Sitka Mountain Gear
BT Challenge Q1 - my opinion
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 16-Jul-17
Topgun 30-06 16-Jul-17
drycreek 16-Jul-17
BC 16-Jul-17
Crusader dad 16-Jul-17
Candor 16-Jul-17
Canuck 16-Jul-17
txhunter58 16-Jul-17
nvgoat 16-Jul-17
Griz34 16-Jul-17
Jack Harris 17-Jul-17
Brotsky 17-Jul-17
12yards 17-Jul-17
x-man 17-Jul-17
Mad Trapper 17-Jul-17
The END 17-Jul-17
APauls 17-Jul-17
Bake 17-Jul-17
elkmtngear 18-Jul-17
pav 18-Jul-17
Will 18-Jul-17
elk yinzer 18-Jul-17
RutnStrut 18-Jul-17
JDM 18-Jul-17
JTV 18-Jul-17
kent 18-Jul-17
TD 18-Jul-17
bigbuckbob 24-Jul-17
From: Pat Lefemine

Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
Pat Lefemine's embedded Photo
I promised I would give you my reasons for scoring this shot as a '0' due to a bad angle - so here goes. I know you won't all agree - that's Ok. If I had it to do all over again I would. Obviously, by the outcome, I did everything right and took what many would consider to be a buck of a lifetime.

There are four considerations with this shot. This buck is not broadside (as many people said he is). He is very slightly quartering-to. Second, he is walking as you can see by looking at the back leg in motion, Third, his front leg is currently pulled back making the shot less than ideal, and Fourth; the deer is not alarmed so that means the nearside front leg will come forward (in just a second or two) and the angle will become quartering away - a much higher percentage shot.

So while many of you sitting comfortably behind a PC claim you could easily slip an arrow into this buck at that angle - killing it - I would contend that may be true, but it is risky. The human element associated with a buck this special has to be taken into consideration. My adrenaline was off the chart, I was shaking, and initially had a difficult time staying composed. There was no wind, and zero noise. I needed to coach myself to remain disciplined and wait for a higher-percentage, quartering-away shot. My guess is an overwhelming number of bowhunters would have needed to do the same. Imagine how I (or you) would feel blowing a shot on this deer? Remember, we are hunting deep in a swamp. Anything other than a perfect shot will be impossible to find.

If you followed any of my bloodtrails, or have watched any of my live hunts, you will notice that I am a huge proponent of waiting for a quartering away shot. You have a much higher margin for error and far, far less chance of hitting bones or the dreaded shoulder blade. I have tracked many poor hits. Had the bowhunter just waited another second or two the position would have been ideal - but they rushed it because they felt they could, and a simple recovery turned into an ordeal (or a wounding loss). So there you have it. If you are still mad, and violently disagree, then maybe games like this are not for you. In the end you are playing against one persons' opinion. There are no absolutes. I have bow-killed hundreds of deer and all of those kills guided me in this incredible opportunity. I too have rushed enough shots to know better than to shoot until the situation is ideal - sometimes that means I miss opportunities and sometimes it works out - in this case it worked perfectly.

I do appreciate constructive feedback and always take respectful, critical comments into consideration. It is the essence of these BT challenges and never get offended by them. I know people have a variety of risk tolerance levels and not everyone thinks the same. That's fine. What I won't tolerate is rude, immature or belittling comments when it comes to these games. So as you agree or disagree with this thread take that into consideration.

Thanks for playing and I welcome all respectful feedback.

From: Topgun 30-06
I agree with your opening paragraph and holding for just a second or two until the vitals are completely open for that sure shot!

From: drycreek
I was one of the first to say that I could have killed that deer at that angle.......but I was not the one with the bow in his hand, and probably will never even see a buck like that, much less draw an arrow on one.

As I said in the discussion, the facts are: You killed him, you found him dead, and his steaks are in your freezer. 'Nuff said !

From: BC
Good call. A few more steps gave you a better angle. Big part of bowhunting is holding it together under pressure. Well done.

From: Crusader dad
I think your response is perfect and one that a normal person will take for what it is.

I didn't think about the deer walking and would have taken that shot if that was the shot that presented itself.

I'm also in no way as experienced as most of you guys on here and I would have probably screwed this one up too.

I did in fact screw up my shot at a buck of a lifetime by being impatient and have also screwed up two shots at other great bucks.

The good thing for me is I hunt an a part of the country and on enough land that I can optimistically say that I will have a shot at a normal buck of a lifetime every 7 years or so and now I have learned my lesson.

Thanks for your challenges Pat, I think we all knew this was going to be an easy one so some, myself included, overthought some of our options.

It's always easier to be an armchair quarterback and hindsight is always 20/20.

