What I relate here is a true story. I learned this quite by accident. It is a great way to find that wounded deer that just won’t bleed, or has appeared to have stopped bleeding. There is also a great safety aspect to it as well.
Just a few upsides.
1. It helps you find game you or anyone else would have lost otherwise.
2. It leaves a trail behind you showing where the animal has been, which usually gives a good indication of where it is headed depending upon what is in its line of travel. (Wounded animals generally run down hill, and towards water and thickets.)
3. It leaves a trail for OTHERS to find YOU, or join the search or recovery efforts if need be.
4. It leaves a trail for YOU to return on.
5. And that trail remains out there in the woods for you for quite a while afterwards just in case you have to return to recover that dropped wallet, or deer rifle you leaned against the tree in your search efforts. Or you have to return later with reinforcements, or just have to show your buddies and tell them the story. “you ain’t gonna believe this fellas”.
6. The best one: It provides assistance in “answering the call of nature”, blowing your nose or wiping your hands. And it works great for building fires.
7. It can be seen from the air when the helicopter comes looking for you.
8.If you get lost, and can’t find the tissue trail out, you can use it to wipe your tears while you wander around aimlessly sniffling and crying in the woods.
It’s basic parts are common to every serious hunter, and most savvy hunters will have it on their body or in their pack while hunting. Yes. Charmin man. Some of the world’s most important paperwork. A roll of toilet paper.
I know, I know “just get a tracking dog man” ok, “use peroxide”. Got it. The caveat with those methods are tracking dogs and peroxide don’t fit well into backpacks and cargo pockets.
They just aren’t handy man. The dog most often won’t fit, and they whine too much. And you have to feed them. And the peroxide inevitably leaks, but I digress.
9 It can also be used to write messages on for someone trying to find you. Or a goodbye letters, or love letters, or a last will and testament. Forgive me for wandering. Yes, always carry a pen to the woods.
10 But before I go any further, to demonstrate my environmental sensitivity, and to appease the tree huggers and earth worshippers among us, those that would accuse me of using this method to recklessly and maliciously litter the woods and destroy the planet for the sake of human life and finding a wounded animal, I must point out that there are environmentally friendly upsides to using this method.
11 The tissue IS bio degradable, and can be “re purposed” for nesting by those pretty sweet little birds, and even the soft fuzzy rabbits, cute little squirrels and big cuddly grizzly bears- especially the bears, would find it useful for wiping their rear ends as well so. OH!, And let’s not forget about Sasquatch.
No doubt he could make good use of some charmin or angel soft also. Gotta keep them squatches and cuddly old bears happy don’t cha know?. There.
11. For the snowflakes and the more “special” ones among us, it can be used simply to avoid getting lost in the woods. A wounded animal and blood is NOT required to use this method. Ok?
Common sense I know, but some folks.
12. It gives bow hunters, who track more than anyone else, and hunters with poor vision, a decided advantage when tracking game on their own.
13. Now, for those with a one best solution mindset bias, it CAN be used in conjunction with a tracking dog, a drone, tracking cat, pot bellied pig, goat, hydrogen peroxide, red lens flashlight, green lens, blue lens , helicopter, divining rod, prayer or most any other tracking method one can dream up.
14. It can be expanded upon. A paint roller with an extension can be used to speed up tracking and locating blood. Bear with me, I’ll explain that later.
15. Materials for this method are very cheap and portable. Very lightweight also. About 8 bucks at Lowe’s. And Lowes sells toilet paper too.
16. You can begin tracking immediately. Safely, even alone.
17.It gives bow hunters, who track more than anyone else, and hunters with poor vision, a decided advantage in tracking game on their own.
Caveats: Will not work in rain. But then neither will many other tracking methods.
Ok. here’s the story:
I run a small hunting club in southeast Georgia. It is not far from the 270,000 acre Fort Stewart Military reservation. Like, a half mile close.
One fall day a couple years ago, Tommy, one of the members, shot a deer. I was a half mile away and heard the shot. At such a distance, an experienced hunter can sometimes tell when he is hearing a gunshot that struck the animal. This was one of those shots. “TABOOOM!” A solid hit. Big doe. I was excited for my friend.
A few minutes later, I heard Riley, another club member,shoot another deer. He had dropped a doe in its tracks. Good deal! What a great day of hunting!.
I waited in the stand for my turn, but it never came. After an hour or so,It was dark, and Tommy tells me via text message that the deer had ran off after the shot and he tracked her until he had lost the trail, and just cannot find the deer.
