If you're going to ask for "statistical style" results you at least need to have some parameters. Like, if you are going to talk about misses, talk about how many misses in categories such as every 10 yard increments. Or use a "% of shots missed" in those 10 yard increments.
If you are going to talk about simply "more shots missed" the answer would un-doubtably be that most misses are in the 20ish yard range. But only because MOST archery shooting happens at that range, and therefore a lot of misses. It's like saying Nov 11 is the best day to hunt because that is when most deer are killed. Forgetting to acknowledge it as a day off and the day most hunters are in the field.
Sorry about the semantics, but I am guessing that what you are driving at is the range that your shot is most likely to miss. For myself, the range that I feel has the highest likelihood of missing is 35-45 yards. I have tremendous efficiency under 35 yards, and though have shot lesser arrows from 45-70 yards they have always killed, and without exception. 35-45 Yards I find to be the worst as it seems to me that the sound is close enough to make them jump and move, yet far enough that they move too much. Beyond 45 yards it seems as if the deer aren't bothered by the shot. I remember a buck catching me draw on the 2nd last day of the season at 55 yards and he pegged me in the tree. I let fly and watched the arrow arc, and it almost seemed as if he just watched it come and took it like a champ ;) I hate that 40 yard +/- 5 range. Had several misses in that range. My arrow went exactly where I wanted it to go, only the deer were no longer there. Thankfully not one miss beyond 45 , but have had a few under 35, though many more shots taken.
Seriously though - I quit shooting whitetails at 30+. We used to film all of our wt hunts for tv - so I had perfect video of every shot to review later. Way too many instances of deer dropping out of the way - but always at 30+ yards.
At 20, they don’t have time - they are just starting to drop when the arrow gets there.
At 25, it begins to be an issue. 6” drop is common.
But 30 yards seemed to be the worst … close enough to be alarmed by the sound of the bow, but far enough that they have time to drop.
Full disclosure - all of the shots I’m talking about were over bait. Deer are at their most nervous when they know they have their hoof in the cookie jar - what I described above might not apply in a situation where the deer is more relaxed.
Keep it inside of 25 and wait for the right angle. Also, shooting when the deer has its head up limits the speed at which they can drop. There’s physics to support this statement - Shoot when the head is up whenever you can. My two cents - take it or leave it.
I say most missed shots are 5-10 yards past the shooters effective range in that situation.
Just because you can stack arrows at 50y- 1)at the range 2)On flat ground 3)With all the time in the world to squeeze off a perfect shot 4)With no chance the range target is going to move 5)With no wind or other environmental conditions to worry about and no does to spook
Just because you can shoot well in those conditions...it doesn't mean its you effective range in the woods.
We have all seen it right? The guy doing his first 3D shoot....or a newbie hunter in the woods....You can almost see that new bowhunter turning over all of the distractions in his head on the shot.
That said, I know plenty of guys that are rock solid deadly in the woods at fairly long bowhunting distances.
20 years ago, the guys I knew who had the most bow-kills under their belts said that things started going South a lot more often beyond 20, and they preferred 18.
These were compound shooters hunting whitetails. One shot over bait in the suburbs and one only hunted rural areas, never mentioning any bait.
About 30 years ago, I read an article with Randy Ulmer stating that he thought the maximum “ethical” range for archery tackle was 35 yards. And he was known at that time for being a pretty fair shot. I think that was an article about his desert bighorn hunt.
Yes, bows are faster and laser rangefinders have become standard equipment since then. Those are the game-changer….. on stationary targets.
But you can’t beat hang-time other than by minimizing it. I would think that the OP’s experience with tracking dogs supports Randy Ulmer’s position from 30 years ago.
That said I limited my shots to 23 yards for years. Then I started elk hunting out west. I live in Ohio. I practiced a lot more. It also gave me extreme confidence and accuracy by shooting at distances longer then I intended to shoot hunting. I was then able to shoot to 30 yards wtih complete confidence.
Whitetails are FAST. And they can move a lot if they are nervous when you shoot.