From: Candor
This is one where being there is different than doing the challenge. I have always contended that, on any mature deer, you should take the first, high confidence shot presented. If a mature deer is skittish, I still contend I would take that shot. I most certainly would not have waited for him to turn. I would likely have waited for his front leg to move forward. Big deer can seemingly evaporate in the blink of an eye.

I am fine with whatever as it was fun to do with my son and gave us a chance to talk through the logic.

Since it takes me no time for you to put these together, the only possible way of presenting this differently would be for you to have a video of the buck walking in and then freezing it on this frame. That might give the viewer a better sense of the situation.

I thought this was a very good challenge. Even if I received a cero on uno.

From: Canuck
I say thanks for the learnings!

From: txhunter58
I was one who also chose to wait for a better angle, but I think your pointing out that the buck was in motion (right rear leg) was missed by most people, including me. That makes it even more of a correct decision in my book to wait. As stated, you can't argue with success

From: nvgoat
I chose to shoot and no, I did not notice the deer was moving. I appreciate Pat's comments. I find the blood trail challenges fun and sometimes challenging. The most important issue for me is that they make me think about what to do and why. Not getting the max points on a question makes me reassess my thought process and choice. While I don't always agree, I still learn and that is the important part. Many thanks.

From: Griz34
I agree 100% you made the correct decision, and I don't think anyone was mad or violently disagreed. My comment was made in jest. I just thought the question would have been more accurate if it would have said wait the buck to stop moving instead of saying it was a poor angle.

From: Jack Harris
Pat I 100% would have waited as you did in that situation. I felt it was slight quarter-to which I hate, and although many are right to say there is still a good kills shot available, I absolutely have been in same situation and a better shot always presented itself. It is important to note that a leg fully extended in the opposite direction is not optimal either as the scapula drops down to cover much of vitals. I think in this situation - I just like a deer to be a little beyond me and start to quarter away and my confidence level soars to 100%, all the time, every time. Well done! Hope to get to experience a buck of that caliber in my lifetime and make a good shot and then I might just hang it all up :)

From: Brotsky
Pat, congrats again on an awesome buck! The fact that his antlers will adorn your wall for many years is the only explanation and justification you need for Q1.

From: 12yards
I apologize if my previous posts were childish. I would have taken this shot as I would always take the first good shot opportunity as I'm always paranoid I won't get another. I can hardly tell it is quartering to, and, while the leg is back, it doesn't reduce the kill area much. You will just be shooting through more meat in the shoulder. You obviously made the right call on an incredible deer.

From: x-man
I got that question right, but I can see why so many complained. If I"m behind the camera, I would take that shot. Only because by the time I squeeze off that shot towards the front of the ">" that front leg will be forward again when the arrow gets there.

Later, while watching the video clip, you can see that the arrow comes from the right of the camera angle. Depending on how far to the right, that makes that shot angle even worse. something that we don't know from the photo, but Pat takes for granted.

From: Mad Trapper

From: The END
Wait until the onside leg is forward? That's some crazy, new age, out of the box thinking!

From: APauls
I said shoot, because I always take the first high percentage shot I can. Especially on a mature buck. You stated he was nervous. By reading that I am thinking he could bolt at any second.

Deer was walking. I LOVE taking walking shots 20 yards an under. They generally don't jump the string because of the walking noise and IF they DO hear it they generally want to stop to verify that slight noise - which timing-wise happens after the arrow gets there, but you can kind of see them slow up. Just my $0.02, waiting for a better shot angle is obviously a great decision as well, but I would still shoot next time. I'm also not a risk averse person in general - which I think also plays into a hunters shot selection. Some guys don't take a frontal some do.

From: Bake
I have no problem with your rationale. When I answered wrongly, I knew it was wrong. And I knew he was walking, because I watched that video several times.

Let's be honest. . . I'd have f'ed it up. I would have panicked, and I'd have blown it. I've never killed an exceptional animal of any species. My one chance at a truly exceptional animal was an elk in 2015. I blew it. I completely panicked. Completely lost my cool. Lost all capacity for rational thought. Rushed a bad shot choice, punched the trigger, and sent an arrow through a 380+ rack. I knew what he was. I had seen him and forsaken opportunities to get closer to bigger bulls than I'd ever shot before, just to get a chance at him. Then when I did 5 days later, I blew it like a big loser.

I'm not bitter or anything . . . :)

I need to hunt more. Fact is, I need to hunt on foot more. I'm terrible at it. Hang back when I should push, and push when I should hang back. My tendency is to push push push. Then when I second guess finally and hang back, it's a time I should have pushed. I don't know how to remedy this other than to obtain more experience.

I'm somewhat better from a static position, but I still have a tendency to push the boundaries at that first decent opportunity.

