Being a picky shooter.

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Lockdown
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Lockdown » Fri May 13, 2016 5:39 am

stash59 wrote:Lots of good stuff guys. Just like to add. Yes practice all those crazy shots. It will show which ones you can and can't do.

One thing alot of people miss while practicing. Is figuring out your bows trajectory. When I shot with my elk hunting mentor. He would always find some super tight tiny window where the actual 3-d targets vitals were covered. I blew up alot of arrows at first but soon learned what could and couldn't be done.

Doing this all leads to confidence. Confidence helps bet buck fever.

You sound like your on your way.

Good luck and have fun.



Knowing your trajectory can be make or break. When I shot my buck last year my 20 yard pin was centered on a horizontal limb halfway between us.

To get to know my trajectory better, I've done things like shoot at 20 yards using my 40 yard pin. It's pretty eye opening how high your trajectory actually is.

Another thing I do is shoot through my neighbors tree swing. It's got ropes and bracing hanging at various angles and I shoot through it as it spins in the wind. Ruined 2 brand new arrows doing that last year, but it taught me a lot about my trajectory.

Ruining those arrows played a part in having the confidence to thread the needle on my buck.

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby JoeRE » Fri May 13, 2016 6:39 am

That's a great tip about trajectory Stash and Lockdown. I have shot a couple deer where the vitals were covered by a branch half way in between us...and I knew the arrow would get over it safely. I practice "through" brush and obstructions as well - meaning around them obviously.

The balance between being too picky when taking shots and too aggressive is challenging to find. Basically you just learn it through experience, no amount of reading or TV show watching will teach it to you. I encourage everyone to push their boundaries during practice, that will help tell you what is possible or not.

One thing I try to never forget, if I have doubts about a shot when I draw my bow, DON'T TAKE THE SHOT. Without confidence, you are probably going to blow it, that simple. I have blown some easy shots because there was some uncertainty in my head and it just didn't feel right yet I shot anyway, against better judgement, because hey the deer is in the open at 15 yards or 25 yards or whatever and I still blew them. At the same time I have made some really tough shots because I knew I could, and would. The only difference was how I was thinking at the time. That may sound strange but I think its self fulfilling. PK touched on that a few posts ago...I blow the gimmies too. Its a mind game.
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Dewey » Fri May 13, 2016 7:21 am

mainebowhunter wrote:
DaveT1963 wrote:
mainebowhunter wrote:
Bonecrusher101 wrote:Sorry this is off topic a bit. I get the shakes (buck fever) with a bow. I'm ice cold with a ml or rifle. Being ice cold comes with confidence and experience. I spoke to a friend of mine who is a very accomplished bow hunter, with over 150 bow kills under his belt. He gave me some very sound advice that has helped keep me calm when it's time to launch an arrow.

He said visualize the shot happening in every hunt, and expect it to happen at any moment. He also told me to stay positive the entire time. He said, Instead of saying to yourself oh no, oh no, oh no, I've got the shakes. Say yes and yeah to yourself constantly as you are going through you shooting routine, and enjoy the excitement. He told me to openly put buck fever into my arrow shooting routine. So for me without any big buck bow kills, I want to get excited I want to embrace that thrill and I'm not ashamed about it. His advice helped me out greatly last season on does.

Basically turn buck fever it into a positive pleasure that you can control instead of a negative psych out. With a few more seasons and a few more bow bucks I shouldn't

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Its really interesting and I think it applies to the topic. There is a difference between buck fever and getting excited. When you cannot execute, its buck fever. Lots of guys get excited and still can execute.

My best friend has killed some nice bucks here in Maine. 2014 killed a 118" and 120"...one buck was a known 6yr old we have been hunting. Both killed dead. Great shots. Tough shots. No issues.

But put a 140" deer in front of him, he is 30%. The big racked bucks just get to him. Tough to fix when the fever hits when the racks get big. Because we do not get many chances to kill 140+" deer. The size of the animal changes the level of excitement for him.

Its hard to choose a spot when your brain is misfiring.


