I have 4 bucks that come to mind 1 with a gun, 3 with my bow that I passed up on that would have been bigger than anything I have shot to date.
All were passed up on due to fear of shot placement etc... I am not the greatest at scoring on foot mainly because it rare for me to see a lot of deer over 100" in any given season.
One was a 10 pointer that hopped out into the field edge during gun season, he was at a fast trot about 80 yards out. I could not pick him up clear enough in my scope mainly because of nerves and he was moving away from me off my right shoulder... so I passed...
Another was a big 8 I would estimate now to be 130+, a hot doe pass by me at 25 yards about 15 minutes before he appeared. This was my first season back bow hunting after I took sometime off while at college. The buck 1st past me at 25-30 yards with his head down dogging the doe that just past before him. Again he was moving at a fast pace and I was hesitant to take a shot at him. He went across the field from me into the woods and I could hear him grunting and thrashing around in the woods. He then returned to the field only to pass me by again at 40 yards with his head down dogging for the scent of a hot doe. In hind sight this was probably my best opportunity to take a shot at him but he was moving and I was not comfortable with the shot.
The 3rd was a nice 10 pointer that came into the thicket in front of me at 25 yards. He came in with a smaller 7 pointer that made his way right under my stand. Of course the bigger 10 kept his distance behind a tree blocking a shot at his vitals. I watched him eventually walk down the ridge and cross the creek to my right. I got a good look at him from the back, and it still seems like yesterday when I think about it. Again if I was more aggressive I probably could have take the shot... But a week later during gun season one of the handicap hunters took the buck... what ended up being the biggest buck of his life and one of the best on the property to date... so in my mind it was meant to be and I have no regrets
here is the buck:
The fourth was another 10 pointer that got the jump on me while my bow was hanging
We played a cat and mouse game as he stared up at me right underneath my stand... Yeah I am still kicking myself for not having my bow in hand
He made a move away from me but was in my shooting lane, I attempted a grunt to get him to stop, but it had the opposite affect and he bolted further into the thicket.
What I learned is I should have been more aggressive and taken the shot right as he was moving into my shoot lane at 15 yards without trying to stop him. He was only at 20 yards at that point... I was not expecting this buck to appear when he did because it was early in the afternoon and I was not expecting him to be on his feet so early. I got him on my buddies trail camera a few days later... but never saw him in stand again that season.
here he is:
I guess I have learned from all these bucks to be aware of all my potential shot placement areas once I get in stand. Especially when hunting a new area with a mobile set-up. Now I often visualize the different areas a deer may enter into my shoot lanes, and play the hunt through in my mind. I think these experiences allowed me to make a good shot on the buck I killed last season. All in all no regrets... they all were fun hunts.
What if anything have others learned form the "ones that got away"?