Missing a deer

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Missing a deer

Unread postby Bowhunter20 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:12 pm

Honestly I need help I don't have anyone to ask for help or anything so I hope a fellow hunter on here can help me I've been bow hunting for about 6 years but the last three been taking it seriously and actually see deer but I need help and I hate being one of these people but I can hit a target perfectly on the ground but when I get up in the tree i either miss or put a bad shot on the deer what am I doing wrong ? I'm getting so frustrated and very discouraged I don't even wanna go out anymore

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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby matt1336 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:20 pm

So your getting nervous? If that’s the case don’t worry. It happens to everyone whether they want to admit it or not. It takes reps. Maybe don’t shoot the next few deer that are in range. Get use to having that shoulder fur inside your peep. I’d think that’d give you some confidence and steady the nerves too.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby thwack16 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:36 pm

Have you practiced shooting from an elevated stand? Are you bending at the waist when doing so?
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Huntress13 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:39 pm

Do you practice from the tree with all your gear just like you hunt? Form changes some. Bend from the waist or your form changes. Also perspective changes, the deer can seem to be in perfect position when it is really angled some which changes the aim point.

If all the above is correct, then target panic or rushing the shot?
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:42 pm

Ask yourself a few questions.... are u a hunter or an archer! If u don’t hunt from the ground and u r a hunter, then why practice from the ground? Hang u a cheap stand in a tree in your yard and practice real world shots. Put pressure on yourself during practice. I suspect u got some buck fever brewing and possibly target panic going on. Keep stuff simple! Limit and set yourself up for close broadside shots. A broadside shot at a deer 15-20 yards is pretty hard to jack up although I find a way now an again :? Just gotta find your confidence to where it’s just a dead deer walking he just doesn’t know it yet.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Jdw » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:58 pm

I have had a few spectacular misses in the past.
The #1 reason has been target panic and not being able to calm my nerves when I am looking at a deer I want to shoot.
I have hit limbs and had issues with my form due to odd angles and bending or sitting to get the shot.
I have miss judged yardage on longer shots and hit high on shots right under the stand.
I have chosen poorly the shot distance or angle and rushed when I should have waited for a better opportunity or passed altogether.
I have shot walking deer to far back because I didn’t hold tight enough to the shoulder.

Getting my nerves under control helped all the other issues I was having but it was not an easy process and I still have to be sure to get in enough practice and go through the right process when I am taking the shot.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby mauser06 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:57 pm

The others are spot on.

Practice like you hunt.

Different hunters react differently when it comes time for the shot. You have to work through that if you are coming unglued. Get some deer under your belt. Does. Smaller bucks. Whatever. It'll boost confidence.

Make sure you execute the shot perfect. SLOW DOWN. Hit your anchor points. PICK A SPOT. Send it.

Picking a spot is huge IMO. I battled it. I was putting the pin on the deer where I thought it looked good and sending it. I was getting lucky and my hits were higher than I wanted.

If a shot isn't there, don't force it. You are shooting a bow. Stick within it's limitations and your limitations. Distance, brush, lighting, angles, etc etc come to play.

Get you a broadside or quartering away deer within 25yds that is completely unaware you are there and not alert and slow down and make the shot.

Keep your head up. Misses happen. Many are preventable. Heck, I sent 3 arrows are different mature bucks last season. One a true trophy class buck for anywhere. I missed them all. 1 legitimately completely ducked the shot. The other 2...well...make sure there is nothing in the way of your bow string or your shot will likely go 3ft or so high.

That's another point of practicing how you hunt. Clothing and gear can get in the way that isnt there when you're shooting from the ground in the back yard in a t-shirt.

Last year I learned a hard lesson. I always clip my GPS to my chest when I'm working my way in. I came across a buck and took a 15yd broadside shot from the ground. Yep. String caught the GPS and sent that arrow flying.

Big thing is just slow down and talk your way through it. There is a lot to get right.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Rich M » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:22 pm

Bowhunter20 wrote:Honestly I need help I don't have anyone to ask for help or anything so I hope a fellow hunter on here can help me I've been bow hunting for about 6 years but the last three been taking it seriously and actually see deer but I need help and I hate being one of these people but I can hit a target perfectly on the ground but when I get up in the tree i either miss or put a bad shot on the deer what am I doing wrong ? I'm getting so frustrated and very discouraged I don't even wanna go out anymore

Shot my first deer with a bow about 11 years into my bow hunting career - my very first hunt at 8 yo I walked up on a big 4 pt in afield and let him have all 6 arrows - deer dipped and dodged every shot but wouldn't leave - kept wondering what this kid is doing - the year was 1978. Amazing how fast they are. Anyway - feel your pain. Still have yet to get a buck larger than a spike with a bow.

Bow hunting isn't my forte, much prefer rifle.

