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Doc Nock wrote: a 500-600 blood trail and you assume it’s a one lung shot? 500 yard trail reinforces that assumption, but a good blood trail seems a bit suspect to me for that far.

Anytime, I’m taught, that a deer hasn’t lay down within 100 yards of where shot, you need to back off and wait.

subtle hiccups with wild critters can surely cause a loss. Such thick cover could mean you were within FEET of it, and not know it… I’ve found deer I shot in the worst 15′ high cane briars and how they got there, I’ll never know…

At the range you shot, with the equipment you have, there is little to suggest equipment failure…location could be an issue.

Also, without knowing actual #’s, that high FOC, 60# draw and then saying you had a low spine arrow makes me scratch my head. Granted, Preston, I shoot “laminate” bows with center shot, and from what I’ve heard, most self bows are way not center shot by design and require lesser spine arrows to wrap around the riser on release.

Accuracy is way above penetration I would think. If you’re concerned with what your friend said, about not being as accurate with a self bow, does that mean that you are not sure of how accurate YOU are with YOUR bow? That could be critical part of the equation…

Focus on those things that you can control….accuracy, etc. More than once, I’ve short drawn when excited or eased up on back tension when I had to wait on a deer to hit a shooting lane, and got poorer flight. 3D shoots helped me learn that more than anything…

Hey Doc, Thanks for your thoughts. Here are some responses:

I know I hit a lung because of the bubbles in a small pool of blood he coughed up (I’m assuming coughed up, not bled out of entry wound.) But not both lungs, heart, or artery because of how long he lived (+ 3 hours).

You’re right, I should have waited even longer on not seeing him go down right away.

Again, you’re right. The brush is thick enough that I would have had to step on him, and there are certainly places I could have missed in my search. As well as the vultures/crows could have missed.

I agree, I hit a large bone, which really is problem here. I felt good about the shot, distance, just must have been a couple inches off.

I experimented with all spines available in the weight head I wanted, and when I found the right spine, cut it down in 1/8″ increments until the arrows flew straight without feathers. So I think they were matched correctly to the bow. It is very NOT center shot, and the low spine had me thinking the bow is kind of sluggish.

I know how accurate I am, when shooting at a target. And have prescribed a maximum shot range of 12 yards on myself. This guy was well within that range. But I still struggle with buck fever, which (as you know from a previous post) can greatly influence my accuracy. I just can’t figure out how to get over that without shooting in real hunting situations.

I’ve learned previously that I can’t hold back and wait to shoot. I need to aim, draw, release. Which is what I did, but maybe released too early. Not sure about that point Doc.