Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby Motivated » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:14 pm

Okay, it's confession time for me. It's been on my conscience for several days...

Last weekend I posted that there was a 6 pointer underneath my stand but he didn't take a ride home with me. Kindof a vague statement. Some could assume that I passed him up because I'm such a cool guy. But that's not true--I left out the part that I COMPLETELY MISSED an EASY shot! With my muzzleloader!

I want to clear that up right now because I think it is so tempting to just leave out our mistakes when we post online. To only show our toughness, smarts, and skill. To leave out the times we quit, make dumb choices, or just plain screw up. I'm sure it is better on the Beast than most forums, but we really don't have a thread on our worst misses and how we fixed it. I searched for one...

I'll start. This buck came in broadside at 30 yards, through brush initially then cresting a small hill and going to disappear from view . In my mind I had him halfway drug to the truck, then I noticed I really ought to shoot soon before he's gone from view. Uh oh! I pointed the crosshairs and held my breath and yanked the trigger. :?

The buck didn't know where the shot came from, so he veered toward me and ended up three yards from my tree for about a minute! I could see there was not a mark on him, and he was confused but not hit AT ALL. It was a blessing to see that he was not hit, because I would not have believed I could have missed that badly with my gun at 30 yards. But clearly I did. That is my worst miss ever.

Why it happened: not anticipating his route and then rushing the shot in a panic. Not focusing on the shot beforehand. Taking it for granted. Pointing but not aiming. Yanking at the trigger. Not having an internal shot sequence with the gun, as I do with the bow.

How will I fix this: Lots of gun range time to make good shot mechanics become automatic. Developing a shot sequence, once in the tree playing out all likely scenarios and planning ahead with mental practice. Maybe do some small game hunting for practice.

Anyways, sorry for the novel. And I'm sorry for leaving out my screw up. I'm motivated, but not necessarily good at this stuff.

I don't want new hunters to believe we all have not made mistakes and learned from them. And it would also help me to know that others have been in my shoes and pulled through okay.

So if you care to share--your worst miss, why you think it happened, and how you fixed it (maybe also how long it took to fix). No need for novels unless you feel like it.

Thanks, and I feel better already just getting thst off of my chest!

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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:17 pm

My worse miss is still fresh on my mind and something I still think about often. I would like to say I learned from it, but I had similar experiences b4 this and I already new better. It all started in the spring 2016 I located a very large buck the season b4 after I filled my tag, that spring I went to scout and pick out the perfect ambush tree. I located a spot about 120 yards from his bedding thicket that offered some killer terrain features. Plan was to wait until the rut, then hunt him coming back to bed late morning. I prepared the tree and shooting lanes and noticed there was one big limb angled behind me that was to big to cut with my lil hand saw, I surveyed the area and noticed there was only one place he could come where I couldn’t get a shot from that limb. I figured easy fix I will just block that trail off and force him the other way. Fast forward early Dec rut heating up got a good cold front come through and I knew it was time. Around 9:30 here he came I watch him close the distance from 50 yards to 20 where I piled brush, but instead of going around he angled right to my tree the only spot the limb would not allow for a shot, if I let him get passed me he would be gone. I scrambled trying to find away to get a shot off, ended up reverse canting my bow and holding arrow on shelf with my finger. The shot was only 7 yards so I never thought I would miss. I watched my poor arrow sail 2 ft over his back, the buck burned off circled around the ridge and caught a big whiff of me, he then let out a blow that still haunts my dreams. Buck has never been seen since.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby SouthpawSwitchback » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:19 pm

Hey man we all miss deer... its bound to happen if ya hunt long enough. I yanked the trigger on a doe this year with the .270 and completely missed her. She was moving fast through some autumn olives and as soon as she hit an opening I hollered at her. She hit the brakes and I just plain whiffed it. Just in too much of a hurry to get the shot off I suppose. In hindsight, I wish I woulda took my sweet time, and if she kept moving and I never got a shot... so be it.

