DeerBuilder.com
Success but no joy
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Mark S 12-Nov-21
Wildan2 12-Nov-21
JohnMC 12-Nov-21
Scoot 12-Nov-21
Missouribreaks 12-Nov-21
Trad PA 12-Nov-21
drycreek 12-Nov-21
smarba 12-Nov-21
Mark S 12-Nov-21
drycreek 12-Nov-21
Kevin Dill 12-Nov-21
cnelk 12-Nov-21
WV Mountaineer 12-Nov-21
DanaC 12-Nov-21
[email protected] 12-Nov-21
badbull 12-Nov-21
Corax_latrans 12-Nov-21
LBshooter 12-Nov-21
badguybuster 12-Nov-21
timex 12-Nov-21
DanaC 13-Nov-21
Rocky D 13-Nov-21
Woods Walker 13-Nov-21
Bou'bound 13-Nov-21
Matt-6 13-Nov-21
Missouribreaks 13-Nov-21
Grey Ghost 13-Nov-21
Rocky D 13-Nov-21
md5252 13-Nov-21
ahunter76 13-Nov-21
Shuteye 13-Nov-21
JL 13-Nov-21
elkmtngear 13-Nov-21
JL 13-Nov-21
scentman 13-Nov-21
deerhunter72 14-Nov-21
From: Mark S
12-Nov-21
Lethal shot on a good deer that turned into a long day. Won't go into all the details but animal suffered and i wish it was a miss. Know guys that feel bad if they don't get him but not if they do. An outfitter acquaintance says hunters should use guns or crossbow because less wounding/suffering. I'm responsible for the animals suffering, so, I'm culpable for my actions- killing is bittersweet Anybody ever consider quitting with the bow over an incident like this? Do you know anybody that has? It struggle with the memories/images of the event? Thanks for the contributions

From: Wildan2
12-Nov-21
Unfortunately "It" happens,does with gun too. you did your part looking for the animal .

From: JohnMC
12-Nov-21
Learn from it, practice more, know your limits. I'll still bet that deer suffered less than if it would have a it died from natural cases or a cow that lived in knee high shit packed in a feed lot.

From: Scoot
12-Nov-21
The two toughest times I had were on animals I recovered- one elk one whitetail. Both suffered unnecessarily because of my lack of execution. I beat myself up really bad on both and struggled with both. "It happens", "it's part of the game", or my favorite "pretty sure he's just fine" don't carry much weight for me. The first two are true and the third sometimes is, but they offer little piece of mind to me.

But... everyone is different. Some guys shrug it off and are unphased. Others are more like the OP. Just have to do your level best to take careful, ethical shots and hope for the best. If you can't handle the tougher outcomes, then you're going to struggle.

That being said, if you think switching to a different weapon is going to remove the opportunity for poorly hit game, you're sorely mistaken. I see a minimum of half a dozen dead or poorly hit deer every year after the gun season is done.

Good luck whatever you decide.

12-Nov-21
Back in the day, that is why many in my bowhunting circle said they were giving up the stickbow, for the compound bow. They felt they owed it to the animal to use a compound with sights and triggers. I never have shared that sentiment. But, if I am wrong and the others are correct, yes, the scoped crossbow is a superior weapon to a hand drawn bow. What do others make of it?

From: Trad PA
12-Nov-21
Happens with everything, rifle, compound, crossbow, recurve, longbow, whatever. The reality is you’re killing something and can’t control the situation. I know guys who have quit hunting over similar situations but they were also guys who wounded animals due to a lack of practice and preparation. You gotta figure out where you are.

From: drycreek
12-Nov-21
There is no doubt in my mind that bows wound and lose more animals than guns because I read it on several forums all the time. That said, nobody sets out to wound a deer, but obviously some folks don’t practice enough and some folks take low percentage shots. And sometimes chit just happens. I always did my best not to take an iffy shot. I’ve let several deer walk because they either busted me or never would give me a good shot. I lost three deer bow hunting in all the time I bow hunted. I gave it up year before last because I could no longer hold my pins steady. When you can only shoot a 6”/8” group at 20 yards you need to hang it up.

From: smarba
12-Nov-21
Things will go wrong sometimes. Stuff like flinging an arrow at distances beyond your effective range, etc. are not in that category; they are our own screw-ups and should be avoided. But learn from things that go wrong, try to improve, try to do better next time.

