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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

August 2006 Feature Article:

10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid

After 13 hours of searching, I finally ran out of options. The scant blood trail had vanished, I'd scoured every inch of the property and he was nowhere to be seen. Feeling rather sick about the ordeal, to make matters worse, it had been a straightforward 21-yard shot. I'd done it a thousand times before on 3D targets and many different bucks. But this one was different. In retrospect, several things went wrong. Stopping behind a huge aspen, I had only two options; let down and hope for another opportunity as the buck moved through the woods or lean out from my stand and attempt the shot.... read more...

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

Some good info to review before the season starts Thumbs up

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

Its funny to read this and see just just how may of these mistakes you have made. I know I''m guilty of more that one.

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

I think I have all of those mistakes on my "what I learned in the woods today" list. Not having a mentor early on, I've learned from each of these mistakes. It's the mistakes that make you a better hunter Thumbs up

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

I use painted neon wood lathes same color as my pins for the yardage, its alot easier & faster to guess the yardage & take aim vs a range finder (& remember the game doesnt always stay around/stand still enough to be messing with a range finder then pick you bow up) but this is only good for private land. I have them going in 3 directions from my stand with these I can judge distances good.

& stand placement WOW they never said another major thing, which is if you're a lefty or a righty bow shooter. place the stand at a angle depending on your left/right shooting to the intended targeted area. so it gives you less movement while taking aim EX if the stand is poorly placed it can make you move more just to get a shot off, if this make sence to ya all ? all my stand are placed with the thought of how it will go down so I can have minuimal movement

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Location: Kingston, MI
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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

That would've been a great article for me 20 years ago. I've learned those lessons the hard way myself. Back when I started bowhunting, there weren't too many other people doing it. All my lessons were self taught.

Ghillieman - Great extra comment. Nice way to help the folks just starting out. I also learned that lesson many years ago......The hard way of course.

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10 Mistakes!

To be Honest I have made almost every one of those mistakes. I have only been hunting for a few years and have harvested 7 deer. But that has been only for gun and I have yet to shoot one with a bow. This year I have been reflecting on those mistakes and going to the range more, so I am confident that I have a chance this year. I bought a new BowTech Tomkat and now I have Pattern of about a baseball size.

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

great read

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

Becoming a riffle hunter Shame on You!

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10 Mistakes Every Bowhunter Should Avoid (feature article)

I had a similar experience last year. I had drawn on a small buck as he strolled through the woods under my stand at first light. I had tracked him in my sight As he walked behind a tree and upon the reappearance on the other side I released. It was a clear shot@30 yards and the deer almost went down upon being struck with the 100 grain Sonic broad head. I too thought I heard the deer go down and was high slapping myself with visions of backstraps for breakfast before my eyes. The shot was a pass through and I had a sinking feeling in my gut when I saw the arrow covered in green matter with little blood. Now came the tricky part. I knew the animal was gut shot and I should let it go and track it in several hours, however it was a breezy day and the leaves were coming off the tree at a heavy rate,(mid October in NH)so I was afraid of the blood trail being covered and lost. My partner and I gave it an hour and began tracking. It was at most a long shot to trail. We were going on at first a dribble of blood here and there down to a few drops every once in awhile if we were lucky enough to uncover them from the falling foliage. We spent most of the day in search of, different directions in straight lines from the last sign and spiraling out from there also all to no avail. We as a last ditch effort tried looking in spots we thought the wounded animal might have gone, downhill, swampy areas, and to a brook. All in all we covered several hundred square yards and cane up empty handed.
We went back to the stand and tried to recreate the shot to ascertain what went wrong. I have killed deer from that stand before, knew the yardage, and had practiced at the ranges on 3-d targets prior to season. Although I will never know what exactly went wrong I can only surmise that while behind the tree the buck changed direction and was angling to me when I shot. It was still fairly dark which made it hard to tell. I also was at a twisted angel, so much that when I released it hurt my back. I should have let down until he was clear and presented a clear shot, squared mt feet around and shot in a more relaxed manner. A tough way to learn a lesson. Also this year we have the services of a tracking dog in case we find ourselves in the awkward tracking situation again.

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Shot placement

I had a similar experience myself. I have only been bow hunting since 2004 and I've killed 14 does and 2 bucks, but only found one. The story reads like this. I had as of late october of 07 never shot a buck with a gun or bow. My theory has always been if its not a trophy then why shoot it? just shoot does for meat and fun. But I was getting to the point that year that I just wanted to kill a buck just to say that I had. I am always of course hunting for a trophy buck and I see tons of bucks every year. I just haven't seen a shooter yet. But that fall I decided that the week before rifle season I was going to shoot a buck, big or small. 2 days before firearms season opened I was in my stand in a new location I had scouted earlier that week. I had a couple spikes walk within shooting range but passed, then just before dark I had a nice 6 pointer, as nice as a 6 pointer can be anyway, walk in feeding. He walked right beneath my stand feeding on young poplar trees. My stand was maybe 14' high. I was standing up in my stand, bow in hand and ready to fire. I decided that it was time to lose my buck virginity. With the animal directly under my stand I placed the arrow just to the side of his spine and right between his shoulder blades. The arrow didn't pass through but all I could see sticking out of his back was my fletching. So I had at least 24" of arrow and Rage 2 blade broadhead in him.

The buck ran 30 yards and stopped, turned and looked right at me and then took off like a bullet, limping on his right front leg. I could have sworn I heard him go down just seconds later in thick poplar brush. I waited about 30 minutes and then started looking. I had great blood for the first 40 yards. Every step I thought I was gona step right on him, he had to be close. Then the blood just kept getting thinner and thinner. 200 yards later I was on my hands and knees tracking this deer by blood smears on brush, hair on a thorn bush, hoof print in a soft spot. I spent 3 hours that night and 4 hours the next morning searching. But the blood just stopped. I never found a spot where the deer bedded down. He just kept going, farther and farther. Eventually I got my dad and my 3 brothers and we did line searchers the next day in the thickest cover we could find, but nothing. I was literal sick. I wanted to throw up. It took everything in my to go back out that night and hunt again. I sat in the same stand and right before dark had an even bigger 6 point buck do almost the same thing. Except he stayed out 10yards from my stand. I made a perfect heart shot on the deer and he ran literally 20' and fell over dead. never even kicked.

If a deer is right below your stand like that where do you aim? Should I just have spined him? Or are you doomed to just hope he walk out from your stand and give you a better shot? I had all the confidence in the world that my arrow would kill that deer in seconds. But apparently not.

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