Sitka Gear
Worst hunting mistake or regret
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
badbull 29-Aug-23
Dale06 29-Aug-23
grizzley21 29-Aug-23
molsonarcher 29-Aug-23
casekiska 29-Aug-23
t-roy 29-Aug-23
Pyrannah 29-Aug-23
Missouribreaks 29-Aug-23
Catscratch 29-Aug-23
DL 29-Aug-23
Basil 29-Aug-23
Charlie Rehor 29-Aug-23
WI Shedhead 29-Aug-23
Bake 29-Aug-23
HUNT MAN 29-Aug-23
RonP 29-Aug-23
fuzzy 29-Aug-23
badbull 29-Aug-23
easeup 29-Aug-23
Glunt@work 29-Aug-23
Glunt@work 29-Aug-23
Scoot 29-Aug-23
Rackmastr 29-Aug-23
Twinetickler 30-Aug-23
ND String Puller 30-Aug-23
KHunter 30-Aug-23
buckeye 30-Aug-23
OTC_Bowhunter 30-Aug-23
BULELK1 30-Aug-23
Bowboy 30-Aug-23
deerhunter72 30-Aug-23
maxracx 30-Aug-23
BTM 30-Aug-23
2Wild Bill 30-Aug-23
JTreeman 30-Aug-23
Lewis 30-Aug-23
TonyBear 30-Aug-23
Mint 30-Aug-23
Grey Ghost 30-Aug-23
WYOelker 30-Aug-23
Rock 30-Aug-23
Brotsky 30-Aug-23
Chief 419 30-Aug-23
Zeke 30-Aug-23
drycreek 30-Aug-23
goelk 30-Aug-23
tkjwonta 30-Aug-23
Two dogs mobile 30-Aug-23
LTG 11 30-Aug-23
LTG 11 30-Aug-23
badbull 30-Aug-23
Medicinemann 30-Aug-23
Hessticles 30-Aug-23
fuzzy 30-Aug-23
pav 30-Aug-23
APauls 30-Aug-23
Mule Power 30-Aug-23
scentman 30-Aug-23
StickFlicker 30-Aug-23
Pat Bischoff 30-Aug-23
8point 30-Aug-23
Bou'bound 31-Aug-23
Beav 31-Aug-23
Zbone 31-Aug-23
Corax_latrans 02-Sep-23
Buglemaster 02-Sep-23
grape 03-Sep-23
Copperman 03-Sep-23
jdbbowhunter 03-Sep-23
bigswivle 03-Sep-23
BTM 04-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 05-Sep-23
petedrummond 07-Sep-23
scentman 07-Sep-23
DanaC 07-Sep-23
Corax_latrans 08-Sep-23
ahunter76 08-Sep-23
Bigfoot 08-Sep-23
bigbuck 08-Sep-23
Treeline 08-Sep-23
Elkpacker 08-Sep-23
stealthycat 08-Sep-23
Matt 08-Sep-23
Bohunr 09-Sep-23
Squash 09-Sep-23
Huntiam 09-Sep-23
jjs 09-Sep-23
DanaC 09-Sep-23
drycreek 09-Sep-23
From: badbull
29-Aug-23
What is your worst hunting mistake or regret that you learned from that will probably never happen again? I have three that come to mind that happened on a bowhunt over forty years ago. Mistake number one was not allowing enough time on an "out of state" elk hunt. Mistake number two was not having an arrow nocked while calling and have a giant bull step out broadside at twenty yards creating a "staring contest" situation. Mistake number three was deciding to draw on him rather than wait him out resulting in a bolting bull. Would like to hear your regrettable mistake that others might learn from or "?", Badbull.

From: Dale06
29-Aug-23
Not picking a spot/rushing the shot when it was un necessary. The 6x6 bull was 42 yards, in a wallow and I was in a blind. I hit the bull in the scapula and never found him. That bull was seen three weeks later and appeared un hurt.

From: grizzley21
29-Aug-23
years ago,i had a giant bull elk come into a small clearing and was come right at me,, for some dumb reason ,, i looked right at his eyes, end of that,,,,, he was huge,,

From: molsonarcher
29-Aug-23
Not putting in for tge area I could have drawn 2 years ago, and didnt draw this year. SMFH

From: casekiska
29-Aug-23
I'm an old bowhunter,...78 now. First year bowhunted for deer was 1957, age 12. Probably biggest error in bowhunting career was not taking advantage of youth and prime physical fitness in the sixties & seventies which would have allowed for some great hunts out west and Canada & Alaska. Back then not as many guys did it, now days it seems almost everyone is heading west or making some sort of exotic hunting trip for game outside of the normal deer or bear. Back then it was much less expensive too. i should have made myself find a way to have the time and to afford it. That's what I reret the most,...alll the opportunities I passed on. To all the young guys out there now....find a way to do it, make a way to do it...you'll never have a better chance. Just do it so you don't end up like me and regretting the times you never made that out of state or out of country hunt. Get off your backside....DO IT!

