Making good choices

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dithian
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Making good choices

Post by dithian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:08 pm

I was feeling restless in the wee hours this morning, so rather than continue to disturb my wife and cat with my tossing and turning, I decided to head up to the hunting blind. I got up there, got my Micro 335 cocked and ready, did the necessary scratching, yawning, etc. to settle in, and as soon as I bothered to actually look out, there were two does crossing the field in front of me. They were just kind of grazing around, not really on their way anywhere, so I began following them in my scope. They kept stepping into and out of range, grazing back and forth, as calm as axis deer get (which isn’t especially calm). I kept waiting for a good broadside shot, but they just weren’t having any of that. After a bit they started wandering off, and I thought that was that. Then one of the does came back into the field and headed straight toward the blind—I thought she might just climb up in there with me. She stopped and grazed a bit more and I had her pinned in the sight. I even unlatched the safety. Finally, she turned broadside with her mouth full of grass, but her exposed front leg was back as far as it would go, covering her vitals. I prefer to wait until the leg is straight or forward. She stood like that for an excruciatingly long time. Then she stepped forward into the textbook broadside profile with her front leg forward. Everything about it screamed TAKE THE SHOT!, except… she had stepped behind a large wild basil bush which just covered her vitals. I knew exactly where to plunk the shot, could even see it a bit through the bush, but the risk of deflection was just too high. She stood like that for quite a while, then simply sauntered away.

In light of a recent thread which got kind of out of hand, I wanted to share this story. There were probably a half a dozen moments I could have taken high risk shots—extreme quartering, spine, even broadside but leg back—and very likely would have recovered the deer, but there wasn’t any reason to. The truth is, this hunt was just as satisfying as any hunt in which I have taken game. As with any time in the field, fruitful or otherwise, I’ve added to my experience and become a better hunter. As we all know, hunting is 80% talking about hunting, 19.99% just sitting there and .01% pulling the trigger. The joy of the process is in that first 99.99%. The .01% is something else entirely: transcendental, perhaps, but it’s the smallest part of what we do. It’s also where nearly 100% of the responsibility lies. Sometimes it’s enough just to be satisfied with the journey.

Brandon

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amythntr
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Re: Making good choices

Post by amythntr » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:24 pm

....you write well Brandon....you should consider being a writer :lol: :lol: Excellent post and very true....I really wonder as we look back in the recesses of our memory...what did we do when given the same shot sequence as you....I am sorry to say, I have shot :eusa-shhh: ....fortunately, I have not had an issue in not retrieving a deer. :eusa-snooty:

Anthony :(
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Re: Making good choices

Post by dithian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:48 pm

amythntr wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:24 pm
....you write well Brandon....you should consider being a writer :lol: :lol: Excellent post and very true....I really wonder as we look back in the recesses of our memory...what did we do when given the same shot sequence as you....I am sorry to say, I have shot :eusa-shhh: ....fortunately, I have not had an issue in not retrieving a deer. :eusa-snooty:

Anthony :(
Thanks for that, Anthony! Maybe I should be… :think: I think there's a time and a place when taking the risk is okay, and we all have to measure that for ourselves. I've certainly taken less-than-optimal shots on a number of occasions. I know I'm more inclined to do it when my freezer is empty. This morning really reminded me, though, that there's so much satisfaction to be had in the process itself, and it really didn't matter that I didn't get the shot.

Happy hunting, everyone!

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Re: Making good choices

Post by dithian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:56 pm

I should also say that what I mean by less-than-optimal doesn't encompass experimental. What I mean is shots taken at the edge of my comfort zone, but not beyond it. I've also noticed that the longer I've been at this, the less I find I need to. I find that part of getting better at hunting is learning how to position one's self to increase the likelihood of being in the right place at the right time under the best conditions possible. Still learning here.

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Re: Making good choices

Post by georgiaboy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:28 pm

Isn’t it funny how your perspective changes as we get older :?:
Years ago I would have probably already taken a shot in that position but now like you it doesn’t bother me to let one walk. When I was a young man I just wanted to kill a deer, any deer. Then to be considered a good hunter it was about volume. Then from there I had to kill a wall hanger. Now that I’ve done all of that I’m slowing down as I get older and I just want to enjoy the journey.
My hunting buddy for several years now killed only his second deer ever with a bow this past weekend and helping him track the deer and listening to his story of the hunt was honestly more enjoyable to me than if I had killed a monster buck. I just wish I would have had this perspective 40 years ago :wink:
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Re: Making good choices

Post by Bcxbow » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:38 pm

georgiaboy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:28 pm
Isn’t it funny how your perspective changes as we get older :?:
Years ago I would have probably already taken a shot in that position but now like you it doesn’t bother me to let one walk. When I was a young man I just wanted to kill a deer, any deer. Then to be considered a good hunter it was about volume. Then from there I had to kill a wall hanger. Now that I’ve done all of that I’m slowing down as I get older and I just want to enjoy the journey.
My hunting buddy for several years now killed only his second deer ever with a bow this past weekend and helping him track the deer and listening to his story of the hunt was honestly more enjoyable to me than if I had killed a monster buck. I just wish I would have had this perspective 40 years ago :wink:

It really is an eye opening and ongoing journey :thumbup:
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Re: Making good choices