My worst miss was on a 2.5 year old 10 point about 3 years ago (which would of been my biggest buck). It was a morning hunt in a stand I'd never sat before, so I didn't have anything ranged. Well it got light out and pretty soon here comes two real nice bucks down the edge of some real thick stuff. I guessed them to be about 25 yards away, so I drew, mouth belated to stop them, and sent my arrow right under his armpit :doh: Turns out the trail they were on was more like 35 yards away. I was pretty hard on myself over that one, and I didn't get over it for a long time. I guess the most valuable lesson I learned that morning was to leave as little to chance as possible. I could of very easily had that trail ranged out before those bucks showed up. The second most important thing I learned is to not beat yourself up over misses. I let that one bad shot ruin the rest of my season. Now I just try to learn from them and enjoy the ride.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby treeroot » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:28 pm

I chased the same buck for three years. I did not have permission on the property where I knew he was bedding. So the basic plan was to hunt the boarders. I knew from years past that he would shift into my property once the does came into heat. Anyways long story shorter, the plan worked and he followed a doe into the edge of the corn. I tipped the edge of a corn stalk with my arrow and sent it over his back.

Why did I miss? Because I raced the shot for no reason.

How did I fix it? I've gone back to my 0 thought process shooting. If I think about taking the shot it's all over for me. I've shot my bow and guns enough to just let nature take its course in the moment of truth. If I think about form or anchor points I'm all done.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby Lockdown » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:07 pm

First story I was in my mid teens. Can't remember if I'd tagged a buck with my bow yet but I know I'd killed a doe... I just remember I was pretty green. Had a fork buck come walking down "THE" trail and I rushed the shot. Should have let him walk farther and ended up with too much of a quartering to shot. I thought I got him. Back then we got doe tags often and low and behold here comes a doe 20 minutes later. Two in one night?!?!?! No way!! I did the same thing with her and my arrows were almost touching each other in the ground. I hit both but never found either deer :oops: :oops: They were ten yard shots or so. I learned PATIENCE. BIG TIME.

Second one I was in my late teens and had a few deer under my belt. I was slug hunting from a tree stand on the tip of an oxbow in a very open river bottom. I watched this buck come bounding toward me from an insanely long ways away and he ended up on the opposite side of the river 40-50 yards away. He was doing that slow bound then switching to "prancy jog" that they do. I put my crosshairs in front of him and strait under his nose. Had to have shot in front of him. I shot at him 4 more times and never touched him. When he got in easy range, in my mind he was already hanging in the garage. Would have been my nicest buck... probably a 90-100" two year old. To me he was a stud. I learned to think each situation through before hand Up until then my shots were either standing or running hard. The slow jog threw me for a loop and I blew a gimme shot.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby elk yinzer » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:52 pm

When I was a teenager I was a horrible shot with a a bow. I went through a streak where I missed 8 or 10 in a row. Not sure of the exact count but this is over the course of about four years. There were a couple flesh wounds in there too, but by the grace of God I never gut shot one. I was still deadly with a rifle though. None particularly stand out, I had target panic something terrible and missed some by feet.

One miss that does stand out was about 5 years ago. Only because it was a nice buck, would have been my second best. Spined him at 25 yards, but the way he fell I thought it would be easier to climb down and finish him off. Well, as I am about to start down the tree he gets up and runs off. Turns out I hadn't actually hit the spinal cord I guess. Got over that by shooting an old half rack 6 point the next day, but that one is burnt into my memory.

How did I fix it my teen issues though? Mostly just kept at it, got older, and fought through the discouragement. Switched from a finger tab to a release and instantly shot much better. Focused more on form by practicing at long ranges. Shot a few does to get the monkey off my back. I still shoot a doe or two per year not only for the meat but they are a huge confidence booster too.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby oldrank » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:28 am

Man, I didn't want to dredge up these memories!!! Haha.

I have 2 that haunt me.

Years ago, I believe it was the year 2000. I had a large nontypical buck come in and missed him clean at 15 yards. There isn't much to the story. I was in my treestand. It was the first year I used a climber on public land. I had an old steel climber that weighed half a ton. I had set up n just gotten comfortable looked to my right n he was headed my way. He came right in stopped broadside at 15 yards n I shot right over his back.

