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bigbore444's picture
Joined: 09/24/2010
Posts: 23
ever passed on a shootable shot ?

have you ever :

1) passed on a shot, on a shootable animal that was just to majestic to end his reign on this earth just then.

2) passed on an animal that was just to young and naive to not get a chance to grow into something majestic

3)passed on an animal that was just plain stupid when faced by a hunter

4)passed on a shot you really wanted to take because blaze orange appeared in your scope

5) passed on a shot so someone else could benefit

i've had all of the above happen at one time or another and don't regret any of the shots not taken.

this past year cost me 5 preference points on the only buck i had a chance at.it was example # 4. i'd been out for 3 hours.had watched a beautiful sunrise and was glassing a meadow out to about 350 yards. in some scrub oak i heard a crack at about 150 yards. i swung my binos around to see a nice 4 x 4 buck braodside and ripe to be taken. in the time it took to lower my optics and raise my rifle he had moved out to 215 yards and was still standing broadside. as i brought the crosshairs to into position the neurons rang the alarm, blaze orange ! 15 yards to his left a hunter was sitting on a stump eating an apple. neither beast was aware of the other.

what seemed like an eternity was probably only a half second that my brain went thru the check list that ultimately came to the conclusion " i'd probably want to shoot back if i was the guy on the stump and somebody took that shot " , so i just enjoyed the deer walking off into the trees once i'd gotten over this guy "ruining my shot" . it made me wonder how many times i'd "ruined"

someone elses hunt without even knowing it.

anybody else had these things happen too or by them ?




groovy mike's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
good call

You made a good call.  Well done Applause

Yep, I have had some of those things happen to me.  The last Saturday of this past hunting season I passed on nine does and 3/4 grown fawns that I had a tag to take if I wanted to.  I was looking for a buck and just chose to let the does go to grow the deer herd for next year. 

I've had a few time sthat deer have fooled me until I nearly walked on them.  I let them go.  it just didn't seem right to shoot them when they had successfully hidden from me while I was within a few feet of them.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
I have passed on quite a

I have passed on quite a number of shots but that doesn't mean that I didn't throw a rock or two at the animals to chase him away from the area.  Most of them were deer that were not up to my standards or were just too dumb to know any better. 

I did have one small spike deer on the last day of the muzzle loader season that thought that he was a tough kid and wanted to fight me.  It was the last day of the season and my hunting partner had seen him earlier in the day and said that he only had one antler.  Well when I came across him it was in a small clearing and he came within 5 yards of me.  He had one antler growing right down along his nose and since I wanted some meat that year I decided to take him.  Then he noticed that I was there and started to paw the ground while he was looking at me.  Well, I decided that he had too much spunk to end up in my freezer that year, so I wished him the best of luck and went off to find myself another deer. 

One other time I was bow hunting and noticed a nice 4x4 buck coming up the draw to wards me.  When he stopped at 30 yards I drew my bow back and just as I was about to let the arrow fly I noticed a white face just over his back.  It was a kid and his dad and how they got to where they were without me noticing them I have no idea but if I would of missed the deer or even if I would of hit him I quite possibly would of hit the kid.  That one scared the dickens out of me of what would of could of happened if I would of let that arrow fly. 

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
passed on a shootable shot

A number of years ago, a friend and I both bought bighorn sheep tags in one of the "Unlimited" tag units in SW Montana.  We used my horses and packed a camp several miles back into the Wilderness.  An outfitter also had a camp about 1/4 mile from ours.  Another friend of ours was staying in that camp, doing an unguided hunt.  The outfitter also had a guided hunter in his camp.

The second day of the sheep season, the outfitter and our friend from his camp stopped by my tent on their way to glass up the mountain for sheep.  After talking a while, we all decided to walk around the mountain together to a spot where we could glass for sheep.  As we started to leave my tent, my golder retriever started coming with us.  The outfitter stopped and said "That dog isn't coming with us, is she?"  Both of my friends replied, "Yes she goes everywhere with Kurt."  So the outfitter shrugged and off we went.

After we had been glassing the mountain for about an hour without seeing any sheep, the outfitter said that he was going to climb up the mountain to check on his hunter and guide.  He asked my two friends if they wanted to go up the mountain with him.  They both said no, they weren't climbing that mountain again.  So he then asked me if I wanted to go up with him.  I replied "Yes, I'm here to hunt sheep." 

So the outfitter and I took off across a boulder field on our way up the mountain.  I was carrying my 9 1/2 lb .257 Ackley and had a 25 lb daypack on.  The outfitter wasn't carrying anything, and walked fast across the boulders.  I'm sure he was testing me.  He stopped at the other side of the boulders and turned to see where I was.  I was right on his heels and almost steped on him.  He then started walking slowly up the mountain.

A few hundred yards up the mountain, I spotted some fresh tracks and pointed them to the outfitter and asked him if they weren't sheep.  He agreed that they were sheep, and we continued up the mountain with each of us going up adjoining avalanche chutes.

After climbing a while, I came to a rock dropoff at the edge of a large avalanche chute.  With my dog at my side, I began glassing the far side of the chute for sheep.  While I was standing there glassing, two legal rams walked up the chute, just below the rock ledge that I was standing on.

I had heard that there was a large ram on this mountain, and both of these rams were 3/4-7/8 curl.  Since I had shot a full curl ram the year before in a different unlimited unit, I decided to pass on these rams and hold out for the "big" one.  So I picked up a walnut size rock and threw it underhanded and hit one of the rams.  They both took off running up the mountain.

