I was hunting on my annual week long Alabama hunt and had already taken four does prior without issue. I was using SSA TSX 110 grain Barnes bullets. On my last evening hunt I made a shot on a tremendous buck just minutes before losing shooting light. I witnessed the buck drop in his track as he began the death kick. I hurried to get down out of my climber when I reached the bottom of the tree the large buck began to sit up he seemed to have little use of his front legs as he fell again. I rushed to get another shot but could not get a clear picture through my scope. When I finally reached the ground the deer blew out a snort jumped up and hurried into the dark forrest never to be found again. The shot was a short 44 yards and I felt like my shot was true. These are my questions: Is the Barnes tsx 110 not fully expanded at this range? Should I be using a different bullet for these in close shots? Note very little blood was found and not enough to trail.
The shot went high and you clipped the spine by the shoulder and went above the lungs. I'd bet your rifle is sighted in for a much longer distance.
Had the same thing happen to me years ago when I had a .30-06 sighted in 3" high at 100 yards. I was hunting farm country and last I saw of the deer was when it was running at full speed over 400 yards away.
Bullets open more violently the closer you are to the game. It's simple velocity.
Last edited by MichiganScott; 01-11-2011 at 07:12 AM.
high hit all of the blood will pool in chest cavaty. if you hit lungs u should of found buck within 200 yards. have to track with general direction and look for specs of blood, usually within 50 yards. sorry fpr the loss.
Thank you for the information. I think it is the only explanation. With the loss of this trophy, I will make a follow up shot if possible before just assuming the animal is finished. This was a very hard pill to swallow. I also wonder if I had used a larger caliber bullet if I would be out $300.00 for a head mount.
Losing a trophy once in a while is a part of hunting. It happens.
Last fall I hit a big piggie at 100 yards with a .376/.416 Steyr improved (is a .376 Steyr necked up to .416). It pushes a 350 grain Speer Mag Tip at 2250 fps. The fella was knocked flat and went into the death kick. In the blind I looked down to unload the rifle which I had quickly reloaded after the first shot.
When I looked back up, the piggie was pushing himself away from the feeder ... sliding on his front legs. Little blood at the point of impact. I probably just creased the spine and put him into shock. When I started to track him I realized that I was alone and no one knew where I was. Not a smart move with a big pig. Went to see the land owner who was pleased that the beast had been hurt as pigs are predating his land.
I checked the rifle later and found the bedding was inconsistent.
Some years ago I hit a doe with a bow. The arrow blew through. Doe took off like a shot leaving a good blood trail. Followed it for 125 yards to find it going in a circle. Lots of blood. Looked that evening and the next morning. Could not find where the doe had left the circle. Never found her.
10 days later, the same doe came back into the feeder and was promptly dispatched to the freezer. The arrow had gone through "no man's land" above the lungs but under the spine. Let some blood out. She was healing nicely.
In the early summer of 2009, I hit a kudu at an odd angle with a .458 AR caliber rifle at about 175 yards. That rifle makes abt 5800 lb-ft of muzzle energy. Same rifle had dropped a huge eland with a single shot at 186 yards the previous day. Kudu went down ... but got back up and ran like mad. Took us into the late morning the following day to find him.
Lesson learned? You can hit many animals with overwhelming force ... but if it is not in the right place they keep going! It happens. Impact point is EVERYTHING if you are using an adequate rifle. The 6.8 with the Barnes bullet is certainly adequate for the animal you shot!
Good point eastern hunter, deer can be suprisingy tough, if ya get a chance to go back to the same spot, start walking in large circles, look under brush, against fallen trees or big rocks, when riding sometimes they can cover themselves up! This has happen to me, I took a 12yr old on his first deer hunt, he made a great shot, broadside on a doe, she ran 15 yds then flopped around and rolled down a hill, a little over an hour later we found her when I tripped over her! I would give up on the weapon yet, sometimes no matter what ya do things won't go your way! Just my experience.
Sit in the blind and wait for 15 minutes at least if not 30...
Not to add salt to the wound but you pushed the deer, perhaps if you had stayed put it would have bled out..
2nd piece is have a 2nd shot ready if needed
A few years ago...
My brother watched a trophy he hit with a 270 WSM at 200 yards hit the dirt and lay still
He watched it for 15 minutes with another round racked and crosshairs on it.
Reached down to get a drink of water and as he looked up it was crawling off!
Saw a good amount of blood then it just vanished
4 guys looked for 3 hrs
I felt horrible for him..
On Sunday morning after hunting HARD for all season he took a shot at a monster at 9 AM at 70 yards going for a high shoulder shot (same as the one above) and he said right as he started to squeeze it jumped, he said he instantly thought "CRAP!! I shot over it" as they will compress just before the shot...
Not a speck of blood and we searched for a few hours
Regarding the Barnes, it will definitely do the job and is THE bullet for close range
Anytime you lose a deer try to find a good dog that can track it, I've been on several hunts where friends have lost deer and we found them the next day using dogs. It's possible you can still go back and find it using a dog.
All responses to my post make me realize my errors on that eve. I am very thankful for all of your great knowledge and experiences. I will do things much more methodically next time. I hate what happened that night, but it was my first and hopefully my last. Your stories of lost game made me feel better and for that I say thanks and lessened learned.