Rookie Mistake...I'm still sick about it

medrhunter

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During the last hour of hunting on opening day of shotgun, I'm sitting in a stand when 6 does walk up the trail.
They look right at me, not sure what I am, and start to feed.
The first 5 have one eye on me while they are feeding.
The last one keeps looking behind her.
We all know what that means.
I slowly pull the gun up and wait.
2 minutes later I see a nice set of horns in the thicket.
He pops his head out and he is huge. 8 or 10 Pointer.
He looks my way, turns and disappears right back in.
I'm thinking WTF! Did he smell me? But the does are 15 yards away and fine.
I wait it out.
About a minute later he comes backs out.
All I have is a straight on ass shot but he's doesn't seem spooked.
I start to reposition myself to get a better shot and hope he turns.
There was the mistake.
With all the excitement watching the buck, I forgot about the does.
They start blowing and running.
It just goes down hill from here.
The buck turns and gives me a quick quartering away shot so I fire.
I don't hear him running so I think he dropped.
I also see a branch in front of me wobbling but I dismiss it.
I wait 5 minutes then climb down and walk to where the buck was.
A bunch of hair and a non-impressive blood trail but I'm committed.
For the next three hours I'm on my hands and knees with a flashlight trying to track this deer through the nastiest crap.
Two of my buddies joined the search but no luck.
We were only able to track it a total of 200 yards that night.
We went back the next morning and continued tracking for another 3 hours.
Blood trail disappeared and he went into a heavily traveled area so we gave up.
I let everyone that was hunting the property know what happened.
We all agreed it was most likely a superficial wound.
We were wrong.
The following Sunday bird hunters found that buck about another 100 yards from where we stopped looking.
Coyotes had torn it apart. Nothing left but the skull, rack and 1/2 a leg bone.
I'm sick about it.
This is only the second deer I shot at and did not recover.
To make matters worse the guy who found it won't give me the rack.
It would mean a lot to me to have the rack to go with the story.
 

mbVT

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Bummer- that's a rough one. Been there. It sucks. Let it burn inside you, like medicine, and use it to do better down the road, whatever that means.
 

Mikejd

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Bummer- that's a rough one. Been there. It sucks. Let it burn inside you, like medicine, and use it to do better down the road, whatever that means.
I really like this answer.
 

NH Mountains

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If he says no. Tell him that the warden will be coming to get it.
Would he (medrhunter or the bird man) have to put his tag on it and check it in to legally claim it?
 
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longbow

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Would he (medrhunter or the bird man) have to put his tag on it and check it in to legally claim it?
Yes. He would have to explain to the warden what happened and he would either allow him to tag it or not. If the warden found that another hunter has the rack without a possession tag he would confiscate the antlers and probably issue a ticket.
 

medrhunter

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If he says no. Tell him that the warden will be coming to get it.
I'm not going down this path.
We have been in the same gun club for 30+ years.
I would have expected better.
It's not worth creating the animosity.
In the end there is really no proof its the deer I shot.
 

Camp Rider

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Don't think you are a "rookie"...Call it a learning lesson....you can't change what happened. You have "hunters" behind every tree down there.

Lost two good bucks in my 55+ years of deer hunting life. A Vermont 10 pt. with a bad hit on bare ground...my brother took him down with no idea that I had put a bullet into him. No chance that I would have caught up to that deer. The other was an 8 pt. in New Hampshire....doubled lunged him..he ran about 60 yrds and dropped down over a very steep ledge that I could not go down. Took me 30 minutes to get to him....only a gut pile!!!

No regrets...live and learn and just keep going.

Best regards....Merry Christmas.
 

VTHunter08

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The other was an 8 pt. in New Hampshire....doubled lunged him..he ran about 60 yrds and dropped down over a very steep ledge that I could not go down. Took me 30 minutes to get to him....only a gut pile!!
Come on are you serious? wow lol think id be following that drag line.
 

medrhunter

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Don't think you are a "rookie"...Call it a learning lesson....you can't change what happened. You have "hunters" behind every tree down there.....
Thanks for the pep talk. It was both a learning experience and a rookie mistake.
I have never been in this situation before but I know of other hunters who did the same thing and I should have been more careful.
The story would be completely different
At least I still get excited when a see a nice set!

Merry Christmas to you too!
 

Camp Rider

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The other was an 8 pt. in New Hampshire....doubled lunged him..he ran about 60 yrds and dropped down over a very steep ledge that I could not go down. Took me 30 minutes to get to him....only a gut pile!!
Come on are you serious? wow lol think id be following that drag line.
Not worth it...road 40 yards from where he came off the cliff. Obviously I was pissed but.....situation reversed, I would have gutted the deer and waited for the shooter.
 
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