At the time I was shooting a PSE that would not stay tuned for the life of me. I was sold the bow by a local "pro". It was the worst bow I ever owned. I missed or wounded more deer then I care to remember before I gave it away. I gave it to my cousin. He hated it. He gave it to my uncle n he hated it. I have no idea where it ended was a pile.

I bought a new bow. A Champion solo cam. I still own that bow. I set it up once n to this day it still shoots exactly the same.

I had another 8 point beauty I also choked on. It was 2008 right after I bought the original Marsh Bucks DVD. My first hunt in the cattails I had an 8 point come chase a doe right in front of me. I miss judged yardage and shaved hair off his belly.

I bought a range finder.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:32 am

The only other time before this year I actually got to draw back on a deer (I got this year's! :pray: :dance: )
It was around 5 years ago, and I was a first or second year hunter. I hung a stand on the corner of a farm lane through the woods and a heavy run.
This huge dude came strolling through, no care in the world. I didn't even try to count the points...strictly business. Drew back, lined up, release...he looks square at me, turns and bolts. I knew I had to have gotten him...I was like 7 yards away. The strange thing was I didn't see any wound. I was eyeing where the arrow should have hit, but there was nothing. No arrow in his side as he ran off. And no smacking sound, either. Got down and started looking and found nothing. Not a drop of blood. Followed his tracks until they disappeared, searched all over and nothing. But no arrow, either.
After sitting back in the stand and looking over the shot I was baffled. Spent the next several days scratching my head.
My next time in the stand I played it out again. I decided to pray for understanding, and released another arrow. My arrow left the bow an glanced off a small limb I hadn't realized was in my shot path (really shouldn't have been, I was shooting off). My arrow lifted and flew off some 50 yards away into the woods!

A buddy gave me a bow last season and I practiced hard. I realized my shots were all over before, and I began using technologies such as a release, kisser, and peep sight to tighten up my grouping. I told him I was ready to shoot an animal now, admitting I was not before. I finally got my chance in October this year. My twenty yard shot at my 9 point was reminding me of an old Bon Jovi song! Thank God.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby SEMObowhunter » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:55 am

In 2012 I located a very large buck. He was bedding on a secondary point on a bluff. A drastic cold front hit on October 3rd and I settled in my stand fifty yards from the end of the bluff. At 3:30 he appears feeding on acorns. I watch him for an hour as he finally closed to 42 yards. Broadside, calm, feeding. He would do the customary take three steps and fees for a couple minutes. He finally worked into an opening with his head and shoulders out from behind a tree. I ranged him and drew thinking he would step right on out. I held full draw for over a minute as he fed with his vitals blocked. At the time I was shooting a famous drop away but would not stay up when I let down. As I got shaky I thought I will let down and when he clears the tree I will draw. As I let down I grabbed the arrow with my finger to keep it on the rest. As the cams settled, the arrow comes unnocked, nick end hits top limb, and falls to the ground. He heard it hit the stand and went to full alert. I scrambled to grab another arrow, got drawn, and rushed the shot. Shot right under him and he blasted out of my life. A neighboring landowner killed him a month later on his first hunt of the year and first time he had shot his bow in three years. Spine shot at ten yards from an eight foot ladder stand. He grossed 168”. At the time was the biggest buck I had ever had in now range.

What I did: took the drop away off and threw it in the trash. Put a whisker biscuit back on and never looked back.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby JoeRE » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:43 am

I have missed a few deer, and unfortunately wounded more than a few, as I matured as a hunter. By trial and error I learned and the last decade or so I have had almost no problems with that. I am sure I will miss again sometime key is just to learn from it.

