Contributors to this thread:
How you screwed the pooch!
The slider vs single pin thread got me thinking. Let’s hear your best story on how you screwed the pooch!
My first shot on a bull elk was on my 4-5 trip. My dad and I worked our way up a steep ridge that fell away into big drainages on each side. The ridge was between 20-100 yards wide. As we headed up the ridge with thermals in our face a bull answered our cow call.
I was standing next to a boulder the size of minivan and quickly stepped behind it, blocking my view from everything! No matter, this bull came in like he was starring on a primos video. My dad was on the main trail 20 yards behind me. Pretty soon I heard a horse galloping toward my dad. I looked over at him and he was laying on his side in the fetal position blowing his call. The gallop slowed to a walk and I could hear the bull making his way down the trail. I came to full draw as he walked by the minivan Boulder. I put my sight on the vitals and 20 years later I can still vividly remember thinking that he was so close all 5 of my pins were on the elk. Of course I flock shot him and caught a shoulder blade. It sounded like a .22 going off when it hit and I got 2-3” of penetration. Long story short he got away! I’ve never felt so sick in my life. It was a long time before I had another shot!
Might want to re-edit your title? Seems a lil awkward, especially if children read it?
Might want to re-edit your title? Seems a lil awkward, especially if children read it?
I could write a book.....but most of mine are better told in person versus typed. Last season was rough on me.
I leave sleeping dogs lay ....
Yep, we've all scewed up opportunities when hunting. Hopefully most have learn from thier mistakes.
Man, all I can say is elk hunting can be a cruel mistress. Like most, I sure wish I had some of my opportunities back. My worst? Shoulder hit on a 360" + giant. Still makes me shake my head every time it crosses my mind. As big as elk are they sure can be hard to hit sometimes. A big bull can just rattle a guy.
Says the guy who’s never laid eyes on anything bigger than a CT forkey......
Where I used to work the title would mean you were not working but hiding somewhere fn the d !
Talking about loss on social media is never wise. The fanatics antis love it, more ammo for them.
Yeah patty, I don’t know anything about killing elk or how to shoot. Please regale me with your years of western experience, and expertise.
My biggest "pooch screwing" is when I had to bulls come screaming down a steep hillside. One hung up with his cows at about 50 yards, the other came down stopped with his vitals behind a tree at just 21 yards. As the action was hot and heavy I was afraid he was going to bolt, so I decided the second his vitals clear I`m letting her rip.
I missed judged the yardage by about 7 yards and didn`t take into account the steepness of the hill. His 1st step dropped his vitals about 16"....so that along with the yardage screw up the arrow sailed right over his back.
I don’t have near the experience as some on this thread. But over the last 20 years of bowhunting elk. My biggest mistake has been not nocking a arrow when I stop for a break or make a call. It’s a lot easier to kill one with a arrow on the string. Hunt
My biggest screwing if the pooch was making bad shots on golden opportunities........
Bad shits are the pits trophyhill!
I’ve screwed the pooch so many times - seems like I always have puppies around.
I could write a two volume book on blown opportunities on elk. Volume 1, "The Early Years". Volume 2, "When I Should've Known Better".
Mines similar to Hunt. I’d been working a really big bull that had a bunch of cows and a few satellites. I’d been dogging the herd all day, then on my last setup the bulls all shut up so I decided to break for lunch prior to continuing my persuit. Put my arrow away and took two steps towards my pack when I noticed the herd bull had slipped in on me and was standing 25 yards away.
Moral of the story give your set a few minutes before you consider it completely done! I’d bet that won’t be my last curse word said during elk hunting. Gotta love it!
I always thought “screwing the pooch” meant you were getting away with something while others had to work for it.
At least, that’s the way my dad would preface it when he yelled at my brother when he did nothing all day, but still got everything he wanted. Kinda like “Son, you’re screwing the pooch and someday it’s gonna catch up to you....mark my words.” Lol
Hunt and Jaquomo both nailed it as far as my history goes. Hunt's post brings back a specific bad memory and a very good lesson for the day.
