Deer Search of WNY Inc. is a non-profit and 100% volunteer organization dedicated to deer / game recovery using blood tracking dogs in the greater Buffalo area.

Lung Blood

Frozen muscle blood turns fluorescent orange (brisket hit)

 Lung shot, tiny bubbles on arrow shaft fletching, full pass through

If the blood is bright it may be leg muscle hit like this one

Liver hit, very dark maroon (purple) blood

Dark  purple blood, liver shot

Gut shot, blood is brownish and watery

A Simple guide for helping you understand what you may be looking at after a hit.

Fat, tallow, grease means high or low arrow from brisket hit

Bear Anatomy

 ​​​​​​​Deer Search of WNY Inc. 

Brisket fat stuck on an arrow

Rear leg bone


As hunters we want to be successful. Becoming successful incorporates basic skills, such as scouting hunting lands, learning about your quarry, practicing and honing our skill with our hunting implement of choice. Tracking wounded game is completing the full circle and therefore becoming successful. Here are some basic tips that may help you…

1). Become familiar with the area around you. Pay attention to landmarks, rocks, blowdowns, larger trees, creeks etc. If you hunt from a tree stand the view of the terrain changes when you are at ground level.

2). Listen and watch for reaction after the shot. Did the animal bolt, hunch, walk off flicking its tail, stumble, mule kick? Did you hear a hollow thump or a sharp crack?

3). Mark in your mind the spot where you last saw the animal and pick out details, a rock, bush, dead branch, tree, look at the time and wait at least  20-30 minutes. Take compass reading direction.

4). Locate the initial hit site. Look for hair and blood. Mark it eye level when you do. It’s very important to always carry marking tape in your pack.

5). Blood, what color red is it? Is it bright red or dark red? Bright red is muscle or artery. Bright red, pinkish with tiny oxygenated bubbles means at least 1 lung. If you have dark or maroon color blood, back out, wait at least 4 hours weather permitting.

6). Hair is the key element of learning to track and when. There can be two types of hair on the ground, entrance and exit on a pass through.  A square hit, no angle, will have very little hair compared to an angled hit, the more hair the stronger the angle. Learn how to read hair. If you have chest hair you can start to track. If you have stomach or gut hair you need to back out as long as you can, weather permitting .Time is on your side.

7). Mark your trail as you go eye level. Do not walk on the blood trail, stay off to the side. Get some help from a friend. More eyes are better.  No more than 3 people are necessary. One person stands near last blood marker while others move ahead. Do not rush a blood trail. Do not always just look on the ground for sign look on the sides of brush, trees, golden rod etc. This will give you a good indication of how high the wound is.

8). Gut shot deer can be difficult to recover if the game is not played right. If you know for sure you gut shot an animal, back off and wait overnight if you can. Your chances are greater for recovery than if you started too soon and jumped the animal off its first bed. If you do jump an animal off its bed, back out and wait several hours before proceeding again. Blood will be dark brown, maroon, watery, food particles. Liver hits will have dark red maroon blood, animal’s tail most likely will flick and bed further than gut shot.  If you track over 300 yards with lung blood then that’s a good indication that just one lung was hit, animal can survive unless diaphragm was punctured.    

One lung survivor...yes, deer can live with only one lung