The guide and his hunter were somewhere above me near the top of the mountain.  A few minutes after I spooked the rams, I heard a shot from the mountain above me.  Then both rams came running down the mountain.  They split just above me with one running to my left out into the open avalanche chute.  He stopped on a large rock about 80 yds away and looked back at me.

The second ram had been hit by the guided hunter's shot, but the hit was low and back, and some of the ram's intestines were coming out of the wound.  When he stopped above me I had time to take a quick camera shot of him.  He then ran out of sight to my right.

Then silence.  I didn't know where the outfitter or his guide and hunter were, but I knew a badly wounded ram had run off into the woods to my right.  So I decided to follow the wounded ram.

He wasn't that hard to follow, and I found him standing on the far side of a small avalanche chute.  He wasn't my ram, but I couldn't let him suffer so I put a 117 gr Sierra bullet into his chest, killing him instantly.  I then went back and found the others and told the hunter that her ram was dead in the next chute.  They thanked me and said they thought my shot was some other hunter on the other end of the mountain.

I took them to their ram, helped them dress and quarter it, and carried one quarter of it back to their camp.  That outfitter had been in that unit hunting sheep for 9 years, and that was the first ram any of his hunters had taken.  He invited me to dinner that night and gave me his largest Porterhouse steak.  He also made sure my dog got plenty of bones.

That ended my sheep hunting for that year.  The next year I packed a camp into that same place by myself, and opening morning my golden retriever and I climbed that mountain in the dark, and found the ram that I had passed up the previous year.  Again one 117 gr Sierra from my .257 Ackley instantly killed that ram.  He was 7/8 curl, 9 1/2 years old, and when I had him plugged at the Fish & Game office, they told me that he was the biggest ram that they had seen in their aerial surveys in that unit.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Buffy, I hope you have that

Buffy, I hope you have that framed somewhere, cause it's an incredible photo!!!

jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 832
Nice Sheep!

I have also passed on some animals because I was looking for something else.

I can't say that I've ever passed on a big buck because I wanted a bigger one, because we just don't see that many nice racks where I hunt. A 110" 8-Pointer is something that most people will take a second look at on a buck pole.

I have held off shooting becuase I knew there was another hunter in the direction of the deer, even though I couldn't see the hunter.

It would be nice to think that everyone would do that, but I guess it doesn't always happen, eh?

That's a great looking sheep and a great story, too.

I love the picture with the dog lying there; looks like he just belongs there.


hawkeye270's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Buffy: That is an awesome

Buffy: That is an awesome story. You had quite the pup with you to make that trek. I have always thought about giving Montana's unlimited hunt a go... just still a little expensive for the college budget but its cool to know that there are unlimited hunts for bighorns out there.

Alamosa's picture
Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
During the 2008 season I

During the 2008 season I passed on a shot that I had actually practiced.
My shooting club has a gong set up at 450 yards and I became proficient at hitting it, but when I saw a cow elk at that same distance it just felt like an irresponsible shot.  I decided to move closer but did not get another look.  No regrets.

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
I have passed up quite a few

I have passed up quite a few 2 points the last few years but not much of any thing bigger than that. I usually just hunt after work or my days off and we just don't see that many deer on the heavily hunted public lands where we live.

The only thing I have passed up that was to stupid was a pine martin that I spotted about 40 yards away and I relly wanted to take him. The darn thing saw me move and ran uo to about ten feet away to see what I was, I didn't have the heart to shoot hm after that and just enjoyed watching him for awhile.

Many shots have been passed because of other hunters to close or the animal being to close to ridgeline to be be sure where the bullet might end up.

And of course many have been passed on to be be sure one of my two children would have a chance. But watching them succeed is even better than getting one yourself. I try to always hunt a different season now so I can devote all my time for them.

numbnutz's picture
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Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
I've passed on animals that

I've passed on animals that werent what i was looking for(size). I've also passed on a few deer that i have seen on opening day of a hunt that i thaught were decent buck but could probaly do better. only to walk away empy handed. The most recent was this past late season archery, I passed on a good dozen deer in my first 2 days hunting both bucks and does. Only to go home empty this year. there was one on the first day that i now regret not taking a shot but live and learn. I've never had another hunter in the scope as i usally hunt away from where people will go.

WishIWasHunting's picture
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Location: Brighton, CO
Joined: 01/31/2011
Posts: 700
So, other than passing on

So, other than passing on some small buck deer and antelope (scenario 2), my stories don't really match your criteria.  However, I will share anyway...

Two years ago, I passed on a doe antelope.  I usually buck hunt, but I decided a doe tag could be good practice in the field.  It was a special private land only late season tag that lasted for over a month.  The first time that I went out, I saw 3 does at about 125 yds with nothing between me and them but a fence line.  I knew I didn't want my excuse to hunt to be over so quickly, so I decided to leave my gun in my car and do a little experiment.  I was curious how close these antelope would let me get simply by walking slowly towards them along the fence line.  I closed the distance to about 75 yards before they got nervous and ran away. 

This past season I decided to pass on a decent 4X4 that was very similar to my previous bucks.  It ended up working out okay, but I was very nervous that I had made the wrong decision.  I am rather positive that I would suck at truly trophy hunting because it is so hard to pass up a nice opportunity. 

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