As mentioned - set a stand and shoot out of the stand a bit. That's how I practice when I draw an archery quota hunt - have a tree in the back yard - practice daily for about a month leading into the season. from straight down out to my max limit of 25 yds. Deer still move but I can hit an apple at any range I'm hunting at.

Hope you get it figured, its supposed to be fun.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby <DK> » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:00 am

Aim a tick lower while shooting from the stand.

I completely agree w Mauser06 and I still struggle. If youre going to chase them with a pointy stick, things are going to happen. I lost a few bucks recently myself...

You control the arrow, you control the situation. If its not there then you cant release that arrow. I have been guilty of being too horn hungry. Tell yourself youre a good hunter and you'll get another chance st that deer.

If you havent already then I would suggest adopting back tension release technique. It takes time to learn but even if I lose a deer, I am more confident then ever.

Never blame the gear! However, if you decide to change something then that gives fresh new confidence.

Get a dog or find someone with one. They can die from bad shots too and every track is different. Very very difficult by yourself too.

Lastly, dont go out unless you got your head right. Iv been there and you have to be in the right mindset. As someone else said its supposed to be fun!

I still get amped up on any animal! My nerves are worse if im underdressed and its chilly out.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Brad » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:51 pm

When a buck shows up you will absolutely feel the stress. Hear rate goes up, heart pounding, etc. How well you are able to maintain your composure in spite of this, focus, and execute the shot, will be what makes the difference. Every time you shoot, go through all of the perfect technique sequence every time, so it becomes muscle memory.

Practice from your stand, shooting to every angle you would ever attempt to take a shot. Every shot is a little different, so put yourself in every situation when you practice so it's never the first time you've taken any shot. If you sit high in a tree, practice from high in a tree. Do it just like you would when hunting.

Train your mind. Visualize the giant buck when taking your shots when practicing. Use your mind to put you in various situations.
No, it's not the same, but it absolutely does help.

I am not a hunting expert by any means. I have only been hunting for only 2 years now. I hadn't really even picked up a bow until the spring of last year. I have only shot 3 deer with my bow, and all 3 hit exactly where I wanted them to hit. All three my heart was pounding, and I can barely even remember taking the shot due to all of the adrenaline. My first doe was at 20 yards from a hang on tree stand and it passed immediately behind both shoulders, and my first buck was at 30 yards from a saddle and it hit 3-4 inches inches behind the shoulder. I believe how I prepared makes a huge difference in the success I've had (although very limited) when the time comes to make a shot. Of course I do believe doing things that put me in high pressure situations where you have to think clearly outside of hunting (such as coaching high school football and training and competing in brazilian jiu jitsu) has significantly helped my ability to execute under stress. So, train under stress and always do everything right in practice, and you will do things right when the time comes to take a high stress shot.

When under stress you will always revert back to your lowest level of training. Practice like you hunt. Visualize. Remain calm, breath. Practice doesn't make perfect... PERFECT practice makes perfect. sorry, that's the coach in me coming back out.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby gsquared23 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:24 pm

I’ve been bowhunting now for 23 years. I’ve only really gotten confident in the last 4-5 where I’ve become a killing machine if a target animal is in front of me. The difference is spending a lot of time getting to know your equipment. Tuning your bow. Tuning your arrows. Picking the best set and knowing those things are going to fly true, not relying on a mechanical to bail you out of the work it takes to making your weapon as efficient as possible. Shooting enough so you get to the point that you go into autopilot when a target is in front of you needs to be the goal.

The next thing that I attribute my success to is shot selection. I don’t take low quality or low percentage shots. No hail marys or prayers; when I release an arrow, I know where it’s going. I’m not saying I always hit the target or avoid poor hits, but since I only started taking high quality shots, that has drastically increased my success rate and my confidence.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby jrain904 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:25 pm

Hard to believe that you can hit a target well but not deer. Seems to me that this is a mental problem and not a physical one. Try taking shorter shots maybe? As in everything else, practice makes perfect. Also try a better release. A clean, crisp trigger really helps with "target panic" IME.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby A5BLASTER » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:35 pm

Slow down, run your hold/form/follow through fundamentals through your mind as you do each one and then break the shot when you know your mind is ready.

It will take your mind of the fact it's a live animal. Sounds crazy but it works.

Also someone else said to draw on some deer and not shot, that is a great thing as well. But add in your thought process for a accurate shot as well. It's the lil things to teach your mind to focus and stay sharp and help learn how too deal with and use the adrenaline that's running in your veins.
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Re: Missing a deer

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:58 am

Lots of great advice above. Practicing like you hunt is the key. Same clothing and shooting from the height you typically hunt from.

One thing that I didn’t see mentioned is to bend at the waist. If you don’t you change the geometry between the bow and your body and it will effect your POI. You will tend to hit high or shoot over the deer if you aren’t bending at the waist.

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