wolc123

Clean misses and bad hits on deer.

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There seems to be more than the normal number of these being mentioned on the forum this year.  I wonder if that is due to the current ammo shortage, and folks not practicing as much because of it ?

I think it has affected me a bit, on the only two shots that I took at a deer this season.   My first "kill" shot missed the intended point of aim (shoulder blade) by a little.  My parting shot, taken as that buck disappeared into a swamp, was a clean miss. 

That shoddy marksmanship resulted in a nasty drag, that I am thankful did not give me a heart attack.  It probably would have, if I had eaten more beef and  less venison thru my 55 years.

It got worse for me last weekend, with 2 what I think were clean misses on a coyote, with the same gun.  I did not spend nearly as much time on the target  range as normal this year, and that likely cost me at least $ 15 worth of wasted ammo on game.

I do most of my practice shooting with a bb gun, but even those were more expensive this year.  A jar of 4000 cost me $ 10 at Runnings,  where I got 5000 for $ 5 at Walmart a few years ago.

Edited by wolc123

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As the old saying goes "practice makes perfect", there is zero doubt in my mind practice will make one a better shot and bring you to you full potential as a shooter which will pay off taking shots at various game. The best thing I ever did that taught me how to be the best shot I could be was shooting in a bullseye pistol league. It taught me two basic but important shooting skills, trigger control and the ability to call my shot.

Trigger control is obvious we all want to touch off our shots precisely at the moment we are on target and this will come with practice. Calling your shot will coincide with trigger control and with practice you will know very accurately where your shot will hit from the last mental picture you had when the firearm went off.

A good example was the Deer I took this year, he was standing eating acorns at about 75 yards and I was hunting for the first time with a highly accurate single shot Thompson Center Encore firing 25-06. I drew down on him and had a perfect sight picture with the crosshair just behind the front shoulder, I pressed the trigger and "click" I get a misfire, the first misfire with a centerfire rifle that I have ever had, I can say I was just a tad rattled. I broke open the rifle and could see the firing pin strike was hard, had to be a bad primer. Anyhow I chambered a new cartridge and now I was a bit worried the Deer would bust me so I drew down and shot again but admittedly a little quicker than I should have. The Deer took off like a scalded cat and with my binoculars could see him sprinting through the trees for at least 100 yards and still going.

So I wait a few minutes and start checking for blood and tracks, there was a light coating of snow so I found tracks pretty quick but there was zero hair and zero blood anywhere and it stayed that way as I unraveled the Deer's trail for over 100 yards and it was getting tough to stay on tract as the trail went through a pretty tracked up area.

So let me get to the point, with no blood no hair for over a 100 yards and when last seen the Deer showed no signs of a hit sprinting a breakneck speed a young hunter may very well come to the conclusion that there was a clean miss and quit the track. Here is where calling your shot comes into play, my last mental note of the sight picture when the rifle fired had the crosshairs more mid body than right behind the front should where it should have been. To me that means a liver and semi gut shot and I know a Deer will sometimes cover a lot of ground before they go down, that being said remembering the sight picture there was no doubt in my mind that the Deer was laying dead and not far  and I was going to recover him.

So with a bit more searching I found the buck and he was hit exactly where I remember the crosshair to have been at the shot.

Al

Edited by airedale
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Serious Dogs For Serious Work

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I can honesty say I’ve shot my gun 2x since sighting it in last year right after buying it. Last year a doe wasn’t there and all of a sudden she is. Mag wasn’t even in the gun yet so single fed a round . Quick on her at about 140 yards. Go through the quick mental checklist of tight to shoulder , cheek weld , safety off when I put the crosshairs on her , squeeze and don’t peek.  Second time was this year and again happened fast at 30-35 yards. I fumbled with the safety for a split second as I’m used to my trigger safety on turkey gun. Quick through the motions and he went nowhere. Cant put a better shot on him. Like golf as an ex competitive golfer it’s a lot of quick thoughts to secure in your head to work all in tandem 

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Edited by turkeyfeathers
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16 minutes ago, airedale said:

As the old saying goes "practice makes perfect", there is zero doubt in my mind practice will make one a better shot and bring you to you full potential as a shooter which will pay off taking shots at various game. The best thing I ever did that taught me how to be the best shot I could be was shooting in a bullseye pistol league. It taught me two basic but important shooting skills, trigger control and the ability to call my shot.

