Persistence pays off after blood trail goes dry.
The fog has really been hampering my bow-hunting plans down at the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area. However, I was able to use my GPS to make it down there for a mid-morning hunt recently.
At 10:40 a.m., I saw a medium-sized hog walking on a trail through the tall cut grass. I had him at 35 yards, but he would not stop walking. I held off on the shot, and within a couple of minutes I could hear some loud cracking in the grass.
He was coming in right next to my tree stand. He popped out at 15 yards and, already at full draw, I let him have it with my 100-grain Muzzy.
Upon impact, he bolted and ran a short ways, busting through grass. And then silence. Yes! I was sure he was down.
I waited about 15 minutes and, hearing nothing more, got down to check for my arrow and blood. No arrow and very, very little blood. Only a small drop here and there.
There was myriad trails intertwined in the cut grass. The sparse blood trail ended, and I began making semi circle inspections of each of the trails in the area, hoping to pick up his trail again.
Finally I went back up in my stand to collect my thoughts and replay the shot and what I heard immediately afterwards. I was still pretty sure he was down close by. I waited a couple of hours and gave it another try. Said a silent prayer to the Lord to help me retrieve this hog and got down to start looking again.
I was able to find my arrow, which had made a pass-through shot, which was good, but the material on the shaft showed a gut shot. Well, maybe he did not go down right away after all.
I went back to the last blood I had found and began an even closer inspection. Finding the miniscule specks of blood was very difficult, and soon I had lost it again.
Making my way back to the last positive sign of blood, I glanced down and saw a small tunnel under the cut grass. Could it be?
I dropped to a knee and saw the smallest, slightest smudge of dried blood and knew this hog was close by. He had burrowed under the tall grass and died only about 30 yards from my tree.
I had almost given up hope of finding him.
The arrow had gone in high on the front right shoulder and come out near the left rear leg. Something vital was severed, as the hog was down for the count in less than 10 seconds.
This makes me wonder how many other animals I did not find in the past when the blood trail ran dry. They, too, may have been very close by but never found.
My good buddy, David Simoneaux, showed me how to methodically, slowly blood trail a deer and it does pay off, if you have enough patience and persistence. Taking your time and looking for even the most miniscule detail can mean the difference in finding or losing the animal.
This one ended well, and I was able to put my second hog of the season into my freezer.
Deer sightings have been few and far between for me, although sign is still very good. Others down at the Delta have had good success and killed multiple deer, including some nice bucks.
While checking in the hog at the game-warden’s station, I was told that the deer activity on their game cams has been almost exclusively at night.
Even so, I look forward to getting a chance to make an early morning hunt when the foggy conditions improve and allow me to do so.
Good hunting and be safe!