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Memories of a miss

This is a discussion on Memories of a miss within the Bowhunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; First let me say, I am a veteran hunter with many animals shot over the last 35 years. A few ...

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    First let me say, I am a veteran hunter with many animals shot over the last 35 years.
    A few years back I was deer hunting our property when massive buck showed up along with several (8) other deer all within 40 yards of me. They were all very alert due to my neighbor busting them out of the bedding area right toward me. I was nervous and feeling the pressure about getting the shot with all the eye's and ear's so close. As they started to leave I was able to get my bow back and proceeded to miss the brute at 5 yards. Yup, that's not a typo - 5 yards. The memory of this miss enters my thoughts often, maybe more so than animals I killed with a perfectly executed shot. It is really quite simple. I had buck fever. I want to hunt Africa so bad I think I have some fever already. I pee a little each time I see a pic/video of a Blue Wildebeest or Waterbuck or Kudu or Impala or....

    So here is my questions.

    Does going to an exotic far away hunt like Africa increase the pressure? Have you had an increase in fever with Kudu, Waterbuck, Nyala, Impala, Gemsbuck, Warthog, Cape buffalo, etc?

    Does the memory of a miss haunt you also? What is your story of a memorable miss?

    What have you learned from your misses? What tips do you have for maintaining composure when the pressure of the shot presents itself?
    When I am not hunting, I am thinking about hunting....I think I'll go hunting.

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    35bore's Avatar
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    The memory I have was not of a miss, but, a perfect shot.

    My first year deer hunting (solo), I had a group of does come out of the woodline approx 230 yrds away. I found the biggest doe (which would have been my second deer ever) held just a smidge over my normal p.o.a. and shot......nothing. I re-chambered and found "her" again, aimed a at the normal p.o.a., fired and had the mis-fortune of watching this animal run away with her front leg broken (shot off) by me,,,,,..... I never did find that doe, but, neighbors said they had seen this doe with three legs walking around fine. I does not comfort me at all to know I am the cause of a three legged doe. Anyway, after concluding the search for my doe, I conceeded defeat and headed home, going back to where I had shot the doe. I crossed the creek and saw the white fur of belly of the doe I shot, DRT. See the doe was one of four, but, in my hast and inexperience, my second shot was at "the doe" in a group of three. My first shot was true, right through the heart, the second was a foolish mistake I have lived with for over 23 years.

    My advise Stretch is use all of your knowledge of NA game and move your point of impact about 4-5inches forward, aim for the shoulder, and have fun, don't worry too much, they die just the same as anything else you have put an arrow through. I can tell you respect game animals too much not to be prepared prior to arriving in Africa. Good luck my friend.
    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" Friedrich Nietzsche // That which does not kill me, better run like hell" Scott Smith

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    Archery elk season of 2010 I killed a nice 6x6 bull elk on the third morning of the hunt. I killed this bull with a perfect double lung shot and the bull going about 75 yards or so after the shot. It was my first archery kill and I was thrilled. It helped to salve the wound of the total screw up that happened about 12 hours before at the exact same spot.

    My buddy and I found this spot the night before and decided to just sit and wait to see if any elk came by. Well the great great grandfather of the bull I killed came by. Truly one of the types of bull elk that Arizona is known for came in. I don't know for fact he would have broke the 400" mark, but if not he was awfully close. And I committed a total rookie mistake and spooked the bull before I could even draw.

    And really I have no regrets about it. That bull was spectacular and I hope he dies of old age. Without a doubt bull fever led to this mistake. If I ever get to the point that I kill multiple animals and without the adrenaline kick, it will be a sign to me that it's time to find something new.

    As far as going to Africa and added pressure, well it's possible you get a PH who pressures you. If you do, I would not hesitate to tell him to back off, it's your hunt that you paid for and you don't need his pressuring you. If you get a PH like I had, he's not going to make things worse by putting the pressure on. So in this case, it's only you putting pressure on yourself.

    On my one and only trip to Africa, it was kind of like normal for me. Sometimes I get wigged out before the shot and other times I'm as cold as ice until after the shot. I can't explain it to you why this is as I can't explain it to myself. On my first animal which was an Nyala I was pretty jazzed up, but not too bad. My second was an Impala. This animal made me wait a long time. I was really pumped at first but with the long wait, I was pretty cool at the shot.