Trigger control is obvious we all want to touch off our shots precisely at the moment we are on target and this will come with practice. Calling your shot will coincide with trigger control and with practice you will know very accurately where your shot will hit from the last mental picture you has when the firearm went off.

A good example was the Deer I took this year, he was standing eating acorns at about 75 yards and I was hunting for the first time with a highly accurate single shot Thompson Center Encore firing 25-06. I drew down on him and had a perfect sight picture with the crosshair just behind the front shoulder, I pressed the trigger and "click" I get a misfire, the first misfire with a centerfire rifle that I have ever had, I can say I was just a tad rattled. I broke open the rifle and could see the firing pin strike was hard, had to be a bad primer. Anyhow I chambered a new cartridge and now I was a bit worried the Deer would bust me so I drew down and shot again but admittedly a little quicker than I should have. The Deer took off like a scalded cat and with my binoculars could see him sprinting through the trees for at least 100 yards and still going.

So I wait a few minutes and start checking for blood and tracks, there was a light coating of snow so I found tracks pretty quick but there was zero hair and zero blood anywhere and it stayed that way as I unraveled the Deer's trail for over 100 yards and it was getting tough to stay on tract as the trail went through a pretty tracked up area.

So let me get to the point, with no blood no hair for over a 100 yards and when last seen the Deer showed no signs of a hit sprinting a breakneck speed a young hunter may very well come to the conclusion that there was a clean miss and quit the track. Here is where calling your shot comes into play, my last mental note of the sight picture when the rifle fired had the crosshairs more mid body than right behind the front should where it should have been. To me that means a liver and semi gut shot and I know a Deer will sometimes cover a lot of ground before they go down, that being said remembering the sight picture there was no doubt in my mind that the Deer was laying dead and not far  and I was going to recover him.

So with a bit more searching I found the buck and he was hit exactly where I remember the crosshair to have been at the shot.

Al

I have had two misfires with my Marlin 512 and both saved the lives of mature doe on "chip" shots.  Neither primer was struck, and both were caused by the firing pin freezing up in very cold weather, after the gun had been soaked in water. 

I am still a bit leery to hunt with that gun when it is real cold out, even though I have disassembled the bolt, cleaned it, and applied CLP.  I am in a shotgun only zone and on last year's fridge opener, I toted my Ithaca 37 instead.  That one has always gone off when I pulled the trigger, no matter how cold it is, and even after it fell thru the water to the bottom of a ditch one time.

The buck I killed on the opener this year was also a bit of a shaky recovery, because there was no blood trail to follow in the black swamp water, even though he was double lunged.  Fortunately, I heard the splashing from the last few times he lifted his head.  I also assumed he ran straight.  They always seem to loose the ability to turn when the boiler room is punctured.

Edited by wolc123

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I have right next to my house a combination .22/crossbow/shotgun patterning range. I use the .22 for all year practice. I have one of my 10/22's set up with a lengthened stock, cheekpiece, high scope mounts and a barrel weight. Replicates my main deer gun, a BAR and handles/shoots the same. close to the characteristics of my other deer guns. Have a 2 and 1/2 inch dinger at 20 yards, which is equivalent of a 10 inch kill zone at 80 yards. Cheap practice. Used to have a inside pellet gun range that worked well also.

I noted more than usual shooting preseason, although a lot of the shooting seemed to be handgun and AR type rifles by the sound and length of shot strings. 

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1 minute ago, Farflung said:

I have right next to my house a combination .22/crossbow/shotgun patterning range. I use the .22 for all year practice. I have one of my 10/22's set up with a lengthened stock, cheekpiece, high scope mounts and a barrel weight. Replicates my main deer gun, a BAR and handles/shoots the same. close to the characteristics of my other deer guns. Have a 2 and 1/2 inch dinger at 20 yards, which is equivalent of a 10 inch kill zone at 80 yards. Cheap practice. Used to have a inside pellet gun range that worked well also.

