Sitka Mountain Gear
bitter pill to swallow
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
azarchery 06-Sep-16
azarchery 06-Sep-16
Bou'bound 06-Sep-16
azarchery 06-Sep-16
JLS 06-Sep-16
drycreek 06-Sep-16
TMA1010 06-Sep-16
Jack Harris 06-Sep-16
Chip T. 06-Sep-16
Trial153 06-Sep-16
Blacktail Bob 06-Sep-16
Tonybear61 06-Sep-16
Jack Harris 06-Sep-16
trublucolo 06-Sep-16
writer 06-Sep-16
Dan Mallia 06-Sep-16
Bucksnort32 06-Sep-16
spike buck 06-Sep-16
'Ike' (Phone) 06-Sep-16
WallHanger 06-Sep-16
bowriter 07-Sep-16
Bou'bound 07-Sep-16
Fuzzy 07-Sep-16
WausauDug 07-Sep-16
Northwoods 07-Sep-16
HH1 07-Sep-16
ahunter55 07-Sep-16
LINK 07-Sep-16
JRW 07-Sep-16
wilbur 07-Sep-16
HH1 07-Sep-16
HH1 07-Sep-16
MichaelArnette 07-Sep-16
LINK 07-Sep-16
Linecutter 07-Sep-16
Scar Finga 07-Sep-16
Ermine 07-Sep-16
APauls 07-Sep-16
Chuckster 07-Sep-16
orionsbrother 08-Sep-16
Genesis 08-Sep-16
ryanrc 08-Sep-16
RedOctober 08-Sep-16
elkmtngear 08-Sep-16
taxidermy man 08-Sep-16
willliamtell 08-Sep-16
BIGHORN 08-Sep-16
GF 08-Sep-16
From: azarchery
I've sat on this for a couple weeks and it hasn't went away yet. anyone that has hunted the Kaibab hunt in AZ knows what a problem road hunting is. opening morning I made a "bad hit" on a deer that started bleeding 10 yards after the shot. I waited a hour before getting down and getting my arrow and deciding to start bloodtrailing. it was a good blood trail that was easy to follow and was following it downhill. the deer continued downhill and crossed a dirt road. I'm about 30 seconds from the dirt road when I hear a truck pull up, I hear the shot and the impact, and think, "they just shot my deer". I come up right behind them and ask them how their day is going? the kid says "great if I find the deer I just shot" I ask him if its a 4x4 and he says ya, how did you know? I tell him im bloodtrailing it. his dad steps out and says, "his son made the kill shot on it" and I explain to him I know what the regs say about it. we find the deer alive but unable to get up. we have a discussion about who's deer it is and its apparent their not gonna give up. I decide to take the high road and tell them they can have the deer. it's been awhile and tell them to put another arrow in it to end its suffering. were at 20 yrds, the dad tells his son to shoot him again and his son tells him his top pin is 40 yards. his dad tells him to aim low on his body, he shoots and skips it off the top of his back. his dad tells him to aim lower, he shoots again and spines him. now I'm getting alittle pissed and I tell the kid, walk up 2 yards from the deer and put another one in him. he does, and hits him squarely in the shoulder. I take a second to calm myself down and I ask the dad if I can put one in him to end his misery assuring them its still their deer. he gives me the ok.

after its done I offer to go back to camp and get our game cart to help carry him out which they are grateful for. they were very nice guys and belong to a archery club in phoenix, but the lack of ethics/respect for another hunter blow my mind. the only saving grace I have is at least the deer was recovered.

From: azarchery

azarchery's MOBILE embedded Photo
azarchery's MOBILE embedded Photo

a pic of the deer

From: Bou'bound
I hope they enjoyed the experience. Dad is a lost Soul.

From: azarchery

azarchery's MOBILE embedded Photo
azarchery's MOBILE embedded Photo

The next morning I got to keep one for myself.

From: JLS
Kudos to you for taking the high road. Not sure about AZ, but the states I've hunted in specify that the hunter who delivers the kill shot is who the animal belongs to.

In this case it was likely both of you. I personally would have deferred to the hunter who delivered the first fatal shot, but that's me. Obviously these guys saw it differently.

What a bummer, that's a beautiful buck. Keep after, good deeds don't go unrewarded!