From: t-roy
29-Aug-23
I didn’t range the biggest whitetail I have ever seen, (waaay over 200”) before I shot at him. Had a bunch of does around me, and didn’t want to chance spooking one of them. Guessed him at 40 yds and clipped a few hairs from the bottom of his chest. He was at 47 yards. Still have nightmares about it :-(

From: Pyrannah
29-Aug-23
troy, that sucks!!!!

29-Aug-23
I killed more black bears than I should have. Two or three would have been plenty.

From: Catscratch
29-Aug-23
Spent the entire afternoon stalking a pronghorn in 100 degree heat through ankle deep stickers, then waist high milo, and giant ant hills... just to slide the bow off my shoulder and realize every arrow had been knocked off my quiver, and I had nothing to shoot at the buck that was staring at me like an idiot. My buddy that let's me hunt still ribs me about it!

From: DL
29-Aug-23
Not being aggressive enough on bulls.

From: Basil
29-Aug-23
Had a huge non typical mule deer run down a steep hill & crumple at the bottom right in front of me. All I could think was that my buddy killed that big SOB. Just layed there at 25 yards in a heap. Then just popped up & bounded up the other side. Never even occurred to me to draw my bow until he was out of range. How often have you seen a deer fall down?

29-Aug-23
“Mistake I’ll never make again?”Hmmm Made more than my share. I just can’t guarantee I’ll never repeat.

From: WI Shedhead
29-Aug-23
Not practicing with all my fowl weather gear on. Hit my jacket sleeve and sent one over the back of a 195” nontypical whitetail. I know what he scored they shot him shotgun season a week later

From: Bake
29-Aug-23
I missed a 380-390 elk in 2015. Wad the year I discovered my TP. For some reason I fell completely apart. He had no idea I was there and was in a nice clear lane. I could have relaxed and taken my time. Even let him move some. I rushed a shot. Punched the trigger. Sent an arrow through his rack.

It still hurts

Same hunt next day. GIANT nontypical bull in same drainage. I went after him with no regard for wind. Just bulled straight ahead like an idiot. Course he was gone quick. If I’d taken 30 seconds to assess the situation I’d have done it all differently.

He was HUGE.

From: HUNT MAN
29-Aug-23

HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
I laid with this bull and his cows for 6 hours. Had a 62 yard shot and passed waiting for a better one. A rag horn getting to close blew the deal. I still can see him when I close my eyes!! Hunt

From: RonP
29-Aug-23
catscratch, that's funny as heck!

this was at least 20 years ago. elk hunted hard for a week + with a buddy and we never connected. he was from out of state and returned home. he would often leave an arrow behind or some token of our hunt together. this time he left an arrow from his bow quiver and i told him i was going to kill an elk with his arrow.

last day last evening i coax in a 4x4 and missed him with my buddy's arrow at about 20 yards. it was a fairly steep shot uphill, and the arrow went perfectly under his chest. had i connected it would have been a double lunger.

for some reason that one hurts more than the others. not much to learn here other than don't miss. :)

From: fuzzy
29-Aug-23
Kinda wish I'd taken more arrows and better boots to Kodiak

From: badbull
29-Aug-23
Interesting posts and I can relate to most of them. I see that most of us would like a "do over". Basil, l have seen deer fall down and get up but usually after being hit by an arrow or something else. Charlie, I think that I get what you are saying. Nothing is guaranteed in bowhunting which is one of the reasons why we love to bowhunt, Badbull.

From: easeup
29-Aug-23
well wouldn't I be something if I said I'll never do that again and............

From: Glunt@work
29-Aug-23
Taking hunting opportunities for granted. A lot have disappeared or changed dramatically.

From: Glunt@work
29-Aug-23

From: Scoot
29-Aug-23
I hunted a ton with my dad. Wish I would have hunted with him more. Exact same with my mom.

From: Rackmastr
29-Aug-23
Wounded a bighorn ram in 2010. Had picked a spot and made a pretty good shot, but the ram turned and didn't realize he wasn't quartering away anymore. I shot him back and never recovered him. Had a second follow up shot but a ewe stood in the way and I tried to sneak it in and missed unfortunately. I replay that shot sequence in my head a lot. A bit of rushing, a bit of shot execution, etc.

I gave up bowhunting for a couple years and sold my bow. Ended up coming back to it after a few years because I missed shooting. Worked on target panic and confidence from the bottom up. Now cant wait to try and kill my next wild sheep with a bow if all goes well. Still one of the best/worst hunts of my life for a few reasons. Ram was alive chasing ewes 3-4 days after the shot but never got back on him unfortunately.