Every animal will die eventually and very few will go peacefully in their sleep. While its commendable to strive for a quick kill, the reality is critters are torn apart and eaten alive by wolves, coyotes, bears, whatever day in and day out. Don't simply shrug your recent situation off without any care or remorse, but also don't get so worked up over it that you quit hunting or change weapons.

From: Mark S
12-Nov-21
To clarify - no interest in going to gun or crossbow. Only bow and bird hunt Always prepare fully Shot was a good one. Thought it would go down right away. Would not change anything- except how the animal's toughness. I was brought up that animals do not have a consciousness or souls My dogs and experiences have taught me otherwise. Thanks

From: drycreek
12-Nov-21
Mark, I never meant to imply that anyone should change tools because of a wounded animal. Wounding happens with anything, I just think it’s easier to wound with a bow. That’s anecdotal evidence though, I know of no stats that quantify that. I’ve also let a couple get away from me while gun hunting, but that was mostly in my youth (which is far behind me now). It hurt me each and every time I lost an animal but I hal-assed consoled myself with knowing that I did everything I could to find the animal. The worst one was with a bow about ten years ago, a big old doe right at dark. Chip shot at 15 yards but I couldn’t see which way she eventually ran as I was in a pop up. We searched for her that night for about three hours and the next morning found her in ten minutes. I had walked right by her twice but her belly was turned away from me and I couldn’t see her. Bad deal all the way around…….

From: Kevin Dill
12-Nov-21
If there’s anything that tempers or steals my joy over a kill, it’s knowing the animal suffered a slow(er) death. The older I get the less tolerance I have for it. I would prefer to kill nothing versus putting a fine animal through a miserable extended period ending in death. No thank you.

From: cnelk
12-Nov-21
I would say the ratio of lost animals is the same throughout all methods of take.

Go hunt with whatever you want

12-Nov-21
I’d evaluate my failures that lead to the real results while I waited him out. If it resulted in the results yours did, I’d contemplate it to ensure I was correct. Then I’d climb in the tree or sneak around the very next time I was able too.

In other words, it’s never going to make miss my next opportunity to shoot another animal with a arrow. Only, it’ll make me better at actually doing it.

From: DanaC
12-Nov-21
There was an un-recovered deer incident near here. A friend located the animal a few days later, the coyotes had gotten it. If you recovered it, you did well.

Could you have done better? Only you can know that for sure. *Will* you do better on the next opportunity? Same answer.

Choice of weapon is personal, I like guns as well as bows. I've come to the conclusion that any arrow I loose should be a slam-dunk. Any bullet, for that matter.

Good luck going forward.

12-Nov-21
Part of what we do. The huge amount of things that can go wrong when trying to fill a tag are a big part of why it's satisfying when we do.

Accomplishing easy stuff just isn't the same.

We should all do our best to minimize bad hits but as stated above, nature only occasionally provides a swift exit from life for all living things.

From: badbull
12-Nov-21
Good responses above. I do not watch hunting shows any longer because I don't like what I saw. One thing that I seemed to see there was a lack of penetration in some cases. I believe broadhead selection and lack of arrow weight is something that can be a problem in some instances of inadequate penetration. This being an area that bowhunters do have some control over, I believe each person's best combination could help some of the bad outcomes,

12-Nov-21
My worst outcome was on a sub-10, maybe 15 yard shot with a scoped rifle, so…

I didn’t give up hunting; I won’t necessarily swear off of rifles; but I don’t need to try a neck shot again.

I do have a suspicion, though, that most bad outcomes in archery are the result of trying to make a bow into something that it is not (for example by using extremely light arrows and high-resistance broadheads for long-range artillery work), OR the bowhunter simply not having the confidence that another opportunity is bound to come along; that takes all the pressure off, so you don’t short out your composure.

I just decided that if I’m not calm, cool and collected, I’ll let down. Life these days is high enough pressure as it is; no sense letting that intrude on your recreation time and having it goad you into a decision that you’ll regret.

And yeah, I use arrows about 465 grains for my #48 up to maybe 540 for the #62, and I like 2-blade COC heads.