Post by dithian » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:59 pm

georgiaboy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:28 pm
Isn’t it funny how your perspective changes as we get older :?:
Years ago I would have probably already taken a shot in that position but now like you it doesn’t bother me to let one walk. When I was a young man I just wanted to kill a deer, any deer. Then to be considered a good hunter it was about volume. Then from there I had to kill a wall hanger. Now that I’ve done all of that I’m slowing down as I get older and I just want to enjoy the journey.
My hunting buddy for several years now killed only his second deer ever with a bow this past weekend and helping him track the deer and listening to his story of the hunt was honestly more enjoyable to me than if I had killed a monster buck. I just wish I would have had this perspective 40 years ago :wink:
Bravo! I was really excited when I took my first trophy buck. Since then it has been all about putting food in the freezer. Around here does are more plentiful, not to mention that, if part of the goal is to reduce their number (which it is here), harvesting does is more effective. I'll normally just take the deer that offers the best shot opportunity, though I try to make sure not to take one that has a fawn in tow. I realize that it is a privilege to be able to let one walk. I know a lot of folks get limited hunting opportunity, so I can't fault a person for taking that last hunting day hail Mary, especially if they're doing it for food. I'm less patient with people who take the hinky shot just to hang it on the wall.

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Re: Making good choices

Post by janesy » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:00 am

Good post

I've shot one deer with a crossbow. But I learned so much more from the ones who walked away than the one that didn't. :thumbup:
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Re: Making good choices

Post by vixenmaster » Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:16 am

Nice write up, i also like my shots clean n clear. I rather watch them as long as possible n enjoy the learnin exp. than to end my hunt n start the work process :)
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Re: Making good choices

Post by Hester0305 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:10 pm

Sounds like you made the best choice for you, I try not to take shots anymore that I have any doubt about its all about making a clean ethical shot for me now. I used to be like others have already said and thought I had to kill a deer but now I watch a lot and pick and choose a lot more.
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Re: Making good choices

Post by dithian » Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:49 pm

Lest anyone should think I'm trying to be holier-than-thou, here's a partial list of bad hunting choices I've made, mostly in the first year of hunting:

1. Buying cheap, lousy equipment to start out. Underpowered, unreliable and just plain lousy.
2. Not doing more to find someone to answer questions and teach me how to do it.
3. Offhand 40 yard shot at game. I know this is well within the skill of many, and I had been practicing a lot of offhand shooting, but I wasn't solid enough at 40 yards to take the shot. I got lucky and hit an artery, but not where I was aiming.
4. Shooting at a running buck. To be fair, the buck was running right at me, almost knocked me down trying to run away from a feral dog chasing it, but the polite thing to do would have been to step aside and let him pass. When spot-and-stalk hunting you don't normally expect the deer to run up to you. I pulled the trigger more out of shock and self-preservation than anything. Still, a bad choice.
5. Not checking that my bow was still aiming true after a long hiatus from shooting.
6. Trying to make a shot through thick brush.
7. Steep quartering shot.

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Re: Making good choices

Post by elkaholic » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:42 pm

muggy and hot humid lazy evening, barely a breeze. Who in there right mind wants to go sit a mosquito filled stand.

Had to fix fabric material on my ladder stand, for the next mornings hunt. Better take my crossbow. Its 3:45 . Ugh. It's not gonna be fun. By 4 :15 I'm done. I have yet to sit the new tripod stand about 150 yrds over the next ridge. Had pics of a big 9 pt. Setup in tripod by 4:30. Ok not so bad a little small cuz I'm a tad big but comfy and I like swiveling 360 view. A little breeze now.

5:15 I see movement. Doe, no 2 does moving around about 80 - 100 yrds in the woods. Just feeding back and forth. Heading my way.kinda split directions so hard to keep track. One wonders off to left ok , where the right one.

Dang big buck coming from does direction. Angling accross at like 50 in the trees. One small window with my 40 marker. Might get a shot. I got 2 seconds if he doesnt stop. Grunt . Danmn didn't stop. He angles past never given a clear shot.
Wait here comes the doe now. Dang she's gonna cross right in front of me.

Do I wait try call buck back, now she's at 30 stopping looking at me hard , doing the head , jerky bobble .looking for a responce. Now crossing behind last 2 bushes. Stands at like 25 broadside.
Red dot on her. I'm thkn about the buck and danged thing goes off. Thunk .

Hear a big snort , big buck tail high bouncing back up the ridge at 80 yds. See 2 more tails flashing thru woods. Look at clock 5 :15.

Just shot my first crossbow doe. I was nt even going to go hunting. Glad I didn't try to push the little window shot.
Yep then the work started. Glad it was 5:30 when I found her, not 7:30.
Hoping I can meet up with the big buck tomorrow

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Re: Making good choices

Post by dithian » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:45 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. Must have been really tempting with that buck. I hope he comes back around! Congrats on the doe!

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Re: Making good choices

Post by elkaholic » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:01 pm

Had it been rifle season, I'd been tagged out on a big buck.

I've been 7 yrs comin to the north woods of wisc. Tagged 2 small 6 points , both crossbow.

Hoping he does present a clear shot this season!

This doe goes to the landowner. Whose let us use his property and put up stands the last 3 yrs. Our treat.! Go figure , all he wants is burger. But there is no way backstraps snd loin are goin in burger !!!!lol

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