From: Twinetickler
30-Aug-23
I've had a few missed shots I wish I could have over, but the one that haunts me most was watching my wife stick a 175"+ muley in the top of the neck. The buck crumpled and rolled right to her feet down the hill. I sat and watched through my spotter as the buck got to his feet and trotted out of her/our life forever. It was one of her first bowhunts and she must have just nicked the spine and stunned it. The buck layed there for several minutes, plenty of time for her to put another arrow in it at point blank range. She just didn't know she needed to. I couldn't yell or get there quick enough just had to watch it all unfold helpless.

30-Aug-23
Good lord Hunter! Looks like the ones my kids draw for me for good luck….lol

From: KHunter
30-Aug-23

KHunter's embedded Photo
KHunter's embedded Photo
Not shooting this bull at 17 and then again 24 yards broadside at full draw both times after calling in twice in 5 minutes was a mistake. Thought I could do better, LOL

From: buckeye
30-Aug-23
All 3 the same , not getting in early enough in the afternoon.. bumped 3 giants over the last 20 years within 20 yards of the stand I was headed to.

30-Aug-23
Snuck inside a herd of cows and one bugling bull. It was real thick, and I heard a calf chirping and coming my way. Sure enough a calf pops out at 10 yards and walks by me. I hear another calf chirping and coming on the same path so I just wait, next thing I know a huge bull pops out and is chirping like the calf. I make a move to draw and my bugle tube swings off my back and hits my bow. Game over! Never assume a chirp is coming from a calf or cow!

From: BULELK1
30-Aug-23
Don't pass up that first day Bull only to not see him again thru the last day of the hunt!

Good luck, Robb

From: Bowboy
30-Aug-23
Not getting into bowhunting sooner. I didn’t start until my early 20’s.

From: deerhunter72
30-Aug-23
Worst bowhunting error was on a massively heavy framed 10pt WT. Shot under his belly at 35 yards. He had walked straight to me and was within 12 yards but I didn't have a shot. After he got by, I got his attention with a snort/wheeze. This was the first and only mature buck that I have seen respond to that and it was incredible. The hair on his neck instantly raised up and he literally came stomping back looking to whip something. He circled to get downwind and I rushed the shot.

The worst by far was the first and only muzzleloader season that I hunted about 20 years ago. Had hunted in the morning and it was cool then left the gun loaded in my heated shop. Went out that afternoon and I hadn't been in the stand 30 minutes when the biggest WT I have ever seen walked by broadside at 15 yards trailing a doe. Several of us that lived there had seen this deer and everyone was in awe of him. Typical 12 pt with all long tines and at least 24' spread. Anyway I got sighted in and pulled the trigger and the gun goes "pop". I panic and the deer just turns and looked at me. He starts after the doe again and I'm trying to get another cap on the gun. I get sighted on him again at 50 yards and pull the trigger and again "pop". This time he takes off. As I watch him run across the neighbors field I put on another cap and pull the trigger and the gun fires into the ground. Moisture in the nipple port and I've never hunted with that gun again. Totally not the guns fault, I just can't carry it back to the woods. The deer everyone dreams about had just walked out of my life and I never saw him again and still don't know whatever happened to him. Had to be at least 190" and I really think he would've topped 200".

From: maxracx
30-Aug-23
I have made more mistakes than I care to remember. Most I will never forget. As I look around at the mounts in my office , I have sooo many great memories. Friends and family I have hunted with, adventures and yes memories of mistakes. All good thou, that's what keeps me driven.

From: BTM
30-Aug-23
Fiddling with a camera instead of keeping my bow handy. You can either be Fred Bear or Ansel Adams, but not simultaneously!

From: 2Wild Bill
30-Aug-23
On a previous hunt I heard a pair of bucks fighting and then moving and fighting again, and again. So, next time out to a nearby location I began to rattle. Within five minutes I hear a deer coming towards me. It walked to within a few yards of my stand and stood there. Now I wish I had waited for enough light to see the ground.

From: JTreeman
30-Aug-23
I doubt Pat has the server space for me to list all mine. But they mainly boil down to lack of patience (and/or rushing the shot).

—Jim

From: Lewis
30-Aug-23
Don’t know where to start lol I guess one for sure was the first velvet season in Tennessee I was in a ground blind and it was hot just before the last legal shooting time I was real thirsty and picked up a water bottle and it made a creeky popping sound and my target buck exploded behind the blind and ran out in the field in front of me about 35 yards away and I couldn’t see my pin well enough in the blind to shoot and he walked off Good luck Lewis

From: TonyBear
30-Aug-23
Missed shots at high quality bucks by shooting, low, over and in front of them. Worst regret is that first big one I shot at 60 yds with a Bear bare bow. Big Zwickey Delta head, tracked him for two days before running out of sign. It was an unexpected spot and stalk, after the shot 1/2 the herd ran right past me as the wounded buck went the other way.