    The next animal was a Waterbuck, what a cluster that was. He just suddenly appeared and after seeing hundreds of Waterbucks and being told no that's not the one by my PH, I knew this was the one. I didn't have to ask and without hesitation my PH said yes, take this one. I pulled the shot a bit and while it was a killing shot, the bull did go a long way.

    Finally on the next to last day was my Kudu. I can tell you honestly I was as cool as the other side of the pillow. The bull stepped out of the brush with no clue to our presence. I lined up the shot right in the middle of his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. Turned to my PH and called the shot as the Kudu bolted back into the brush. I knew that bull was dead. He made it 50 yards and was probably dead before he hit the ground.

    I guess for me it's a matter of just concentrating on the shot and what I need to do to make it. If I get to thinking about how great this animal is and I've just gotta have it, I will really struggle to stay composed. But if I just stay focused on the right way to handle the shot, when to move, when to aim, when to wait for the right angle and such, then I'm good.

    This is how it was that next morning after the blown elk. I saw the elk coming and picked out the spot where I would draw and just "envisioned" the shot before it happened. It all came together just right and came off without a hitch.

    Hope this helps.
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    Of course it can increase pressure just as anything, the more you want something the more tension you will have. It is human nature.

    Last June Red Hartebeest was near the top of my list. I was given the opportunity of hunting a massive old breeding bull on a ranch that is trying to establish a viable hunable herd. I was the first person allowed to hunt there and only for the old Monarch since he was past breeding prime and the younger bulls were on the cusp of dethroning him anyway. We hunted him for 3 days without even seeing him and when we finally did, the chase was on. Spot them, over the hill they would go. Find them again and off into the thick stuff they went (not typical Hartebeest behavior). Finally we spotted them and they once again bounded over the hill and seconds later ran right back at us. The herd darted and bobbed across in front of us making it hard to pich out the bull. Finally we did just as the herd split up and the bull stopped hard, jumped left, my crosshairs found his chest at around 150yds, he spun quickly to the right then jumped right back into my sights. My croshairs were lined up for a perfect double lung shot when the rifle went off, perfect for a whitetail that is but just behind the lungs of a Hartebeest. We lost the trail in the heavy rain and never did recover him. Instincts are great but do not trust them when aiming at African game. take the time to remember the forward placement of an African animals vitals before the shot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35bore View Post
    My advise Stretch is use all of your knowledge of NA game and move your point of impact about 4-5inches forward, aim for the shoulder, and have fun, don't worry too much, they die just the same as anything else you have put an arrow through. I can tell you respect game animals too much not to be prepared prior to arriving in Africa. Good luck my friend.
    Nice. Great counsel. Thank you. Fun to read about your experience.

    PHONEX PHIL I guess for me it's a matter of just concentrating on the shot and what I need to do to make it. If I get to thinking about how great this animal is and I've just gotta have it, I will really struggle to stay composed. But if I just stay focused on the right way to handle the shot, when to move, when to aim, when to wait for the right angle and such, then I'm good.
    This is normally habitual for me also Phil. Stay focused - concentrate. Nice story.
    Diamondhitch -Instincts are great but do not trust them when aiming at African game. take the time to remember the forward placement of an African animals vitals before the shot.
    Perfect advice. Thanks buddy.
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    The only pressure is the pressure you put on yourself. If you are confident with your equipment and your ability to use that equipment and put an arrow where it needs to be, then you should be fine. Take your time, listen to your PH adn concentrate on that spot and a smooth release and it will happen. I guess some of the pressure could coome form knowing that if you do make a poor shot and do not find the animal, that your trophy fee is with that animal. Draw blood and you will pay no matter what. I tis tought seing an animal that is over $2000 leave after a bad hit knowing you may not find that animal. Take you time and listen and you will be fine.
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    My most memorable miss was with a gun and it was all caused because the wood stock had cracked and made the bullet hit 10" high at 100 meters....
    I didn't notice this before the day after when I tested the gun at a range.
    It made me not get a big wild free range Fallow buck.

