Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall

The worst miss

Messages posted to thread:
Josh H 20-Nov-23
Mindful 20-Nov-23
Relic 20-Nov-23
fdp 20-Nov-23
Sawtooth (Original) 20-Nov-23
smrobertson 20-Nov-23
Dry Bones 20-Nov-23
George D. Stout 20-Nov-23
olddogrib 20-Nov-23
tradslinger 20-Nov-23
Brian M. 20-Nov-23
bentstick54 20-Nov-23
Wudstix 20-Nov-23
ken techau 20-Nov-23
Andy Man 20-Nov-23
PA-R 20-Nov-23
Jed Gitchel 20-Nov-23
Wildhog 20-Nov-23
Butch 72 20-Nov-23
Nrthernrebel05 20-Nov-23
jrh24 20-Nov-23
dnovo 20-Nov-23
Corax_latrans 20-Nov-23
Great Falls 20-Nov-23
WYMANTR 20-Nov-23
Lastmohecken 20-Nov-23
S Quinton 20-Nov-23
bowshot 21-Nov-23
redquebec 21-Nov-23
RedOak 21-Nov-23
MCNSC 21-Nov-23
Piercfh 21-Nov-23
bowwild 21-Nov-23
Greenstyk 21-Nov-23
Gun 21-Nov-23
Tethered Falcon 21-Nov-23
six 22-Nov-23
Eric Krewson 22-Nov-23
Tomas deGato 22-Nov-23
Onehair 22-Nov-23
Dirtnap 22-Nov-23
RD 23-Nov-23
Live2Hunt 23-Nov-23
pondscum2 24-Nov-23
CritterGitter62 24-Nov-23
Joe2Crow 24-Nov-23
pondscum2 24-Nov-23
Caney 24-Nov-23
Tres dedos 25-Nov-23
pondscum2 01-Dec-23
scndwfstlhntng 03-Dec-23
bowhunt 03-Dec-23
From: Josh H Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 20-Nov-23

Hello Friends,

I've been absolutely sick for two weeks over the worst miss of my traditional bowhunting journey.

I was hunting at my dad's farm in GA. Acorns are falling. I'm sitting in a pop up blind, and deer are everywhere.

I see a few does that morning, and I notice that they are getting nervous. They keep looking back to my left. I peek around the blind, and all I see are horns.

A large 10 pointer comes in. He trots towards the does, who ease off. Instead of following them in earnest, he comes back to within 10 yards of the blind and turns broadside.

My heart is beating so fast, but I try to calm myself down. "Pick a spot" I say. "Focus."

I stare him down, focus, and draw.

When I hit anchor, I let it fly...

But inevitably, I pluck the string, and the arrow goes over his back by about an inch.

He bounds off and out of my life.

He was the biggest deer I have ever shot at, and I blew it. AT 10 YARDS!!!!!

I know I cannot be the only one to do something like that.

So, because misery loves company, can you share your worst miss while hunting traditionally?

Thanks, Josh

From: Mindful
Date: 20-Nov-23

Josh, know that you are n good company. ??

From: Relic
Date: 20-Nov-23

I'll take a miss over a bad hit anyday.

From: fdp
Date: 20-Nov-23

"I'll take a miss over a bad hit any day."...yep.

It won't likely be the last time you do something like that. I've had similar experiences in more than 1 state. :)

From: Sawtooth (Original) Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 20-Nov-23

Get up. Knock the dust off. Get back in the saddle. Learn from it.

It happens.

From: smrobertson
Date: 20-Nov-23

Josh, I've missed more than I hit! Some of them were exhilarating misses or not being ready. It is a big club, welcome to it!

From: Dry Bones
Date: 20-Nov-23

I will Second Relic. A complete miss is a million times better than a bad hit. Just two days ago I worked into range on some doe feeding down a lane. Completely shocked my stalk was successful they fed well within 25 yards and at broadside, I shot the open air below her. I saw my arrow skip off a rock and took of for the sky like a rocket. This was not even a big buck and I just got to excited. Yes it happens to us all, and if ANYONE says they have not experienced that situation they are either lying, don't actually hunt, or need to find another hobby. :-)


From: George D. Stout
Date: 20-Nov-23

That's a good thing. The worst thing would have been to hit it in the gut and not finding it. Be happy for small blessings.

From: olddogrib
Date: 20-Nov-23

Yes, and that was a rude deer. A well-mannered deer should give you at least two tries...sometimes three. I've managed to kill most "well-mannered" deer with follow-up shots. If I didn't, then shame on me and I didn't hold it against the deer.