This is where taping a checklist to the upper limb to walk through may help. When buck fever is happening it is an emotional thing firing from the right side of your brain. Using a very deliberate step-by-step checklists will move that process to the more analytical left brain side and may help. Visualization also does this - changes form right to left. Of course learning how to breath properly when heart rate elevates also helps control some of the "misfiring"

I guess am I blessed as I tend to lose focus of everything except the buck when I am drawing down - then a couple minutes after the shot the adrenalin starts flowing and[glow=red]I sometimes get low back and leg shakes and even cramps. haven't figured out how to stop that :)[/glow]


X2 -- my buddy laughs at me because when I call him to come and help my jaw is quivering like I am frozen. The adrenaline courses through my veins like a river once the deer is down and dead. I cannot think straight. Leave stuff in my tree. Useless when it comes to a blood trail. Before the shot...dead calm. I used to have the leg shake when the deer was coming in...once I got a hold of the fever that left me.

Heck, sometimes its so bad after the shot...I have trouble finding someones number to send them a text. Hopefully that never changes.

Boy does that sound familiar. At the shot I go into a zone but after I am a complete basket case. I have to force myself to sit down before I end up hurting myself. :lol:

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby mainebowhunter » Fri May 13, 2016 9:02 am

JoeRE wrote:That's a great tip about trajectory Stash and Lockdown. I have shot a couple deer where the vitals were covered by a branch half way in between us...and I knew the arrow would get over it safely. I practice "through" brush and obstructions as well - meaning around them obviously.

The balance between being too picky when taking shots and too aggressive is challenging to find. Basically you just learn it through experience, no amount of reading or TV show watching will teach it to you. I encourage everyone to push their boundaries during practice, that will help tell you what is possible or not.

One thing I try to never forget, if I have doubts about a shot when I draw my bow, DON'T TAKE THE SHOT. Without confidence, you are probably going to blow it, that simple. I have blown some easy shots because there was some uncertainty in my head and it just didn't feel right yet I shot anyway, against better judgement, because hey the deer is in the open at 15 yards or 25 yards or whatever and I still blew them. At the same time I have made some really tough shots because I knew I could, and would. The only difference was how I was thinking at the time. That may sound strange but I think its self fulfilling. PK touched on that a few posts ago...I blow the gimmies too. Its a mind game.


So funny how different all our brains work! I have been in both places. Both where I could not shoot better than 30-40% and where I am now. I can remember a big bodied buck I shot from the ground in 2011. I was thinking when I took the shot...I just could not believe how big a target a 5yr old buck is at 25yds. And when you head is clear, you can see just how big the margin of error there is. Now after the shot, probably the most messed up I have ever been when I watched him fall over at 40yds. Between being cold ...and the adrenaline I could barely talk.

Funny, when I was struggling with the fever, I could not remember much of anything about the shot. Post fever, its clear as a bell. That being said, I am also VERY WELL aware, I am a recovering "feveraholic". At any time this crap could come back.

Another thing about being picky, when it comes to certain shots, I don't HAVE to kill that animal, especially when it comes to does. I know for me, I have a self imposed 20yd limit on does. Basically because, they are much smaller bodied...I have had them beat me pretty bad on long shots especially if I stop them. For me, there is just not reason to shoot a doe at 35yds. There will be another day, there will be another chance.
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby bowkill00 » Fri May 13, 2016 9:40 am

Bonecrusher101 wrote:Sorry this is off topic a bit. I get the shakes (buck fever) with a bow. I'm ice cold with a ml or rifle. Being ice cold comes with confidence and experience. I spoke to a friend of mine who is a very accomplished bow hunter, with over 150 bow kills under his belt. He gave me some very sound advice that has helped keep me calm when it's time to launch an arrow.

He said visualize the shot happening in every hunt, and expect it to happen at any moment. He also told me to stay positive the entire time. He said, Instead of saying to yourself oh no, oh no, oh no, I've got the shakes. Say yes and yeah to yourself constantly as you are going through you shooting routine, and enjoy the excitement. He told me to openly put buck fever into my arrow shooting routine. So for me without any big buck bow kills, I want to get excited I want to embrace that thrill and I'm not ashamed about it. His advice helped me out greatly last season on does.

Basically turn buck fever it into a positive pleasure that you can control instead of a negative psych out. With a few more seasons and a few more bow bucks I shouldn't

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Right on...I'm currently teaching myself to do the exact same thing. Be positive. I've had issues in the past bc I was completely negative ab the shot. It was said a few paragraphs back....patience kills whitetails....so true

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby muddy » Fri May 13, 2016 10:29 am

Plan to execute, execute the plan. 1st high percentage shot presented to me and the arrow is going to put a 2 inch hole thru organs.

