HuntStand Hunting App
Your worst nightmare
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
TREESTANDWOLF 03-Nov-21
MA-PAdeerslayer 03-Nov-21
2Wild Bill 03-Nov-21
JohnMC 03-Nov-21
Matt 03-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 03-Nov-21
Charlie Rehor 03-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 03-Nov-21
DanaC 03-Nov-21
Hunts_with_stick 03-Nov-21
Treeline 03-Nov-21
t-roy 03-Nov-21
timex 03-Nov-21
JTreeman 03-Nov-21
ND String Puller 03-Nov-21
[email protected] 03-Nov-21
APauls 03-Nov-21
TREESTANDWOLF 03-Nov-21
DanaC 04-Nov-21
WV Mountaineer 04-Nov-21
BIGERN 04-Nov-21
DanaC 04-Nov-21
BIGERN 04-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 04-Nov-21
Boris 04-Nov-21
deerhunter72 04-Nov-21
Hunts_with_stick 04-Nov-21
Corax_latrans 04-Nov-21
Bowbender 04-Nov-21
DanaC 04-Nov-21
Thornton 04-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 04-Nov-21
Twinetickler 04-Nov-21
[email protected] 04-Nov-21
Ermine 05-Nov-21
wv_bowhunter 05-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 05-Nov-21
wv_bowhunter 05-Nov-21
TREESTANDWOLF 05-Nov-21
XMan 05-Nov-21
deerhunter72 06-Nov-21
TREESTANDWOLF 08-Nov-21
Dale06 08-Nov-21
LINK 08-Nov-21
LFN 09-Nov-21
badguybuster 09-Nov-21
Snag 09-Nov-21
03-Nov-21
We have all been there, and if you haven’t, you either haven’t been bowhunting long enough or your that good.

Feel free to share a bad hit story to let others know, it happens.

When you get right down to it, everything can happen very quickly and your brain can go haywire. Practicing staying focused is just as important IMO as practicing shooting.

I’m going to start and let’s see how long this goes.

In 2017, I was very determined to harvest a B&C buck. There where rumors of one, that hung close to my lease, but I never laid eyes on him until….

That season started kinda dull, and the rut seemed a bit slow. Determined to make it happen, I would concentrate on the NE part of the farm.

I vividly remember carrying a loaded pack, extra clothes and my bow, up a nasty, rock filled ravine to get to my stand, not trying to sweat (Lol)

After waiting which seemed like days, so was able to enter the near side bedding area way before daylight.

This was one of those days where when the wind blew, it cut right through you. I have great gear on ( From what I read) but eventually cooled down, only 3.5 hours after sunrise to start feeling chilly.

Then it happened. I glanced up to my right, and 4 does popped over the ridge then disappeared. All of the sudden, from the same draw, he stood, all tines.

Yep, shaking quite a bit I tried to calm down. Then the does started towards me, coming up hill. I thought for sure they would skyline me, but they where evading this brute of a buck.

He followed them on a string, and at 11 yards, I drew, tried to settle and what I thought ( Because I didn’t FOCUS) was the zone, I released.

The loudest CRACK I every heard and that buck spun around, walked down the hill, all I could do was watch my fletching voice with each step he took, out of my life.

Dejected, I sat probably for what seemed two hours. Of course I found drops of blood and took up vague trail until no more. Never found the arrow, even went back the next day for 5 more hours. With most of the rut left to hunt, I packed up and drive home, 18 hours so I could think about it.

It happens, and they are all lessons.

It was the Indian, not the arrow.

03-Nov-21
Similar situation Rich..

2019 PA Rut in NE PA. Driving out on the 4 wheeler saw the biggest buck I’ve ever seen standing at the edge of a field. I had an idea where he was coming from and knew of the wind stayed the same I could get in closer to where he was. Problem was there was nothing for trees I could get into with my climber. So I hid the climber among some hay bails and sat on a rock wall. I was in early about 1.5 hours before sun rise. Sun came up and boy was it cold. About hour after sun rise I heard crunch crunch behind me. Two big doors does coming right to me. I say perfectly still and they buggied right by me with none other than the giant on their tail. He stopped at 13 yards and pinned me…. Turned his head I drew and thought I settled…the noise we all dread…crack. Same as rich, little blood found quite a bit of arrow after he hit tree and broke it. Good news tho, he’s still wondering the farm. A guy missed him during rifle last year. Maybe this is the year.

From: 2Wild Bill
03-Nov-21
It happens, I speak from experience. Ten yards broadside and that shoulder bone stopped my arrow.

From: JohnMC
03-Nov-21
I think it is a terrible idea to have a thread full of stories where bowhunters wounded animals never to be recovered. Just my thoughts but that is better left between close hunting buddies and not shared on a forum for the world to read.

From: Matt
03-Nov-21
You're supposed to repress those memories lol

From: Grey Ghost
03-Nov-21
I'd be careful about sharing bad hits on BS. When I told the story of the bull elk I liver shot and didn't find for 2 days last year, it earned me the nickname of "Gut Puncher" around here.

Matt

03-Nov-21
Excellent topic and much needed to help us become better bow hunters. My bad shots over the last 40 years have almost always been from rushing the shot in the final second.

I took Joel Turners, Shot IQ course online this year and it helped tremendously to slow things down in the final seconds.

As humans our mind is efficient and wants to get things done but we need to break the shot down and proceed with three distinct steps. Check it out at shot IQ.com

From: Grey Ghost
03-Nov-21
It is a good topic, Charlie, and it should be discussed. I was just shocked to be disrespected by 2 members when I told my "worst nightmare" story.

My main contribution to this thread is bad hits aren't always the shooter's mistake. You can do everything right, and the outcome is still a nightmare. My worst hits have mostly come from animals that moved at the exact moment I released. They didn't jump the string, they just decided to take a step, or reposition, at the moment I released the arrow. You can't always predict Mother Nature.

That said, I have made flat out bad shots, too. Fortunately, they've been few, and most of them resulted in clean misses.

Matt

From: DanaC
03-Nov-21
Dropped my bow arm on the shot, creased him low. Blood trail ended. Saw him again two weeks later during gun season, didn't get him then either, but that's another story...

03-Nov-21
Charlie, read my hit help. I just rushed a shot and didn’t recover him. I second what you said. When I rush it, bad things happen

From: Treeline
03-Nov-21
Probably the worst I ever felt after a shot happened last year on my blacktail.

My shot went high. Not sure if it was all me or if he jumped string or moved but it was a high hit in the “void”. During a rainstorm so tracking was impossible after he slowed down in tall grass.

A lot of ground covered and was blessed to find him about 200 yards from the shot that same day.

Very thankful for that result.

From: t-roy
03-Nov-21
It’s still too fresh in my mind to relive it on a public forum, Rich :-(

Good news is, I saw him a week later, looking none the worse for wear.

From: timex
03-Nov-21
One of the biggest bucks I've seen in the woods while bow hunting a big 12 point with tall tines was following a doe she passed to my left as he went behind a big oak tree I drew for whatever reason he didn't follow her past the tree & turned to the right side of it stopped & looked up at me. I was shooting a hoyt super slam bow at 80# with 2419 shafts & 160 grain thunderheads. I just knew I could shoot through any whitetail no matter how they were standing & I was wrong.... this big buck was 15 yards I put the pin between his neck & shoulder & released he dropped & spun my arrow hit the top of his shoulder & penitrated maybe 3" that was one of the hardest lessons I've ever learned in Archery. I believe had I been shooting a 2 edge head it may have penitrated but no way all that blade on a big 160 thunderhead was going through that shoulder blade. The same holds true for expandables. There great until their not !!!

From: JTreeman
03-Nov-21
My 2021 Wyoming mule deer. I can’t tell the story now, I just ate dinner and don’t want to puke. To say I’m still sick about it would be accurate.

—Jim

03-Nov-21
Charlie is spot on. It all boils down to those last seconds and making a controlled shot. Take the time, invest in yourself. I wish I would’ve done it years ago.

03-Nov-21
I try hard to avoid a loss but it's part of what we do. "Success" is satisfying because of the challenges in getting there. The people making the most mistakes are often the people getting the most accomplished. Killing critters with a pointy stick is an activity with many, many things that won't go as planned.

From: APauls
03-Nov-21
5 years ago hot an elk what I thought was perfect. Standing there at 40. Guessed for 40, as I didn’t have time for a final range. Arrow went through the air, everything looked good, heard the hit, sounded good. There was one small branch that went about a third of the way up his body as he stood on a beaver dam. I can only assume the arrow deflected last second. I followed pin drops for 400 yards and 5 hours but couldn’t find anything.

Guess I’ll never know. I did video him minutes earlier so I do have that to carry with me forever lol.

4 years later when I finally drew another tag I killed a beautiful 7x6 bull 80 yards away so that kind of made up for it.