From: drycreek
I'll have to disagree with you, they are not very nice guys. If I had been the one to put the second shot into him, I would have split the meat with you and flipped you for the head. This is assuming that I shot the buck unaware that you had shot him first.

From: TMA1010
Yeah that's brutal, but you're the better man for it. Pretty sad that the father had a great opportunity to teach his son a valuable lesson and instead he chose to underscore the "it's all about me" epidemic that is sweeping this nation of ours. At least you can sleep at night with a clear conscience.

From: Jack Harris
You did the right thing, especially with the kid involved. No big deal - seriously. The one you got had to be more satisfying, after all you said you made a "bad hit". You have no way of knowing if the buck you hit would have suffered worse had they not come along. What if you never found it? The pill would have been a lot more bitter...

While I think the dad was being a little bit of a tool, the reality is his son put what he thought was a lethal hit on it, and they had no idea you had shot it first and were tracking it - right?

Take joy in that you were part of a boy's nice buck - and the deer was recovered after you wounded it and you still ended up with a fine specimen..


From: Chip T.
Congrats to you for your deer and taking the high road!!!!

From: Trial153
Staying classy is worth a lot. I would share a camp with you any day.

It was your deer. I don't care what the regs say, if you had an arrow in the deer that would kill it, its your deer. Now if you had a non-fatal arrow in the deer its another story.

This is why I don't hunt any where near a road.

From: Tonybear61
We have a different ethic here in MN , its called first blood and a mortal wound. But the COs won't get involved in an argument over a deer, they will just take it.

That said yes I have given up deer to other hunters and have had them "stolen too". One such case the guy from PA was so brazen to give me back my arrow from a 15 yd heart shot. He claimed it was his deer but upon inspection no other wound was to be found. That was in his truck that was heading back to PA, with an un- field dressed, un-tagged deer. Pal you know who you are, what the hell was the hurry to get out of Camp Ripley that night with the mid-sized six pointer??? It wasn't about the long trip home as he claimed and he knew it.

I really hate stories like this, folks need to know better and behave as they should.

Good thing you got one for yourself later.

From: Jack Harris
where was your arrow hole? Did you have a fatal hit?

From: trublucolo
Can't beat taking the high road and karma coming back around. Kudos to you and congrats on your "keeper" - nice buck.

From: writer
Can't prove one way or the other if it was a "fatal hit."

I've been with outfitters who say the person who draws first blood.

In Kansas, it's mostly who finally killed the animal.

I wonder what the father would have said had it been he who shot? Some guys think their sons do no wrong and deserve everything.

A buddy had a similar thing with a 200-class non-typical and a rifle. A neighbor killed it about 1/2 mile away, obviously really hurting.

My friend demanded the buck. The neighbor said, "If you'd have made a good shot, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

Neighbor kept the buck

From: Dan Mallia
Sweet ethics the dad is passing on to his son.

Glad you got a good one!

From: Bucksnort32
Lol good job, but I would have let my kid help you pack it out and we would have gone for another deer, good job keeping your cool, you will have the Deer gods on your side my friend

From: spike buck
A couple of years ago our hunter shot a whitetail over one of our set ups. Waited a few minutes and got down to track the deer. Followed the blood about 20 steps and "BANG", the deer he was tracking was just shot again by a hunter from Vermont, right in front of him.

Other hunter said he came into the direction of the shot and heard the commotion of the deer dying. So he shot it with the hunter in the line of his fire. Other hunter was getting ready to tag it.

I called the Warden and he listened to both sides and gave the deer to our hunter. Ragged out the other and warned him about hunter safety, not to chase gunfire!!!

Great Buck you got, glad it worked out in he end...

From: WallHanger
Good on you for doing what you felt was right. No matter what the dad thought was ok or the "ethics" some people think he was passing on that kid will grow up and realize that was not a truly successful hunt. It's hard to be proud of anything when that's how it happens. When I was 15 I was invited to hunt a ranch in California With some guys I knew from working at an archery shop. I went and killed a Barbrado Ram. I didn't realize what it was all about until I killed that ram. It was on a ranch that trucked the animals in and let them loose for people to "hunt". As I grew and learned I realized that was nothing to be proud of and regret it. I'm not to worried about dads like that because I think we all have a notion of right and wrong and a choice weather you learn on your own or with help from your dad, this kid will get him mounted and look at it and will eventually want a redo. It's to bad for you and him. As for the legality of it. If you shot that deer dead with the final shot you should have put your tag on it. The courts sometimes don't feel the same about right and wrong and don't care about the situation.

