Missing the Mark: A Hunter's Tale of Wounding an 8 Point Buck

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  • Brian's avatar

    I don’t know if it’s legal in your state but unitedbloodtrackers.org is a good tool to keep in your belt. Find a dog handler and maybe you can look again. It sucks having that happen and I don’t know for sure where the hit was but it sounds like a muscle hit. Probably high in the “no mans land” region. There is a string chance that he did live. They’re tough creatures.

  • Arica's avatar

    Aw man. Sorry to hear that. Your story telling is awesome. I hope to run across another post from you with a more positive end next week. Thanks for your morals and perspective on animals 👏

  • Brad's avatar

    This is the part most people outside of hunting don’t see. Thanks for sharing.

  • August's avatar

    Man I’m so sorry, these things happen to everyone and it sucks to say, but it happened and there’s nothing you can do about it except try to move on.

  • Alfonso's avatar

    It happened to my son a few years back. I know the feeling, great hunters ethics!! Keep it up! Good luck! Looking forward for some great pictures ( buck or doe)

  • Tyler's avatar

    It’s okay man. It happens to the best of us. But the fact that you feel remorse is very ethical of you. I would try and have a hound follow the trail, but thats just me. Keep at it, dont be discouraged. Hunt on!

  • James's avatar

    Brother thanks for the story, and you know what...it happens to ALL of us at 1 time or another..you will get him next time !! Happy hunting brother and keep it up !!

  • Brad's avatar

    Happened to me last year. Shot my buck at less than 10 yards right under my stand with a .308. We tracked him almost a mile and jumped him once only to loose the blood trail and never find him. It’s a terrible feeling but we do learn from it. It’s just one of those really hard lessons. Best of luck the rest of your season. Don’t let one hunt ruin the season. I’ve been guilty of that and it take all the fun out of the hunt. 👊🏻

  • Adam's avatar

    The pain you’re feeling is what makes you an excellent hunter. Things happen sometime. But you strive to improve.

  • Mike's avatar

    Even wolves and mountain lions aren’t 100% successful on their attempts to take game, even when drawing blood. As experiences build, so do success rates. Yes, it sucks. But you’ve handled it well and will surely improve as a hunter. The percentage of lost animals will decrease greatly for you as you stay committed. Great share man, hold your head up and get back at it, applying your experiences gained. Good luck👊

  • Adam's avatar

    After speaking with a friend (actually my mentor that got me back into hunting at 25) at length about this, he came to an interesting conclusion. He theorized that what I had was a brisket shot. I had assumed that I missed high as that tends to be the common theme for these situations. What I hadn’t mentioned here, or to him was that I HAD aimed lower than normal. I barely had the presence of mind to realize that while I had lasered a rock near his position at 13 yards that was line of sight and I was 25-ish feet off the ground. My mental trigonometry isn’t stellar under the best of circumstances, and when bathed in the napalm of adrenaline...well, the brain no worky so good. In hindsight, the distance difference was probably negligible and I probably overcompensated. The tip off to my friend was the amount of tallow on the arrow and how the blood was steady until he bedded and then after some time trotted off with my dreams. So, fingers-crossed that was the case and it was merely a flesh wound that he can recover from.

  • Brandon's avatar

    That is part of hunting everyone that don't hunt just sees the kills and retrieves from everyone this usually happens to me at least once a year on a deer of some sort during bow season.....happend to my 12 year old first evening of bow season she shot jer first deer with bow and was a lil spike we tracked it for 2 n half hours before loosing blood and it bleed like a stuck pick it was 30 yards and as she shot he turned just a lil and she shot it a lil to far back....it sux no matter what animal it is but thats part of it tjat is what keeps us in the woods as much as possible

  • Bill's avatar

    It happens. Sounds like maybe a shot in the brisket. If so, he'll live. Don't give up hope, learn and keep at it!

  • Adam's avatar

    Thank you all for the kind words, everyone. As for the suggestions of using dogs to track the deer, they are solid ideas. A quick search tells me that the law against using dogs to track wounded game was actually overturned last year. (I live in PA). I was under the impression it was still a no-go. Hopefully another opportunity will present itself, I can take a second to breathe and avoid this in the future.

