Tracking Wounded Deer in Water
By: Tim Lewis
Here's how to track a blood trail through water
Achieving a good shot at a game animal is an applaudable accomplishment and very likely the result of a great deal of time and effort invested in both scouting and hunting. However, unless the animal drops on the spot, more work is required. Typically, the animal must still be tracked. In Florida, ubiquitous water can complicate the trailing process. Water quickly dilutes and dissolves blood sign and hides hoof prints as well. What is a hunter to do?
Examine Your Surroundings
This difficulty has no simple, ‘magic bullet’ style answer, but a few practices may prove helpful. First, where the trail enters the water, the tracker should stop and make note of a few things. Does any vegetation extend above the surface of the pond, creek or other watery environment? Can a landmark be picked in the direction the last hoof prints pointed, especially one on the emergent shoreline? In the absence of true landmarks, a compass bearing can suffice. From the place the animal entered the water, which route looks the easiest and less impeded? Are there bubbles dotting the surface or that have drifted downwind or down current of the spot? Any one of these observations may turn out to be crucial in the recovery so it is best to develop a habit of assessing all from the very start.
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