    But my most memorable situation where I didn't get the animal was where I didn't take a shot.
    I stalked some very steep hills in Norway and just sat down to take a short rest above a small opening.
    Then a HUGE Red Stag got up on his feet just 40 meters below me facing straight away from me.
    He walked slowly into the thick bush and then started to abuse a tree just behind some very thick bush at about 70 meters for more than 30 minutes.

    At that time I was about 25 and not so confident about taking neck shots even if I was a very good shot at that time and passed up on the chance I had.
    Today I know I would take that shot any day and always make it.

    The only pressure I get is from myself. Usually I don't feel pressured at all and am very calm before and at the shot.

    I think that the really good thing with bow hunting in Africa from a blind is that you have much better time to take a shot and if you choose to not to take a shot because the buck fever is to strong, then there is a good chance you will get a new chance soon.

    I guess the pressure will be stronger when stalking with a bow as you will not get many chances. So you better take it when you get it.

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    I think my personal mindset makes the biggest difference in buck fever. I have shot fantastic trophies without getting too overwhelmed and fallen apart with very simple shots at "common" animals.

    First kudu - breathing so fast and hard I truly thought i was going to pass out or have a panic attack. Calmed down, picked a spot and got it. I had worked myself up so much because i knew that this was my "lifetime trip" to africa and this was my number one animal. That was four kudu ago. HA.



    Last wildebeest I shot - A cow, management animal. I had been practicing with my recurve for a long time with hopes of taking a cow wildebeest along with a number of other animals on my last trip. On the "day" a group of cows and calves came in that really rattled me. There must have been almost 40 animals or more. All ranging from 20 yards down to 8. We were truly surrounded by wildebeest. I couldn't calm down enough to pick an animal. Then they slowly started to amble away. I picked out an old cow at about 10 yards and completely muffed the shot. Over excited and sensory overload. I didn't calm down and shot for the whole animal, not picking a spot. You can't do that with a recurve. I didn't have any real financial pressure on this one, but I sure did have self imposed shot pressure.



    Long story short, control your mind and it will control your body. If you don't...it can be expensive and good hunting days can be spent chasing wounded animals.
    Tom

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    Last year I hit a Gemsbok a little back, and the chase was on. Took about an hour to catch him and get him down. It was the first animal I took and I rushed it a little. I was ticked off at myself the whole time we were tracking the animal but was determined to finish the job.

    I think when you are shooting a package animal the pressure is less, but once you venture into the trophy fee animals the pressure increases especially when there is $1700 on the line and blood has been found (like Gemsbok).

    Practice shooting on sticks a lot, and practice follow-up shots as well. I went to our club and shot at a paper plate off of sticks at 100 yards, I then pulled off the sticks and shot off hand at a gong in the corner. Change positions and repeat. Worked well both in the states and RSA.

    Other advice book some extra days and relax a couple in between the hunts. It's easy to get caught in the what are we going after today routine (I did) a day off after a big success clears the head a little.

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    The advice from all is astounding. I am going to print this thread then re-read it on the short plane ride over to Africa so I can keep it fresh and burn it into memory. It will also help me as I coach my wife Packsy. Good advice and reminders for everyone. It is comforting to know that I am not alone when the excitement is overwhelming at times. Keep this thread going. Good stuff.
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    Stretch,

    Misses? I haven't enough time-every miss is deeply etched into my mind. Elk are magic...that's all I can say about that. When you think they're yours, they're not. I guess that's why I love to hunt them!

    I have yet to kill a zebra (exclusively via spot and stalk). I missed one with the only shot I've had from 44 yards. How is missing such a large animal even possible? Well, I did it.

    Study your animals, concentrate! Put yourself in a zone. Know exactly where your arrow needs to hit! Stay focused once you reach full draw! Don't let anything break that focus. In your mind, make it a spot rather than a living breathing creature. Pay your prey the ulimate respect once it's on the ground, and don't forget to thank everyone who helped get you to that special moment in time.

    Best wishes!
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    Stretch,

    you will probably find these misses interesting.Hunting - Shot Placement, