A few questions about my deer...


New Member
Knowing today was my last chance to get out this year, I went ahead and took a full broadside shot on a very young doe - small enough that I assume she was one of this spring's fawns. She ran about 80 yards down a steep hill, crashing and getting up briefly before going down for the count.

My shot wasn't spot-on where I'd planned, but it was close - seemed to have just nicked the back of the heart. There wasn't much of a blood trail, but lots was on the ground where she fell and there was a bunch more inside the ribcage.

The real problem was that when I came up to her, her stomach was split open in about an eight-inch line front to back. Her intestines and gut were both hanging out of it, both damaged and leaking. My shot was at least three or four inches away (forward and higher) from the opening of the tear, so I'm not sure how my slug could have done that. Is it possible she split herself open when she crashed while running?

Another issue is that both tenderloins have a gash in them at the same place. It almost looks like another shot went through them both from broadside, but there was no damage to the spine and the tenderloins themselves aren't bloodshot - just have a chunk torn out:


Between the tenderloins and the stomach split, I'd be tempted to think this deer had been shot a couple of times by the time I got her. But mine was the only hole I've been able to find.

My last question is, is it normal to find hard, white nuggets or pellets (presumably of fat) on the inside of the ribcage, near the tenderloins and haunches? I've heard this can mean TB, but I'm not aware of that being a (known) problem in the area I hunt. I've circled one of the things below; there were a lot more before I cleaned them out prior to hearing about the possible TB tie-in:


I'd appreciate comments on any of this, since this is only my second deer ever and only the third I've been involved in harvesting. So I'm not really sure what's "normal."


Did you have an exit hole? Maybe the bullet split and deflected off bone. That doesn't look like a TB nodule. If you cut into a TB nodule it should have a puss/purulent thick fluid in the center. I will tell you though, even as a vet, I have never seen a case of TB.
To me all I see is fat. It will congeal and form some odd shapes as the animal cools. If in doubt I would find a second opinion locally. Do you have meat processor close? If you run it by them they will know if it is something out of the ordinary.
That's fat and you are good to go. My call on open belly, is you shot little different angle than you think and opened her up on entrance or exit. Deflection maybe, but I doubt. Congrats on the harvest and enjoy some of the best healthy food available.