Wounding Rates of White-tailed Deer with Modern Archery Equipment

We determined wounding rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) by bowhunters using modern (compound bow and crossbow) archery equipment. Our study relied on daily reports submitted by bowhunters who participated in managed hunts at the Naval Support Facility Indian Head at Indian Head, Maryland. Bowhunters were required to pass the International Bowhunter Education Program and an annual pre-season shooting proficiency test. During the 1989-2006 hunting seasons, 104 bowhunters failed to recover 162 of 908 deer hit by arrows or crossbow bolts, corresponding to an 18% wounding rate. There was no difference in deer recovery metrics between compound bow and crossbow users (χ21 = 0.01; P = 0.92). Bowhunters who harvested the most deer (>20 deer per hunter) had a lower pooled wounding rate than bowhunters who killed fewer deer (χ21 = 22.2; P < 0.005). Based on our estimates, qualified bowhunters were able to recover 1 deer for every 1.4 shots using modern archery equipment.

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