03-Nov-21
After I started this thread, I thought there might some backlash and almost didn’t start it.

The intent is only to help pick up someone spirits that may or may not have experienced what most of us have, as Bowhunters.

Heck, I’m no expert, but it’s never too late to learn.

I really like the above posts about concentration before the shot.

Keeper em coming.

From: DanaC
04-Nov-21
Not me, but a friend took a late-morning walk into a new area, found some hot sign. Went back to camp, got a porty, steps, etc. and headed back. Walked right into a honker buck. Unfortunately his release was in his pack. Snort!! and gone...

04-Nov-21
The biggest buck I have ever shot, I lost after shooting him at 9 yards. Off the ground. It was devastating to loose him. I still don’t know what went wrong. I hit him where I was aiming. Complete pass through. And, I watched him fall over after the shot. But, he regained his feet and I trailed him for over 1.5 miles according to map tech. A mid 150’s 8 point.

From: BIGERN
04-Nov-21
This could qualify as a nightmare that turned out OK. Well I ran my Synergy over last Thursday after sitting all day. Set it besides the rear wheel, took off the stand, pack, clothes and put them in the Jeep and took off. Noticed it an hour later when I got home. Thank God I have an Elite,used the Hunt Guarantee and had a 2021 Kure all set up at my door less than 24 hours after making the call. BTW, sweet bow and I see owning one soon.

From: DanaC
04-Nov-21
Bigern, a friend left his fly rod leaning against a tree after getting off the water. It was gone when he remembered and went back. FIRST thing I do now is stick my rod under the driver side wiper ;-)

From: BIGERN
04-Nov-21
Bow goes on the hood now too.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Nov-21
Oh man, a buddy and I left 4 Sage fly rods leaning against a bush at a busy boat ramp, once. We didn't realize it until we were gearing up to fish the next morning. We were shocked to find them still there when we went back for them.

On another occasion, I left my Swarovski binocs laying on my truck's tonneau cover, then I jumped in and took off. There's few worse feelings than looking in the rear view mirror and seeing your $2500 binocs tumbling on a gravel road at 50 mph.

Matt

From: Boris
04-Nov-21
We took up bowhunting because of the challenge. We practice and then we practice some more. Or until we think we have it right. There are so many things that can happen at the moment of truth. Things that are out of our control. In just over 50 years, I have lost 1. I have missed many, but lost 1. I had people tell me I should quit bowhunting. Then a friend to me in front of those guys, if you think these guys have not hit a lost deer, they are lying. Those guys shut right up. He then said to me, Remember in one night there will be more deer hit and killed on I-79 between Meadville, Pa and Pittsburgh, Pa. by cars and trucks than you will ever hit and lose. Also, think about the deer that are lost during gun season. We all try not to wound and lose an animal. But, when we do we learn from it and it makes use better.

From: deerhunter72
04-Nov-21
Very good thread. If you haven’t had a bad outcome with bow hunting then you haven’t hunted very long. As a hunter you can do everything right and still get a bad hit or miss. My worst was a very nice WT 8pt. He was 20 yards and walking very slowly when I took the shot. Hit slightly back and didn’t get a pass through. He ran 50 yards and fell over, thought it was over. I look back a few minutes later and his head is up and then he’s trying to stand. Gets on his feet and starts walking and never stops. Tracked him for at least a mile but never got him. I know he died. The blood trail to where he laid was tremendous but then it dries up to very spotty. I’ve had others but this one sticks out the most.

04-Nov-21
Yes, thanks for this thread!

04-Nov-21
In terms of how easily tjings can go wrong…. My toughest recovery was after a shot from less than 10 yards with a scoped rifle. Crosshairs are about 1.5” above bore and POI at that range is about 1.5” below the crosshairs. Which I overlooked… Which would have made no difference except that I opted for a neck shot.

So I got the carotid and jugular on one side. Bled like a horror movie and I was able to trail him about 50-60 yards to his first bed with my binoculars…. without even leaving the tree. He was down, but his head was up, and he was no longer offering a safe shot because of a neighboring house in the background. Then he got up and walked off. No blood at all beyond the first bed, but he was shuffling along and wasn’t that hard to follow until I got to the top of the ridge where the leaves had mostly blown clear.

That was where he had bedded the second time; had I been carrying my bow, I could have finished him off when he stood up, but House again, so I had to watch him run off the ridge and pile up at the bottom, much too close to the property line for my tastes…

At that point, the only thing that sounded like a worse idea than firing another rifle shot was expecting him to not get up again if I backed out or tried to get to a safer angle, so I watched and waited and prayed (with a round in the chamber) that he would stay down and expire in place.

