LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
With archery seasons in full swing around North America there have no doubt been quite a few blood trails followed by bow hunters, with many more ahead in the coming weeks. One of the issues whitetail bowhunters inevitably will have to deal with is tracking a wounded deer under less than ideal conditions. It’s the nature of the game. Some blood trails are short and easy to follow; some are long and complicated. In the latter case, there are some products that can assist you in following the trail, and hopefully in finding your deer.
Tracking a wounded animal can often be one of the most frustrating, yet most rewarding, aspects of your hunt. If you take up the trail at night be sure to pack a quality light like those from Cyclops.
Here are a few products we consider essential to every bow hunter’s blood trailing kit.
A good, bright flashlight. In days gone by many hunters swore by a traditional lantern as they cast a large amount of light and generally lasted for a long time. However with today’s flashlight technology and the ability to pack a super powered beam into a small package the lantern may be a thing of the past when it comes to blood trailing deer. Flashlights featuring LED bulbs produce extremely bright light and will last for hours on end. Don’t even think about tracking a wounded animal at night without a good light handy.
Compact, high power lights like the M4 Scirrako from Extreme Beam can project light up to 300+ meters and run for 7 hours on their highest setting. A tool like this can be invaluable when looking for game at night.
Primos Bloodhunter HD – You can’t find blood that you can’t see. Tracking at night is doubly difficult, since you’ve got the added problem of darkness to contend with. This light’s 600 lumen CREE XM LEDs turn the dark woods bright. But it’s the custom filter that helps the tracker searching for blood. The filter mutes colors, such as greens and browns and grays, while making red blood pop. Anyone who has tracked at night knows how individual drops can disappear in ground clutter. The Bloodhunter HD helps you sift through that clutter to see those drops. It’s got two power settings – “intense HD” and “low illumination” – to help conserve battery life. You can get about two hours of use on the intense setting, but eight on the low setting. Use what you need to get the job done.
Specialized blood tracking lights can make finding red blood easier at night.
Toilet paper – No one tracking a wounded deer should head out without a roll of this stuff. First off, you never know when Nature is going to call. Better to stay on the trail and take care of your business right there, then have to go home and come back. Besides that, this is the perfect material for marking blood spots. How many of you have used an arrow, your hat or something else you happened to be carrying to mark blood, but then when you continued searching, you turned around and couldn’t find your marker? Toilet paper is light, it’s very visible and it’s biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about going back and picking up every piece you put down – although that’s a good idea if you’re on someone else’s land. Mark every spot with a piece of paper and never worry about where the last spot was.
A simple roll of toilet paper can prove to be worth it’s weight in gold when used to mark the last location of blood while on the trail.
TP Tracker – You’ve got your toilet paper, but you need a handy place to keep it. Trust me on this one, if you simply carry it in your hand while following a blood trail, you will set it down at some point and forget it. That’s one of the reasons Paradise Valley Outdoor Products came up with the TP Tracker. It’s a case for your toilet paper that can be strapped to your belt, or to any number of other pieces of gear. When you need a sheet to mark a blood spot, simply pull on the end and tear it off. If you’re using a hand-held light and carrying your bow, you don’t have to set anything down to get a piece of paper. It’s right on your hip or your backpack or whatever, within easy reach.
Need a gadget to hold your TP while tracking an animal? The TP Tracker has you covered. Literally.
BlueStar Blood Finding Agent – If even half of what we see on the CSI television series is true, then you know forensics experts have a million tricks up their sleeves for finding blood evidence. And for them, finding blood could mean the difference between taking a murderer off the street, or leaving that person out there to kill again. Naturally, deer hunters can benefit from some forensic science. Enter BlueStar. This is a chemical agent very much like what police use, that you can spray on the ground where you think there’s blood from a wounded deer. If there’s blood there, it will glow a fluorescent blue. Even after it’s been rained on, the blood still will glow. So when the obvious trail goes dry, spray BlueStar to find that next drop, which could lead you to your trophy.
If the trail runs dry, Blue Star will help you find that next spot of blood to keep you headed in the right direction.
While these are by no means the only products that can help you recover your next animal, they are ones we’ve used that have helped us. If you have suggestions for products or tips you’ve used to help track wounded animals please leave them in the comments below.