To this day 42 years later my hunting companions still talk about all the blood we found and being certain that deer was dead. It wasn't just the distance covered in the big woods that was amazing, but the amount of blood too. Have downed over 50 deer since then with less sign.

The other regret is spending too much time on fast cars and drinking, chasing women who were no good for me. Should of bought the 4X4 earlier and hunted more instead.

From: Mint
30-Aug-23
Didn't go hunt catalina island when I first started shooting my longbow. Waiting for a b&C antelope to turn broadside at a water tank and or not shooting the p&y antelope next to him that was broadside. A doe made an alarm snort and they were gone forever.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Aug-23
My biggest regret was partnering in an outfitting business and contributing to the commercialization and capitalization of hunting.

In close second place is losing access to a prime chunk of privately landlocked BLM because we ignored the rancher's request to only hunt the BLM that he leased the grazing on, which was only a portion of the total chunk of BLM. I still don't agree with his efforts to control the hunting on public land, but it's how he and his neighbors had done it for years. I was young and dumb, and didn't realize how good we had it.

Matt

From: WYOelker
30-Aug-23
I hate taking evening shots or shots in the last hours. It just sucks.

My wife had a cow elk rifle tag one year. We got into a herd at low light but still well before legal light was gone. The elk were feeding in a pasture of yellow grass and it was over cast. We watched the herd, had a few minutes to set up for the shot, we sorted out a “cow” we both looked at it several times, it was the closest elk at 150 yards. We both watched waited for it to clear the herd behind it fed head down. The shot was taken and the elk balled up. The entire herd of like 170 grouped up and headed up the canyon. Out of sight. By the time we gathered the packs, and got to the shot location is was nearing end of legal light. We found blood and a track. But not a ton. It was November, cold and the herd was up the canyon still in the bottom. So we chose to back out.

Next morning, went in and followed the blood about 180 yards and found a dead spike elk. His antlers were in velvet. They matched the grass perfect, in low light we both look at him several times and neither of us saw the antlers. Antlers were 8.5” one side and 9” on the other…

In all honesty I hate shooting at thing with rifle or bow at last light. It just sucks if the critter does not drop in sight…

From: Rock
30-Aug-23
Being too cautious about spending money when I was younger and not doing some of the guided hunts I really wanted to when they were affordable. Such as Stone Sheep for $6500

From: Brotsky
30-Aug-23
Not buying points earlier in life! Oh the hunts I could have done! :(

From: Chief 419
30-Aug-23
I was on my first elk hunt and had never even seen an elk in the wild. First morning, first hour of the hunt I sneak into bow range, 6x6 bull standing broadside at 60 yards, pull back, settle the pin & the shot is about to go off. As I'm pulling through the shot, I took my eye off of the peep so I could see the arrow flight & where I would hit. The arrow goes right over the bull's back. Mental error of the worst kind. I've never repeated that mistake.

From: Zeke
30-Aug-23
My biggest mistake (and I have made many) and blessing happened at the same time. I Joined the point race in about 2005. My goal was to hunt 76 it took 6 to 7 points then. After a 9 years it became a apparent that I was never going catch up while I was young enough to hunt 76. I blew 9 points for a 5 point unit. Had a wonderful hunt. On day 3 my son called in a 6X6 (guessed at 340-350) to a ranged 35 yards. The bull stops and looks away from me, I drew put my 50 yard pin on him and sent it. Way over his back. The bull fever had me bad. The bull moved on toward my son and bugled a couple of more times in range but I had no other open shot. After the bull moved on off my son came to me and asked what happened, I said I blew it, I shot over his back. No, No you couldn't have. We have to find the arrow to be sure. When we found it, it had a judo point on it. I had pulled the only arrow in my quiver with a judo point on it and didn't notice until then. The blessing was that I missed and the mistake was shooting the wrong arrow. Now some days I may only think about that screw up more than 5 or 6 times.

From: drycreek
30-Aug-23
Drawing on a nice heavily palmated buck and never cutting the arrow loose. When I drew he saw me and I was hoping to get a shot where he wasn’t looking straight at me. It didn’t happen, he wheeled and trotted off. He would have made a wonderful mount !

From: goelk
30-Aug-23
laughing at my brother when he screw up on a Big bull with muzzleloader and i could have shot him with my long bow.

From: tkjwonta
30-Aug-23
Mentally still being at "work" while on a hunt. My least favorite hunting experiences have been because I couldn't put my full effort and focus into the task at hand because I was worried about things at home or the office.

