Does every hunter go through this?

How can you become a better hunter? Find out here — and share your advice!
User avatar
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:56 am
Location: Porters Lake, Nova Scotia

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby DannyBouy » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:04 am

I remember the first deer I shot, A button buck, was a bad shot, a gut shot. I had to go & finish it off with my .30-30 point blank. I still remeber the smell of the gut wound and him struggling as I approached. He didn't make a noise, at least not that I remember. I make sure to have a good clean shot and that I am calm and focus before I shoot after that.

I also hit a deer, a doe with my truck in the mid '90's. It was 2am and she broke her front left leg and had damage to others. It was during hunting season. I called the Department of Natural Resources who looks after this stuff & the officer I got told he to finish her off by myself and that I could take her if I wanted! He ws obviously too lazy to get out of bed. I reminded him that it was illegal for me do it and illegal to posess deer meat without registering it much less a doe at that time (populations were low & doe tags were not issued). She made more quiet bleats while she was in the ditch. Every time I approched she flailed and tried to move to get away. DNR didn't sho up until after she had died.

User avatar
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:02 pm

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby EatDeer » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:31 am

ORIGINAL: Psychoticchaos

Let me start with, I hunt for food and, Hunting has been my life since I went my first time with my father when I was 6, I'm 23 now. It always upset me a little when I took a deer but because of the native american practices I follow when I find the animal, it was never enough to make me question hunting.

Recently I found a deer that was still alive after being hit by a car, It couldnt move because of broken legs and ribs but it was still very much alive. I didnt have a gun with me, only my hunting knife. So I put the deer out of its misery the quickest way I could with what I had available at the time (cut his throat). This was the first time I ever had to kill an animal this up close and personal. Of course when I first stuck the knife in he let out a cry, I waited, listening to him choke and stuggle to live for what seemed like a half hour but was only a couple minutes.

That had been biting at me for about a week and I couldnt stop thinking about how he felt and the way I had to do it. But I still decided I still wanted to go out and hunt. After sitting in my stand for a while 2 yearlings walked out infront of me. I had a perfect shot on both of them, but instead of taking it I just sat and watched them play for a good hour before they ran off. Normally I would have taken one of them but I couldnt bring my self to do it this time.

I love hunting and want to keep hunting but I'm having a hard time taking the shot. I just wondered if every hunter goes through this at some point or if its not every hunter, if anybody who has would have any advice for me?

I think you should forget about impressing people, and just hunt. I dont usually take young deer, for the same reason.

Killing deer with a knife is kinda personal.  You get used to blocking out the emotions to relive the pain the animal is enduring. 

Don't look them in the eye, just go for the kill.

I've killed deer with a knife a few times, it's hard to get in the vitals when they are laying down.
So cutting the throat is a good option if you can get to the deer safely.

If the deer is still thrashing around, I recomend sneaking up on its back side, then use downward stab into the heart.

No sense in getting kicked by a deer's hoof, then you will be laying there as well.

"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:47 am

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby ChuckNorris » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:20 pm

I had two experiences last year that are still vivid memories in my mind.

First, I put a very good shot on a doe about 40 yards away. She took off into some thicker cover where she quickly hit the ground within sound of my treestand. For the next what I believe to be 10 or 15 seconds (although it felt like an eternity) I could hear the doe kicking her legs violently as if she was still running, but laying on the ground at the same time. I wanted to shoot her again to put her out of her misery however I could only hear her, not see her. The noise stopped, I got down, tracked the blood, and field dressed her. That sound will forever be with me but she still was stone dead within probably 30 seconds of being shot.

Second, After I dragged the doe mentioned above back to camp I located another hunter from our party who stated that he had shot a buck. I asked him where it was at and he stated that he hadn't approached it yet because he wasn't sure if it was dead because he watched it kick and flop on the ground. I asked why he didn't shot again from his stand, or approach on foot to put the deer down. He claimed he couldn't get a good shot from the stand and that he didn't want to kick it up by approaching on foot. We went to the area where he shot the buck and found it laying down, still alive. This was over an hour after being shot. The buck was kicking a little bit but didn't appear to be able to get up. Nobody, including the shooter, was taking action. It was now after dark and I wasn't about to shoot again so I approached from the back side with my knife in hand. I grabbed his antler and stabbed his neck. It took a couple stabs/slices before he was "out". I'm all about a quick and humane kill, which this was not. I didn't mind putting it down with a knife because IT HAD TO BE DONE. I would have and will put an injured deer done for anyone at anytime to end the suffering because that is not ethical hunting to allow your game to suffer any longer than necessary.

I will never forgot either of the incidents, neither of which I hope to experience again. But doing the right thing and teaching others to do so is what its all about. To this day I give that hunter all kinds of grief about leaving that injured deer laying in the field.
It only takes one deer to change a hunt from disappointing to very satisfying.

Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:27 am

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby LongCut » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:32 am

The first decent buck I ever shot in PA, was still alive when I caught up to him. Normally I would have left him longer and let him go in peace, but he was running towards other hunters and some of them are less than respectable. Meaning they would have taken that deer as there own, and likely reused the tag after processsing the deer. Anyway, he had enough life in him that I felt the need to finish him off. I shot him with my .308 from about 6" away.

The first buck I shot in Ohio with my bow, I hit in the spine. He let out a loud grunt/moan and fell over. He couldn't move much, but was still alive. It seemed like it took forever to get the second arrow in him to finish him.

On the other end of the spectrum, I know a "hunter" who accidentally shot a spike in PA, back when the doe season was seperate from the buck season. It was obviously an illegal deer, so he left it. Other than the legal aspect, the worst part was that he broke its back, but it was still alive. He didn't finish it off, and allegedly the deer layed in the samespot for at least 2 days, alive. Who knows how long he held on for an sufered. I wish I had been around to put that one down.

