Sitka Gear
Close But No Cigar
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
JB 20-Mar-24
Scoot 20-Mar-24
JB 20-Mar-24
Scoot 20-Mar-24
Stoneman 20-Mar-24
Fisher 20-Mar-24
t-roy 21-Mar-24
pav 21-Mar-24
JB 21-Mar-24
Dale06 21-Mar-24
scentman 21-Mar-24
12yards 21-Mar-24
goelk 21-Mar-24
Basil 21-Mar-24
Two dogs mobile 21-Mar-24
boobowmen 21-Mar-24
StickFlicker 21-Mar-24
StickFlicker 21-Mar-24
Coop 21-Mar-24
JB 21-Mar-24
drycreek 21-Mar-24
scentman 22-Mar-24
From: JB
20-Mar-24
Figured its time for another bow hunting thread. Let's hear some memories of the one that got away.

My starter was a brute of a 10 pointer that I had been after. I tried dragging some scent in one morning during the rut. He shows up about 10:00 with 2 does and when he hits my trail his nose goes right to the ground. He turns and comes my way with his nose bouncing off the ground. Wind is in my favor and I'm stoked. It's going to happen. He hesitates at about 35 yards behind some brush. The does are following until... Shit. They take a left. He looks down the trail he's on and back at them. He looks again but I know I'm screwed. Damn females.

Your story?

From: Scoot
20-Mar-24
Really cute blonde my sophomore year of college. Close, but no cigar.

From: JB
20-Mar-24
That's great!

From: Scoot
20-Mar-24
Really big 10 was walking right in between my dad's stand and mine. Dad got the deer's attention and spooked it over my way. It went right where dad hoped I would. Only problem was... I went to a "better tree" about 40 yards away. I shot right over his back at 35 yards.

From: Stoneman
20-Mar-24
I hadn’t seen this buck during any of my previous sits, however the night before I had dinner and drinks with the rancher and his wife. We watched the Sunday night football game until late.

I still made it to my stand before daybreak albeit a little groggy. I was hunched over napping when one of the biggest bucks I’d seen on this property came down the trail into my shooting lane. I’m sure he must have heard me snoring… I abruptly woke sensing something was there. Not moving I looked down and to my left only to see this very respectable buck was just 20 yards away looking right at me.

My bow was still hanging and I was leaning into my harness half asleep. He did the ole back step until he turned around.

By the time I got my bow off the hook he was outside my range and with no shooting lanes, he was gone. I never saw that buck again.

From: Fisher
20-Mar-24
Scoot - Same here, a blonde doe in my sophomore year of college.

This hunt happened a few years ago. I had hunted the same very large whitetail for 2.5 years. His heavy antlers were wide, tall, and reached forward well beyond the end of his nose. He was an honest 190” buck. Over that time I saw him a few times with a spotting scope bedded in a brushy tree island where he could see and smell any danger. I tried many strategies. Finally on November 10, I saw him at 200 yards exit the woods and begin crossing a field with two does. Using a grunt call, rattling antlers, and a buck decoy i called to him from my stand on the edge of his tree island. He turned my direction and moved very cautiously and slowly. The two does stopped at 75 yards so i thought it was over. He then moved closer even slower than before. It took 45 minutes for him to slowly move into the perfect position for a shot. Because of the long time calling and watching him respond, the adrenalin had me quite excited. I can usually control the excitement on a large buck - not this time. Finally he was broadside to me facing the decoy with his ears pinned back and his fur fuzzed up at 16 yards. Using the wrong pin I shot right over his back. He jumped and moved off a bit, but refocused on the decoy. Again i shot over his back at 25 yards. This time the spell was broken and he ran off to rejoin his does and move on. I would have preferred a clean kill, but am thankful for the clean misses. That event has replayed in my dreams countless times.

From: t-roy
21-Mar-24
I never even made it to my sophomore year of college…

About 10-15 years ago, I was hunting on the edge of a bedding flat, and watched a doe filter in and bed down with her white belly towards me, about 50 yds from my stand. I could easily pick her out each time I would glance in her direction. I ended up with 4-5 other does right out in front of me, feeding on acorns. Soon, a dink buck showed up on the scene and worked his way over towards the bedded doe. As I glanced in her direction, I saw not one, but two white spots near where she was bedded. The buck that I had been after for 3 years, stood up near the doe and postured towards the small buck and easily convinced him to go elsewhere. I have no idea how I hadn’t seen him there before.

In the meantime, the doe had gotten to her feet and was working her way towards where the other does were feeding, with the giant buck in tow, about 15 yards behind her. She made her way past a tree that I had ranged earlier at 30 yds. Instead of following right behind her, the buck cut across further back behind her and stopped broadside, right in the middle of a small opening. With so many eyes within 20-30 yards of my stand, I didn’t want to chance ranging the shot distance, for fear of spooking any one of them, I guessed that he was about 10 yards past the tree I had ranged earlier. Carefully, I got drawn, settled the 40yd pin on his heart, and released, only to watch my arrow cut just a few hairs from the very bottom of his chest. He didn’t move a muscle until my arrow stuck in the ground beneath and just past him, then he and the rest of the herd blew out of there. After talking myself out of jumping out of my stand, I ranged the spot where the buck had stood and got 47 yards. There’s not a week or two that goes by, that I don’t play that shot over and over in my head. I’ve been fortunate to have killed some pretty nice whitetails over the years, but this buck was easily the highest scoring whitetail I’ve ever seen on the hoof. He was legitimately well over 200”. That’s probably the ONE shot that I’d most like to have a “do over” on.

