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Have You Ever Decided Not to Kill One?
Just curious... On the last day of the season with an unfilled deer tag. had a doe with a fawn pass 15 yards in front of me and they stood there looking. I was getting a kick out of just watching the maternal interaction and hearing the subtle communication. I'm a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter but it seems the kill is getting to be the least favorite part of the hunt and sometimes isn't needed to fulfill my expectations of a good hunt. The experience rules.
Absolutely. Just depends on the circumstance.
No, but I might start using it as an excuse!
I've passed on a few over the years, even had guys get pissed because I passed. Stix, sometimes just watching and listening teaches more than just releasing an arrow/bullet.
A few years ago (on a rifle hunt) I passed on a cow elk because she had a young calf with her. It's the only animal I've ever passed on, and the only one I've every truly had in my cross-hairs, and I've yet to kill a big game animal.
Yes, and I agree with you that the kill is the least favorite part of the hunt. And agree that a kill is not the sole reason to consider a hunt successful. And also agree that listening and watching your quarry is more fulfilling sometimes. I never knew that deer communicated with each other in the ways that they do until I was in the middle of a group of does this season. I could have shot 3 of them, but it was more advantageous to the hunting experience to hear the high pitched, low volume squeaks they were using to communicate. I never knew they did this. There's no book, video, or tv show that shows deer in this intimate setting. To kill one would have ruined the experience. I think every one of us needs a reminder that it's not all about the antlers and the killing.
Absolutely. Many, many times even this last season. I passed on 8 different bulls this last season up to about 340" that were easily in range.
You learn a lot more about the animals if you hold off. The work starts right after you drop the string or pull the trigger.
Treeline - what made you pass if they were shooter bulls?
as to the rest, i think those passes are all good ideas. no need to take a cow/doe with a calf/fawn. when i took my cow last year i spent a good few minutes watching her to make sure a calf didnt saunter on up to her.
For that hunt, they were not. I set my goal pretty high this year...
I had a similar experience this year. On Saturday afternoon after the rain and snow stopped I was sitting on a rock enjoying looking at the snow caped peaks and the hanging clouds below me when the does just started filing out of the timber and heading to the open sage and oak brush to start feeding. I had many opportunities to shoot a doe and even some small fork horns but just sat and enjoyed the experience. No regrets a day after the season has ended.
My former partner had (has) the attitude "shoot first, then figure it out". He's wasted more elk than many have harvested. The crows & coyotes often lead him to a wasted carcass a few days later. Often the elk was too far out, or the weather or conditions said "don't shoot". The last time, he "harvested" a nice 6x6 rack - the second of two nice wasted bulls. 'Wonder why I call him my "former" partner?
Yep, I passed on a decent bull on the 2nd to last day just because of where we were. Killing an elk is great, but I'm old enough now that I've realized killing myself to get him out isn't worth it. I had him fired up inside of 40 yards for an hour and a half, that's the best part for me.
Yes, this year getting late in the hunt (my new bride's first elk hunt) I had a cow with a very, very young calf at 15 yards. When I drew back I had not seen the calf. I let her and the calf pass only to harvest a bull a few moments later. After the hunt she was so happy I passed on the cow. An old Native saying is never shoot the first animal you come across and you will never be Hungry.
I totally enjoy not killing one. Since my wall space is limited I have given myself a self enforced restriction of not killing a mature elk under 300" or a mature muley under 180" since I already have them. I have had the most incredible experiences watching really nice animals within yards of me and let them walk away and be just as happy to have that experience. I truly believe that I have way more ops than not shooting everything that walks by and it drives my buddies crazy for passing. It's not about the kill for me but more the experience. A successful hunt for me is having an opportunity to harvest a legal animal I'm hunting. I could care less if he ends up in the back of my truck. This is easy to do in Colorado as there's so much opportunity to harvest something to fill the freezer with.
Remember Yellowstone, before the wolves?? Think how neat it would be to see 6 pt bulls as the herd bull on a regular basis. Of course we would have to pass on them as we are no different than the wolves otherwise. Seeing them is a real treat!!! Shoot the small ones and let the breeder walk. Sounds good on paper anyway.
I chased five monster bucks throughout the season, missed the smaller 150" class buck twice. Not once did I ever think of killing a doe, or even a small buck. I wasn't going to settle for something I didn't want in the first place!!
I've shot my share of deer, and it's no longer a killing thing for me. I don't like shooting does, or cows for that matter. It's not what I hunt for. It's all a personal thing, and if you don't want to kill something, then don't. Does with fawns is something I'd never ever even think of killing, regardless if it's the first or last day...
Never. If I have a tag and I see a legal animal I'm shooting.
Many times. Especially if something crazy or cool just happened? I had a cow one year walk up and and stretch her head all the way out and sniff my wife who was cow calling for me. The cow walked past me at 8 yards. I let the cow walk because she gave my wife an experience she may never get again. The cow actually fogged up her glass and was sniffing her by her feet head and even tried to a take a nibble of her hair.
Yes, this year it was trying to get a 300+. Passed on a small 6,5,5, 3 cows,4,5 and last day a few cows. Also, last year I shot a small 6x6 the first day. Great animal and awesome hunt, but i was done elk hunting right away!!! Which means i was out of the woods the first day? So if you have the time, pass on a few and have fun or take the first one!!!
I love to eat venison, so I don't pass on a healthy looking animal. Sure, I pass under certain conditions. I have passed on does with fawns, and will pass on a small buck if I already have a doe for the freezer.
I have passed on way more animals than I have shot. I love hunting and if I punch my tags on the first legal animals that give me a shot I am not going to get many days of hunting. Anything female with young gets to walk without a second thought.
i pass on a 6x6 bull last year 13 steps away because I had a moment with god that if he answer my prayer to shoot a bull i would be grateful. Well, about a minute after that prayer, is come the 6X6 and i just couldn't shoot.