congrats on the buck!!!
With over 100 bowkills under my belt and trailing many more for friends( IE we hunted in a group of 8 bowhunters typically) let me just give you this.
Pushing a gut shot deer can lead to loss. So can leaving it overnight or too long. Remember I"m in TX so its warm too. Gut shots are simple to find. If you know its gut shot. The deer typically beds inside of 70 yards in my experiences. If thick, quicker than that. YOu have to SNEAK out of the stand if so inclined, the OPPOSITE way the deer went. Don't even look for the arrow because the deer may be 20 yards behind it. Spooking it out of its first bed early can lead to never finding it.
Last time I did the gut shot, was probably close to 20 years ago now thankfully. I waited until dark, and went away from the doe. Even though it was away froim camp also.
Then finally, give it 8 hours. Not 4. Not 6. Not 7.5. But 8 hours. 8 hours we've found every last one dead in their bed. 100 yards or less from the impact. Even in open grass fields.
And yes, one time we lost a deer to pigs. But IMHO we'd have lost that deer regardless if we trailed it right away anyway.
And trust me we've tried the 6 hours. ANd the 7 hours and every now and then they are dead, but not always. Did it once because the hunter wanted to get home at a certain time on Sunday evening... 7 hours into it. Found her bedded up, but alive. He shot at 20 yards and deflected. Mind you she was head down curled up under a cedar tree. I was at full draw with a pin on her chest when he released. She bailed out so fast I never did get a shot off...
Nuff said, hope it helps in the future. Hope you never have to deal with the thunk again too.
Good dear, congrats and congrats on not giving up! I"ve trailed gut shots over 1.5 miles until recovering them....
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.