From: pav
21-Mar-24
My biggest "Close But No Cigar" isn't a whitetail, but I'll share anyway.

This happened while elk hunting the Book Cliffs in Utah back in 2010. Not far from my camp... a main ridge, where I spent the majority of my time, split into two finger ridges. There was a small timbered bowl at the split where I had three close encounters with big game. First encounter was a young bull elk that I spotted while bedded in the bowl. Decided to make a stalk on the bull just to see how close I could get. When I got close enough that I could almost touch him with my bow, I backed out without disturbing him. Second encounter was a black bear feeding on acorns in the bowl. Another stalk put me within 20 yards of the bear...which eventually picked me while taking photos.

Heading back to camp one evening, as I approached the bowl from the west finger, a bugle...unlike anything I'd ever heard in my life...sounds off in the bowl. Honestly, that bugle made the hair stand up on the back of my neck! I dropped off the trail to put a pine tree behind me for cover and nocked an arrow. Seconds later, three cows made their way out of the bowl and hit the main ridge trail...less than 25 yards from my position... as the bull continued to scream. A spike bull followed the cows, but stopped at the split in the trail. Behind him was the biggest bull elk I've ever laid eyes on...how big I'm not sure...but he absolutely dwarfed any 340-350" bull I've seen...in the field or on a wall. Just as the bull was exiting the bowl, the spike turns and begins walking my direction. He locks up at about 10 yards and is giving me the stare down. The big bull follows the same path as the cows, stops broadside less than 25 yards, and sounds off another eerie bugle. The next sound was a warning bark from the spike...game over. No shot opportunity, but what an incredible close encounter! Close...but no cigar!

From: JB
21-Mar-24
Pav - thanks for breaking the pattern of Whitetail stories. I wasn't sure what to pick for a theme and definitely am interested in any close but no cigar.

21-Mar-24
about 10 years ago i was sitting in one my ladder stands when i saw a beautiful (for my area) 8 point walking directly at me. he would stop to smell the air...look around...and browse as he made his way toward me. he got within about 15 yards of me and proceeded to rake his antlers in a low hanging branch of a scrub oak in front of me...but never really gave me anything other than a frontal shot. watching him go a bout his business was like something youd see on a wildlife video.

in what seemed like an hour but was only a few minutes...he started to make his way to the right of me...and being right handed...i knew i was going to have to stand and turn 180 degrees in order for me to get a shot. my ladder stand was in a large 3 trunked tree... and the only shot i was going to get on the right...would be between two of the trunks.

long story short...while the buck was partially hidden by the two tree trunks...i managed to stand...turn 180 degrees...and there he was...perfectly framed between the two trunks of the tree...standing broadside at about 12 yards...looking away. I can see him now as if it was yesterday.

i managed to get my recurve into shooting position (which wasnt easy because i had to first position my arrow between the two trunks that were now about a foot to my left)...picked my spot (or so i thought)...drew to anchor...released... and proceeded to watch my yellow fletching sail just over his back and stick in the ground behind him. he quickly jumped forward a couple strides and looked around to see what happened. now again...i had no shot. he finally calmed down...and went about his business...and walked away...never to be seen again.

even though i didnt seal the deal...it is still one of my favorite encounters in all the years ive been bow hunting.

From: Dale06
21-Mar-24
I was in Alaska on he last day of an eight day moose hunt and it had been slow. We set up beside a 40 yard wide river and my guide was calling. I looked across the river and there was a very large moose raking trees and walking back and forth apparently trying to decide whether to swim to our side and investigate the calling. This went on for 15 minutes. Suddenly the moose jumped into the river and was swimming to us. There was a very steep bank on our side that the moose would have to climb. I ran to near the edge of the bank and ranged a small pine tree where I thought the moose would appear after he climbed the bank, 28 yards. The moose landed on our side of the river and started up the bank. I could see the top of his tack and I came to full draw. This was going to be a chip shot. The moose stopped climbing the bank and I could see the top half of his rack. He stood there for maybe 15 seconds, turned and swam back across the river, climbed out and ran out of sight. I guess he smelled the guide, as I was down wind.