As it turned out, the deer had been gut shot, and had been pushed too hard.
Later during the track, we found several spots, pools of blood where it had laid down,only to have gotten back up and walked some more.
I had already came down from my stand. So I checked my flashlight batteries, turned on my hunting cap flashlight and grabbed a roll of toilet paper from a Ziploc bag out of my pack.
I planned to use the tissue mainly to avoid getting lost if we went into unfamiliar territory, and to mark blood spots and our trail going in. It would also provide us a clear path OUT. If we happened to have group stupid attack and get lost, hopefully it would provide a search team a way in to find us.
I had no idea how wise that decision would turn out to be at the time.
I walked the 1\2 mile or so to his location
Riley was already there with Tommy when I walked up. It was now pitch dark.
The wounded deer had left our property and had walked into a huge,dried up swamp bottom on another man’s land. I knew it was going to be a long night.
“We ain’t gonna be no ordering pizza tonight boys. Not from here you won’t”.
You couldn’t even see the stars in that thick swamp bottom. Nothing but thick bushes and pig trails. And they all looked the same.
All the leaves were the same color, with blood red splotches, and it seemed all the trees and bushes were the same color and size too.
The worst part was GPS and phone signal were not part of the equation here. Nonexistent. No google earth in these woods fellas.
Perfect conditions for getting lost. Yea, we were in for some fun. Saddle up boys.
We began tracking where Tommy had found the last spot of blood.
We crossed the firebreak onto the neighboring property. Spooky.
After 20 yards or so, we picked the trail back up and started finding plenty of blood. I had dropped tissue squares up to this point.
At each spot, and every ten feet or so, I would tear off a square of tissue and drop it over the blood spot. After several hundred yards, the blood was getting harder and harder to find. But at this point, we were too deep in to give up easily. We knew we had to be close.
Pride and ego had taken over. We were gonna FIND THIS DEER. Over an hour had passed.
By now, all of us were literally on our hands and knees crawling on likely trails and paths examining leaves, one by one for any trace of blood.
It was so thick that crawling was the best way to move anyway.
And every leaf looked like it had blood on it. It was mind numbing.
Occasionally we would find a tiny speck of blood.
Then, after ten or so minutes, another speck. This was going to take all night. It was 65 degrees.
Riley’s deer was awaiting pickup, so TWO deer would be ruined if we did not find this one soon.
As I crawled along on my hands and knees with my toilet paper in one hand, I sat up and wiped the sweat off my forehead.
I happened to glance at the ground side of the roll of tissue and noticed a few tiny specks of blood. MY blood? I checked myself. Nope, it came from these leaves here. I started dabbing the flattened roll of tissue on the leaves on the trail in front of me. More blood. Tiny specks. TINY specks. That’s all I needed. This is gonna be easy boys.
100 yards later, after crawling right by it once, we found the deer. She was huge. 160 lbs huge. Biggest doe I’ve ever saw. AWESOME!
But now we were a half mile into the swamp. And we had no idea of any direction except up and down.
Riley says “now how the heck do we get out of here?”.
As I pulled off my belt to use as a tow strap around the deer’s head, I said “start looking for toilet paper man,”. “Or you can drag this deer, take your pick”.
Faced with those two options, in just a few seconds, Riley had miraculously transformed into Davey Crockette, our new guide. I tell you those little white squares of tissue strewn across that swamp turned Riley into an expert extrordinaire guide. The best in the business. He led us right out of there.
Tommy and I followed him dragging the deer.
From one small square to another, we finally made it back to familiar woods, and got to a good road for a pickup point. Within a few minutes, we had both deer loaded and enroute to the processor.
A good hunt saved by a roll of toilet paper. Who knew?
I learned a lot from that tracking episode. The biggest lesson is that lowly toilet tssue roll IS much more important paperwork than I had ever dreamed possible.
Only a fool would hit the woods or leave home without it.
Since then I have fashioned an additional device for improved tracking on open ground and flat areas. A paint roller and a roll of paper towels. (I keep it behind the seat of my truck). Bore cleaning patches also work very well.
And yes, if you can multi task, you can carry ANOTHER roll of tissue along to mark your trail.
The paper towel or roll of tissue fits perfectly over the paint roller. Add a three or four foot extension and you are ready to find that buck.
Simply roll it along likely trails and check the roll. Even the tiniest speck of blood will show up and be easily visible. You won’t believe the blood you’ve been missing.