There is a thread in here that asks members' opinions of their own tracking skills that are needed to recover a fatally wounded whitetail. Here's an opportunity to lay out some of your ideas about the best way, or at least the methods each of us use to track and locate a wounded whitetail deer. Let's assume that you've become proficient with the weapon with which you are hunting. I believe the search starts before you hunt. Become familiar with the territory you are hunting at least 200 yards around your stand. Further is better. Before the shot make note of exactly where the deer is standing and which side of the animal you're aiming at......right or left. Shot placement is vital. When bowhunting there are many shots to avoid, but one in particular that isn't thought of is the broadside, or nearly so, position with the deer's near-side leg set back. That leg bone, if it is hit, will deflect and severely lessen arrow penetration. Focus on the spot you're aiming at. DO NOT SHOOT at the whole deer. Bowhunters should try to follow the arrow all the way to this spot. Try to see the actual hit. Notice the deer's reaction to the shot. This will give you clues as to where he was hit. After the shot keep an eye on the deer making mental notes of the route he takes to escape. Notice significant trees, shrubs, etc. Focus on the spot where you last saw the deer. Give the deer several minutes to get out of hearing before starting down your tree or out from a ground blind to go and inspect the spot where the deer was standing when you took the shot. Do this VERY quietly and slowly. Look for signs of a hit. Blood and hair are the two most obvious. Give the deer time to settle down and find a spot to lay down. If he's hit good he will lay down. If he's hit REAL good he may drop while running away. The amount of time will depend on each hunt's situation such as time, weather, knowledge of where the deer was hit. Be prepared to track the deer. You'll need a reliable light (I prefer a gas lantern with a shield on one side so the light doesn't blind me), compass or GPS unit, toilet paper (for marking the spots of blood or scuffings in the leaves made by the deer's hoofs, knife, dragging rope. I may be missing a couple of things here (it's 3:30AM). I also don't have any experience using peroxide type products that enhance the blood so I can't comment on using them. Don't bring the gang out with you to track the deer. One of the worst scenarios is a group of hunters wanting to get in on "the action" and tagging along. This is your hunt! It is "your deer". You need to take charge. If you aren't proficient at tracking then someone else who is must take charge. Some guys may think you or they are being an A-hole for keeping them "out of the fun", but that's tough. Three guys, hopefully experienced are the maximum. One on the blood/sign trail and two trailing a bit off to the side and BEHIND the lead tracker. One of the worst experiences I had tracking a wounded deer involved a rifle shot whitetail. I was called by a friend in the morning to come over and help find a wounded deer. The whole group, about five guys, a gal, and two dogs......neither was trained to track a wounded deer.....had been out for a couple hours the previous night trying to track the deer. It had snowed a few days before and although much of it had melted, there was still some snow on the ground. The trail had been hopelessly compromised by all of the foot traffic, including the two large dogs. I managed to take the blood trail a hundred yards further than they had, but it was hopelessly screwed up. We spent a couple more hours doing an organized sweep to no avail. I'm convinced the deer died and was unrecovered and that sad fact was due to the incompetence of those involved.........TOO MANY PEOPLE. The saddest part of this was the gal's comment when we had to give up. I know her well and talked to her about too many of the troop going out to trail the deer and how all that activity had messed up the sign. Her comment? "Well at least the boys (college age guys) had fun". GRRRRRRRRRRR! Use toilet paper to mark the blood trail, putting paper down on blood spots. If it's windy then be sure the TP is anchored. You may need to come back to a spot. With your compass make note of the direction the deer was/is heading when he bounded away. Check the compass or GPS while engaged in the tracking job to see if there's any significant changes. Move slowly! Take a step at a time. Find the first spot of blood and analyze it. Bright?... Bubbly?... Dark?.......Fecal Matter?... . If you find fecal (stomach/intestine) material you'd better get out of there and let the deer lay overnight. Gut shot deer are very difficult to find. They will travel for hours if pushed and there will be very little sign left behind. Track the deer to the spot where you last saw him. This is the spot where you KNOW he once was. Let's hope you found blood before this. NOW your trailing begins in earnest. Blood sign isn't all you're looking for. Keep an eye open for broken twigs, scuffed up leaves on the forest floor, etc. They offer clues. All sign, or lack of, tells us something. Learn from each tidbit that is offered. Deer will usually take the path of least resistance. This will help you to be able to look ahead for possible routes when blood sign is temporarily (we hope) lost. If you lose the trail look back at the line of toilet paper. It will show you the general direction the deer was heading at that point. He may very well keep on in that direction. When you lose blood don't proceed for more than five yards without finding more. Go back to the last piece of toilet paper. You KNOW the deer was at the spot and start anew from there. Keep in mind which side of the deer you are seeing the most blood. Right? Left? Both? Is there any blood on the sides of trees or brush near where the deer passed? Finding blood higher off the ground gives an indication of where the animal was hit. Move slowly and don't rush! Make note of how much blood you're finding. Very little? Lots of it? If the blood begins to lessen this may be a sign the deer is running out of steam. Now's the time time to really move slowly. If the deer has been leaving a decent bloodtrail and all of a sudden it stops may mean the animal is lying dead within fifty or so yards. This is the time to move even more slowly. TAKE YOUR TIME! I'll let others add their tidbits and advice at this point. Wanna kill these ads? We can help!