At work, we deal with a fair number of deer that are hit by cars, but we get to use firearms to finish them. My buddy just sent me a picture of a MASSIVE 11pt he had to kill after it was struck by a car. The deer is an absolute stud, and clearly a very mature buck.

You did the right thing, with what you had available. It's rough to witness that close, but he suffered alot less thanks to you. Imagine him starving to death, or being eaten alive instead.

Rick the Rookie
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:24 pm

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby Rick the Rookie » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:26 pm

This thread, as well as my brief experience, has made me resolve to become the best marksman I can be.

As a new deer hunter, I tried to study best practices to know what I was doing.
I had been told to let a shot deer lay and bleed out, if you approach too fast they will run off. So when I hit my first doe at the edge of the woods, and saw hear hind end drop and drag into the woods, I waited about 15 minutes before going after her.
When I got to the opening where she went in, I saw her try to get up about 30 yards into deep cover and I assumed she was going to run, so I waited another 15.
When I went in, she was gone. No blood, no trail. I got help looking, and we searched every part of the woods, to the point where I questioned whether I had hit her.
Long story made shorter- I had hit her with a lousy shot that had broken her back legs so low that she wasn't bleeding. She made it to a neighboring farm, where thankfully the farmer's knife put her down quickly. A phone call from the farmer to the land owner, then to us, let us know where she went.
Looking back, I should have watched longer when I stuck my head in the woods, but I ducked back out quickly so she wouldn't run- I didn't watch long enough to realize she couldn't run, and she suffered a few hours because of it.

I will be a better shot and a better hunter next year.
I'm not good, but I'm lucky

User avatar
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:10 am
Location: South FL, BooHoo...

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby SwampLife » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:28 pm

The only thing I hate about deer hunting is that the deer have to die.

I have had a lot of bad experiences with watching deer I have shot die, heard them scream, watched the other deer that were with that deer walk over to it and sniff it and try to nudge it, watched a deer lay down and try licking his wound before he expired, had to dispatch wounded deer. It is a horrible feeling to be face to face or have your hands on a deer as it dies. Typing this out is turning my stomach...

On the flip side, without hunters deer would be overpopulated, getting hit by cars more often putting people's live's in danger and basically eating eachother into starvation... Watch a deer starve to death because it's teeth are gone or because it was not strong enough to survive winter or outrun predators. Mother nature is much more cruel than our bullets and braodheads. That's what you have to keep in mind.

But I have never and will never shoot a yearling unless of course it was suffering. Personal choice.
No Shortcuts. No Excuses. No Regrets.

User avatar
Posts: 397
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:30 pm

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby Gulfcapt » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:39 pm

As you read through different thread in this forum you will find a epiphany of opinions!
But when it comes to a deer/animal that you take upon yourself to stick it with a projectile, you owe it to that animal to make sure its a quick death for it! Not a drawn out one.

good luck and Welcome toD&DH

Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:19 pm

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby BamaHunter » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:23 pm

Over the past 30 yrs of deer hunting, I have had a doe and an 8 pt "scream" on me after being shot.  The sound is unforgettable.  This is why we are hunters and not killers.  We respect and admire that this is a life that has been taken and the means to do so are sometimes (not by choice) painful to the animal.  I'm a Christian hunter, I praise God for allowing us to have dominion over the creatures of the earth and allow us to gain excitement and thrill over the hunt and it's success.  Ever since that first doe screamed I pray before each hunt and after each shot that God would take His animal quickly and painless as possible.  We should never feel bad for having compassion on the animals we hunt.  It makes us a better hunter in my mind.  You will never forget the sound, but you can get past it with time and still enjoy hunting.

User avatar
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:51 am

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby dewey » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:37 pm

Like others I needed to deal with a friends gut shot deer as it was running away and when I knocked it down from point blank range with a shotgun it let out the most terrible wail[:(] and I had to walk up and finish him off. Like others have said I knew I had to finish off that deer because there is no way of going back and making sure the first shot did the job is was supposed to do[:@].

I think the fact that it makes us feel terrible is proof that hunters are not cold heartless monsters like some would say that we are. Plus I think it makes you more aware of shot placement so that way we as hunters limit the deers suffering.

Just like Rick the Rookie said it forces you to become a better marksman which in turn makes you a better hunter.

Welcom to the forum Rick the Rookie!![:D]

�Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.�

Mahatma Gandhi

Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:35 pm

RE: Does every hunter go through this?

Postby extrmhntr » Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:41 pm

I couldn't feel more on track with you Dew. My dad always said the first time that he didn't get that bit of remorse for killing the deer the second he shot it that he would hang his hat and be done. We as hunters have a God given right to use them and benefit from them on this earth but that doesn't mean to abuse them. I can still remember a deer that my best friend had shot. Actually his first deer. We were hunting on the military post here in town and he was hunting with a slug. I was set up about 100 yards down a fire break with a water hole between us. I was watching a fawn and a yearling get a drink when i saw him pick up his gun and turn behind him. The shot rang out and i heard the deer moan and saw them scatter but the moans stayed. I climbed down from my climber and walked over to see the deer had been clipped in the spine and was still alive. I reached in my pack and my knife wasn't there so my friend, who had stayed in his stand had to shoot again. Him being rather shook up missed and had to shoot again. Thankfully it was an instant kill after that. I felt awful on the way home and since this get that drop in my gut every time i hear a deer make any sound whatsoever.

I trick my granddad used and we all do it now is to keep a small plank of plywood in the truck with you. If you have to approach a deer you can either place it on its head to hold it down and not have to look in its eyes or you can use it to keep the feet from flailing and give you the chance to put the deer out.


Return to Best Practices

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests