Congratulations on your first traditional harvest! You aren’t the first person to make a bad shot, for certain. You’re fortunate to know the ground you were hunting and were able to find your animal in a timely manner. My first deer, also a whitetail doe, was also a paunch shot. Like you, I didn’t concentrate on picking a spot, and my arrow found its way to a place too far back for a good, quick, clean kill. And, it was a long shot to boot. A shot that, at this point in my archery career, I would not take. My height up the body was fine, but for whatever reason, I was too far back. Anyway, long story short, I shot her about 45 minutes before dark, and it was starting to rain. Rather than wait for the next day, we started doing a grid search. My uncle found her bedded down, got me over there, and I circled her to make a second (ineffective) shot. She bolted downhill. We started searching everything from where we were above the road, down to the road, and for 100 yards each side of her path down the hill. We eventually made it to the creek across the road and found her laying up under the brush on the other side of the creek. Certainly not the optimum way to begin a successful traditional hunting career. But, it worked out that we were able to find her before it got dark. I dressed her out in the dark by the light of a Mini-Mag. My second deer with my recurve (also a whitetail doe), was a neat, clean kill at about 23 yards. Complete pass-through, liver, one lung, and a completely severed rib on the exit. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in the world of poor hits.