From: tradslinger
Date: 20-Nov-23

I missed one at maybe 8 yards, looking back, I should have aimed for a heart shot. always wondered if it managed to duck my arrow. I managed to barely hit the top of a big 8 at ten yards, I had gone for a double lung shot and couldn't believe that I hit it so high. Saw him 2 weeks later, all healed up. Yeah, really makes you sick but going for heart shots no matter what, those gimme shots aren't always so gimme

From: Brian M.
Date: 20-Nov-23

I rarely see 10pts, but when I do, they are fairly safe. First 10pt, from a hang on, I missed high at 8 yards, then 20 minutes later missed an 8pt high, that was standing in the same spot.

The next 10pt was at 10yards and I was in my ghillie on the ground. I hit him high above the spine, never to be seen again.

Third was from my climber at maybe 6 yards, hit him in the left scapula, the broadhead is still in him if he's still alive.

It's not just bucks though, I've missed plenty of does too. One of them 3x, over the back all three.

From: bentstick54
Date: 20-Nov-23

Last year I was ground hunting from a natural ground blind and missed a mature doe at 5 yards. She was standing broadside with just a tad of weeds between us. I believe she caught movement just as I hit anchor, and was gone by the time my arrow got there. I found my arrow about 20 yards away stuck in a dirt bank clean as a whistle.

From: Wudstix Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 20-Nov-23

The worst miss is that I've missed hunting season, this will be the second year, work, work, work. No place to hunt in Texas without paying for it.

From: ken techau
Date: 20-Nov-23

Almost and what if. Happens to me often. But I'm seeing deer and in the woods so life is good.

From: Andy Man
Date: 20-Nov-23

upon release my bow string caught the metal button on my bib over hauls when I bent over in a tree stand was a real take up

From: PA-R Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 20-Nov-23

Some time, just part of the deal, keep on, keeping on, for sure.

From: Jed Gitchel
Date: 20-Nov-23

Over , under, left, right, sawtooth x2

From: Wildhog
Date: 20-Nov-23

A true sportsman always gives them a warning shot....

From: Butch 72
Date: 20-Nov-23

I sat in a ground blind made of limbs and sticks years ago. this time of year. light misty rain. In the early afternoon I fall asleep leaning back on a tree, sometime later I wake up and three does come screaming by My blind like rockets. next comes a good size buck running by grunting like crazy ,he follows the does. Then....the does come back as does the buck . He stops at about 20 yards broadside and I shoot right over His back. I was working six days a week and it was the only shot I had that season. I don't think I ever told anyone about it. now I can laugh!!

From: Nrthernrebel05
Date: 20-Nov-23

Anyway that can screw it up and I’ve done ‘em all. Lol

From: jrh24
Date: 20-Nov-23

So much better to miss than make a poor hit and not find him. Most times you’re not lucky enough to see him later to know he survived. You are always haunted by not knowing. Happens to all of us at some point. Thanks John

From: dnovo Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 20-Nov-23

It's been quite a few years now, Thank God! But I missed 3 8 pt bucks in one day. The first one was less than 10 yards.

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 20-Nov-23

My worst “misses” have been a couple of extremely good shots — exactly where I was looking, really… but in both cases, I had my attention redirected at the last instant.

Once I clipped the backline on a trotting doe, exactly above the 12-ring; the other time I brushed a hind hoof with a fletching just inches below what would have been a VERY bad gut shot.



From: Great Falls
Date: 20-Nov-23

You’re okay, happens to pretty much everyone except Frisky, he misses with his truck

From: WYMANTR Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 20-Nov-23

I actually posted this exact same thread last year after I missed a monster black bear in NH at 11 yards. I had him in front of me for forty five minutes facing me on the bait. He stood up to leave and gave me a brief broadside shot, which I promptly shanked and gave him a little hair cut. I beat myself up pretty bad over that one. You definitely have company in the woe is me department. But those encounters are what keeps us going back for more!!

From: Lastmohecken
Date: 20-Nov-23

Yes, you're not alone. I have missed several over the years, with both bow and gun. But what I regret most is the ones I have wounded and not recovered. Thankfully, that has not happened a lot. I would venture to say that anyone who says they have never missed a deer, have probably not killed very many deer.

From: S Quinton
Date: 20-Nov-23

If you're like me and do it again, it will only be your 2nd worse.

From: bowshot Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 21-Nov-23

That is all part of the sport. You either embrace that stuff as well or you give up the sport. It sucks but not for the deer. They need some wins as well. Have had my share of those days.

From: redquebec
Date: 21-Nov-23

A clean miss is the second best shot in hunting. Think about it.

