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What's Worse: Screwing Up Bad or Screwing Up Stupid?

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October 22, 2013

What's Worse: Screwing Up Bad or Screwing Up Stupid?

By Dave Hurteau

Last night, I missed one of the better bucks I’ve seen from a New York bow stand — a nice, clean 10-pointer at least 3-1/2 years old. Few bucks around here live to see their second set of antlers, so the fact that he was a little shy of the Pope and Young Club makes him no less a dandy.
 
I’d made an aggressive move. With deer entering this small field from odd directions, I had been hunting it pretty conservatively. But yesterday afternoon I decided to move my stand to where most of the deer had been coming out and take a chance that any others might catch my wind.

Shortly after I got settled, I saw the top of a skinny sapling waving back and forth, just inside the woods and downwind about 80 yards away. It had to be a buck making a rub, I thought, and no doubt, it was one of the little bucks I’d been seeing in the area. But then he stepped out.

It’s funny. I just got back from bowhunting South Dakota, where I saw and passed up several not-quite-P&Y bucks; none of which (though fun to watch) really got my heart pounding. This one, no bigger, just about jolted me out of my stand. You just don’t see deer like this around here very often.

Eventually, he worked his way out in front of me at 40 yards. That’s a bit farther than I usually shoot at deer, but it’s a pretty easy shot for me on the range. Plus he was broadside and oblivious, and wasn’t going to get any closer. I took my time, remembered my form, picked the spot…and shot underneath him. He jumped a bit and walked off 20 yards or so, but then he went right back to feeding. When a forkhorn entered at the far end of the field, he waltzed over and sparred casually with the little buck for several minutes before fading back into the woods.

I’d blown it. Somehow I just made a bad shot, I figured. Dropped my bow arm, or something. Then about 45 minutes before dark, a doe popped out in front of my stand, maybe 20 yards. Easy peasy—but having just missed, I took extra-careful aim, squeezed…and shot underneath her. She, too, made a little hop, moved off, not even 10 yards, and went back to feeding.

I knocked another arrow and this time purposely aimed about 6 inches high…and shot underneath her.

I am congenitally absent-minded, which can make life maddening at times. Before I left for hunting yesterday, I took my lucky knife out of a drawer, intending to bring it, and then put it down somewhere. For the next half hour, I turned the place upside down trying to find the damn thing. I left without it. That’s frustrating.
 
But what is worse — what can really drive a person nuts after going to all the trouble we bowhunters do to get in range of a good buck — is to know perfectly well that you should always, ALWAYS check your bow’s point of aim after returning from a trip; then forget to do it.

Just now — too late of course — I shot my bow. It’s hitting about 10 inches low.

Comments (10)

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from VAHunter540 wrote 25 weeks 19 hours ago

Bummer man, at least they were clean misses. A lesson you will never forget and nobody but your ego paid a price, Id say you made out just about even.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 25 weeks 18 hours ago

Thanks for sharing, Dave. I hope he steps out in front of you again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 25 weeks 17 hours ago

Thanks, Buckhunter.
Just got re-dialed in, and I'm headed out right now, hoping for the same.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 25 weeks 13 hours ago

Doh!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from flyboy96 wrote 25 weeks 11 hours ago

i can relate...i was hunting two weeks ago where i thought a buck would step out of due to last years hunting season..and sure enough he comes casually out out of the cedar jungle and starts feeding on some berries... seeing that hes a good 30yrds (what i was sighted in for) i took aim and fired only to see the arrow miss by a good 16 inches to the right of where i had aimed...turns out that my sight had been bumped or something so it was moved over so my point of aim was completely off...always gotta double check when tightening those dern sight screws -_-

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

He came out again right on schedule last night and fed toward me; just never got quite close enough. Good news: He has no idea I'm hunting him. For now, at least. -dh

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JRE716 wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

Let us know how the rest of the season goes...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lord Humungus wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

Because I am new to bow hunting and hardly ever shoot the bow, I always take some practice shots on a cereal box pinned to a big round hay bail at 25 yards on the farm I hunt each time before i go to my blind. I do it because I don't trust my skills, not because I don't trust my bow. I guess either way, it's a good habit, so I'll know if my bow is accurate before I take the money shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

Came real close last night. He came out on schedule and was walking toward me, but suddenly veered off course at about 50 yards. Worse, he crossed the hedgerow, got behind me, and caught my wind.
He didn't like that one bit.
Tonight, he never came out. Ugh. Time to give this spot a rest.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from masterbowhunter95 wrote 24 weeks 10 hours ago

somehow i seem to screw up bad with big mature does.i shot at a nice real heavy doe a few nights ago with my bow and missed . anybody got any pointers on how to sink an arrow in a big mature michigan eastern upper peninsula doe? pointers are much appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from VAHunter540 wrote 25 weeks 19 hours ago

Bummer man, at least they were clean misses. A lesson you will never forget and nobody but your ego paid a price, Id say you made out just about even.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 25 weeks 17 hours ago

Thanks, Buckhunter.
Just got re-dialed in, and I'm headed out right now, hoping for the same.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

He came out again right on schedule last night and fed toward me; just never got quite close enough. Good news: He has no idea I'm hunting him. For now, at least. -dh

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Online Editors wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

Came real close last night. He came out on schedule and was walking toward me, but suddenly veered off course at about 50 yards. Worse, he crossed the hedgerow, got behind me, and caught my wind.
He didn't like that one bit.
Tonight, he never came out. Ugh. Time to give this spot a rest.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 25 weeks 18 hours ago

Thanks for sharing, Dave. I hope he steps out in front of you again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 25 weeks 13 hours ago

Doh!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from flyboy96 wrote 25 weeks 11 hours ago

i can relate...i was hunting two weeks ago where i thought a buck would step out of due to last years hunting season..and sure enough he comes casually out out of the cedar jungle and starts feeding on some berries... seeing that hes a good 30yrds (what i was sighted in for) i took aim and fired only to see the arrow miss by a good 16 inches to the right of where i had aimed...turns out that my sight had been bumped or something so it was moved over so my point of aim was completely off...always gotta double check when tightening those dern sight screws -_-

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JRE716 wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

Let us know how the rest of the season goes...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lord Humungus wrote 24 weeks 6 days ago

Because I am new to bow hunting and hardly ever shoot the bow, I always take some practice shots on a cereal box pinned to a big round hay bail at 25 yards on the farm I hunt each time before i go to my blind. I do it because I don't trust my skills, not because I don't trust my bow. I guess either way, it's a good habit, so I'll know if my bow is accurate before I take the money shot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from masterbowhunter95 wrote 24 weeks 10 hours ago

somehow i seem to screw up bad with big mature does.i shot at a nice real heavy doe a few nights ago with my bow and missed . anybody got any pointers on how to sink an arrow in a big mature michigan eastern upper peninsula doe? pointers are much appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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