Bake, I have read your posts for a few years. I am impressed with your hunting ability, and your humility!

From: elkmtngear

elkmtngear's embedded Photo
elkmtngear's embedded Photo
Since all we had to go off was the still photo at the time, I chose to take the shot. Even though his back leg is moving, his front feet are firmly planted, and he is unaware of anything amiss, judging by his posture.

Once again, I offer the anatomical reference to show the vitals with the front leg in that position. Both lungs, heart, and great vessels can be all easily taken from the elevated angle, if the shot in the "V" is executed at 15 yards.

The fact that there is a whole thread dedicated to this one question, is sort of telling...

No sour grapes, I enjoyed the challenge. After all the input...I'd still take that shot without hesitation. Some very good talking points have been offered.

Best of Luck, Jeff

From: pav
I answered "correctly", but not necessarily due to angle or the fact the deer is walking. If I'm not already at full draw, I'm waiting until the buck gets past me at least a few yards to avoid getting picked off going full draw. If I'm already at full draw, I'm waiting the split second it takes for that near leg to reach forward before letting the arrow fly.

From: Will
I would have taken the shot. But, I generally stink at the BT challenges on here. I'm good at them in real life, but these always kill me. They are fun any way.

My interpretation of the pic, is generally assuming the question is referencing the specific point in time shown in the photo. Sort of a: "this is what you have, there are no other options, there is no thinking behind or ahead, if you could shoot right now, would you?" While not my favorite shot, I would rather slightly away for example, overall, it's a solidly killable shot.

The rationale for no points makes sense to. I just dont see it as black and white.

Still looking forward to the next BT challenge though! Ill get something that seems obvious wrong on that one too :)

From: elk yinzer
I take that slightly quartering to shot and would take it under 20 yards in a heartbeat, even if I anticipated getting a slightly better angle. It's just a shot I know I can make and I don't need a better one. I reason anything less that 30 yards that presents a softball size or larger to be an ethical shot. I can hit a softball 10/10 times under 30 yards, even under pressure. Over 30, it slowly grows to a dinner plate size, of course we aren't talking about movement, brush, or any of the other factors here either, just distance. But that's just my theory and I can't rip Pat because I didn't get a perfect score, and the result is on his wall.

From: RutnStrut
It was your hunt and shot to call Pat. In the end it all worked out and that's all that matters. That said, I would take that shot any day. But we all have to do what we feel comfortable with at the time.

From: JDM
Kinda funny how civil the thread is when Pat's the thread owner.

From: JTV
Pat, I agree with everything you thing I have learned thru the 30 some odd years of BOWhunting is being patient and waiting for the right shot angles...while Ive killed over 80 deer with the BOW, most that were lost due to bad hits was when I was younger and didnt know better and were lost due to taking a bad angle shot.... I have passed on a big deer like that, waiting for a better angle...I didnt get it, he turned and walked off following a doe.... he won, it happens ..... but most of the times Ive waited for better angles, I won ... I would rather wait and not get the shot, than try a risky one and wound it..... this is maturing as a BOWhunter and being wise and I think it has made me more successful also as I am more apt to make a good killing shot ...

From: kent
Pat I got it wrong too but chose to wait for a bigger buck as I know how you like to set us up !! Hope your well--Kent

From: TD
the beauty is in eye of the bow-holder...... or beer-holder, I forget.....

Pat made the right call..... in hindsight. I've always taken the first good shot I knew I could make because I've seen so many of those "he'll take a step and give me a better angle" blow up a split second later. At 15 that was as slam dunk as they get. The "V" was wide open, about as open as it gets.

Look at elkmtngear's pic.... people have some anatomy wrong saying to wait for the front leg to go forward. It's very clear and easy to see in this pic the top of the scap is high and forward. When that leg goes forward it will come down and back. On a bedded animal it goes quite a ways down, shot a bedded elk once, hit him perfect just over the leg and the broadhead went through both scaps, stuck in the tree behind him and he barely got out of the bed to make it about 25 yards. The only time that leg may be in the way being back is if you are aiming behind the shoulder, behind the crease. Too far back to aim..... IMO. In the V it's a non-factor. Next time you break down an animal (if you get to it before it's all rigored up) when you remove the front shoulder work it up and down, "fold" it and extend it and see how the anatomy works, how it all pivots.

I enjoy these talks about placement, anatomy and such. Pat made the right call and it turned out with a buck of a lifetime on the ground. Can't argue with that. OTHER things ya can.... but as I understand it... ya aren't gonna get your points back.... =D

From: bigbuckbob
I would not say the deer is quartering away just because his closest leg is back. To me, quartering away/to means the entire body of the deer is at a 45 degree angle towards or away from arrow flight. I got the question correct, but not sure where quartering comes into play for the deer position. JMHO.

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