By far my biggest problem was not picking a spot on slam dunk shots. With both gun and bow I was more likely to blow chip shots than challenging shots. I started to focus a significant part of my practice to easy shots, aim small miss small that sort of thing, and haven't had that cost me in a few years now. It was a mental thing I just tended to point and punch the trigger at a close deer :naughty:
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby brancher147 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:23 am

My worst miss was last year on a big buck I have some history with. I just hit the one single limb that I did not trim and watched the arrow go under his belly as he stood there broadside. I fixed it as soon as he was gone by ripping the limb down. And cussing....

The thing that haunts me are not my misses, as I have not had a whole lot. My worst shots have been bad hits (one on a huge buck) and shots I should have taken but didn't (like a 30 yard shot at another huge buck with muzzleloader). But that's hunting.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby Jdaukontas » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:58 pm

First ever hunt, rifle on a giant 10 in my back yards at 50 yards. Was shaking like a leaf and just missed it. I put a log out under an apple tree the night before for something to sit on. Had no clue about wind, or what deer sound like for that matter. I put it there because I saw deer tracks the week before. As I sat before the sun came up I could hear grunting and chasing out in front of me. When the sun rose he appeared. I pulled up the gun but was shaking like a leaf. Missed clean. I was such a rookie, I got up and left. It was about 8 am. On the way out I almost ran into a 4 point. No idea there was a hott doe, or that I didn't scare either deer off. Looking back, I wish I knew then what I know now. With experience the fever has gone away.
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby northeast beast » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:03 pm

I had a 140 maybe 150 unheard of in this location...he was 10yds I was on the ground with a Remington pump and 5 rounds....the deer turned his head I pulled up he was broadside and boom let it go...he fell over..."OMG I got him" he jumped up and i proceeded to unload that Remington at him....complete mis's all 5 shots. I threw my gun in the swamp...regretted that and retrieved it and realised the rear sight had come loose I was putting the slugs over his sight was re zeroed and I glued it down...has not moved in 5 years!
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby BAS4109 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:49 pm

I've got 2 that come to mind.

1993, I was 17 and it was the last day of NY shotgun season. It was cold that day, maybe 15 degrees and crunchy. I am sitting on a log under a tree. I had a few does come over the hill behind me and pass by on my right at 30 yards. They came one at a time every few minutes. Then I hear another deer coming the same way, I figure it's another doe so I wait until it gets beside me and look. Nope it's the nicest 10 point I have ever seen in the woods (even now). Now he is on my right and I have to spin to shoot, 3 shots and missed every time.

I think about that buck every time I hear a noise and question if it's a deer. I tell myself to get ready no matter what.

The second was in 2008, bow hunting on November 11th. I had a small buck and doe nearby. The buck was maybe 15 yards and I had no plans on shooting him. Then in walks a beauty of an 8 point. Wide with nice tines and a rack that curls up at the end. He stops at just over 20 yards, quartered away. Just a slam dunk. I shot just under him. I must have dropped my bow arm.

So just before I release now I tell myself, Don't F this up!
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Re: Your worst miss, why it happened, and how you fixed it

Unread postby Ashreve93 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:48 pm

Everyone's had their misses. Thanks for sharing yours. Don't beat yourself up.

I think I've had more screw ups and bad choices than I'm willing to admit. But when it comes to misses, I had a real bad one about 7 years back. There was a 120+ inch buck coming right to me, and he had to cross a little creek and go behind a thicket before he got infront of me, so drawing back was a breeze. when the moment finally came to, he wad 10 yards away, completely broadside and i was at full draw. I couldn't help but you think how jealous my friends are going to be, how proud my dad will be, and how great it's going to be to have everyone talking about my buck. Well... when i released, a clean miss, it was a 10 yard shot!! Could you be more pathetic?! I beat myself up for a long time over it, but it taught me something i probably wouldn't have learned otherwise. All the glory in the world is meaningless, especially if you don't focus on the shot. Now I have steps.. I can rush those steps to speed up the process, but I always clear my mind and focus on one thing... that pin on the heart. I've shot many doe and buck since, and haven't missed since. With the majority of my shots being double lung or heart shots. As long as I focus and keep my shots close, I doubt I'll be missing any time soon. All at the sacrifice of one pathetic shot...I'll take it.
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