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Schultzy » Fri May 13, 2016 2:44 pm

goldtip5575 wrote:
Stanley wrote:I know 3 kinds of bow hunters. Those that have wounded an animal, those that will lose an animal, and those that lie about never wounding an animal. :think:

The 3 I know are few that can make all the tough shots, more who cant make the tough shots, and more who think take and tell everyone they can make tough shots. I'm with Dewey on this one.
Agree! Greed is something I'm not. My walls show it too. Only a couple P&Y bucks for me. I also hunt with a recurve so yeah the shot needs to be almost perfect for me. People have told me I'm nuts for passing on some of the shots I have on some nice 130's to 140 P&Y bucks. I've wounded 2 bookers in 29 years of bow hunting and wounded 3 does in that same time frame. Yeah maybe I could've killed some of them bucks I passed at very close ranges (10 to 20 yards) but I'm completely happy with the decisions I've made. Plus I hunt an area that lacks big/older bucks. I'm not saying anyone here is greedy but greed and big bucks can go hand in hand. Too often I see or hear of someone pushing the envelope. Sometimes it works but I believe more times it doesn't. You just don't see people type about it or tell the truth honestly.

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby JoeRE » Fri May 13, 2016 11:39 pm

Schultzy wrote:
goldtip5575 wrote:
Stanley wrote:I know 3 kinds of bow hunters. Those that have wounded an animal, those that will lose an animal, and those that lie about never wounding an animal. :think:

The 3 I know are few that can make all the tough shots, more who cant make the tough shots, and more who think take and tell everyone they can make tough shots. I'm with Dewey on this one.
Agree! Greed is something I'm not. My walls show it too. Only a couple P&Y bucks for me. I also hunt with a recurve so yeah the shot needs to be almost perfect for me. People have told me I'm nuts for passing on some of the shots I have on some nice 130's to 140 P&Y bucks. I've wounded 2 bookers in 29 years of bow hunting and wounded 3 does in that same time frame. Yeah maybe I could've killed some of them bucks I passed at very close ranges (10 to 20 yards) but I'm completely happy with the decisions I've made. Plus I hunt an area that lacks big/older bucks. I'm not saying anyone here is greedy but greed and big bucks can go hand in hand. Too often I see or hear of someone pushing the envelope. Sometimes it works but I believe more times it doesn't. You just don't see people type about it or tell the truth honestly.

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I would say big buck hunting is all greed to be brutally honest, just different levels of it in different people. I think whitetail bucks are really cool animals. If I didn't greedily want their antlers I would probably just shoot does for meat. Heck, I would just shoot fawns because their meat is the best, its easiest to shoot them, and we have plenty of deer around here. I can step back and be objective if the mood strikes, but I am guilty as anyone in the heat of the moment.

I commend you for that record Shultzy, something to be really proud of. I know the phrase "bad shots happen" gets tossed around a lot....its true, they do, but unfortunately some people use it to justify TAKING bad shots. Its not a justification for pushing envelopes, just a statement that's true. Some people say "bad shots happen" and make bad hits on 50% or more of deer they shoot at. Others say "bad shots happen" and make bad hits on maybe 10% of the deer they shoot at. Obviously there is something very different going on in the brains of those two hunters.

I think all bowhunters go through a phase of development where they are likely to make a number of bad decisions and then bad shots. How long this phase takes depends on the hunter...yea some never grow out of it. Call it the teenage years of bowhunting I guess. For anyone who is struggling with this right now, keep your head in the right spot, learn from your mistakes, and it will get better.

I know I mentioned before I am pretty aggressive when taking shots, just to be clear I did not mean low odds shots by that. That's not at all what I meant. I meant I take some shots many hunter's would not have, because I practice them - split second shots or ones I am in a strange position. I expect to make them and I do. Historically the ones I have struggled with are the slam dumk ones because my brain gets lazy. Interestingly I have a worse record on does than bucks. I don't shoot many does but have had a rougher time with them for some reason....I think I have lost two and killed two in the last decade which is not at all what I would want. Haven't shot a doe recently. By comparison I am pretty proud of my record on bucks with a bow that I mentioned previously...lost 1 out of 11 in the last 10 years I think....before that? Much, much worse.
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Lockdown » Fri May 13, 2016 11:57 pm

"The brain get lazy on easy shots"

I agree with this 100%. In the last 6 or 8 years I've made 2 terrible shots on coyotes. One I wounded at 6 or 8 yards and the other was 15 yds or less and I totally whiffed. That one was on video too so I got to do the whole "um... Yeah I have no idea what happened" interview afterwards.

