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I generally go down the back and sit in a ladder stand each evening around 5 PM - last night I was sitting there as usual and around 6:45 two doe come walking down the trail - I got a doe license and I'm hunting with a crossbow - the lead doe stops - I put the cross-hairs behind the shoulder and let the bolt go - it sounded like a solid hit - the doe jumped and ran towards a creek - it was pretty close to getting dark so I went up the house and watched the last few minutes of the Notre Dame game on TV -

Got a couple of flashlights and went down to see if I could trail the blood path - well I found the bolt - it was slanted into the ground and in the line of fire - but it only had some small white hair and a very small piece of fat on its tip - the rest of the arrow was clean - no blood on the bolt at all - man I thought to myself how could I have missed - it was only about 15 yards away - looked around for about an hour then went back up to the house -

Got up early today and went down and looked around for an hour - nothing - but then I noticed a small branch had a clean spot where the bark and some wood was missing - it was right in the line of fire - what I figure happened - the bolt hit this branch and deflected the bolt - I must have hit the deer in the leg so I think it will recover from the wound - crazy things happen - we'll be trying again this coming week -
 

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As a continuation to my other post - I was wondering what effect it would have on the meat if you let a deer lay in the woods overnight without gutting it - -I know from past experience that the belly will swell up with gas and when you put a knife into it the smelly gas will come out - but I guess this must happen a lot when you hunt in the evenings and you can't find the deer in the dark - the temperature over night went down to the low 40s - any thoughts
 

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it depends where you shoot it and how cold it is

if it hit the gut and they spend the night at 40 degrees I can speak from experience you will never get that stink out , no we didn't shoot that one , but we found it first thing Sunday morning the 2nd day of season

it was a shame it was a nice 8 pointer , we tagged it , gutted it and washed it out good ,hung it up and when we started cutting that night , we decided it wasn't worth it as it still smelled very strong
 

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What Pete said

On a hog last winter, it was cold for here, lows down to 22 and not above 40 during the day. Right before dark, I shot a fat pig and my light died while looking for blood. I never found any, though the pig was less than 60 yards away.

The next morning, around 8 I walked to see if there was blood and never found any then either. But I walked the direction the pig ran and he died at the edge of a field about 100 yards away. I skinned him, and he was fine. When I got him open, steam was rising which scared me, because if 15 hours in 20 degree weather wouldn't cool him off, then I figured he might have spoiled.

But, he didn't stink at all and tastes fine. He weighed about 120 pounds.

I've read that elk will go bad in a hurry if you don't gut them and get air circulating. Even when they have been snowed over. So maybe its a function of size?
 
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