From: bowriter
Gotta tell this one: many years ago, on a gun hunt on a WMA near here, I shoot a small 8-pt. He runs about 60-yards and I hear a "bang". I am hear the deer fall. Walk up and there is guy on crutches and before I can say anything, he starts shouting, "I shot him last, it is my deer." Repeats that a few times.

So I let him calm down and even though I can see my shot was plainly fatal, I assure him it is indeed his deer. Then, he says, "Will you drag him out for me?" It is about 250-yards to the road and mostly uphill. I reply, as nicely as I can, "Why no, you killed him you drag him out. I have to continue hunting since I have no meat to feed my seven kids and nagging wife. That's why I shot this buck to begin with. We have nothing to eat and badly need themeat to get through the winter." Then, I walked away.

Not the nicest thing I have ever done but it felt right at the time. Now the caveat. I recognized the guy. His son stole a treestand from me two years earlier and was caught. I later learned, the manager of the WMA, (21,000-acres,), was watching the guy suspected of road hunting at night. Made me feel even better. Oh, I killed a nice 10-pt., that afternoon.

From: Bou'bound
Thinking more about this is amazing

There is a father

There is a son

There is a fortuitous teachable moment here, something that needs to be capitalized on with our children when they arise

The father decides it is more important to claim a lousy deer than teach his son a life lesson on doing the right thing. the honorable thing. the respectable thing. How many other opportunities does a parent like this miss and how unfortunate for the children of such people.

If a dad would put a stupid deer above such a lesson think what else he would put above it as other similar opportunities arose.

you will never lose a nickel by taking the under on the stupid things people will do.

From: Fuzzy
man that sucks

From: WausauDug
the father missed a "once in a childhood" opportunity to teach his son to do the right thing in the woods. Bowwriter, great story, we hunters really seem to benefit from Karma.

From: Northwoods
I don't know that there is enough information in the initial post to truly judge the father & son and the father's actions - and it is especially hard to judge a dad who is introducing a kid to hunting and who likely wants to see them be successful more than anything. That said, there is enough to judge the original poster's actions; you made the right choice and you should feel good about your decision.

There is nothing better than seeing an excited young kid take, what to him, is likely a "giant" deer and maybe his first ever. I know I would get more pleasure in seeing the kid smile than ever looking at the mount of said deer.

Finally, what the original poster needs to realize, is that while the father may have left a teaching moment out in the field, he likely passed on a better lesson and message to the kid than he may know. By civilly handling what could have been a contentious situation, I'd bet that the kid will forever realize that he didn't shoot that deer first and will ultimately remember your actions and generosity. Had you been a dink about the situation, that kid easily could have been turned off on hunting and never wanted to go afield again. Your displeasure with the situation would have likely been experienced tenfold by the young gentleman had the outcome gone the other way. Maybe one day he will pass on his fortune to another young hunter, thereby expanding our ranks, which is far more important than any single animal to an experienced hunter.

From: HH1
Azarchery - Unfortunately, sometimes, ethics don't matter to some while hunting. I used to hunt in a very known area here in Colorado. One year I had just shot a 3x3 muley with my longbow. There was a great blood trail, very easy to follow. Unfortunately for me the buck doubled back to the main dirt road which was the main thoroughfare in or out. As I was tracking I heard a vehicle stop abruptly on the road. I then heard someone say "grab it and throw it in the truck." At the time I thought nothing of it as people loose stuff on that road all of the time. As I followed the stopped on the side of the main road. There was a large pool of blood - absolutely nothing after that. My best guess was the deer died on the side of the road and someone grabbed it. Now, I realize this story is different than your however.......If I were to come across a freshly shot buck on the side of the road I would at least wait until someone came for it and not throw it in my truck and drive off. Ethics - some have them some don't.

From: ahunter55
I wonder about the pin setting, top is 40? I've bowhunted Co. Wy., & N. Mexico many times & my 40 was my middle pin of 5. OP did a great job & you were rewarded with another nice Buck..

