Blood trailing

Like most skills, blood trailing becomes easier with more experience. However, some blood trails are just plain difficult. The good news is that difficult blood trails are likely to be non-fatal. While no hunter likes wounding a deer, it is very likely that a deer that is hit and not found will heal and recover.

Below are several resources to assist teaching blood trailing. These resources should be reviewed in class or as part of the pre-hunt, field day, before the hunt to prepare the participants for this eventuality.

An important skill is to be able to “read” any hair lost to determine where on the body it came from. Likewise, different wounds bleed differently; the blood trail itself can be a good indicator of the location of the hit.

It is important to carry material to mark the blood trail, if it peters out or it is too dark to continue. Some people use plastic flagging, but toilet paper works very well and is biodegradable, so you may not have to retrieve every piece.  

In some situations, it is advisable to wait several hours, or overnight, before tracking a hit deer. This may be more common during bow season, or when there is no snow to assist the tracking. In addition, it may be advisable for a novice hunter to seek help in unraveling a blood trail. During the class sponsored hunt the mentor/guide would be expected to fulfill this role. Nonetheless, novice hunters should not hesitate to seek help during a hunt after the class if they are having difficulty. However, too many helpers may be more of a detriment than help. Ideally only two, or at the most three, should follow a trail at any one time to avoid destroying more evidence than you find.

Resources