HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 13 - YOUR CONTRACT TO KILL
All hunters have a ‘contract to kill’. There’s no formal paperwork—this is about ethics. Your ‘contract’ is your commitment to kill game animals quickly and efficiently.
Understand that if you fire a bullet or an arrow at a game animal and only injure it, it’s entirely your responsibility to track that animal down and kill it. Even if you aren’t 100% sure that you hit the animal, you will still be 100% responsible for making sure it isn’t suffering somewhere.
Although making a perfect shot is always the goal, it won’t happen for you every time and not many animals will drop on the spot when they’ve been hit. For example, a fatally hit deer could travel 400-500 yards (almost half a mile!) away from where it was shot before it will fall.
Killing the game animal quickly will reduce the animal’s suffering and minimize the time you spend searching the hunting area to recover the dead animal. If the animal doesn’t drop right away after you’ve hit it, you should still have your finger on the trigger, so maintain your sight picture and take a second shot to finish the job.
Wise Words: A Bleeding Buck on the Run
Fatally hit deer tend to run downhill and toward water. Know the landscape? If you can’t find a blood trail, plan the search for your missing game according to the geography of the area. Or, get yourself a hunting dog that knows how to use it’s nose.