Following a Blood Trail

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I've spent countless hours either on my hands and knees or bent over, messing up my back, looking for blood. One such instance I remember most was a hog hunt a few years ago in Mississippi. I had never shot a hog so when I poked a hole in this guy; I was determined to find him. Wearing snake leggings, I crawled on my hands and knees through the briars and the brambles and bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. I found a spot of blood here and there but never the pig. And lucky for me, I didn't find a moccasin either.

I have spent hours on the blood trail of both elk and bear.  If you don't hit them just right, they don't bleed a lot.  So, what works best to follow a blood trail?  I was told that if you wait till after dark and use a Coleman lantern, that the light will illuminate any blood on leaves or bushes.  It took a couple of hours in the dark to dispel that rumor.  Luckily, we did find the cow the next day but it wasn't by lantern light.

I've heard that certain lights when shined on the blood will make it look like a blue light on white.  That didn't seem to work either.

Then I heard about an idea that has proven invaluable.  When archery hunting (except for my hog hunt in Mississippi) I carry a small spray bottle filled with Hydrogen Peroxide.  You can pick up Hydrogen Peroxide in any grocery or drug store and it comes in a little brown bottle.  Cost is minimal so go ahead and waste lots of it.  Find any small spray bottle and fill it.  You want to use a spray bottle that you either squeeze the handle or push a plunger to spray the contents.

Maybe you remember your Mom putting Hydrogen Peroxide on a cut to help clean it.  Do you remember how the blood frothed all white?  It works the same on animal blood.  With your little spray bottle, spray on any spot you think might be blood.  If it's blood, it will instantly start foaming and turn bright white.  Even if the blood has dried, it will react the same way.  Lots of times when you're following blood in the fall, the leaves are orange, yellow and red and none of those colors help you much in finding blood.  But if you spray the Hydrogen Peroxide on it, BINGO, you'll know if it's blood or just a dark spot on the leaf.

The little bottle doesn't weigh much and doesn't take up much space in your pack.  Keep the big bottle in your camp or vehicle for refills.  It's the best thing I've found so far for tracking wounded animals.


EddieK47's picture

  What a great tip!I have

  What a great tip!I have foung myself a few times searching for hours for the next drop of blood only to discover I passed over it mixed with the reds and yellows of the maple leaf ground cover.This will be on my list from now on.

Excellent Tip

Common sense not sure why I never thought of it. Although another tip for you guys using it on cuts and bruises, never use it on large cuts and when you do use it cut it 50/50 with water. It kills tissue, They almost couldn't stich my thumb back up in the ER because of the damage it did.

ndemiter's picture

i already carry a small spray

i already carry a small spray bottle with peroxide in it to clean my hands after i'm done gutting and cleaning.

i never thought of using it to track.

great idea! thanks!

i'm looking forward to learning exactly how well it works this fall, and, we'll see how many times i get to use it before the novelty completely wears off.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Thanks for a great tip.  I

Thanks for a great tip.  I recently tracked a wounded whitetai thru some thick brush and timber along a river bed.  I wishI would have had that infor then ot wuld have helped alot.  I too can attest to that those flaslights that are suppose to spot blood do work worth buddy had one and it urned out to be a waste of money.

Deer Slayer's picture

Good tips, thanks for

Good tips, thanks for sharing. I too like the other posters have heard of this one but have never tried it. Hopefully my dad or I won't have to try this. These last couple of years since we switched to the Rage, they have laid down some pretty good blood trails.

numbnutz's picture

Good tip, I've heard this

Good tip, I've heard this several times with mixed results, I havent riedit cause i havent had to but I will keep it in mind on my next hunt, it might just come in handy. I always have it in camp for cuts and scraps. Thanks again

Rem2arms's picture

Good tip Arrow, no more

Good tip Arrow, no more weight than my no scent I always carry in my pack. and well worth the 2 or so ounces weight.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Great tip. I too have heard

Great tip. I too have heard of this but I have never tried it. Hopefully I won't have to try it. If I do, I will hopefully be successful in recovering the animal I am tracking. Thanks for the tip.

groovy mike's picture

Thanks sharing your experience !

·          I heard about this one a long time ago too but I’ve never heard anyone discuss actually using it.  If it worked for you – I’ll definitely give it a try.  I HATE losing a blood trail.  And besides – having some hydrogen peroxide along for cleaning cuts and scrapes is probably a good policy to put into practice anyway. 

 Thanks sharing your experience ! 

hunter25's picture

I heard about this one a long

I heard about this one a long time ago and have been able to put it to the test on one occasion. It works exactly as desribed every time. Even if you don't see blood but are on a blood trail you have lost, spraying a swath of it can help you locate more blood that you had missed.

This is a great tip for an emergency situation. Thanks for sharing it with us.

jaybe's picture

Yup - I agree - it works

Yup - I agree - it works really well. I knew it would work because of what you said about putting it on cuts, but I was always concerned about it working after the blood dried. One time I had shot a deer just before dark and lost the trail because it jumped in a different direction than it had been traveling. I could see it was going to be very difficult to find it in the morning, because many of the maple leaves had little red spots on them - just like a spot of blood!

I came back in the morning with a spray bottle of peroxide and began spraying the leaves in a circle around the last drop of blood I had found the previous night (I also had my wife with me, who is very good at blood tracking). We suddenly found where the trail had switched directions by the bubbling on the leaves. After that, we were able to find blood, but occasionally verified it by spraying some of the peroxide on it. We eventually found the deer.

Great tip - thanks for sharing it.