I've pledged to do a better job of tying up loose ends before leaving and letting people know that I'm unavailable.

30-Aug-23
I believe the year was 1996. It was a brisk November morning. I decided to go to a spot that required a long walk and would make retrieving any thing difficult. I told myself that I would pass any deer that wasn't really big. Shortly after sunrise here comes a buck doing the rut type trot. He wasdefinitely the biggest buck I had ever had in range. I was shooting a longbow instinctively. I whistled tying to get him to stop and he ignored me. I tried saying hey and he ignored me. I finally yelled loudly and he stopped. Unfortunately, a small sapling covered part of his ribs. I told myself there was plenty of room behind the sapling. I tried to focus and let an arrow fly hitting right where I was focused. I dead centered the two inch sapling. In hindsight I knew my focus was on the sapling, not two inches behind it.

From: LTG 11
30-Aug-23
I have two stories... 1 is heartbreaking and 1 is funny.

I had access to a special place. 200 acres on the edge of kansas city. A timbered creek bottom, with a bean field, a pasture, and some woods surrounding it. A family friend was developing houses on one end. For now, I had free reign.

The creek bottom and bean field edge created a perfect rut funnel running north to south. I waited and went in on a NE-E wind in the morning. Quiet morning, see a few small bucks around day light. Then, I see a monster joggin through the woods. I stand up, bow was on my lap.... he goes right down the trail im sitting on at 20 yards...

He goes behind a tree and I draw. He enters the opening. It's 30 yards wide.... Im about to stop him... but I wait for him to hit the middle... and he hits a "brickwall" and peels back immediately. I go "wtf" and my breath goes right across my face to where he was. Wind had shifted 270 degrees right to him. All of 170". 10-12 pt. broom handle thick, tall tines. Not super wide. I can see him as I type this right now. Sheeeee - it.

Other one, done hunting for the morning. My backpack and quiver are on my rope to lower things down. I'm messing around with stuff and accidentally drop both. The fletching end of my arrows go straight down into my lone wolf tree stand. My back pack goes over the side....

It snaps. EVERY. SINGLE, ARROW. in half. IN HALF.

Spent the next 10 minutes sitting in the treestand debating whether or not I was the dumbest sob in the country or not...

From: LTG 11
30-Aug-23
I have two stories... 1 is heartbreaking and 1 is funny.

I had access to a special place. 200 acres on the edge of kansas city. A timbered creek bottom, with a bean field, a pasture, and some woods surrounding it. A family friend was developing houses on one end. For now, I had free reign.

The creek bottom and bean field edge created a perfect rut funnel running north to south. I waited and went in on a NE-E wind in the morning. Quiet morning, see a few small bucks around day light. Then, I see a monster joggin through the woods. I stand up, bow was on my lap.... he goes right down the trail im sitting on at 20 yards...

He goes behind a tree and I draw. He enters the opening. It's 30 yards wide.... Im about to stop him... but I wait for him to hit the middle... and he hits a "brickwall" and peels back immediately. I go "wtf" and my breath goes right across my face to where he was. Wind had shifted 270 degrees right to him. All of 170". 10-12 pt. broom handle thick, tall tines. Not super wide. I can see him as I type this right now. Sheeeee - it.

Other one, done hunting for the morning. My backpack and quiver are on my rope to lower things down. I'm messing around with stuff and accidentally drop both. The fletching end of my arrows go straight down into my lone wolf tree stand. My back pack goes over the side....

It snaps. EVERY. SINGLE, ARROW. in half. IN HALF.

Spent the next 10 minutes sitting in the treestand debating whether or not I was the dumbest sob in the country or not...

From: badbull
30-Aug-23
Appreciate all of your sharing above. When I think of this sort of thing I remember what happened to a friend from Montana. He wound up in elk camp deep in the mountains only to find that he had forgotten his bow at home. I always double check my basic gear when I leave for a trip after remembering this incident.

From: Medicinemann
30-Aug-23
hunting for Barren Ground Caribou in northern Alaska. Hunted hard for several days but wasn't seeing any mature bulls. Second to last day of the hunt, I finally locate two really nice bulls. I stalked to within 35 yards of the larger bull. I felt that that I could get within 20 yards because he was so focused on feeding that he was oblivious to his surroundings. However, the wind was starting to act up, so I opted to take the 35 yard shot.....and completely whiffed. Shot another arrow when I got back to camp, only to discover that while crawling for several hundred yards to get within bow range, I had seriously bumped my sights.

From: Hessticles
30-Aug-23
I always buy 2 buck tags right away before season, opening morning my #2 buck in full velvet came by and I killed him, just hung my bow up without nocking another arrow and my #1 big 8 with 8" drop came by at 10 yards in full velvet and couldn't get an arrow nocked before he disappeared. Seen him 3 more times but he broke his whole beam off the one side so I passed him and ended up finding him dead while she'd hunting. Other is not buying points for other states when I was younger.