From: LINK
Road hunting with a bow? Surely the only way that would work is on a wounded deer or those are some awfully docile deer you have there.

From: JRW
"...and it is especially hard to judge a dad who is introducing a kid to hunting and who likely wants to see them be successful more than anything."

As a father who introduced his daughter to hunting, I don't consider it even remotely successful to shoot and claim an animal another hunter already shot. If I ever instilled such a lack of ethics in my daughter I'd consider myself an utter failure as a parent.

From: wilbur
Still hunting with a Muzzle loader one snowy Vermont morning on public land. I heard the report from a near by hunter. I took a stand next to a tree to let things play out. Shortly a crippled buck came gimping by. He was hit and hurt but not fatal. I quickly dispatched him never moving from my spot. Ten minutes goes by and three generations of hunters come working their way up the blood trail. I stood and watched as grandfather, father and young son came upon the deer. As they started to congratulate each other I moved from the shadows and explained that their deer was moving by me and was surely going to die, I just shortened their tracking job.

The grandfather looked at the wound his grandson's shot had created then looked at my killing shot. He pulled me aside shook my hand and said THANK YOU.

Made me feel great and hell I still had a buck tag.

From: HH1
LOL Link - I wasn't road hunting I was making my way back to the truck and the buck showed himself. Something like that never happens to me IE shooting an animal close to the truck. I have read about it but never experienced it.... Either way it is also a high recreation area with lots of hunters, 4wheelers and outdoor enthusiasts A lot of the hunters drive from place to place looking for different areas to hunt. It became an issue for me thus I haven't been back (15 years ago)

From: HH1

You did the right thing and it paid off, I'd have reported them for road hunting if I was sure that is what happened though

From: LINK
HH1 I was referring to the opps story.

From: Linecutter
Wilbur you have a heart of gold! DANNY

From: Scar Finga
Frustrating to say the least, but you did the right thing! Good character is a fleeting trait these days!

Both nice bucks by the way, congratulations!


From: Ermine
I'd be curious about your shot placement? If it's not a fatal hit and the buck is on the cruise and they didn't know you shot it then it changes things. Pretty akward. I would have let you have the buck that's me

From: APauls
Trying to put myself in both yours and the other hunters' situation. If I was in your situation I would be understandably a little upset.

Being in the other hunters' situation (aside from the whole road bit) if I'm hunting and a buck comes by that I don't know is wounded I'd shoot it obviously not the problem. I guess the weird thing is the shot placement. It sounds like your hit admittedly wasn't great and neither was the kids as the deer was still alive. We have no information as a popcorn panel as to where your hit was and where the kids' hit was. Either way, you did an honorable thing - that is not up for debate. One would also certainly hope they could brush up on their archery skills and practise, but beyond that I think it's hard to say who the deer "belongs to."

Really an unfortunate situation. Reminds me of that sheep video where the guy arrows like a WR ram and it runs down the mountain and gets rifle shot by another hunter.

From: Chuckster
Let me try and fill in a few blanks.This is my brothers deer and I was there. Our stands are about 100yds apart as this is a good travel corridor. I heard the shot. It was a 40yd shot and just as he released the deer jumped and swung around. We had good blood almost instantly and was following for 2hrs and 4-500yds. We were getting close to a road so Doug went ahead checking a blow down area as the blood was weakening and headed for the thick stuff. He didn't see anything so I dropped down to the road and he stayed up top. So I'm walking the road real slow looking for him or blood crossing the road. I thought I saw something up the hill so I left the road slogging through the thicket. We met up on the other end with no luck. Doug told me to go hop back on stand as it was only 9ish and he continued looking.

I'm really mad at myself because if I had just walked another 50yds down that road I might have seen him bedded on the other side of the road and avoided this mess.

I was not there when father/son come rolling down the road.

I think in time, father and son will look back on this whole situation and realize maybe they didn't do the right thing. This was the kids ( about 20 YO ) first deer and in the back of his mind he will always know he shot a semi mortally wounded deer for his first archery deer.

The thing that bothers me is that Doug was still searching for this deer when he heard the shot from the truck on the road.

Nothwoods' third paragraph nails it.

