Any wisdom for a first time miss?

bsnedeker

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Once you determine a deer is a shooter, whether buck or doe, don't looks at it's head. Concentrate instead on your aiming point and the steps to a clean shot. You can fall apart after the shot.
If no one else has suggested this yet, this is the best advice in the thread! When I shot the bull in my profile pic this year I NEVER looked at his rack once! I saw that he had a rack and that was good enough for me! I dropped him from 75 yards and was totally cool and calm despite it being my first bull ever.
 

Btaylor

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The best way to get good at killing is by killing, period. Big doe, little doe, young buck, mature buck, doesnt matter which one, the heart and lungs are in the same place on all of them. Treat every last one of them like they done stole something from you too, helps keep your focus on putting the pointy end in the riblets.
 

TheGDog

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10 yds and NoGo?? Assuming that you used your 1st sight pin, and assuming it's setup for 20yds... it's certainly possible that if you didn't aim a little lower than you thought you needed to, that perhaps the arrow sail over his back? Did he "duck the string" by trying to duck down last second and that's perhaps why it missed? (Doubt that at 10yd)

RE: tips... when on your sit... in the beginning of the morning... look around your FOV.. anyplace you think it's likely you might end up having a shot opportunity within that FOV... you need to range-find all the nearby objects to all those spots... then... throughout the day.... when you look at each object, say back to yourself it's range, and say back to yourself on or between which two pins you must hold if your target was to appear at that spot in the FOV.

Much like you I found out the painfully hard way that being off even by even 5yds on your range estimation, versus which pin placement you elected to use in that moment... can result in that arrow shooting under the buck or over the buck.

Also... if where they stand ends up being in front of some vegetation that "looks" like the arrow could probably drill thru it and get em? Nope... chances are likely that ain't gonna happen. Spend some time ahead of time clearing away problematic areas you spot when at your sit spot, whether that's tree or ground.

Other than that... just things like after you're drawn back, point the fingers on your hand holding the bow forward such that you you cannot impart any kind of torque'ing movements upon the bow with your gripping hand. And.. make sure it's a clean crisp release, seated and tucked in tightly to cheek/jaw, otherwise it can be possible to impart some tiny amount of side-to-side upset during releasing.

Yeah man.. definitely been there.... and you find yourself SCREAMING curse words in silence as this amazing animal rapidly slips away. Depends though, if you hold and don't move... lotta tiomes if you wait long enough, they just might calm back down and allow you to take another shot! That part, to me, is magical about bow, that's it's even possible to try again without them running away.
 

slaton

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May 3, 2015
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I’m in my 30th season bow hunting and have killed well over 100 animals with a bow. I still get shook up when I come to full draw. When that quits I’ll quit too. The best thing to do is shoot animals. There is no other practice for it. Until you have filled several truck beds full don’t pass anything. You have to get the reps in. I’ve got a lot of people into bow hunting and that is always my advise. And the first one you shoot will be the biggest one you have ever shot no matter the size. Remember that you have more time than you think you do. Settle the pin and execute. Don’t be like a 17year old on prom night and as soon as it hits hair it goes off. Nobody is happy when that happens. Just stick with it and don’t compare your hunts to anyone else.


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The Saw is the Law

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Nov 6, 2021
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First of all, think thru the whole sequence many times before you ever step in the woods. All the way thru, from first sighting to pulling out the knife. Practice that hundreds of times.
In the woods: control your breathing, check your aim on the engine compartment, and smoothly release. Waiting for a trophy buck is nonsense. Find a nice deer of any sort and make it happen.
 

Anschutz

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Fairbanks, AK
I grew up as a competitive rifle shooter and went to college doing that. One thing I've learned after a poor shot is there isn't anything you can do about that shot. The only shot you can affect is your next shot. If you want a mature buck for your first deer, that's fine but if you kill a doe and your buddies pass on all of the does and no buck comes, you have more meat in the freezer than them.

The first bow I used for hunting was my dad's 1994 Alpine Whisper Flite (in 2008 or so). That bow has the trajectory of a mortar but I could drill the 3D buck at 40 yards no problem. I didn't have a rangefinder back then so I stepped off places from the tree I sat in and hung tape at each yardage. I still missed the first 3 or 4 deer I shot at. Two I remember, jumped the string, another I had a pronghorn style rest and pushed the arrow into it and properly place it prior to shooting.

I had one deer that I misjudged yardage on twice. The second shot hit a rock at the base of the ridge and that deer walked to me. I did not miss the shot at five yards when she turned broadside.
 

ceejay

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Feb 9, 2020
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I agree with the dominate recommended response which is to take advantage of future hunting opportunities to shoot any deer that gives you a good opportunity. Being selective on buck maturity is a personal choice, but definitely kill some does when given the chance. Drawing your bow, aiming well and shooting a deer is best way to learn to handle the excitement of the situation. The other bits of advice are good as well.
 

DawnPatrol

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Dec 22, 2020
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It’s great to want to emulate your buddies who are successful, big-buck killers. But keep in mind that they probably didn’t start out that way, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to jump to their level immediately.

I get respecting the hunting culture of the folks who are helping you learn how to hunt. But short of a frank discussion with them about where you are at, or you branching out on your own a bit to gain experience more rapidly, it’s likely to be a long learning curve.

There’s more to hunting than locating animals and being proficient with your weapon at the range. Killing a wild animal, especially with a bow, is a singular skill. And at some level, there’s no substitute for experience.

