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To shoot or not to shoot?

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To shoot or not to shoot?

Old 12-01-2013, 10:26 PM
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Location: Rockville, VA
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Default To shoot or not to shoot?

I was in stand Saturday morning an hour before sunrise. I had just climbed to about 25-30 ft and hadn't even hauled my bow and gear up when 7-8 deer came through my spot. I was set up about 30 yrds from a large bedding area and as a few headed in, I focused on a buck checking a scrape and spending some time at his licking branch. It was still dark when I watched his silhouette heading to follow the does into the bedding area I had a chance to get my gear hauled up and bow in hand. When light came up enough to glass the straw grass he headed into, all I could see was a huge 5x5 wide, dark set of antlers, half his neck.

In an ethical manner, what would you do? I waited him out as long as I could, but he only moved deeper into his bedding spot. No shot except a spine shot, neck shot, or behind the ear, but I wanted to mount this 4-5 yr old buck without destroying his cape.

Im going back @5:00 am to set up in a different spot to use the wind and settle down in the thick bedding. The new moon is tonight, 5 out of 5 stars for excellent day of movement until about 10:30. First: would you have shot, and 2: do any of you have faith in the lunar calendar?

Last edited by hardwoodhank; 12-01-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:52 AM
Nontypical Buck
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You brought the wrong weapon that day!
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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You 100% made the right call not to take the shot, you don't want to take a risky and unethical shot that could wound the animal. You just gotta hope you'll get a better opportunity next time. And no I don't place a ton of faith in what the lunar calendar says for excellent days or not. Seen tons of deer movement on "bad days" and terrible movement on their "excellent days"
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 7.62NATO View Post
You brought the wrong weapon that day!
I've had more luck with my bow this season, but no doubt that if I had a rifle or my smoke pole I would have been dragging him out Saturday without a really nice shoulder mount, because there wouldn't have been much left of the front of his head if I took the head shot. Even the neck shot wasnt a guarantee, he was barely visible except for ears and a real nice rack. It would have still been a blind shot to go for his body, and he was a haus of a deer. I can see a wounding shot where he still goes out the other side of thicket left to die. No way to get to other end without a mile trek around the deep ravine and 7 ft tall briars and straw grass.

He showed up like clockwork this morning but wind was different, or he knew I was there and disappeared in the power lines before daybreak. Left me with a little spike instead, so with 20 degree temp, I didn't come home empty handed.

I know his core area and will be hunting him this season, and if he gives me an opportunity I would love to put an arrow in him rather than bullet. If I shot a firearm in this honey hole, it would be cleared out for a while. That's another reason I chose my bow for this kind of hunt...stealthy!
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:45 PM
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you made the right call
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:52 PM
Nontypical Buck
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You made the right call. Don't worry about the cape when shooting an animal. The taxidermists will fix it. Thats what your paying them to do. If they complain then their not that good at it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:40 PM
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Right call....and you're gonna run into him again. Soon.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:16 AM
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I had a 4 pointer just 15 yards in front of me, standing broadside and calmly looking directly at me. I COULD have taken that shot, but didn't. The bullet (I'm a rifle hunter) would have gone right thru him at that range and behind him there was plenty to ricochet off of, and perhaps come back and hit me. I didn't take the shot. Responsible hunting is always the better choice. Even when nobody's looking!

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Old 12-03-2013, 08:39 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Depends on how well you shoot, and what the shot really looked like. If all I was given was a 30yrd full side view on the "shoulder mount" of a buck, I'd cut his head off. 100% confident that I could place that shot where it needs to be to bleed him out and/or drown him. Neck shots bleed like crazy, and even though there are thick muscles in the neck, it's thin enough that I've never not gotten a pass through (rare that my bows don't pass through any part of a deer though).

But you weren't wearing my underwear that morning. If you weren't confident that you could make the shot to cleanly kill the animal, then you made the right call.

As others have mentioned, don't concern yourself with the cape when hunting. If you damage the cape, your taxidermist can either fix it, or replace it. You're mounting the antlers and hoping the face/neck looks right, cape is just a covering.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:55 PM
Fork Horn
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Good call. Besides, now you get hunt him again. Imagine if you had only wounded him and we had another thread here about a wounded trophy lost. How would you feel if one of your neighbors took that bad shot and wounded the animal never to be found?

Lunar calendar: When I get to hunt, I hunt. Moon phase be damned! I have limited time, so I hunt when I can. I will say that a new moon has always given me the best luck and the full moon at night I rarely see deer. They can see at night on a full moon and move all night.
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