I received a suggestion that I should share my hunting experience a few weeks ago on here. So here I am.
I was using a stand I've liked pretty well since last year, and I was in it for the first time this year. Just didn't have the time/vacation/etc to get out and do the usual scouting and whatnot, so just decided to go with the stand where I saw the most deer the previous year.
After spending a great deal of time getting prepared for the cold (since that stops a hunt once it sets in) I took a seat, hauled up my gear, loaded and got comfy with eyes scanning and mind wandering. My daydreams were cut short fairly early. A group of four deer appeared a good distance away, two antlered bucks and two does. I did not expect them to come closer, as I have watched several other deer cut across the field that way before, but they did. I found myself trying to shift far to my right in my stand seat the farther they walked. They got closer and closer, but farther right. As I was turning, my motion was spotted and I froze and waited. I only had one hand on my shotgun, and after a couple of minutes my arm began to tire from holding it up. I waited.
Eventually they relaxed a little, and I shifted a little more and raised my shotgun and thought that I should have taken my gloves off when I had the chance. I've never shot with gloves on (nice work on my part). But I twisted as far as I possibly could, aimed at the closest deer, an ok looking buck (I thought he was just terrific, but by TV standards he was probably not a "shooter"), and fired. Deer were off like a shot, and I had a negative feeling about the shot I had made.
The shot was sooner than anticipated because I was not used to the gloves. I use neoprene, which is cushiony, but evidently not as much as I thought. I was a little shaky from holding the gun when I had to freeze. But most of all, I hadn't planned for the *possibility* that the deer would come closer when I saw them, so I didn't shift myself more to the right when I had the opportunity. So yeah, the missed shot was entirely my fault due to inexperience.
In any case, I shot and the deer took off. I had taken a mental mark of where they stood, so I waited a while after watching the last of their tails disappear and remembering where they went back into the woods. Off I went to look for blood, any sign that I had hit this deer, and by then knowing I had not killed it, so hoping I had missed clean. I searched for a couple hours, making two circuits of their path, and not a drop spilled. I crawled through all kinds of brambles in the woods where they went in, nothing. It was a miss.
So for anyone else who is relatively new, yes you can be a great shot at the range, and trap and skeet, or when you shoot stuff that someone throws in the air for you, but you can miss a still target. My mistakes were to first, assume the deer would stay far away from me because I had seen others to so. I should have been more optimistic. Optimism is a good thing to have. Second, once I assumed the deer might come closer, I should have had the gloves off. I *HATE* gloves. Long story. I can't stand them. This adds to my reasons why. Most importantly, I should have been seated (as kellory was wise to point out) to where any turning I had to make to shoot would be to my left. So I made a lot of mistakes, and they were pretty big mistakes to me.
So there you have it. What I did, and my analysis as to why I missed.
After I completed my search, I crawled back up on my stand, then hauled up my gear again. I sat there about an hour or so, beating myself up thoroughly and feeling entirely downhearted. Where there had been a good opportunity to shoot at deer that I walked off at about 75 yards only, I had messed up. So I unloaded my shotgun, repacked my stuff, tied it to my rope and lowered it to the ground so I could gather it and go home, which I did. That was my last mistake of the day. I have no idea off what might have happened after all of that, so I should have stayed up there.
And then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in Heaven