From: LBshooter
12-Nov-21
Crossbows wound plenty of deer because guys like to take risky shots. Bullets also wound deer, so your arrow isn't alone. Let's not forget that a deer being eaten alive by a pack of coyotes, being hit and crippled by a car or suffering from EHD is no worse than the suffering from your arrow. Wounding a game animal happens to everyone if they hunt long enough. Do the right thing and make every effort to find your game and make sure you take as ethical shot as possible. The fact that you feel for the wound animal is a good thing, it shows you are a ethical Hunter and not just a killer, except the way it is and move on. Probably not the last time you'll wound a animal.

From: badguybuster
12-Nov-21
I had a DNR officer tell me that they have seen almost double the wounded deer since crossbows were allowed for mainstream use. Im not sure how they get those numbers but thats his opinion on it

From: timex
12-Nov-21
Not just × bows. I'm not gonna get into how many deer I've killed but it's a lot. When I was young every weekend we drove deer bows, muzzloader, rifle. We were like a pack of wild dogs & good at it. (I've killed a lot of deer) and everyone took deer home. Those days are in the past now. But wounding game happens to us all. Several years ago I took a shot on a big doe 400 yards with a 6mm on a windy day. The wind pushed the little bullet farther than I figured & hit her in the paunch. I tracked her probably 400 yards down a creek & have never had a deer actually travel in the water like this one did but I finally caught up to her still alive Several hours after the shot. I dispatched her but felt horrible for her suffering. I'll never shoot a small gun in that kind of wind again. & honestly I knew better to begin with. It happens learn from it & don't make the same mistake again if at all possible.

From: DanaC
13-Nov-21
Too many people out there thinking longer shots are a good idea, which is reinforced by the TV shows with their 'hero' hunters taking shots at stupid distances.

First, those guys are expert level shots and second, they *NEED* to make kill shots or the video isn't 'complete'. Then they don't get money. The average guy ain't that good, sorry. Know your limitations.

From: Rocky D
13-Nov-21
Sadly this is repeated much to often but that is where the burden of responsibility as a hunter demands self accountability.

The only ballast of defense is when ensure that your proficient with whatever instrument that you carry into the woods.

If are not proficient or have not done your due diligence then you you should not enter the woods!

Lethal shot selection based on your abilities with the equipment must be the only shot taken! Anything less is at best irresponsible and at worst absolute negligence and inhumane! This is the pinnacle of ethics because after you pose an arrow it is too late to stop the story!

Recovery is where we try to make up for our good faith failures and anything less than maximum effort throws us into an irreconcilable gene pool that none of want to be lumped into. The is worry, pain, suffering, and self condemnation purify the hunter to take every measure to ensure that never happens again. Only then should take on the responsibility of being a hunter!

From: Woods Walker
13-Nov-21
Mark, I've been in your shoes. Unfortunately sometimes it can be part of a hunt. What I've done when it has happened to me, is to LEARN from it. Obviously I know what happened. Next, I do all I can to figure out why, and then use that to make sure it never happens again.

My take is that this is why some hunters are really good trackers...and they didn't acquire that skill from a book or an "app" either.

This is also why I now NEVER take a shot on game that I'm not 100% sure that I can make, and that's based not only on my shooting skills, but also the immediate on site conditions as well as my "gut". Even with that sometimes "Murphy" can still make an appearance.

From: Bou'bound
13-Nov-21
Clean and fast is always a higher source of satisfaction, but in the end we are out there voluntarily choosing to kill animals for sport and enjoyment with a pointy stick. If anyone thinks they can get through a hunting "career" unscathed in terms of some messy outcomes then they best move on to a sport where there is no risk to that happening. Learn and move on and that will likely increase the time between messy events, but unless you quit there will be more messy events.

From: Matt-6
13-Nov-21
If hunters don't intervene, I imagine most deer eventually get sick/starve, then get eaten alive by coyotes or wolves. Obviously quick kills are most satisfying, but by quitting, you are allowing more to be eaten alive in their final moments. Food for thought...

13-Nov-21
Death is never a good thing in the wild, however I do not hunt to make a deer death more pleasant. If I really cared that much, I would let them enjoy a longer life.

If you hunt for sport , wounding and slow death will eventually become part of the game. There is no way to sugar coat it, just try hard to keep it to a minimum.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Nov-21
Mark,

First, congratulations on your hunt, and thanks for sharing your emotions over a less than perfect kill. Focus less on the "bitter" and more on the "sweet", my friend. When you stop feeling a bit of sympathy for the animals you kill, that's when you should stop hunting. Because at that point you are just killing for sport, which is not what hunting is about, IMO.

