Efficiency of Archery Hunting for White-tailed Deer on Medway Plantation

We conducted this study to determine efficiency of archery equipment in conjunction with tracking dogs for harvesting white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on Medway Plantation in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Twentytwo experienced archers hunting from elevated stands over corn feeders shot 61 deer. A tracking dog was used whenever deer did not fall within sight of the hunter (41 of the 61 deer shot). Immediately following each hunt, the hunter completed a questionnaire to determine equipment used, shot conditions, and deer reaction. We recovered 60 of the 61 deer shot (98%) within 24 hours of being hit. Comparison of shot situation variables (draw weight, deer activity, alertness, reaction, position, number of deer present, arrow penetration, and number of broadhead blades) with shot placement and distance traveled after the shot revealed few significant associations. Position of the deer when shot (P = 0.04) and shot placement (P = 0.06) were associated with distance traveled after the shot. Careful shot selection, shooting skill, and using tracking dogs may be the main factors contributing to our high recovery rate.

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