Which he did, but it was an uncomfortably long time before I was certain that he was down for good. Probably not many minutes, but it sure felt like an eternity…

But there are no givens.

Kinda done with that shot, though.

From: Bowbender
04-Nov-21
"There's few worse feelings than looking in the rear view mirror and seeing your $2500 binocs tumbling on a gravel road at 50 mph."

One of those worse feelings would be explaining to "She who must be obeyed" why I need another $2500 for a "buy once, cry.....twice" purchase.

From: DanaC
04-Nov-21
Some friends are currently on a rifle hunt down south. I've been in contact with one of them to find out who's knocking down what. One buddy, a really good rifleman, bought a new gun with a fancy dial-the-distance scope this year. Took a deer late Monday at stupid long distance. (400 yards.) So Tuesday morning another deer steps out at 70 yards and he shot right over it - scope still set at stupid long distance...

From: Thornton
04-Nov-21
I was going to say, marrying a woman that turns out obese, controlling, or both. Your scenario is a close 2nd. Happened to me back in 99" when I shot a 190"s ,possibly bigger 6x6 I hunted 2 years. Blood trail made it to the neighbor and I never saw him again. I've gauged every buck since then by him and have only seen 2 others remotely close.

From: Grey Ghost
04-Nov-21
"One of those worse feelings would be explaining to "She who must be obeyed" why I need another $2500 for a "buy once, cry.....twice" purchase."

So true! I paid for that mistake 10 fold before she forgot about it. LOL!!

Matt

From: Twinetickler
04-Nov-21
Not my worst nightmare, but a recent nightmare was this past muley archery hunt. I didn't draw a tag so I spent all summer patterning a buck for my Dad. Opening night the buck came by us at 15 yards I watched my 67 year old stone cold killer Dad blow a gimme at the best buck we had found all summer haha. I laugh now, but at the time it was no laughing matter. He just blew it, wasn't in kill mode, didn't pick a spot, and just threw his pins up and shot. He denies any buck fever, but I watched his eyes get big as flying saucers when that buck cleared the brush in front of him. This one was bigger in real life than on camera. I've done the same thing more than I care to admit. Fun thread!

04-Nov-21
After a very successful bow hunting season this year, I had a dream the other night that I would never be able to bow hunt big game again. A true nightmare for sure, even for an older guy. Best of luck guys and keep your dreams positive. My best, Paul

From: Ermine
05-Nov-21
Biggest mule deer I’ve ever had a crack at. Finally got my chance. Nice easy broadside shot at 20 yards. Arrow flew under the bucks brisket. I later came to find out my rest had broke and the launcher only came up a little bit resulting in the low arrow.

After that day I purchased a Hamskea rest and have never looked back.

From: wv_bowhunter
05-Nov-21
Happened to me last evening…. I have been taking my 10 year old son hunting all season trying to get him his first deer with a bow.

I went out for only my second solo hunt of the year yesterday evening after work. Was a little later going in than I wanted to be but with limited time to hunt and with it being early November, I went to one of our best rut stands on our farm.

This area has had virtually no pressure this season, and I walked in on a nice 8 tending a doe right in front of the stand. Busted them apart and the doe ran off but the buck wasn’t sure what happened. He finally ran off the opposite way.

About 30 minutes later, to my surprise, he circled back in downwind of where the doe had been before she ran off. I panicked and ranged him at 34 yards as he was quickly approaching my shooting lane. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast I failed to think about how much ground he covered in the few seconds it took him to get from where I ranged him to the opening I had. It was a downhill shot so I settled the 30 yard pin dead on and as soon as I released the arrow I knew it was too high…

After I kicked myself around a bit I started thinking about what went wrong so I could learn from the mistake. I began ranging things around where the buck had been when I shot and realized with the path he was on and the angle he was moving he had actually gotten to what was closer to 25 yards by the time I took the shot.

I haven’t checked cameras as much this year so no idea if I have a pic of this deer or not. However he had a noticeable double throat patch and his rack reminded me of 2 bucks I had on camera last year. After coming home and analyzing this pics I was able to confirm which buck it was.

To add salt to the wound, it ended up being the same 8 that heard my stand squeak last year as I tried to stand up. I am now 0-2 on this buck. My son says we should call him double trouble….