Which coyote shot did I 10 ring? The 31 yarder. Strange how that works....

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Sat May 14, 2016 5:31 am

Schultzy wrote:
goldtip5575 wrote:
Stanley wrote:I know 3 kinds of bow hunters. Those that have wounded an animal, those that will lose an animal, and those that lie about never wounding an animal. :think:

The 3 I know are few that can make all the tough shots, more who cant make the tough shots, and more who think take and tell everyone they can make tough shots. I'm with Dewey on this one.
Agree! Greed is something I'm not. My walls show it too. Only a couple P&Y bucks for me. I also hunt with a recurve so yeah the shot needs to be almost perfect for me. People have told me I'm nuts for passing on some of the shots I have on some nice 130's to 140 P&Y bucks. I've wounded 2 bookers in 29 years of bow hunting and wounded 3 does in that same time frame. Yeah maybe I could've killed some of them bucks I passed at very close ranges (10 to 20 yards) but I'm completely happy with the decisions I've made. Plus I hunt an area that lacks big/older bucks. I'm not saying anyone here is greedy but greed and big bucks can go hand in hand. Too often I see or hear of someone pushing the envelope. Sometimes it works but I believe more times it doesn't. You just don't see people type about it or tell the truth honestly.

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After learning the hard way (stupid way), I believe everyone, including myself, choose to pull the trigger. Some know they will have better results due to their picky shots...

I've said this before, the some of the videos on this site makes me scratch my head... I'll politely let those videos be known as "Pushing the Envelope".

I've learned that don't pay. Oh yeah I can hold sub 2" groups @ 40 yards... it's the unknowns that get you....

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby stash59 » Sat May 14, 2016 5:46 am

Lots of great stuff in this one.

How do you recommend it to the all time best threads sections again?
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Kraftd » Sat May 14, 2016 6:10 am

Completely echo what PK and JoeRE said. Most of my misses/wounded deer have been on simpler shots. On harder shots it seems I either just get in a zone and know I will make the shot, or I get the feeling I shouldn't take the shot and hold off.

The worst angle shot I have ever taken was two years ago on a nice ten that was quartered to me hard at about 15-18 yards. I had been practicing a ton and as I drew, in the moment absolutely knew I could slide my arrow right between the neck and shoulder blade. One of the best feelings I've ever had drawn on a deer, just supreme confidence. I think PK made the same shot the same year if I recall actually. I let her rip and essentially hit the hair I was aiming for. He turned, coughed up a massive stream of lung blood and was dead in about 10 seconds. I've passed up that same shot several times because it just didn't feel right, but that time it just did.

As odd as it is, I think sometimes, as long as you're truly honest with yourself, sometimes feel is as good a marker as anything of when to take a shot, with the appropriate amount of experience and practice under your belt.
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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Dewey » Sun May 15, 2016 12:05 pm

I am really picky about my shots but in rare cases will take something outside my norm if I feel good about deflating both lungs. I would only attempt this with a Muzzy because I have full confidence in them punching thru shoulder.

This is my 2013 buck with the arrow put back in for illustration. Shot was at 7 yards and slightly quartering towards and I was only 5 feet off the ground. Took out the far bottom of both lungs and top of the heart with a pass thru that stuck in the ground far behind him. Buck was dead within seconds.

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Sun May 15, 2016 12:41 pm

Nice example Dewey, every shot depends on the situation. You had a great angle sitting low in that dinky tree. I still find it amusing when you post a pic of that tree. :lol:

Sure was effective.

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Re: Being a picky shooter.

Unread postby Dewey » Sun May 15, 2016 1:08 pm

Jackson Marsh wrote:Nice example Dewey, every shot depends on the situation. You had a great angle sitting low in that dinky tree. I still find it amusing when you post a pic of that tree. :lol:

Sure was effective.

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You mean this tree? :lol:

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