I’m don’t know your circumstances, but maybe look for some small game or other hunting opportunities where you can gain experience more quickly?
 

crich

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Anchorage AK
Lots of good info already said. To keep it concise I'd say take the first ethical shot you have regardless of the animal (no fawns). If not then practice drawing on the does that come into your setup; practice makes perfect. Lastly get it ingrained very deeply that if you're not confident in the shot then dont shoot. Easier said than done on the last one but time and experience will help you with the jitters.
 

Wingshooter

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May 21, 2017
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If the deer are singles or maybe pairs and you can get away with the movement I still practice drawing and putting my sight pin on animals I don't intend to shoot. It's great practice I am with the others shoot some does they don't get the credit they deserve as being as sharp as an old buck but they often are very alert.
 

Whhood

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Feb 19, 2021
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First, I don’t know where or how you are hunting, but one thing I will throw out there is if you are hunting from an elevated position then you need to practice from an elevated position. Targets, including deer, look different from elevation. Aiming points are different. Ranges/angles are different. Practice on blocks and 3D target. Look at entrance and exit at different yardages and note aiming points. It’s fine to shoot and practice from the ground but if you hunt in a tree then you need to practice in a tree.

Second, I agree with everyone else. You’re just starting out. Take the first high percentage ethical shot in the range you are comfortable with at the first legal animal you see. Practice standing, aiming, and going through the motions on animals that are in range that you know you are not going to shoot. If you’re comfortable drawing back and not shooting (which you should be) then do that on some as well.

Misses happen. Try to replay what went wrong so you can correct it. Did you shoot over his back? Single pin? Multiple pins? Have you shot at 10 yards before? Have you shot at 10 yards with your 20 yard pin (assuming that’s your setup)? If not try it on a target from an elevated position and see what happens.
 

loganwayne

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Sep 22, 2021
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misses are going to happen. period.

i missed a deer low because i didnt figure for the step angle i was shooting at, 15 yard shot but i was 20 ft up a tree and probably 30 feet higher on the bank than the deer so basically shooting from 50 ft above. i shot just low. thought about it and talked to people with more experience took their advice and killed a deer doing the same thing at same spot next time i sat there. i missed a doe this year trying to thread the needle on a small hole in some limbs, and didnt see a small tree right in front of deer. looking back i should have let down again and waited for a better shot. you need to practice from a stand at every distance and direction you can, if you hunt out of a saddle shoot of a saddle because it is different.
 

fatlander

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It won’t be the last time you miss. Shake it off and shoot the first legal animal you have a good shot at. More reps under pressure is what builds the confidence to get the job done.


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Yoder

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Jan 12, 2021
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Most people have this happen. Usually when I would miss on an easy shot I was looking at the deer not my sight pins. I missed a doe one time at 10 yards. I couldn't even believe it. I got a second shot and drilled her at 30. After the first shot I had an opportunity to calm down a little and think about what happened. The 30 yard shot I went through my sequence and made a perfect shot. There's nothing wrong with waiting for a mature buck. I think I shoot too many small ones and hardly see the big ones. One thing I would try is just drawing on deer you don't want to shoot. It will give you all the experience except for releasing the arrow. Sometimes it's cool just knowing you could have killed it. Other than that I don't know. I get super pumped when a big buck comes in. Last year I had the biggest buck I've seen hunting stop at 50 yrds. It was in range for my crossbow but I couldn't get a clear shot. When he walked off my legs were shaking and I almost had tunnel vision. I haven't gotten like that in years.
 

Mak44

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Aug 21, 2020
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Buck fever happens. The adrenaline kicks in. The excitement takes over and you can't steady your shot. You live and learn. Better luck next time.
 

Northpark

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Best advice I’ve seen above is just go out shove as many arrows into rib cages as you can. The more you kill the easier it is to control yourself. Been hunting for 20 years and have killed a lot of big game (maybe 75-100 head) and hundreds if not thousands of small game critters. I still get excited but I’ve learned to keep it under control until the deed is done.
 

Wingshooter

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OH
Another trick if you're coming unraveled take a few seconds and think about a favorite time you have spent with your wife it'll reset your emotions a bit.
 

EdP

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Jun 18, 2020
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Southwest Va
Some excellent advice above. I think some people get buck fever worse than others. I'm one of them. Also, if I start getting concerned about getting a deer I get impatient and tend to make poor decisions. This is still at 67 yrs old. These tendencies don't go away so you have to learn to manage them. I know that I do much better when I have time because I have seen the animal come in from a distance and have had it in my sights for a while. The initial adrenaline rush burns off some. Also, using mind games during practice helps. Thinking, "there is my deer" when making a practice shot can put a little more pressure on the shot and prepare you a bit better for the real thing.
 

PorkrollEgg&Cheese

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New Jersey
Ive been there and it sucks. Just know that there will be another opportunity as long as you keep at it. I missed 3 bucks before finally killing one and Ihavent missed a shot since. Just gotta learn and get better.
 

ATXhunter

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Jan 8, 2022
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Not sure this will help but I listen to a bunch of Fred Bear's old tapes and his diary and his advice would be shoot all the time.

He shot at everything seemingly. Not all shots were ethical or makeable but he talks about shooting at birds, squirrels, raccoons, cactus, a tree stump(?).

I also used to play a game when I was starting where I would draw on every deer that came in to work on getting away with the draw, finding my pin and working the shot sequence. Then you let down as they walk out or turn away and do it again on the next one. Keep doing it until it becomes muscle memory.

That being said, the excitement still hasn't gone away and I HOPE IT NEVER DOES. That's what makes it so rewarding when it all comes together and you're loading them in the truck!
 
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