So, I got out for my grand total of second time this season for an evening hunt. I went to property behind my in-law's house where I've hunted for 8 years, and never had any deer even close enough to even contemplate a shot. I sat at a location that I had hunted several times before. It's over a creek and sort of in a funnel. I had high expectations of seeing nothing again.
At about 4:30 or so I looked over my shoulder and looked back into the pasture - which I don't do often - just because I never expected deer to come across there. There he was - chasing around three does. At that point, I knew he was a small buck, and couldn't even tell if he was legal at that distance - even with 6x rangefinder. So, one of the does wanders into the woods, and he eventually follows. Where she split off and went more to the right of me, he came in almost right in front of me - into about 25 yards. He looked up at me a couple times but didn't may much mind to me. Even at that point, I couldn't tell if it was a 7 or 8 - and I still wasn't even sure if I wanted to shoot because it's so small, but I figured it's been a loooong time since I had a shot opportunity, and it's meat, so I might as well take the shot. I let fly at 4:46. I watched him run out to about 80 yards and start walking, but didn't see him continue either way.
I thought I hit farther back than I wanted, but didn't see my arrow, so I got down in about 15 min (I know - I should have waited longer, but I was losing light and wanted to at least try to find my arrow.)
I didn't find my arrow, but I did find blood and started following it (another mistake - but
I knew tracking would be easier with (some) daylight than a flashlight).
Ultimately, I followed the blood and saw the deer about 30 feet away, head still up.
Fast forward a little, and he expired and I retrieved him. (see link below for pics)
So, a couple questions:
[list][*]I'm guessing I watched for about 10-15 minutes until the deer expired. I absolutely HATED watching that, but didn't really want to walk up and shoot another arrow into him. I was very tempted to back out and come back in the morning, but he had attempted to get up a couple times and appeared that he couldn't. Had I waited 30 min of so after the shot, I would have found him dead instead. <span style="font-weight: bold">Would you have finished him off, or wait a bit like I did? </span> I realize the answer was probably "C" - back out and come back later or tomorrow.
[*]The arrow did hit farther back than I had intended. It went through guts on the way out. The deer wasn't perfect broadside, but facing towards me a little - not quartering - but maybe "eighting" towards me. Possible liver shot? Would a deer survive about 30 min with a liver shot? The heart was definitely not touched. Honestly - I didn't look at the lungs but I expect they were also untouched: there were no bubbles in the blood and no blood out of his mouth. The blood trail was not heavy, but deep red. Quite a bit of of internal bleeding.
I have to go get my stand tomorrow, and I can see if there's anything left of the gut pile and see if I can find the liver and what it looks like.
I have very mixed emotions about this harvest. Mostly because I sat and watched it die, and also because it's little - but as said earlier - opportunities don't present themselves often where I hunt.
No need to flame, but constructive criticism welcome. I know I made some mistakes.