First was my first deer hunting experience back in PA. I was using my first deer rifle which was a Rem 243 with iron sights. I was up in a tree stand and a 3x3 buck is coming down the trail and stops about in front of me. It was a front slightly quartering shot about 45* down almost right below me. I decided to take a head shot since he was so close and the rack wasn't anything special. I fired and he turned and ran off much to my surprise and dismay. I got down and found a good bit of frothy blood so I figured the bullet went low and probably went through the jaw and trachea. Not sure why it went low other than my sight height was a little over an inch above the bore. So I proceeded to track it down off the wooded hill to where it went into a country club. I got permission to follow into the club by a security guy who was driving by and tracked it through the golf course which was closed for the season. Came to a stream and the blood trail was getting very sparse. Crossed the stream, no blood. I search up and down, still no blood, so I started back and ran into another guy who was also on the trail. He said let's go back and see if we can find him. There was a stand of trees that he thought the buck might have gone in to and he was right. Kicked it out and gut shot it on the run with his 220 B and it ran into another stand of trees at the other end of the club next to a residential sub-division. I posted on one end and he pushed up through from the other end. Here comes the buck with it's bloody tongue hanging out and stops about 15' from me broadside. I should have drilled him through the shoulder but put one through the ribs at point blank range. The buck bolted and ran out of the woods into the sub-division and some lady started screaming "you hunters....." We unloaded our rifles and walked out onto the street and I felt like crap. We couldn't very well track it anymore through everyone's backyard. 2 days later up in the same stand, a small spike walks under and I drilled it through the lungs and heart. It ran down hill to the toward my truck and piled up.
Next, antelope hunting in Eastern Montana. Back in camp for lunch with a couple of my hunting buddies and here comes a small band of goats by the camp at less than a 100 yds. I had a doe/fawn tag and an either sex (buck tag). No Bucks, so I decide to shoot a doe. Up with the rifle, crosshairs on target and let it go. Down with the rifle and one doe is down and another is moving very slowly while the rest of the band is bolting off. Looking closer, I can see intestine dragging from the offside of the other doe. Realizing what I had just done I put the rifle back up and finish her off. Gut them and drag them back to camp. One of my buddies was nice enough to put his doe tag on one of the does so I could still shoot a buck. Needless to say it was more than a little embarrassing and a big lesson learned about shooting into multiple targets.
Next, cow elk hunting during extended late season about 5 years ago. After walling around most of the day I found a good size herd feeding in sage pasture. I was just inside the edge of the trees and put a stalk on and finally crawled up behind some sage to about 150-200 yds away from the nearest cow. I did not have a rest for the rifle and am usually pretty good offhand or off the knee. The rifle was a newly purchased SAKO Finnlight 300 WSM that was a very disappointing 2 MOA shooter but the only operational rifle I had at the time. Still, inside 200 yds I should easily be able to put one through the kill zone. I put my elbow on one knee and attempt to place the crosshairs on target but having a little difficulty holding steady. I do my best and take the shot and the cow goes down. I walk up and can see it is thrashing around, with back legs paralyzed. I put one through the head to finish her. The first shot struck the lower part of the spine just behind the last rib, about 2' from POA. Next time, take a little more time to settle down for a good steady shot.
You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams
I get buck fever and I shake all over the place. When I was 18 and came back from college for a Thanksgiving hunt, I was placed in a tree stand overlooking my buddies corn field. I had a Marlin 336, in .35 Remington with a nice redfield scope on it. The furthest shot in any direction of this field was 100 yards. A nice 8 pointer walked out literally within 5 minutes of me getting into the stand. I fired on a perfect 75 yard broadside shot and saw him jump about 5 feet into the air then sprint into the woods. I thought I made an awesome heart lung shot. I got down from the stand and saw pieces of bones and fur with very little blood. I knew instantly that I hit low and took out his front left leg. I felt nauseated. My dad and two buddies tracked him till about 3 am (made the shot around 530 pm) when the woods exploded with coyotes, howling and running around us. I figured they found the deer before us and mother nature got the last laugh. Since then I practiced and practiced and I used small game hunting as a prep. To say the least I dont miss anymore.
I was bow hunting once on a frosty morning. Place looked good, and I set up inside several tree that sort of grew into a cluster. Somewhere a long the way I fell asleep! While asleep an eight point buck was grazing about twenty feet from me. There were some guys bird hunting, and they fired several shots in the air trying to get my attention, but I was out like a rock!
Another time I was coyote hunting inside a drainage ditch. I saw three nice dogs out around 450 yards, and didn't want to shoot as there were cattle nearby. ($$$) Anyway they came into about 300 yards and it was starting to get dark. I pulled out my mouse squeaker for that last urge. A big dog actually came up from behind me, and literally jumped over me. I shot him with a 22-250 as he was heading out at top speed. He rolled over, and got right back up! We got up to find him, and saw lots of blood, but no dog! Went back the next morning, and saw even more blood. but never saw that dog! He'd have gone close to forty pounds, and I hit him right behind his front legs quartering away. Told the farmer, and he said he'd keep an eye out for him. But he never found him as well. That's when I switched over to a 6mm.
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: anyone admit to making a terrible shot
I'll admit it. I made a bad shot this year. The overall situation turned south quickly and I had a split decision to make and a shot was taken. I ended up hitting my antelope right through the hams broadside. Fortunately, he wasn't able to run and a follow up dropped him without even so much as a kick afterwords. The whole thing was over in less than 10 seconds which while it wasn't clean but was still fairly quick. Quick and clean is always the goal but it is impossible for every hunter to be 100% clean all the time. My shot was only a bit over 440 yards which by all rights should be a chip shot for me. There are no guarantees in hunting, only putting as many odds in your favor as possible.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
...Shot the deer and it dropped on the spot. It was early so i kept hunting but didnt see anything else. At dark i went over to guy it and found it laying there dead with a broken back...
...I just as easily could have sent that deer off to die a terrible death.
It sounds to me as if it did "die a terrible death."
I think leaving it there was the "terrible" part, not the shot.
Most hunters who have hunted for many years have made poor shots at some time or other. I have too and lost animals as a result...but learned from the experience.
One of the most remarkable "screw ups" I remember was when I was in my late twenties. Deer season was opening the next day and for some reason I had not been able to get to the range to check my zero. Not to worry, I had a place behind my house where a 100 yd shot could be made so I took a target to the base of a poplar tree and of course I didn't have any thumbtacks or anything to fasten the target to the tree. Light bulb! I drag out my trusty old tinker swiss army knife and use it to hold the target...you know where this is going....First shot dead center on the knife at the top of the target! Could not have hit the knife if I had been trying!