Roger Rathhaar, who has killed more monster bucks than most of us will ever see, said this in an interview:"It's just deer hunting, don't take it too seriously. I could miss a state record in the morning and go back to my family in the afternoon and enjoy the day. There are much more important things in life."

He then volunteered some information about his recurve shooting in the field by adding: "I'm really bad about plucking my release at the moment of truth, really bad, I've missed some easy shots at great bucks, oh well."

Congratulations on your miss, you're in really good company.

From: RedOak
Date: 21-Nov-23

Agree with so many of the comments.

Date: 21-Nov-23

I’ve never missed a 10 , never got a shot at one. I imagine it would be real easy to miss though.

From: Piercfh
Date: 21-Nov-23

I’ve missed 4 this year. My first year. Killed one doe at 20 that didn’t run 15 yards. I thought about the misses and have determined that if I had hit them all I’d be less interested and not going as much.

I haven’t missed a big buck yet, but I’ve done a lot of missing.

When I first started with the wheel bow 20 years ago. I shot and didn’t recover the biggest deer I have ever seen in person. It made me sick the rest of that year. But the next year I got my act together and was a killing machine. Was like that until I quit the compound.

Now it’s like starting over. So I understand and I’ve been there before.

Nowhere to go but up.

From: bowwild
Date: 21-Nov-23

I have a tie for three! All turkeys.

-Oceola in Florida

-Merriams in CO (killed a Jake later that day)

-Eastern in Nebraska 30 minutes after my best friend killed one sitting beside me.

Once I get after Rios I will have missed the grand slam.

(I do kill a turkey now and then).

From: Greenstyk
Date: 21-Nov-23

The bad thing about missing a big one is you will never forget it. The good thing is he hopefully is still around. Just maybe you will get a second chance.

From: Gun Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 21-Nov-23

Nope. No one would believe me and I'd rather have a good sleep tonight.

From: Tethered Falcon
Date: 21-Nov-23

I was 15 and about 135lbs shooting a 60# bear Montana shooting 2020s tipped with razor bak 5s. I missed a doe 4 times at 5,7,10,12 yards. She walked off like nothing happened. It’s called hunting not killing bud. You’ll get there

From: six
Date: 22-Nov-23

I'm farely new to this as I've only been using traditional gear for a season and a half. So glad a buddy turned me onto this site.

Had my first mis with trad gear this year. A real nice 2.5 year old 8 pt came down the trail at 15 yards. I remember thinking this was going to happen, but I dont remember the most important thing picking a SPOT.

Watched the arrow fly right over the bucks back. Way high and way left. Not at all the way I had been practicing.

To add insult to my miss my shot changed the bucks direction and he went to a food plot my son in law was hunting. He killed him with a wheel bow. I received a picture of him 15 minutes later.

From: Eric Krewson
Date: 22-Nov-23

When I first started deer hunting, I would get "buck" fever so bad when I saw a deer that taking a good shot was impossible.

Before there were tree stands, I was sitting on a log and a spike walked by about 15 yards away, I went into buck fever mode, drew and shot in an instant. The buck ambled on like nothing had happened. He was so close I was sure I had hit him but couldn't find any blood or my arrow.

I looked and looked; I followed the path he took; I got down on my hands and knees, nothing.

After looking for a while I happened to look up, there was my arrow stuck in a tree 10 FEET above where the deer was standing. That is what I got for a panicked snap shot in the direction of the deer without picking a spot.

I killed the next three deer I shot at but missed the next 11, all over their back.

I started shooting 3D, learned to pick a spot and got deadly.

From: Tomas deGato
Date: 22-Nov-23

A few years ago I hunted from a popup blind and heart shot a 12 point at 17 yards. Was hunting over a feeder in Texas and the deer in front of me for 5 minutes. Time to settle the nerves, pic a spot and make a clean shot. Great confidence builder, thought I was king daddy rabbit. A month later I was hunting a tree stand in Mississippi and had a true 160" plus 8 point chase a doe in and stop at 17 yards, broadside. He was freakin' huge and standing there on high alert waiting for the doe to make her next move. I drew, aimed low, but never picked a spot and hurried the shot. At the sound he dropped and I watched my arrow hit him high in the shoulder. All 30" of my arrow waving like a big middle finger flag as he bolted off. I stood there in shock, stages of grief flooding my head and heart. Disbelief, sadness then anger. I wanted to wrap that bow around the tree. How could this happen to me. I'm king daddy rabbit trad bowhunter, I don't blow it! Hero to zero in one second. I was committed to never let that happen again. Fast forward three years I have 140" 8 point follow two does in and stop broadside at 18 yards. Everything was cool, no hurry. I burn a spot of hair behind his shoulder, slowly draw, set my anchor and just as I'm about to fully execute my perfectly controlled shot sequence... he does a 180 and runs off a small 6 point. Never to return. Moral of the story, do it because you love it and do the best you can. Every encounter builds experience and skill. Keep at it and enjoy the journey. All the best! Tom

From: Onehair
Date: 22-Nov-23

Cowboy up. It will happen many times if you stick with it and get shots. 50 years of shooting at deer I sailed over a fat doe a couple weeks ago. Twice I found it hilarious that I could still get that torn up over a doe.