From: fuzzy
30-Aug-23
Timex I had the kind of experience on a RAAP management hunt. Had a solid 10 chase a doe all around my stand. Watching the show and waiting for the "perfect" shot I let them both leave. At half hour before mandatory "quit time" I settled for a barely legal six point

From: pav
30-Aug-23

pav's embedded Photo
pav's embedded Photo
Lots of mistakes! Biggest regret: not pursuing western big game bowhunting until I was 40 years old (2002). First time I ever set foot in the Colorado Rockies and was fortunate to arrow my first bull elk on day seven at 17 yards. Hooked for life after that DIY elk hunt. Wish I had started bowhunting the west 20 years earlier! Thank God for Bowsite!!!

From: APauls
30-Aug-23
Biggest stupid is while newly married had a fight with my wife and went hunting. Decided to get down early because I felt bad the whole time anyways. Had a decoy out. When I got down I saw a body crossing The field but by now it was pretty dark. I was in a fowl mood and thought for sure if it was a big buck I would know it. Instead of continuing the direction it was going it started trucking my way. With bow at my feet I kept telling myself if it had a big rack I would see it already. When he gets close I realize it’s a giant racked 8 that looks identical to the one I shot the year before. By the time I slowly got ready I couldn’t see through my peep. Watched him stand beside my decoy for 20 minutes at 20 yards. He was identical to a 156” 8 I had killed. There is a chance I killed him 4 years later as a NT though.

Biggest regret is not going caribou hunting earlier in life while there was 800,000 animals. I didn’t have the funds but it was cheap compared to now, and now there aren’t even caribou in Manitoba.

Also not hunting Saskatchewan before I did. Finally went and then they turned it into a draw the year after I started. Was so cheap and so fun with buddies.

Another dummy was passing on a huge 3x3 in Sask. I wish I could have that buck back. Just a gigantic frame about 22” wide and super heavy. G2’s were about 20 inches long. I thought I should wait for a higher scoring deer. So stupid. Was younger, and I no longer care about score!

Another dummy was a few years ago trying to film a ghost buck I hunted for 4 years and saw 3 times. Ended up shooting and hitting the bow hanger I forgot about with my top limb. I had moved everything to unusual locations to make room for filming equipment. Arrow sailed over his back. Never saw him again.

Have a video of trying to arrow a smaller bull moose where I try and squeeze the shot through a tough spot. The thing was so rutted up he chased our aluminum boat down the river. I could easily have waited and drawn again.

But at least none of them were over 200” like T-Roy’s! Lol

From: Mule Power
30-Aug-23
Rifle hunting. (I’m sorry) lol I NEVER give up. Ever. Failure is not an option. Last day of the hunt. Actually yesterday was the last day and we’re supposed to pull camp but I refused to surrender. Not only did I decide to do a half day hunt but I went high. I knew they were up there. They always are. Plus I always have this stupid theory that the more shit I put myself through the more likely the elk Gods will deem me worthy of success. I get where I need to be on time which is NOT easy. Bang three bulls across the hole in the avalanche chutes. Off I go. But it’s a long way. By the time I get up there they’ve rolled around the furthest ridge to the timbered north slope. That’s ok I’m on it. But too many tracks! Thousands. Yellow snow everywhere. Lost them. Well… there comes a time in every hunt where you have to say I did all I can do. It’s a looooong way to base camp. It’s snowy. I love hiking in the mountains so I’m gonna enjoy bouncing down hill off this mountain while reflecting on my hunt. Might as well make one more mistake before I leave. I strapped my gun to the back of my pack. Heading back I crossed a chute and came upon a lone bed. Through the timber I crossed another open avalanche chute and on the other side was another bed. Crossed through that timber and popped out into the next chute. Walked about 30 yards into the wide open and glanced downhill toward the timber on the other side. Monster bull. 270 yards. That’s a 10 yard bow shot. I drop my pack and start unbuckling the freaking lash straps and he just stands there. Rips out a huuuge bugle and turns and walks into the timber in no hurry at all. I couldn’t get it done. I scrambled across the opening, through the timber and dropped straight downhill through a long narrow meadow. Crossed his tracks and finished my hike down the green mile back to the truck. If I’d stuck to one of my cardinal rules and had my weapon at the ready until I can smell camp it would have been a much better story. Fk me! Can you tell I relive that day over and over?

From: scentman
30-Aug-23
Not buying up properties in Ohio or Kansas, like 30 yrs ago.

I am happy with my little piece of Heaven in WNY though;]

From: StickFlicker
30-Aug-23
Not learning to actually shoot a bow well earlier in my bowhunting career. And really, I think it was growing up and finding my own way with archery and nobody to tell me how ill-fitted my bow/arrows were for me. I was a terrible shot for too long before getting help from a friend and finally becoming proficient. Getting proper equipment to fit me made an instantly noticeable improvement. I missed some easy shots at some magnificent animals before my shooting abilities finally caught up to my hunting abilities.

From: Pat Bischoff
30-Aug-23
Sleeping in when i felt to tired to go.

From: 8point
30-Aug-23
I regret realizing I had learned as much as I did about elk hunting at age 78 at the same time my shoulders gave out and Colorado made the unit I hunted for years a draw unit .

From: Bou'bound
31-Aug-23
Not Sleeping in when i felt to tired to go and should have enjoyed a refresher vs blind hunt anywhere anytime at any cost mentality on an activity that is done, or should be, for enjoyment.

From: Beav
31-Aug-23
Stalked a giant whitetail once and had him at 51. Had a perfect release and just clipped his brisket. My rangefinder was on meters! Crap!

From: Zbone
31-Aug-23
I thought about this for a while, and I will say my biggest mistake/regrets is not taking the shot when I had the first opportunity... I sure would like a few do-overs...

02-Sep-23
Mine was… well, I have 2, actually…

First morning of my first season, I bumped a pair of does (or maybe fawns?) as I turned off the county road onto the farm road for the property I was hunting. So I stopped the vehicle, ran to the back and grabbed my bow and ONE arrow out of the quiver. Two or three minutes later, I suppose, I estimated the range at 20 and sailed my ONE arrow over the back of one of those deer. And there they stood, staring. So two lessons learned right quick: first, that it is NOT True that you never get a second chance in bowhunting. Second, that if you shoot “instinctively”, NEVER think about the range. Shoot or Don’t, but whatever you do, don’t put a number to it….

Second Story: One morning a doe mulie saw - but could not ID - my brother on the trail behind me and she literally STALKED him, which took het past me, broadside, at chip-shot distance. Then just as I was releasing, she lifted her near, hind hoof… which captured my attention. I’m certain that I brushed her hoof with my fletchings.

But the real MISTAKE was not realizing WHY I had “missed” the 12-ring by over a foot at 15 or maybe 18 yards. And that screwed up my confidence to such an extent that a few days later I backed out of a Gimmie shot opportunity on a big cow Elk. After doing a pretty clever job of playing the thermals to backtrack and loop up and over a herd that was up-slope and headed my way, if I do say so…. I had really earned that shot, and I just flat lost my nerve.

So for future reference, One is never lose focus on The Spot, and the second is to always figure out exactly what went wrong on a poor shot so you’ll be free of it when your next good opportunity comes along.

From: Buglemaster
02-Sep-23
Not applying for preference points for the first 15 years the program existed..would be working on my 3rd LE tag by now…

From: grape
03-Sep-23
Biggest whitetail I’ve ever had an opportunity to kill. This was in the eighties and I can still see the buck. I’m not sure if it was a 10 or better, but he had double drop tones that were incredible. I was in a tree stand. Hunting a great trail in the rut. Right at crunch time, a whitetail of a lifetime comes down the trail. When he passes my shooting lane he will be 10 yards. Just as he steps into my lane, I draw. When I draw, I can see the hair on his neck stand straight up. Wouldda, shoulda, couldda, I panicked and rushed the shot. The arrow hit him in the shoulder. I knew the hit was bad, but I tracked him the next day hoping for a miracle……….nope! If I close my eyes I can play the scenario over in my mind clearly. Forty years later……it still hurts.

From: Copperman
03-Sep-23
not elk hunting more!

From: jdbbowhunter
03-Sep-23
I agree Steve. Should have moved out west 30 years ago , after my first trip.

From: bigswivle
03-Sep-23
Booking a cheap cancellation hunt on here a couple years ago. Lol, never do that again.

From: BTM
04-Sep-23
Fly two long days to get to Kodiak. Unpack gear and find two left boots! Doh!

05-Sep-23
Actually, I just thought of another one, arguably even bigger…. And a lot of you will think I’m just pontificating, but hear me out…..

Taking a Compound.

Seriously.

I don’t own a rangefinder and don’t want to. I figure if I’m willing to pull the trigger beyond 40 yards, that’s why I own the muzzleloader, but I did just promise not to pontificate, so I’ll leave that there.

And on two occasions during a hunt on which EVERY DAMN THING went wrong from the time I hit the ground, I was presented with shots which were (or could have been) within my comfort zone.

