The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 13, 2012

Deer looking strange as season changes


DANVILLE — I’ve been watching the strangest deer this summer. The deer is a doe born this year and, when it was born it was all white. The deeper it went into the season the more mottled it became as parts of its body began to turn to what a normal deer skin would look like.

I saw the deer on Friday and it is even stranger than before. The head of the animal is now the same color as a normal deer head but the body is still mottled both white and tan. Has anyone else ever seen or heard of such a thing? I have seen many strange things in nature but this one may take the cake for odd.

I am still getting reports of hummingbirds in the area so don’t put your feeders away just yet as those from the northern states are still coming through.

The best angle to shoot deer

I get asked each year about the best shot to take on a deer. The best shot is just behind and below the shoulder. If you are shooting from a tree stand, the trajectory of the arrow or slug is downward so the shot should be taken just behind and slightly higher than if you were on the ground.

A shot just behind the shoulder will take out the most vital of organs including the heart and lungs along with the liver. A shot further back leads to what is called a “gut shot” which gets into the intestines and a deer can go a long ways with a shot like that.

You may hear of hunters getting a spine shot but those are rare and, in my opinion happen more by accident than on purpose. Most back shots fail to bring a deer down.

A flank shot, one in the back hip is normally not a good shot either unless it gets into the femoral artery, the deer can bleed out quickly with a shot that gets into this big artery. A hit to a front let may break the leg but the deer will generally get away.

Practice all you can ahead of your hunting trip and try to put your best shot right behind the front shoulder.

Tracking for game

In every area there are people who are excellent deer trackers and, if you are not I suggest you go back and get one of these people unless it is approaching dark. Once darkness comes the coyotes become a player.

Know exactly where you hit the deer and wait the appropriate time in your stand or blind before you search for it. Carry a bandana or handkerchief or rag so that you can tear it into pieces to leave markers. Put a marker where you hit the deer and markers where you find blood. A good shot normally puts the deer somewhere close by and bad shot may lead to finding very little blood since deer have a unique ability to seal the wound and bleed out internally. A tiny drop of blood doesn’t mean you didn’t get a killing shot.

Once you have marked everything you can find, go back home and get a good tracker to go with you. I live in Georgetown and I can quickly think of at least ten guys I could call who would help me find my quarry; find people in your area that would help you. Don’t leave a wounded or dead deer in the field.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: