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I choked


Active Member
This is a tough one to post. One of my biggest goals, personally, was to shoot a deer with the recurve on public ground. Friday morning I hunted a public spot that I scouted out over the winter. It's a subtle little saddle that connects an oak flat that has a lot of acorns to a thick area I think deer are using to bed. I snuck in early in the morning and got into the tree in my saddle and settled in to wait for day break.

It's hard to see in this pano image, but the path leading up to the left behind me is up the hill, the depression in the saddle is just before the mowed area you can barely see to the right. I expected 0 deer to come from behind me, there's really not much back there.

Just as it was getting light enough to see into the path area, I heard an odd noise and turned and looked over my shoulder. There stood a deer at 25 yards. It was dark enough I couldn't 100% tell if it was a doe or a small buck. It slowly worked its way down the path, and when it was at 12-13 yards (yes, 12-13), I was confident it was a doe. I know that I do not shoot as well in low light. I think it's because I struggle to see the arrow in my peripheral vision, but I convinced myself that she was close enough I could make the shot. She was mostly broadside, I drew back and let fly...and hit her much farther back than I wanted. She bounded off pretty fast, sounded like she ran 80-90 yards and then nothing.

I waited right at 2 hours, climbed down and checked the arrow. Not good. Pass through shot, little blood on the arrow, but it didn't stink like a gut shot arrow usually stinks. I figured I'd start tracking, and if the blood was bad I'd back out and come back in the afternoon.

I was kinda shocked that the blood trail was pretty heavy considering she was going fast through the brush. Definitely no lung blood, but she was laying it down fairly well.

Then, after maybe 60 yards, the blood literally just stopped. I took maybe 10 more steps just to see if I could pick her up along the path she was taking, when I jumped her about 30 yards away. She moved at a fast walk downhill towards the thick stuff. I knew at that point I f*cked up. I got out of there and came back about 2:45PM. It didn't take long to locate her bed where she had laid. Shockingly, there were three DOTS of blood in the bed. I failed to locate any more blood past the bed. I swept through the thick stuff where she went and found nothing, never jumped her again, either. Just to add insult to the whole thing, my first shot as soon as I got home that morning...

I hate losing deer. And I hate that after nearly a year of hard work, I gacked away the first opportunity I had. To top it off, I further screwed it up by not backing out immediately when the blood stopped. I knew better. I think she's dead, and I think had I just backed out for the morning, I would have found her dead in or near where she was bedded when I jumped her.

DAMMIT! :mad:


Active Member
The Hills
Shit does happen. I'd say that deer is dead too, some pictures the blood looks dark like a liver shot. Sounds like you jumped her fairly close which would also point to a liver shot. Just keep at it and follow your plan next time, cause you had it all right but let your mind mess ya up in continuing.
Either way congratulations on connecting with trad gear. That's a big accomplishment in itself. Something I've wanted to do, just haven't put in the hours.


Senior Member
Licking Co.
well, that sucks Creamer. you are playing an entirely different game now with your choice of equipment. in doing so, you made a conscious decision to seek opportunities, not advantage, with your weapon of choice. you purposefully handicapped yourself, which is admirable. no such thing as a "slam dunk" with traditional equipment. even the close, easy shots we strive for are difficult. Clearly, you are determined, and that is the whole game, imo. keep trying, and you will get another opportunity. Howard Hill called it "hunting the hard way" for good reason.