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When approaching downed game, use extreme caution. The animal may appear to be dead but actually is not.

Approach downed game with caution
  • Approach the animal from its rear. If the animal is still alive and jumps as you approach, you don't want to be in front of it.
  • Stop at a reasonable distance from the animal.
    • Observe its rib cage. If the chest is heaving, the animal is still alive.
    • If you can't detect rib cage movement, check the animal's eyes—the eyes of a dead animal are usually open.
    • Some hunters use a stick or bow tip to prod the rear of the animal to see if there is a response.
  • If the animal is still alive, back off and take a careful finishing shot.
  • Don't pose or handle your animal for photographs or begin field dressing until you are positive it's dead.
  • Once you have determined that the animal is dead, immediately attach the proper tag or identification according to state or provincial regulations.