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I feel horrible; Console me

Old 09-20-2010, 01:02 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Default I feel horrible; Console me

This past week (Sat. Sept 11) while hunting during the KS youth season with my 11 year old, we did something that I truly feel horribly about and I'm looking for some consolation.

We went out to hunt whitetails on some private property that we have permission to hunt on. It's a great property and absolutely loaded with deer. Within the first hour, a doe presents an easy shot at 40 yards. My nervous 11 year old is gripped with buck fever and fails to steady himself in time to get a good shot off. No problems, about an hour later, a couple of does show up about 150 yards away - too far for him to shoot, but they're headed somewhat in our direction.

They get about 80-90 yards from us along the edge of the field they were following. It's the closest they will get on thier current route, and I tell my 11 year old to take a shot because he won't see too many that are better. He aims at one of the does that happens to be shielded from my view by a low hanging branch, but he has a perfect view of it. He fires and exclaims, "I hit it." I wasn't able to see the shot or where the deer went afterwards.

We immedately go to the spot he thought it was at. We search far and wide for blood, hair, anything and find nothing. We fan out for about 30 yards into the very dense woods (everything is very thick, still green, and growing right now) next to the field. We still find nothing. I ask him more about where the deer was standing and where it went. To the best of our knowledge, we've looked for it and can't find any evidence that it was hit. I assume he missed, and we move on.

We see 12-14 more deer that evening, but nothing presents a good shot. So, we pack it in when it gets dark, and we make it back the follwing Friday. While walking the property on our way to where we were going to set up, we smell something dead. After looking for 30 minutes, we finally find the remains of a doe - nothing but skin and bones. The coyotes had picked it clean. There was no doubt that it was the doe he shot.

The little bit of skin that remained on the ribcage showed a well placed shot. The doe had gone 40 yards and left no evidence of being hit and made it into some of the thckest stuff I've ever seen.

So, what do you think? I feel like an irresponsible hunter, and to make it worse, this would have been my 11 year old's first deer. I now vow not to let him shoot unless I have the deer squarely in my binocs.

So, let me have it.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:07 PM
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Location: Arkansas
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I'm sorry man, that has to be hard on ya, good luck at finden the next
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:16 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 114

I think it will be a good leason for him. Next time believe him a little more and treat it like you saw him hit it and don't give up so easy. I lost one two years ago that a buddy of mine shot as his first deer. We found blood but I couldn't find her. Blood ran out after 100 yards and it was so thick I was crawling. Never found anything. At least he knows he killed his and fed some coyotes! Its a good nature leason of how nothing goes to waste in the wild.
Stuff happens. No need to live in the past. Focus on getting him his second one and finding it so you can see the look on his face when you tell him to gut it! (my dad still laughs about it)
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:20 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 262

Hey man it happens to the best of us. Everyone makes mistakes so theres no reason for anyone to jump all over you. We always question our actions after we make them and we all wish we could go back and change them but remember the past is the past and all we have to do to better ourselves is learn from our mistakes.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:24 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: central and east texas
Posts: 4,894

Look it happens..throw away the vow....your only concern should be handling him with that rifle....
Let him handle the deer.
Just him saying he hit it is awesome, next time believe him. He saw the shot through the scope, which is real hard to teach, so your doing good.
As soon as i saw the 30 yard part of your story, i shook my head. 30 yards is never the distance to quit looking, ( i know i know unless its dead)..
Everytime we go get the dog, we were just 20-40 yards from findin the deer..just how it goes i guess
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:31 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 542

I had the same thing happen to me with a nice 6 ptr. He was maybe 40 yards away standing in the wide open and me with a scoped 30-06. The bullet didn't exit and there was no blood or hair. I didn't think I had hit him and after looking for a while my father-in-law and I gave up. Found him 5 days later not 75 yards away. He went up hill and out of sight, then turned straight away from us and then headed down hill where he died. From then on I have vowed to treat every shot like a hit and search harder.

But nature has a way of reclaiming things so dogs, coyotes, buzzards, crows, etc get to eat.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 26

Definitely if you have a dog, go get him and use it next time to try and help. But from what I understand, you just need to look longer and harder for the deer next time
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 1,260

Hey it's hunting. It's a good lesson for you and your son. We have all lost deer. No prob keep hunting and mentoring your son. Don't worry about it even though I know it will bug ya. Good luck to you and your son.
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:07 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,445

It sounds like you are not that experienced yourself, so its hard to beat you up too bad. But you both learned some lessons. All you can do is try harder next time.

A dead deer 40 yds from where it was shot should be a recovered deer. No surprise it went into thick stuff. Don't just stare at the ground when tracking. Often blood will be on grass or other stuff a couple feet off the gound. If tracking fails you, go to a systematic approach. Do grids or circles from the last sign. Check every piece of thick cover, downed tree tops, brush piles etc. Many times deer run to small pieces of cover in large openings, like a lone tree in a field. Be sure to check sources of water. Wounded deer, especially gut shot deer, often go to water. If that fails, get help from friends if possible. Sometimes a guy that was not there to see where the deer was supposed to have gone will take a different approach, and there's nothing bad with more eyes looking.

Keeping up the search when you have found no visible sign can be tough. It is tempting to think the deer is not hurt. This time was a little difficult, because you were not looking through the scope when the gun went off, and you're dealing with a beginner. Be sure to encourage him so this event won't be the beginning of the end of his hunting.
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 30

You clearly are an ethical hunter because you are showing remorse.

If anyone here gives you grief about losing a deer they clearly have never hunted because it has happened to every single hunter I know.

You need to take this experience and grow from it. You owe it to your son so he becomes a better hunter along with you.
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