Me and my younger brother sitting on top of a ridge glassing a basin below us. We hear a bugle and glass a herd, bulls running around chasing cows, elk everywhere. My bro says "let's go", stands up and gets ready. I sit there and say "all the way down there" and continue to watch the elk. I'm such a wuss, I still hear about it.
I've made the mistake more than once not getting into shooting lanes too worried about if the bull would see me. Had two good bulls last year in Wyoming come into range while like an idiot I was tucked under a tree with no lanes to shoot out of. Get out where you can see and shoot when the opportunity comes!
Ive messed up many times on many different species, glad im not alone!
I love my single pin slider but it has cost me twice. First time my buddy cow calls to see if we just get a response and the all we hear is the thundering of hooves coming in. I hit my knees and nocked an arrow. In trots a 5x5 rag horn but I hadn't killed an elk yet and was in full kill mode. I estimate the yardage at 30 downhill, slide my pin and hook up the release. Just then my buddy whispers 40... it's a big animal to a hoosier whitetail hunter so I take his word and slide to 40. This whole time the 5x5 is standing behind a small cedar. I hit full draw as he walks out, stop him, settle the pin and cut a huge clump of hair off the top of bis back! When I turned to look at Steve I expected to see him holding his rangefinder - but no - he was just guessing also... danggit! wish I would've stuck with my instincts.
The second time was on the biggest whitetail I have ever shot at (170 class). his body was so enormous that I (again) second guessed my yardage and pin setting. Hit him low in the elbow just below the heart... still breaks my heart. I have learned to trust my instincts since then but it took a couple of really tough lessons first. Pete
Maybe I'll do my next podcast on some of my greatest screwups on elk. Will need to be several episodes.....
Too many times to even point one out.
Every time I think I've found every possible way to screw up an elk encounter I prove myself wrong.
I've come to the conclusion the stars have to line up.
I do like trying though. Back at it this september.
Don't you guys ever blame the elk? Way easier to deal with and takes less beverage in camp that evening.
I’ve been fighting my own personal elk jinx for awhile. I’m 0 for 6 hunting elk with my bow, and I’ve certainly had my share of chances. Overly aggressive stalks, under aggressive stalks, swirling wind, playing the wind wrong, the curse of a good tag, poor shots, you name it.
Of all, the last one was probably the most frustrating. Long story short, it came down to the last evening of the hunt with me and a good friend. We were hunting s ridge together that I had hunted myself earlier in the week and got into some elk. We let out a bugle, got nothing. Let out a cow call, and instantly had a response from a bull further up the ridge. It was one of those responses where you knew he was interested and coming.
My buddy sets up about 40 yards from me down the ridge, and I bail off and find some cover about 20 yards from the spine of the ridge and knock an arrow.
Sure enough, here he comes. Straight into my buddy’s calling. It was textbook. And a chip shot at 20 yards. As he approached, I drew and prepared to take the shot.
The elk was coming in at a steady clip and I decided that, rather than stop him and risk spooking him, I would just hold where I wanted to hit and at 20 yards I couldn’t miss my point of aim by that much. I was wrong.
At 20 yards, I decided to hold more “heart” than “lungs”. As I released I watched the arrow fly, and with the elk walking, it looked like it immediately started peeling back on his body. Rather than hit right behind the shoulder, it hit closer to mid body. Given how much further back it hit, it was also much lower than I wanted the arrow to be.
We searched for a bit and then backed off. It rained hard over night and we lost all blood and that was that.
As I was replaying the events, I did some quick math in my head. The elk was moving at a pretty good clip, I’d say definitely faster than a human walks. The average human walks about 3.5 mph, which is about a four feet per second. My arrow was traveling at around 270 ft/s, which means that it covered the 20 yards in about a second. In other words, my point of aim moved by about at least a foot from when I released the arrow to when it hit the elk. At 20 yards, I just assumed I’d be within inches - not off by a foot or more.