I am just glad it was a clean miss and did not end up with a bad hit. Learned a good lesson about busting up a buck tending a doe and a hard lesson about slowing things down no matter how fast it seems to be happening. Been bowhunting for 28 years and whitetails continue to humble me. It just adds to the addiction!

From: Grey Ghost
05-Nov-21
wv bowhunter,

Your story is exactly why I never try to range an animal before I shoot. It just adds more complexity to the critical few seconds before the shot. I always range reference marks, whether it's trees, bushes, rocks, a patch of grass all the way around my stand. Then my rangefinder goes back in my pocket and stays there.

Matt

From: wv_bowhunter
05-Nov-21
I normally have reference marks lined up too. First time back in that stand in over a year and just failed to do that after getting settled in.

That is another good lesson to be learned from this. Hunted for years without one when I first started and now it has become a crutch.

05-Nov-21
WV… so like your sons name for that buck.

It’s great that you share the passion with him and experience the highs and lows.

Awesome. Get after Double Trouble!

From: XMan
05-Nov-21
I am still kicking myself for pooching a shot last weekend, 19 yards broadside on a 160plus deer, I am still reliving the shot over and over....

From: deerhunter72
06-Nov-21
Double post

08-Nov-21
WV… so like your sons name for that buck.

It’s great that you share the passion with him and experience the highs and lows.

Awesome. Get after Double Trouble!

From: Dale06
08-Nov-21
Last March I took my new Mathews Atlas to the range and shot for a while. Tossed the bow on the back seat of my Silverado. Parked in drive at home. I had the move some stuff out of the back seat area of my Silverado. Grabbed my bow, in a soft bow case and leaned it against the rear tire, parallel with the tire. Moved stuff in and out of the rear seat. Forgot to put my bow back in the truck. Got in, started to back up and felt something under my tire. Got out of truck and my drivers side rear tire was on top of the middle of the bow. Rise and cams were toast. I to this day do not know how that bow got under the tire. The repairs were $719.00.

From: LINK
08-Nov-21

LINK's embedded Photo
LINK's embedded Photo
In 2019 I had the buck I was after at 16. Lost focus and was thinking it was a forgone conclusion. Well I must have lowered my bow arm at the shot to watch impact. I had no clue where the hit was. Only a couple specs of blood. I backed out and waited 2-3 hours. Took up the direction he went and kicked him out of his bed only 80 yards from my stand. He took off hard so that afternoon my brother rode his horse and I walked looking for him. The next morning I sat in my stand listening for coyotes and heard some up the draw my brother had rode. That evening I sat on a hill and watched for coyotes hoping to pinpoint them and saw nothing. The next day I hopped on the gator and drove straight to the deer. My brother had rode his horse within 10 yards and had just missed him. He died probably within a couple hours of me bumping him and I think the coyotes cleaned him up that night as I should have seen them the next day from where I was glassing. This is what I found. Still don’t know where I hit him.

From: LFN
09-Nov-21
Great subject, hiding our failures only makes the young hunters feel more alone when they have their first. Make no mistake I doubt anyone who has hunted awhile can claim they have never wounded or missed an animal. and a miss is just a very poor shot that luckily didn't hit a bad location, no body misses on purpose. As for me I've had my successes and failures, my last was kind of both, I shot a cow elk broadside at 30 yards, she was standing still, group of about 7, some closer but she gave me the best angle. lighted nock looked like it hit where I was aiming, she ran off up the ridge with the rest of the group, arrow sticking out both sides. thought it was a done deal till I couldn't find a drop of blood even though I know right where she ran for 100 yards. followed the tracks but eventually decided she had to have left the group. went back and started over looking into every hiding spot I could find. I hit rock bottom, told myself if I didn't find her I was done with bow hunting. I found her 2 days later using my nose, a bear had worked her over but at least I did find her. She had traveled about 300 yards and was in some thick stuff that I had been within 50 yards of. elk country is big when your looking for something you have no idea where or how far it went. examining her I was surprised to find the entry wound was mid body with the exit right behind the off side shoulder. best I can figure she must have turned away from me at the shot and my eyes didn't register the change in that fraction of a second. Had I not found her I would have no idea what went wrong, I never did find the arrow. I learned from this and made some changes to equipment and how I hunt and this year I'm happy to say I successfully took a cow at about 15 yards with a short bloody track.

From: badguybuster
09-Nov-21
I posted my sad story in another thread so wont add alcohol to the wound but IT HAPPENS ?????

From: Snag
09-Nov-21
Waking up opening day and realizing I had forgot to buy my license and tags. I was working loooong hours.

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