From: Dirtnap
Date: 22-Nov-23

Be thankful for a clean miss. About 8 years ago had a giant 8 point that came in at about 20 minutes before dusk. It was a Sunday after Thanksgiving and about 10 degrees all day. I'd been sitting in stand since noon and hands frozen stiff. He comes in and stops right at about 10 yards to hit a scrape. He somehow noticed me drawing back and looked at me while at full draw. I let loose and watched him ever so slightly duck my arrow. I say slightly ducked because I double clutched the shot and errant the shot high. His movement was just enough to completely dodge the arrow. I got over it in about a few days. You might get another chance, don't give up!

From: RD
Date: 23-Nov-23

I've been bowhunting since 1965 and done that so many times I can't remember. The first buck antelope I shot at this year was a miss over the back, It's called NOT PICKING A SPOT!

From: Live2Hunt
Date: 23-Nov-23

Yes, that is the thing that keeps us doing it, that adrenaline rush when you know you're going to get the shot. That is what practice helps with, but practice does not help that rush at the moment. You have to somehow talk yourself into the control at the moment. It happens to all of us but you can't work on it if you don't have those moments, and moments like that is what it is all about. P.S. if you figure it out, let me know how you did it, LOL. 61 years old, many kills under my belt and to this day it gets me at times.

From: pondscum2
Date: 24-Nov-23

I "twanged" one at a doe not 12 feet from the base of my tree so bad once that the arrow hit her flank AND the tree next to her going sideways. scared her pretty bad, the oak not so much. i was mad enough to quit hunting, but stayed in my tree. 10 minutes later, another doe walked right in like deja vu and she didn't run thirty yards.

From: CritterGitter62
Date: 24-Nov-23

First day ever bowhunting for deer, not a clue as to what I was doing, ladder stand strapped to my back I enter the woods only to see another hunter waving at me from his tree stand. I hike about 300 yards away to another spot and as I enter the woods from the corn field all I hear is a deer strolling my way, ends up being a nice buck. Still with the ladder stand on my back, I draw and shoot right over it, 25 yards away. It sits there mocking me while I shoot another arrow right over it's back. It's a wonder that I actually stuck with it and still go out today.

From: Joe2Crow
Date: 24-Nov-23

Reminds me of my first shot, and miss, with a recurve over 30 years ago. Nice 10- pointer at 11 yards and I know I didn’t pick a spot. His chest looked as broad as a billboard and I still shot just over him. I don’t know which of us was more surprised by the miss. It does give you a sick feeling for a little while though.

From: pondscum2
Date: 24-Nov-23

"i know i didn't pick a spot" LOL! i missed the largest buck i've seen with a muzzleloader at about 10 yds. i was still gawking at his antlers when i pulled the trigger...

From: Caney
Date: 24-Nov-23

Try getting all tangled up in your harness at 12 yards. Forget the size and prepare for the shot. Its all good.

From: Tres dedos
Date: 25-Nov-23

My worst miss ever was the buck that had a 2 inch tree jump in front of him.

Spit that little tree in half.

From: pondscum2
Date: 01-Dec-23

aint it funny how fast a tree can go from acorn to sapling as you release an arrow at something? had one do that to me while hunting with ol' Buck. that was prob the biggest gobbler i've ever seen...

From: scndwfstlhntng Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 03-Dec-23

I can not tell you the various stories of that type of thing that has happened to me over 30 years. A miss is good compared to the pain of a bad hit. That said, the faster that you laugh it off and move on, the better. A good story last a lifetime. It won't be the last time so get you have to work on a thick skin and a sense of humor. And forget to tell people about it...otherwise it is just like the internet: it will be there forever.

From: bowhunt
Date: 03-Dec-23

Maybe he lives through the season hopefully and you get another chance at him next year and he's even bigger.Could happen.Tough luck.He is not mamed so that is a blessing.

Yes,I have missed a big buck myself at close range.Just over the back like you.You are not alone.

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