In the discussion regarding the requirement for statewide bow certification, I asked Mike Strahan if he had any data or information regarding whether bow hunters were more apt to wound and lose wounded game than were rifle hunters. Mike was too busy to research the question so I took it upon myself to do so. The previous discussion is becoming a bit long winded and I do not want to derail that discussion so here is a new post regarding the results of my efforts to find whether there were any data available regarding wounding/loss rates of Alaskan bowhunters. I wanted to find whether there were reliable studies with real data that would stand up to peer review.
The short answer is no such data exist.
The longer answer is that I undertook a fairly extensive, though probably not exhaustive, literature search using tools that were available to me in my previous life as an academic scientist. Failing to find anything of a scientific nature, I undertook a search of the "popular" literature (opinion, not scientific, and not subject to peer review). I did find a few surveys, and one master's thesis, involving bowhunters of whitetail deer, mostly in the eastern and upper midwestern US. Since we do not have whitetails in Alaska, and since hunting here is very different, I decided that surveys of whitetail hunters in Maryland or Virginia were not relevant to our situation.
I could not gain access to IBEP data, but I understand that IBEP does undertake some survey each year and the reported rates of wounded and non-recovered whitetails is in the mid-teens each year. While interesting, it is still not relevant to Alaskan hunters.
During the course of my search, I felt as though I had stepped through a looking glass and fallen into a rabbit hole that lead me through a worm hole and into the twilight zone. There is a vast amount of opinion masquerading as fact, some even giving pseudo citations that are clearly made up, but also cleverly masquerading as scientific citation. As might be expected, most comes from the anti-hunting establishment which seeks to portray bow hunters as blood-thirsty and bungling idiots who only manage to stick poor Bambis like pin cushions, leaving them to die a slow, painful, agonizing, horrible death. I am sure that this is where any misperception and prejudice arises regarding the public attitude toward hunting in general, and bowhunting in specific. If an untruth is repeated often enough, it becomes regarded as fact, especially if one's inclinations are to believe the mistruth to begin with.
I could cite some examples, but I wish to be brief and I do not wish to give any examples further citation. Any search engine will dredge up numerous examples and any search engine will pull up this site where it might be perceived that such propaganda originated here. If anybody is interested, I can respond to a pm and give you some interesting reading.
I was tempted to give this thread some catchy title like "Alaska bowhunters recover 100% of game shot at" solely to get that idea out into the cyber world, but that would have been as dishonest as some of the drivel disseminated by the anti-hunting organizations.
Thanks for wading through this report.