  • Chuck's avatar

    Keep at it you gave it 100% that's all you can do happy hunting

  • Noah's avatar

    Everyone misses it happens even the best hunters miss. So don’t worry just go after the buck again and make sure you practice a lot so that next time you make the connection with that buck.

  • Ruben's avatar

    It happens even to best of the best time to get redemption and go back out that’s all you can do good luck

  • Brian's avatar

    It happens to the best of us. Whether it's something you don't see like a limb etc. Main thing is that you tried to pursue your animal as best you could. Gave it a great effort!!

  • Katie's avatar

    Sounds like my first attempt with my bow two years ago. Such a close shot I was certain it was a clean hit and would be easy to find. Tracked him too soon (after dark) and ended up bumping him. Called it off for the night, and when I went back to the spot where I jumped him, there wasn't another trace of blood. Lessons were learned, but it was still heartbreaking that I couldn't recover him. Good luck during the rest of the season. I hope you can get some meat in the freezer!

  • Jacob's avatar

    I really appreciate you sharing this story and we need more of this humility in the woods. This is real. You’ll get him next time.

  • Steven's avatar

    There is very few bow hunters that are 100 percent I have been bow hunting since 1972 and have killed over a hundred deer but I have screwed up a lot of times.Sometimes it isn’t that you got a terrible shot it’s that you lose the blood trail and can’t find the deer.I had a dachshund that I trained to track deer and he was amazing he found deer that completely had no blood trail.If you do everything you can to find your deer and don’t recover it you are still a very ethical hunter.

  • Jason's avatar

    Man, it stinks to see your wall hanger run away!! One thing I always tell myself when I miss “it’s hunting and not shopping.” Keep grinding and it will become a wall mount sooner or later. Best of luck

  • Coyote's avatar

    It happens and I hate it also.

  • Steven's avatar

    Keep your head up we've all done it. Most important thing is not get discouraged. And look at the upside you must be doing something right to get on a buck like that. God bless!

  • Landon's avatar

    Hey brother don’t beat yourself up to bad. Everyone makes a bad shot at some point and the fact that you’re upset about it says volumes about the type of hunter you are. All I can say is try to move past it and keep practicing.

  • Frank's avatar

    I’m guilty of this situation not once but twice a couple of yrs back I felt defeated but I stayed with it and finally stuck a nice one the guy on the next farm shot the second buck I messed up on had a big scar on its brisket I knew it was the one I missed when I seen the rack

  • Adam's avatar

    Thanks again to everyone. I had originally posted this on FB and so few of my friends hunt that there wasn’t much in the way of understanding. It truly speaks to this group of people that share the same passions. The fact that complete strangers would take time to offer support, well, I am humbled.

  • Tom's avatar

    Keep your chin up we’ve all been there. If you didn’t feel like crap I’d worry. Fact is you put in the time and did all you could to find this buck they are amazing animals. The highs snd lows can mess with your head especially when you’re rerunning the events over and over and over again. Get back on that horse and remember what you learned when you were dusting of your hat. The next buck will be that much more sweet. Carry on and have fun.

  • Brian's avatar

    @Adam we’ve all been there bro. I did quit hunting for a few years, not 100% because of losing a couple deer but it was part of the equation. It’s perfectly plausible that the deer is alive. I shot a doe high that we tracked for about a mile and a half. Jumped her in the end after she clotted and couldn’t find her. We had her on camera weeks later all you could see was a messed up patch on her back where the arrow passed through and she seemed to be healthy. It sucks but it is part of it. We do everything we can to minimize the chances of lost animals, and it will still happen on occasion. My personal preference is to notch the tag and move on. I won’t attempt to fill that tag again in the same season.

  • Justin's avatar

    I almost feel as if this hasn’t happened to a bow hunter then they haven’t hunted. We can practice, practice, practice day in and day out but there is not any practice for that final second before you release that arrow. It’s truly a feeling that has to be experienced first hand. Some people out there may be able to say that this has never happened to them before. As hunters we hope it never does. But you live and you learn bud. It’s happened to me before and the only thing it has done for me is make me a much better hunter than I thought I was already.keep your head up and stick with it.

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Adam's avatar

Adam W


Father of 2 girls. Slinger of pointy sticks. Bringer of meat. Lover of sweeps and giveaways. Win stuff with me! Check out www.facebook.com/MancaveOfGiveaways for tons of sweepstakes and giveaways.

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