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How Soon is Too Soon

Back To "Ask The Biologist?" hunt a spot after taking a deer there?

QUESTION: Bob, after I shoot a deer, how long should I wait before returning to hunt in the same spot? - Tim S.

How Soon is Too Soon

ANSWER: The short answer is: it depends. Now for the long answer.

So much depends on variables such as conditions, circumstances and events. 

In the process of shooting, tracking and hauling out the deer, how much disturbance was caused? The more disturbance, the less likely deer are to use that same area soon afterward.

Did you field dress the deer and leave the gut pile nearby? If so, it might attract coyotes and predators, which could dissuade deer from using the area. 

Did you recruit help to track and find it? Did you haul the deer out with an ATV?

What were the circumstances involved in shooting the deer? If it was just wandering through a travel route, it might not be a bad idea to let the area rest a few days. However, you might consider going back sooner if the rut is on and it’s a funnel used by cruising bucks. 

And if the first deer you shot was a buck chasing a hot doe, I’d get back there as quickly as I could. She likely won’t go far, and there’s a good chance she’ll attract other bucks. 

I’ve witnessed this before, even moments after a shot was fired.

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