Matt

From: Rocky D
13-Nov-21
Sadly this is repeated much to often but that is where the burden of responsibility as a hunter demands self accountability.

The only ballast of defense is when ensure that your proficient with whatever instrument that you carry into the woods.

If are not proficient or have not done your due diligence then you you should not enter the woods!

Lethal shot selection based on your abilities with the equipment must be the only shot taken! Anything less is at best irresponsible and at worst absolute negligence and inhumane! This is the pinnacle of ethics because after you pose an arrow it is too late to stop the story!

Recovery is where we try to make up for our good faith failures and anything less than maximum effort throws us into an irreconcilable gene pool that none of want to be lumped into. The is worry, pain, suffering, and self condemnation purify the hunter to take every measure to ensure that never happens again. Only then should take on the responsibility of being a hunter!

From: md5252
13-Nov-21
Practice, know your limits, and do your best.

If you fail? Accept it, learn from it, and move on.

If you can’t do that then find another hobby

Just my opinion

From: ahunter76
13-Nov-21
Many years ago there was a 10 yr survey done by DNR on a wiodlife refuge (huge area). It concluded that 3% of Archery Deer shot & lost died (this was in stickbow days) and that 7% of gun Deer shot & lost died (this was a Rifle state). I know your feeling though. I started bowhunting in 1956 & thank God, in my 65 years have lost few (6 total) & I'm pretty sure 3 of those survived (little penetration, blood in shoulder area). Poor hits has been few for me but then, my average shot in all those years (stick bow & compound) has been under 25 yds (yes, I kept a log for nearly 30 years). A caring hunter always feels bad when it's not the perfect quick kill.

From: Shuteye
13-Nov-21
After I retired I could hunt every day and our seasons lasts from September into February. I only killed deer for myself and a few friends. I only shoot when I have a good shot and like them as close as I can get them. When I switched to a crossbow due to old age I haven't lost a single deer and have killed plenty with it. I can hit the end of a soda can at 50 yards with the Ravin. Great scope and I shoot from a rest in my ground blind. I use Jakhammer heads and normally have real short blood trails. My main problem is recovering the bolts. They go through any deer and hide under the leaves.

From: JL
13-Nov-21
Like many....I've had less than stellar shots. The times I've wounded something that wasn't immediately killed, I tried my best to get to it quickly to finish is off. I feel I have a duty to do that where possible. It's not always pleasant "re-shooting" an animal a few feet away as it is looking at ya and suffering....but that can be the reality of bad shots or the animal moving upon trigger pull. I suppose the teachable reality in this is if ya don't like re-shooting a wounded animal point-blank as it is looking at ya....don't take bad shots! That self-learned concern has given me pause over the years on whether I should pull the trigger or not. That actually is a good thing too. My mindset as I got older and had to deal with re-shooting a few times is I'd rather pass the shot vs wounding. IMO....that doesn't make you a better hunter.....it makes you a wiser hunter.

From: elkmtngear
13-Nov-21
I get it, it's a sick feeling. You can justify it somewhat, by the realization that any suffering the animal endures from a less than perfect hit, is much less than being eaten alive (nature can be cruel).

The only difference between man and other predators, is the ability to feel remorse after a kill, or after causing suffering in the case of an intended kill. But, we are still predators by nature. Sometimes it's a tough cross to bear.

From: JL
13-Nov-21
I of course can only speak for myself. When I shoot something it's because I want to kill it. That is an easy decision really and remorse isn't even a thought. I suppose any feelings from the wounding part is more related to my poor shot decision and disgust with myself for doing that to the animal. If the animal unexpectedly moves at the trigger pull....that is hard to control and it happens. Sometimes that movement doesn't affect the lethality.....sometimes it might. I had that happen last month on an antelope and it required a 2nd shot.

From: scentman
13-Nov-21
I believe Grey Ghost summed it up nicely... thoughtful advice.

From: deerhunter72
14-Nov-21
Mark, yes I've been there and it's tough. The worst for me was a small buck I shot with a shotgun. The deer was recovered but it suffered, more I think because of it's will to evade and survive. It's just part of hunting. You're remorse shows your compassion. Hang in there!

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