Have you done this?

How can you become a better hunter? Find out here — and share your advice!
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:48 pm

RE: Have you done this?

Postby CoG » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:10 am

I've never beaten myself up over a deer I've shot and I've killed some small racked bucks, broken rack bucks, a button, a shed, etc.  Hell the only thing I've never actually killed is a true spike but I still collect all the spike racks I find in the woods.  All my bucks are like 200" deer to me.  They all are prizes and they're all unique for reasons beyond just being big. 

I have, however, had some bit of remorse with does I've shot.  I've never wanted to take the shot back, but emotionally I struggle a little bit with killing does.  This has created many either-sex days where the safety was off, the crosshairs were placed, and I just wouldn't apply the necessary trigger pressure.  I was willing to go home empty handed and happy.  I've never felt this way with the smallest of bucks.  I will say I feel better once it's in the skinning shed because then it's all work and I don't have the same feelings when a partner shoots a doe.  Weird, I know.

I will say I've only regretted bucks I didn't shoot.  Quality opportunities and whitetail bucks are not terms that go together often.  Normally at the end of the year I look back on one buck or one situation and say "man, I should've done the deed."  But as long as this is my regret after the season I feel I'm doing alright.  I do have an advantage over some in that I'm not limited to one buck a year.  Out of three buck tags I will fill one or two a year but rarely all three.

One other thing about this holding out year after year.  I believe success breeds success.  The longer you wait for that one opportunity the less experience and confidence you will have in getting the job done when it's time.  There's something to be said about becoming proficient in the act of taking a deer from the decisiveness, the brisk pace, the shot placement, the tracking/recovery, and on and on.  I'd rather fill my tag yearly with a nice buck than wait 3 years for that one chance at a Joe Nailer that could likely result in a botched go anyway.

My point is to just be happy with the deer you take and if you can't get over the remorse you can wait it out next year, but don't be remorseful while eating tag soup as well.  I guess only then you'll know which remorse is worse.  Also, it helps to stay realistic and grounded so don't let your standards be twice the size of the biggest buck in your herd.  It's pretty hard to hunt a deer that doesn't exist.  Personally, this is how I kind of define a shooter on my land.  I take the biggest deer I know exists which I determine one of three ways.  1-trail cam pic 2-personal sighting 3-best surviving deer known from last year with a realistic extra year of growth.  Then from that particular deer anything that looks 3/4 his size is a possible shooter.  Anything his size or larger is a no-doubter.  I find this keeps hunting very fun and I have nice resident bucks worth hunting year to year.

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RE: Have you done this?

Postby kyhareraiser » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:24 pm

Oh yeah,I passed a s racked buck this season but that's alright. The temps had me worried about getting the deer out of the hills without it spoiling. I have to drag the deer I take 2 miles s$lowly out on a drag I make. Kinda like the inddians used to haul their teepee's. Now the temps are 8,10,, 14 but tomorrow a heat wave with rain. Gettin' up to 40 they say so maybe I'll get a buck. Went while snow was on the ground and found where they are traveling. Now far as shooting a deer and kicking my own but, I did that last season but it was a good one shot kill at a long distance buty was only a 5 point but had ugly antlers and needed to be taken out of the herd. Good eating and a good shot but my buck season was over and the big boy I was after was taken by another hunter

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RE: Have you done this?

Postby Rooster » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:16 pm

I am a meat hunter useing two deer per season, I look at the condition of the animal and prefer young deer it is simply better meat, after I get the meat I look for my personal best. I do think there is too much emphasis on the racks these days, I hear people more or less apologizing "it was just a forkhorn" or "its only a spike" when they should be very proud of their animal as long as it is taken legally and ethically.

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RE: Have you done this?

Postby wisbooner3932 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:11 pm

loneranger, I went through the same thing as you this year.  I hunted well over 100 hours during bow season and had to let a 150 class buck walk during the rut because I didn't have a buck tag due to Earn-A-Buck restrictions in my area (you have to shoot a doe in order to "earn" your buck tag) so I failed to get anything during bow season.  Then gun season came and I only have permission to gun hunt on my Grandpa's farm, that big buck was on land I only have permission to bow hunt but I knew their were a couple nice ones at my Grandpa's farm so I told myself I'd hold out for a nice one.  (I dont know how many other states allow it but in WI you can do group hunting during gun season only, meaning someone can tag a deer for you, so since others in our party had buck tags, it was legal for me shoot one and have them tag it.)  Well after a week of hunting our party only managed to shoot a doe.  On the second Saturday morning I spotted a buck in a thicket about 50 yards away.  I never got a great look at his rack but he looked decent (I think I was just trying to justify it in my head and knew he was on the small side) so I pulled the trigger and dropped him.  While walking up to him he seemed a little smaller than I thought he was.  He was a 1.5 year old 8 pointer that had great potential so I was a little disappointed at first but then I kind of snapped out of it and was happy that I was able to kill a buck after such a disappointing bow season.  A couple of my friends shot similar sized bucks so we joked about it and were happy with our kills.  I showed the rack to a buddy's dad and the first thing he said was, "how bad do you feel about that?"  I shrugged it off but inside I was pretty mad that he would say something like that.  No "congrats" or "good job" just a negative comment.  The fact that I got mad that he said something like that made me realize I was proud of the deer.  I think it's your duty to be proud of any kill because afterall that's what you set out into the woods to do.  I plan on holding out for a big buck next year again but if I end up settling for something "less" then I'll just be happy to have had the oppurtunity to accomplish what I set out to do in general, kill a buck.  Just remember its only one buck, there will be another one to take its place next year.   
You can take my gun, from my cold dead hands.

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RE: Have you done this?

Postby Rutnut » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:52 pm

This year I was fortunate to put in some quality hunting time. I saw the most deer I’ve seen in years, the majority being bucks. I saw 3 legit Pope and Young deer, one of which came within 25 yards. I drew on that buck (bigger than any buck I’ve killed) but never released the arrow. He never offered an “advisable” shot. I felt horrible that my dream could come so close, yet unobtainable. Still hard to think about.

On Nov 20th I shot a 6 pointer. Not the biggest deer, but such a memorable hunt. He followed 3 doe up by me. The doe had stopped because she new I was something to fear….she kept stomping the ground. Anyway, he wanted nothing to do with it, and started to leave. I must say, I made a great 30 yrd shot…something I am very proud of. He was one of the smallest deer I saw this year, and I have no regrets shooting him.

What I would have regretted is to take a shot at that big boy, and miss or even worse wound him. As it turns out, it is a great memory to have just seen him. And shooting an average buck happens to be one of my fondest memories. I just love hunting so much. I’m glad I read this post, because it put all my priorities in perspective…just as I have always believed. Just enjoy the hunt, the outdoors, be true, and have no regrets.

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RE: Have you done this?

Postby loneranger » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:18 am

All posts on this topic have been good ones. After all deer are just animals, GOD put here to harvest for protien. Some have strange bone growing out of their heads. We have turned the bone into something to worship sometimes.It is fun to match your abilities with animals that have survived awhile, but in the end it is about enjoying the time outdoors and having tasty meals you,,have brought to the table!

Joel Spring
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:42 am

RE: Have you done this?

Postby Joel Spring » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:40 pm

Yep.   Many times. 
Joel Spring
Longtime Deer & Deer Hunting Contributor


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