From: scentman
21-Mar-24
I think it was late eighties was hunting off the ground underneath pine bows... bunch of young deer were hanging together like a bunch of teenagers, ugly 5 pt yearling walking to my left, I kneel, draw, shoot... like in slow motion at 12 yds this buck let's out a grunt, drops to his belly as I watch my Easton Aluminum fly 12" over his back... can still see it in my mind. scentman

From: 12yards
21-Mar-24

12yards's embedded Photo
12yards's embedded Photo
This buck was the #2 buck that I really wanted to kill in 2022 in SD. I don't know that this pic gives it justice, but his body was immense and his rack, although 7 points, had very good mass. He was an old buck. He came by me and was rubbing a cedar tree at what I estimated was 40 yards. Shot over his back. He was about 35 and from my high treestand, I should have probably used my 30 yard pin. Definitely the biggest heartbreak of my bowhunting career.

From: goelk
21-Mar-24
i miss a 5 point bull elk this year at 10 yards. Shot right over his back. LOL

From: Basil
21-Mar-24
Several years ago in Iowa I had a breeding party of deer around me for 2 days. At least 5 bucks over 160. They were not coming close so in the midday wind I took my climber & snuck in closer. As soon as I got up here they came. Bow was still on the ground. I had just taken my pack off to get some hangers out but no time. I pinned the pack against the tree with my hip & pulled my bow up as quick as I could. I knocked an arrow & noticed the Rage had opened in the quiver so I quickly switched to another arrow. (1st & last year I used them) The biggest was a huge bodied massive beast with a double row of tines on each beam. No time to range but I guessed 35 yards. I touched it off & ticked the only branch between us. Off they went. As it was my last day when another good buck came in I killed him & he died 30 yards from the tree. When I crawled down to admire my buck the other bucks heard me & all came running right to me. Closest I’ve ever been to so many big deer. That year I figure I saw at least 8 B&C caliber deer. More than the other 50 years of hunting combined.

21-Mar-24
This happened to me in the mid 1990's. It was a November morning with perfect weather. I had a perfect place picked for that morning except due to a recent rain it would be about a mile walk to my stand. Since getting a deer out if I shot one, would be really difficult, I told myself I would only shot something that would make B&C. Not too long after sunrise I see a tremendous buck approaching. He is definitely plenty big enough. I was shooting a longbow instinctively. The buck was the typical trotting rutting buck.

I had a good open shooting area. I tried to get him to stop by whistling with no luck. I grunted and he kept trotting. In desperation I yelled whoa. He stopped with the only small tree in my shooting lane covering a little of his shoulder and ribs I told myself to shoot just behind the 3 or 4 inch sapling. I released the arrow and it looked good. I heard a loud whack. I was hopeful that it was the sound of hitting a rib. That was not the case as I had dead centered the sapling.

I am sure that he would have scored in the 190's. After almost thirty years I can now talk about it with out tears. Hindsight says I hit the spot on which I was focused. In my mind I just needed to miss the sapling. Obviously, that was where my focus was.

From: boobowmen
21-Mar-24
In the early 80's I was on a streak of my first 4 years of bowhunting killing a buck. I was young and just shot the first buck that walked by to put meat in the freezer for my growing family. I finally had a really nice 10pt walking towards me. I knew the trail he was on and told myself to let him walk behind this big oak tree then I could draw and shoot him when he cleared the tree. I already knew where I was going to put the mount I was so confident. He walked behind the oak tree, I drew and as soon as his nose cleared the tree I shot. A clean miss and to this day I still laugh about how confident I was because the first 4 years I was nervous as could be with every shot.

From: StickFlicker
21-Mar-24
Since you posted this as a whitetail topic, I'll assume that's the answer you're looking for. I can honestly say that I've never hunted a whitetail that I wanted, and had him get away from me.

From: StickFlicker
21-Mar-24
Of course, that's very likely because I've never hunted whitetails!!

From: Coop
21-Mar-24
Some great stories. I loved reading them. I have my own in 55 years of bow hunting

From: JB
21-Mar-24
StickFlicker please share. I didn't know what would be appropriate so I just picked the Whitetail. Any critter is welcome!!

From: drycreek
21-Mar-24
The best antelope that I would ever have taken with a bow. Set my popup in a narrow coulee that fed a pond. I left the camo netting off the window, and I was wearing a black shirt and facemask. He walked down the slope in front of me and watered at the pond’s edge. My cam was sitting on my knee and he swiveled around to leave as I eased my bow up. He jumped two jumps and was up on the slope, all I could see was his legs and belly line. No way I could shoot. If I had left the netting over the window I probably would be looking at hime in my living room right now.

As for whitetails, honest injun I have never missed a buck, but I did fail to get my bow drawn once. I was in a popup under a mesquite tree where I had killed a few deer before and I wasn’t expecting it to be as cold as it was, so I was underdressed. I tried three times to draw my bow, each time was a miserable failure. He wasn’t such-a-much but what if he had been ?

The best, or worst story, is the heavily palmated buck that walked up close to my tripod to check out some does, stopped in some mequite brush, snort wheezed, and immediately froze when I lifted my bow. I froze too, then he turned and walked out of my life. I should have tried to draw, I had nothing to lose, but it was just another poor decision while hunting. I’ll be here all week ! ;-))

From: scentman
22-Mar-24
Monica and Bill come to mind;0)

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