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Proper shot placement

A quick, clean harvest of game animals depends on shot placement. All hunters have the responsibility to first practice at a range to ensure they can place a shot successfully; a poor shot can simply wound a game animal, causing it to run away and not be found. Consistency is crucial. Do not take a shot unless you are certain you can hit the animal’s vital area to achieve a quick and clean harvest. If you are unsure, don't take the shot.

After taking your shot, wait for at least 15 to 20 minutes before looking for the game animal. At this point your must be patient. Remember that if the game animal does not drop immediately after being shot, it will try to hide in a safe place. All hunters have a responsibility to find any game they have shot. This search can sometimes take hours if the shot was a poorly placed, but it is your duty not to give up. If the animal runs onto private property, contact the landowner and get permission to go find the animal.

With a properly placed shot—in the vital area of the heart or lungs—a game animal will expire within a few minutes. After waiting, the hunter can start to track and find the game animal. When tracking the game animal, look for signs that it was shot: drops of blood on the ground or on plants are good signs. Take time to observe everything in the immediate area. You might find some hair or feathers on the ground or see a trail in the direction that the game animal ran. It is a good idea to carry some flagging tape with you to mark the blood trail. This will show the general direction in which the animal ran. Be sure to remove any flagging tape when you are finished your hunt. If the blood trail runs out, return to the last clear indication of blood and try again, moving in increasing circles.

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