How often do deer survive poorly placed shots?

By Grant Woods,

  Filed under:

← Grant's AnswersDeer Biology
I arrowed an old buck (aged approx 6-7 yrs) Nov 7th 2015. My shot was not on target, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. The shot was far back but did pass through. I don’t believe I touched lung, stomach, or liver. We waited 4 hours and followed a blood trail until it stopped after 300 yrds with no sign of the deer bedding down at any point. I know that deer can be resilient animals, but no one hunting in my area has seen this deer since. My question is not specifically about the deer I shot this past November, but I’m hoping he may show up again next year.

My question is do you have experiences with deer surviving poor placed shots?

Thanks for all the information that you share.

-Jeff in Arkansas


If a deer’s vitals aren’t damaged and no infection occurs deer have a good chance of surviving.  There are several factors that influence the chance of survival.  The scent of the wounded deer may attract predators. Even though the deer may have survived many likely don’t get a chance to heal due to being caught by predators during a weakened state.  

Enjoy creation,


February 7, 2016