Game Recovery Lessons
Only once in all my years of hunting and in going along with my dad as he hunted have I ever been in a situation where an animal that had
been shot made a run for it. I am very thankful for this, as the situation is not one that any hunter wants to be in; not only does it feed
into the image of our sport among non-hunters as superfluous and cruel, but no hunter worth the tag wants an animal suffering because of a
botched shot. It's also a terrible waste if the animal cannot be recovered.
It was a nippy late-October afternoon, with an early brushing of snow on the ground. It was the tail end of the doe season in the interior
of British Columbia, and my brother, my dad, and I were driving out of the spot we had been hiking through that morning. We had not seen a
single deer that day, but as luck would have it my eagle-eyed brother saw a pair of does standing about 300 yards up a bank on our left.
Dad stopped the car and we jumped out with our .303 British bolt actions. I have found that these are an ideal gun to hunt with on back
roads as the clips (Classic clips are now collector's items, but the convenience is still available through models such as the
A-Bolt Mag for the .308. Nothing beats that floor hinge!) slam home easily. My dad had the clearest shot through his 4 x 32 scope, a similar product
to the one manufactured by Huntmaster. He had time to get off one shot, and the deer turned and bolted. My dad and I both thought it had been
a clean miss, as we had not seen the deer waver (this would have been the first time I had ever seen my father miss a shot).
My brother, on the other hand, swore that he had seen one of the deer fall to her knees before running off. Unfortunately he did not say this
until we had unloaded and gotten back into the truck. We went to have a look, and sure enough there was blood on the snow. We all had that sick
feeling in our stomachs, but we decided to set off in search anyway. We were equipped with a product that a friend of mine had picked up earlier
in the year and swore by when it came to tricky tracking situation as this one would turn out to be as dusk came on
Starlight Bloodhound Trailing Aid. As night fell, this product turned into a big helper for us. Without it, we probably would never have been able to recover the deer, but with its aid we were able to locate her
even in the dark. Dressing her was made much more helpful through the use of headlamps
(this was our first year with headgear as we had had a situation the season before where one of us was of no help to the others as someone had to be
holding the flashlight the whole time!)
Having an animal get away wounded is not something that any hunter wants to happen. We owe it to the animals and to the sport to do our utmost to
ensure that any animal shot is recovered by the person who shot it, and the right products to help out are a necessity!