From: Genesis
Imperfect shots followed by imperfect recovery will usually yield imperfect results.

My first PY buck I ever shot I one lunged and my brother double lung 150 yards later.He was 11 years older and had killed lots of PY stuff.

He never blinked an eye at tagging "his" deer.

I never blinked at him doing it....

I did go on a PY tear after that so maybe I was blessed through the incident,I think so.

You probably made a bad probably pushed this deer way too probably should have stood your ground on a 20 year old young man

You probably need to be at peace with the results.

From: ryanrc
Look at it this way, you got to shoot 2 deer on 1 tag. If the first shot killed the deer faster, you wouldn't have been in that situation. I am not criticizing though, I have chased many wounded deer over the years. It is a sticky situation for sure, but the deer was still alive when the kid shot it and still alive yet thereafter. So, it is what it is. Kudos to you though for shooting 2 awesome deer! They are toads.

From: RedOctober
If that's the most bitter pill you ever have to swallow I'd say your doing good.

From: elkmtngear
You are a good man, Doug.

Beautiful Kaibab buck...Congrats!

Best of Luck, Jeff

40 yards is the top pin? Sounds like the kid was lost on where to aim at anything under 40, WOW. They only ended up being "nice" people because you gave them the deer. The dads an a-hole and it sounds like it's going to be father like son.

From: willliamtell
If you did a clear kill shot, claim it. If it's questionable, hunter that puts it down gets it. If you can't decide, split the meat and flip for the head (and tag). I liked AZA's and Wilbur's stories. One thing I'm picking up from these stories, if I hit one hard near a road and it takes off in that direction, the first thing I do after marking the hit location is go to the road to make sure it isn't lying in plain sight, or making a blood trail across it.

Back in the 60's when I was a rifle hunter a friend that I was with hit a big 5x5 bull. He shot him again and the bull was having a very tough time walking. My friend waited until it cleared the trees so it would be in the open.

All of a sudden another rifle hunter shot and come running down the hill to claim the bull. My friend asked if he saw him about 20 yards behind the bull and the rifle hunter from TN said, yes, in fact, I had to wait until you got out of his line of fire so that he could shoot at the bull.

My friend gave the guy the bull because there was no way he was going to discuss who's bull it was. My friend explained to the ranch owner what had happened and he kicked the whole TN group off of his property.

From: GF
The joke used to be that in some places you really didn't need a rifle to fill your tag - just a good pair of running shoes....

Maybe I've just been looking at whitetails for too long, but that first buck looks big enough to bring out the worst in a lot of people... If there's any question as to whether they did the wrong thing, all you need to know is whether they would have behaved in exactly the same way had that been a spindly 1.5 YO fork.

The one year I hunted a CO rifle season, I talked to three different guys who all said they had hit a bull "right behind the shoulder" and had failed to tag it. I was up there more for the groceries than anything else - being on the U of Wyo payroll for the princely sum of $6300/year back then, and I could hardly justify the cost of the gas, but it was cheaper than hunting WY on a NR tag...

Anyway I decided that if I found any blood, I'd follow it as far as I could and wait to see if the other guy ever showed up. Figured that if he could find the bull it'd be his, but I wasn't going to let a wounded animal go Lost without an effort.

Not that it ever came up... LOL. The good that came out of that experience, though, is that it was 3rd season back in 1989 and I haven't hunted a rifle season out there since. Switched over to round ball & white smoke after that, moved out to MN, and by the time I came back I was all about my recurve...

Aaanyway.... The thing is... The OP may have made a sub-optimal hit, but he was still on the trail. Everybody wants their animal down in 20 seconds, but sometimes things hit the fan. And JMO, if a guy has the skills and the determination to make good on a bad hit, it takes a special breed of bung-sucker to claim an animal just because it hadn't quite 100% expired quite yet. It gets complicated if the animal has run onto land where the first shooter has no access, or if it's just about dark and you know that the carcass will either go bad or be gone with the coyotes by morning.

The "dad" in this case missed out on a prime opportunity to teach his kid about honoring another hunter's skills and ethics; more likely the "kid" in this case will end up being one of those guys who doesn't care too much about follow-up because he figures somebody else will bumble into the animal and clean up[ the mess for him anyway.

Unless, of course, it's got Real Big Horns.

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