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Never assume that a shot missed the animal. You also must understand the importance of honoring your responsibility to recover the game you have shot.

A successful recovery requires:

  • Proper shot placement
  • Attention to visual and auditory clues immediately after the shot
  • The proper decision on when and how to begin the tracking and recovery process
  • Knowledge of tracking and reading game sign
  • Attention to trailing details, including signs such as blood drops, partial tracks, and bent twigs
  • A stick-to-it, never-give-up attitude
  • Multiple recovery strategies, especially if the trail is lost temporarily
  • Patience

A good recovery begins with a well-placed shot. An arrow striking an animal in a vital area will mean a quick death and a short trek to recover the animal.

The “Second Hunt”

Hunters often refer to game recovery as their “second hunt.” Some people get just as much satisfaction out of trailing as they do from hunting. The process requires patience, attention to the smallest details, and an understanding of the game’s habits. Proficiency comes mainly with experience. The best way to learn is to watch a veteran hunter. If you haven’t experienced actual trailing, a simulated trail devised by a group of veteran hunters may be the next best option.

Dog tracking game

Be sure to check local and state game laws. It may be legal to use dogs to help you track shot game.

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