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If it had been rifle season, I'd have the biggest buck of my life...ever happen to u?

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If it had been rifle season, I'd have the biggest buck of my life...ever happen to u?

Old 10-12-2010, 01:21 PM
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Default If it had been rifle season, I'd have the biggest buck of my life...ever happen to u?

I went bowhunting Friday for the first time this season. I set up my climber in an area where a lot of trails cross, not sure how great it would be.

So about 30 minutes before last shooting light, I look to my right and see a deer about 150 yards down the widest trail, he is walking straight toward me. I can immediately tell he is the biggest buck I've ever seen while hunting, and if I had my Rem 700 .30-06 I would have harvested him immediately.

So he is ambling roughly toward me, weaving in and out of the trees on the side of the trail that my stand is in so I am loosing sight of him occasionally. I stand up super quietly, get my release on the bow, and just pray he keeps coming. I can't really tell where he is anymore because of the thick pines, when all of the sudden he steps out no more than 15 yards away from me.

As soon as he steps out he starts acting really jittery like he is about to bolt, plus he is quartering toward me slightly so I don't have a great shot. I am just praying he calms down and turns more broad side because I know he is so close I can nail him, even though I'm probably not as great with my bow as many bow hunters (probably wouldn't shoot beyond 30 yards).

This deer is so close I can not only count the points and tell he is a large 8, but I can admire the character and slight palmations in his rack. I am standing as still as a statue about 17 feet up (my climbing stand wouldn't go any higher because these pines are widen't enough), then he looks up directly at me. He stares at me for 20 seconds or so and he knows something isn't quite right but he can't figure out what it is. Then he trots off, slightly spooked but not high-tailing it, he stops at about 40 yards and takes one last look at me, then trots off into the pines.


I am primarily a gun hunter, living and hunting in VA now. I never bow hunted growing up because in SC it doesn't extend your season (longest season in the country, by the way). I love hunting, but I don't get that much of an opportunity to go, I probably average only three or four deer hunts per year because for a long time I had to drive 2+ hours each way. I've only shot two deer, one of them barely a four point and the other a large four point. This deer had me so excited, I just couldn't believe it was happening. I've never seen a large buck while hunting, the biggest one being probably a small 6 well after shooting light. The only other time I've ever even seen a live 8 point was when I was mountain biking in a state park where no hunting is allowed.

Anyway, I definitely have great respect for bow hunters. It just kills me that I would have this deer very easily if I had my rifle. It must take huge discipline to hunt with a bow during rifle season like some people do. I am sure most bow hunters have many experiences like this, I just couldn't take it if I knew I could use a rifle.


I never even drew back my bow because by the time I knew I was going to have a shot, he was so close I couldn't move without spooking him. I had a bad experience last year when I drew my bow back on a doe and she stopped and stood behind a tree for minutes until I couldn't hold my bow back any more, and she spooked when I let the bow down, so this time I was trying to wait. If I had it to do over again I would draw back sooner. I think I could have made the shot on this buck if I had my bow back when he stepped out, because he was only quartering very slightly toward me.

Do you guys ever take bow shots when the deer is quartering toward you? If I had my .3006 obviously I could have shot right through the shoulder blade, but with a bow I know there is a possibility of not breaking through the bone. Do you err toward hitting the bone, betting on breaking through, or do you err toward hitting further back an potentionally only getting one lung, or none?

Last edited by Stonewall308; 10-12-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:32 PM
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Personally, I would not take the shot you described with a bow. And yes, I have also had to endure that situation. Probably my second archery season I had the biggest 10 pointer I've seen 10 yards away in that position. I was at full draw waiting for the slightest sidestep and he did a 180 and was gone in the blink of an eye.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:40 PM
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The real kicker is that rifle season opens up on November 13, and my wife is due with our first baby on November 15.

I've already told her that I am planning on going back on opening day if she hasn't had any contractions or anything indicating that the baby might come any day. I can make it home quick if I have to.

I am pretty sure that no one else is hunting this area in my club, it seems that they all hang cheap permanent stands, and there are none anywhere near this spot that I have found, while there are a bunch in other areas of the property.

I am just hoping this buck has a really limited range. I'll probably bow hunt it at least twice more before rifle season. I also saw two does right as I was getting ready to climb down, after last light. These things are quiet as ghosts moving through the woods, they were right on top of me before I knew they were there. It seems like I have found a really good spot where there isn't much pressure.
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:18 PM
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Good story but if you had your rifle you would have shot him at a longer distance and may have missed that close encounter. I find the adrenaline I get when a deer gets that close is second to none. Having them right there and they never know it is amazing. Even if I don't harvest the animal which has happened a few times for the same reason as yours - shot placement - I walk out of the woods better than I walked in.

Last edited by *twodogs*; 10-12-2010 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:29 PM
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Its happen to me more times than I care to count.... But I love the up close and personal hunting that bow hunting gives, wouldn't change that for the world....
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:34 PM
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will never trade bowhunting for hunting with a rifle. However, I have had the painful opportunity of having a monster just out of bow range. Part of me wishes I had my 30-06, but at the same time I know how much more amazing it feels to watch that arrow cut through a deer at 40yds or less.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:41 PM
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That is the thrill of bowhunting my friend. A couple tips for you. The first is start lifting weights or even use your bow to build your shoulder muscles. I stopped working out for a few years and started back this year and i feel like i can hold my bow back forever if i had to. The second tip is that even if your wife goes into labor while you are hunting, there is plenty of time for you to get there before the baby comes. You can ask your doctor or anyone else that has had a baby. Good luck
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:02 PM
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that is why i love bow hunting so much and it is so great! i have hardly any desire to gun hunt any more after i have killed plenty of deer and enjoy killing them much closer with the added challenge of shooting with a bow. yes i have had some times when i have had really nice bucks out of range and could of shot them with the gun and at that time wished i had the gun, but hunting isnt just about killing... it is about being out there and enjoying nature and being able to watch animals in their natural environment. with bow hunting i get to do that so much more than while gun hunting and to me it really adds to the whole experience. i would never trade a bow hunt for a gun hunt and the only time i gun hunt anymore is in states that i dont have the money to purchase an archery tag and only have time off to hunt during gun season. hopefully you enjoyed the close encounter with the buck and have many more of these opportunities to come! good luck
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:19 PM
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First off, I want to give props to you for not taking a shot at that deer, knowing that it was a bad angle. It would've more than likely ended with a wounded deer, that you would never recover. And secondly, I had the biggest buck I've encountered walk 42 yrds from me last year, only to veer off the trail and stay in the edge of the pines. Never got a shot at him and never regreted not having a rifle( I only bowhunt). It's part of it and it makes me a better hunter. I get to sit and observe travel patterns and everyday behavior. Learning a deers body language if invaluable. Here's the one that got away from me last year.

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Old 10-12-2010, 08:19 PM
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what is so bad about taking a shot if the deer is quartering to you? there isn't any bone in there chest. i will and have taken those shots and haven't lost a deer doing it last deer i shot went about 5 steps from where i shot her did a back flip and that was it.
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