The couldabeen shot, I blew it by drawing as a nervous cow trotted in my direction and she saw the movement when she was still 35-40 yards out, but on a course that would’ve brought her much closer. With a stickbow, I would have waited until she was looking past my position as she scanned for threats, and unless she had seen my draw and immediately blew up, I’m OK with my chances on the shots that might’ve been…

The second time (I know I’m repeating myself here) was on my way down the hill one wet, snowy afternoon when a whole herd filtered across the trail I was on, with most passing between 15 and 25 yards away.

And there I was, unable to get an arrow into my iced-up dropaway before the last one of ‘stopped and em gave me a Judgy look before cresting the hill about 40 yards away, quartering.

Operator error in both cases. Didn’t know my equipment’s potential liabilities as well as I had thought, and made a bad choice drawing when I did.

So not blaming the Equipment, per se — just noting that for me, taking the “most likely to succeed” equipment was a major blunder.

Probably bad karma, too. Going forward, I shall atone.

From: petedrummond
07-Sep-23

petedrummond's embedded Photo
petedrummond's embedded Photo
Passing on this guy at twenty yards

From: scentman
07-Sep-23
Ouch Peter, I'd be losing sleep over that decision;0]

From: DanaC
07-Sep-23
Not moving out of here 40 years ago. Ohio, maybe.

08-Sep-23
Yeah, well, can’t argue THAT, Dana. As Hunting Mistakes & Regrets go, I don’t how I could’ve done any worse than moving from CO, where I could head straight up the hill from my folks’ house and be into Elk every day….. to CT.

The rest of my life I would not trade, but for my hunting…. Uff da.

From: ahunter76
08-Sep-23
Chasing Elk over 30 times & Bears over 15 & not fitting in a Moose hunt. Nearing 82 so I don't think it's going to happen. I've been blessed with a bowhunting journey & tons of adventures that many will only dream of..

From: Bigfoot
08-Sep-23
Mistake related to bowhunting:

Not making enough of an effort to hunt Elk when my son was growing up. We did take a couple of Elk when he was at home - he took one of the biggest cows I still have ever seen with his bow. But I started to really put forth the effort required to hunt back country Elk after he was in University and on his own. Wish I had done that when he was younger as I think that would have been some great experiences for us to have shared. He did enjoy hunting but, now, with a busy life as a Doctor and with 3 little boys of his own, not something he actively pursues.

From: bigbuck
08-Sep-23
Passing on a 150 to 160 inch whitetail the day after missing a 220 inch whitetail deer,on the last day of my hunt,still have nightmares of that hunt!! Not having a good enough job when i was young to be able to travel to the western states to hunt.Not Elk hunting more when i was younger

From: Treeline
08-Sep-23
Putting the career ahead of going hunting.

Not going on the caribou, moose, and sheep hunts in Canada and Mexico when they were cheap… back in the 90’s and early 2000’s…

From: Elkpacker
08-Sep-23
getting married 37 years ago this oct 4th. I was packing all my gear for my annual elk hunt. She said not this year we have to much to do in september and was putting her foot down. Well we shall see what she has to say after the third weekin sept when I return.

From: stealthycat
08-Sep-23
figuring a list of states that had lifetimes hunting licenses and moving to each one, one year at a time for 4-5 years of my contracting life and getting lifetime licenses in each

moving to AK for just 1-2 years as a young man so I could hunt moose/sheep etc that now I'll likely never get a chance to

From: Matt
08-Sep-23
There was that time that my stomach was grumbling when I left my vehicle but I didn't take any TP because it was going to be a short walk....

From: Bohunr
09-Sep-23
I'm with you elkpacker, my SECOND wife understands my need to go hunting. :)

From: Squash
09-Sep-23
In 1986 I went to NFLD moose hunting cost $1800 US, for another $650 could have taken a woodland caribou, but didn’t have the extra money. Killed a decent bull moose and saw a big beautiful stag caribou that I could have shot easily. Given today’s prices for a woodland caribou hunt, it was a big mistake not spending the extra money in 86.

From: Huntiam
09-Sep-23
Not going hunting with my dad and grandpa every chance I got, boy what I would do now for one more of them opportunities nowadays..

From: jjs
09-Sep-23
leaving my weapon home on the garage floor and found out after a 3 hr drive to the hunting place, ouch, always carried a replacement after that FUBAR.

From: DanaC
09-Sep-23
^^^ Me and a buddy went north over the state line for a day of rifle hunting. Forgot my rifle at home... No biggie, had a backup handgun. Spent the day hunting with a 38 snubbie. No deer were harmed in the making of this episode... ;-)

From: drycreek
09-Sep-23
Reading these posts I realized many other regrets, but one that stands out is booking an Iowa hunt with a used car salesman at an outdoor show. It sucked, he sucked, and the biggest suck was was that “giant sucking sound” in my wallet. ??

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