I noted more than usual shooting preseason, although a lot of the shooting seemed to be handgun and AR type rifles by the sound and length of shot strings. 

Even 22 ammo was rationed this year, of you could find it.  BBs were still available though.  I modified my daughters Red-Ryder for practice, matching the draw length of my Marlin 336BL.  I just need to figure out a way to double its weight.

I practice with it off the porch, cutting beer cans in half.

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I had not shot a gun since sighting in my muzzleloader last year. I dont think you need to shoot hundreds of bullets to be proficient. It may make you better for a few percentage points,but i generally dont take really risky shots. I have not shot at a running deer yet. I have to pick my shot since i hunt with the muzzleloader only.

I also have not shot a deer past 90 yds yet. I did shoot a doe in the head a few years back at 80 yards since she was bedded just over a ridge and i could not get closer. I laid right down for that shot and admit i got a little lucky. I would not take that shot again now.

I shot my buck right behind the shoulder this year at about 60 yds.

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Yea, no issues for me with long guns. 3 shots, 3 deer.  200, 160 and 100 yards approximately.  (The 200 was laser measured)

300WSM and 7mm-08

 

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Ohhhh, I forgot to add......with the bow, that was another story. :)

 

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Please support the hunting of Mourning Dove In New York State.  For information, visit nydovehunting.weebly.com/

 

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2 hours ago, BowmanMike said:

I had not shot a gun since sighting in my muzzleloader last year. I dont think you need to shoot hundreds of bullets to be proficient. It may make you better for a few percentage points,but i generally dont take really risky shots. I have not shot at a running deer yet. 

 If you want to hit a particular spot/hair on the deer, or to make running shots, then practice helps a ton.  The suspended beer can cuts are particularly good at getting ready for the running shots.  The can swings wildly in the wind, and from previous bb impacts.

Like everyone else, I would prefer close standing shots, but making moving ones have put some meat in my freezer.  I only take those that I am confident I can make, and that confidence comes from lots of practice.

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Maybe more are being mentioned because the forum as a group doesn’t bash someone for a miss or a bad hit. I’d say 90% of us support the individual and try to pick there spirits back up and re-tell our own stories of mistakes.


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1 hour ago, wolc123 said:

 If you want to hit a particular spot/hair on the deer, or to make running shots, then practice helps a ton.  The suspended beer can cuts are particularly good at getting ready for the running shots.  The can swings wildly in the wind, and from previous bb impacts.

Like everyone else, I would prefer close standing shots, but making moving ones have put some meat in my freezer.  I only take those that I am confident I can make, and that confidence comes from lots of practice.

I agree that practice makes you better,naturally. I just dont enjoy shooting a gun much. I am ok to be proficient with it but not a sniper. If a deer runs full speed it will get a pass from me,i dont need venison that bad.

But to each their own,if you practice for it go for it. Everybody needs to make the decision to shoot or to pass for themselves since they are the only ones there with all the information.

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I wasn't real happy with my shooting the last few years, couple of misses and a couple poor hits. I bought a ,223 last December and shot around 250 rounds with it last spring and summer, both off hand and rested on a rail, like being in a tree stand at 100-200 yards. I didn't have any shots longer than 80-90 yards, but hit every deer I shot this year within a couple of inches of where I aimed.

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I guess it serves me right, for starting this thread, because I had a "probable" miss on a buck this afternoon with my ML.  It looked like a 1.5 year old 4 or 6 point, depending on if it had brow tines.

Around 1.5 hour before sunset, I was seated on a log in some young hardwoods, just below the timber line on a mountain ridge. I noted movement to my right, about 75 yards away.  I stood up and aimed towards an opening that it was headed towards.  

The small, light colored fork horn was visible, as it walked slowly thru the trees.  It stopped in the opening, I centered the crosshairs behind the shoulder and shot.  

The buck spun around, and trotted back in the direction it came from, with its tail part way up.  There was no blood or hair at the spot it had stood for my shot, nor was I able to find any , following its tracks in the leaves.  I searched the area it dissapeared into until dark, finding nothing.

I was confident in the shot.  The most likely explanation was a deflection by an unseen branch.  I had my scope on 2x, and they are tough to see at that low power.  

If I had a do-over, I would change two things.  I would crank the scope up to 4 or 5x, as soon as I saw him, to give me a better chance of seeing the branches.  The shot looked clear at 2X.  If it was not clear, I should have used my grunt call to try and get him in closer.  That worked well for me on the gun opener.

Now that I had some "live action" practice this afternoon, hopefully I can put those lessons to use tomorrow morning.  My optics would have worked a lot better at 4 or 5x than it did at 2x.

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i lost my shooting sticks this year prior to rifle season. idk where they went. I paid a premium for ones from a mom and pop shop a couple days prior to the opener. For years now I've never rifle hunted without shooting sticks and a rangefinder. doesn't matter where i'm hunting. rifle kills this year where a little over 160 yards and DRT. pretty confident to hit 200 yard vitals sized targets freehand but i still religiously bring sticks and a rangefinder.  

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Upper Hudson River Valley QDMA

 

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I know full well why I missed clean on a buck this year. I rarely shoot long range, typically hunting with my firearms like bow hunting, up close. But I have shot and killed deer with one shot in the past, with my longest 267 yards (30.06 Remington,  and checked with my rangefinder the next day) so I am pretty effective at killing deer with my firearms historically.  

What happened to me was eye surgery mistake when I was in Alaska. They did cataract surgery on my telling me it was how you fix the severe astigmatisms I had (found out after the fact they were wrong) and my one eye hemorrhaged, while the other one developed bad floaters. 

After what happened to me this year, I won't try shooting any distance from now on unless I have a rangefinder with me. 

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8 hours ago, turkeyfeathers said:

Wolc , where were you hunting today ?   You killed a buck in 9f opening weekend ?!

Wmu 6c in the nz where ML has been open for a while.  Today is the last day.  

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1 hour ago, wolc123 said:

Wmu 6c in the nz where ML has been open for a while.  Today is the last day.  

Good luck to you sir. 

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31 minutes ago, turkeyfeathers said:

Good luck to you sir. 

Thanks, I am in position now, at the edge of a swamp.  My tree umbrella is up, there is a steady drizzle, and it is about 5 minutes until sunrise.  

The last two deer that I saw up here were antlered bucks.  Normally, I see 6 antlerles per each antlered here in wmu 6c.  Hopefully those 12 "missing" antlerles will show up before noon when I need to pack up and head home.

I already cranked my scope up to 4x, to increase my odds of threading a bullet thru the branches.  It ain't all that thick here so my odds should be better.

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Copy and paste from live in the woods 2020:

"I am so disappointed right now, 20 minutes of legal left and 3 shots from across the road. 2 minutes later , 2 doe rush in and get to 50 and stop. I have my 308 with me and I touch one off, aiming at the neck of the big doe. I got white hair, a teeny piece of muscle meat and a tiny piece of bone, literally the size of a pebble or smaller. The doe didn't act like it got hit. Zero blood. Not a good ending to regular season. I should have taken the muzzy out but I wanted one last hunt with the rifle. I'll have to fire it at the range to see if I messed up or the gun is knocked sideways.... I thought I did my part well"

I keep replaying this in my head and I am sure I did my part well.  I was well brushed in like always.  Wolc just said something above about threading one through the brush... I had not thought of that with last night s haircut on that doe.  It is entirely possible the shot didn't get out of the brush clean before it hit the deer.  I have to remember this for next time.  If that gun shoots dead on at the range, I might have nicked a twig....


Wyoming county   9H and 9N

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Dry fire is more important than shooting for hunting practice. Knowing where your sights or crosshairs are when the trigger breaks is very important for hunters.

It’s free, you can do it in your house, it doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t hurt your gun.


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Dry fire is more important than shooting for hunting practice. Knowing where your sights or crosshairs are when the trigger breaks is very important for hunters.

It’s free, you can do it in your house, it doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t hurt your gun.


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