So, lesson learned. I’ve learned a lot over the years haha
Last season was tough. I had two giant deer within 30 yards that both got away. And a moose at 35 yards that got away. The moose really sucks cause I could have shot him in the open and then he was coming closer so I figured what's the harm? He's coming in, my brother has the camera rolling everything is fine...then he stops covering his vitals. The two deer hurt me the most ironically because I don't know what I would do differently next time, but 160,170+ deer don't come around very often never mind 4 days apart.
I have screwed up potential opportunities. I am versatile. Deer, elk, rabbits you name it I have messed up. But that is one of the reasons I love to bowhunt. It isn't a gimme. I will say the elk opportunities hurt the most. When you have such a short window to hunt, you have to work so hard (Physically and mentally) and when you finally have a chance and you blow it, it hurts. A LOT!
I'm terrible at guessing yardage even though we practice on the range. I don't like to shoot unless I can use the rangefinder and sometimes there's just no time for it. Wish I could figure out my spatial recognition without using the rangefinder as a crutch and be confident in my pin selection. A couple of bulls have walked away because I couldn't take a range.
I don't know that I would have gotten a shot at the bull or not last September, but I totally underestimated the distance he was from me due to him bugling in heavy green timber. I thought he was still a couple hundred yards away and he was within 80 yards. Either that or I'm just so inexperienced at hearing bugles, I can't estimate distance very well. Honestly probably some of both.
Back in 2011, I screwed up on a raghorn when we heard him coming I slipped behind a big rock. Well he came perfect and stopped on the other side of the rock at 20 yards and I couldn't shoot over the rock. Doh! But I'm learning.
12yards, I feel your pain. When hunting heavy timber, they’re ALWAYS closer than they sound...sometimes MUCH closer!
It took me more than a couple times “screwing the pooch” on that one before I pulled my head out of my you-know- what.
Undoubtedly hunting will always have more unsuccessful moments, if you're a gambling man... hunting would always heavily favor the house. My best yr elk hunting resulted in tag soup, but I'd live that day over and over if I could. I was literally chasing bugle to bugle 2x in the same afternoon had good bulls right in front of me and I never saw them, had another one glunk at me as I walked a ridge. By the time I located said bull he was off... another no questions shooter. I was up to my eyeballs in bulls, never could seal the deal, that day is what took me hook line and sinker.
I've made so many mistakes. What I will say is almost every mistake is a lesson and I become a better hunter. At the top of the long list of blunders for me are: 1) forgetting to aim 2) forgetting to have fun. Number 2 hasn't happened in a long time and won't ever happen again.
I was hunting with a guide and he wanted to walk ahead to look for a specific landmark that someone else had told him about (a log bench he liked to sit on) so I said I would wait for him to return. He wandered up about 75 yards and as I was sitting there I heard a few rocks shift but was in brushy country and assumed it was cattle that I couldn't see.
After I heard another noise I looked over to see 3" of ivory sticking above a branch about 15 yards away. I instantly crouched down and nocked an arrow. I had never been in bow range of a legal elk and had only seen one or two at a distance so needless to say I was nervous.
The elk followed the script perfectly and stepped out broadside at 20 yards. As I completed my draw my arrow popped off of my string. The elk sat there for a minute but seemed to be aware of the movement as I frantically let the bow down and re-nocked my arrow only to have the same thing happen again except this time he walked away as I was working on re-nocking for the third time.
I had no clue what happened as it had never happened before but I finally realized that I was super nervous and was torqueing the bow and this caused my ramcats to hit the riser shelf just enough to pop the arrow off the string. It had never happened in practice because I don't normally torque that much and field points dont sweep back like ramcats.
Needless to say I have longer arrows now and am ultra aware of my torque when nervous.
I hope to get another opportunity this fall.
Great set-up under a pine tree. Textbook call in. Elk comes to 20 yards then steps out on the opposite side of the bush that I thought he would. No big deal. I slowly pivot, aim, and Whap! O my heck, I missed, what happened? I look at my bow because the shot didn't sound right. It turns out that when I pivoted a limb inserted itself between my string and wheel, throwing the string off of the cams entirely. Definitely a trophy of a lifetime bull. I can't tell you how many times I have relived that moment. The one that got away.