Nova Scotia Hunter Safety Course


Tracking and Blood Trailing

Blood Trailing

After taking a shot, it is important to be patient, and wait at least 15-20 minutes before starting to look for the animal.  If the animal does not expire immediately and you start to track it, it will try to flee and will be much more difficult to find.

This is the time to start blood trailing, and looking for signs that indicate where the animal went after it was shot. Look for blood, bone fragments, hair and fluids on the ground or on leaves to get an idea of the direction the animal went. Most animals that do not expire right away will try to make their way toward a water source.

Take your time and be patient - not all trails will be straight or obvious. Depending on where the animal was shot, the trail might be difficult to follow. If the animal was shot in the heart or liver, you will see large pools of blood. If it was shot in the lungs, there will likely be bright red, frothy blood. In either case, the animal will expire very quickly and should not be too far away. 

If the animal was shot in the gut, however, blood drops will be farther apart, and will likely be mixed with clear or yellowish fluid.  In this case, the animal will take longer to expire - it is therefore a good idea to wait longer before you start to follow the blood trail.  

Flag your blood trail blaze orange surveyor's tape.  If you lose the trail, go back to the last clear indication, and search in increasing circles until you find the next blood drop. It is your responsibility as an ethical hunter to make every effort possible in order to recover the animal.