their smoker to a chrono and have no idea of the velocity they are shooting.

A head on shot can be devastating with good placement and a round with good penetration.

I used to shoot a Peifer Rifle powder gun manufactured by hand from a guy in Nokomis Illinois. He is gone now and the company went defunked, but the rifle was hands down the most accurate and hard hitting powder gun made.
The rounds were custom made for the gun and you "locked" the lands into the grooves prior to packing the round down the barrel. It used shotgun primers in lieu of caps. I had it sighted flat zero at 275 yards and it would group at 300 all day every day at 2". 450 grains of hollow point and the impact was nothing short of devastating.

But I shot it a great deal in the off season and knew exactly what it's capability was.

It sounds to me, by your description, penetration was more of a factor than shot placement. Deflection off the breastbone or a bone hit didn't allow enough damage to the ticker or lungs.

FYI, I saw a deer hit 3 times with shotgun slugs, during a party hunt, and I still had to track it over 3 miles to retrieve it for the dummies who shot it.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 02:01pm - Mar 14,14
Posts: 117
Location: Elgin

Post Posted: 04:31pm - Dec 12,17 
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My guess is you got her up in the neck if you didn't see one of her running on three legs as she fled? The shock from a neck shot will put them down for a short time, then they get up and run away. Tough to do a speedy follow-up with a ML.

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Joined: 10:35am - Feb 11,03
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Location: Naperville

Post Posted: 05:16pm - Dec 12,17 
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If you hunt long enough, it will happen to everyone, sooner or later. From everything you described, I don't think you did anything incorrectly. Thanks for sharing the report and the sad ending. Never want to see it end that way, but it happens.

Tom

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Joined: 04:24pm - Feb 17,03
Posts: 2077

Post Posted: 05:08pm - Dec 14,17 
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Probably lying in that tilled field. Did you find tracks where you lost the blood?

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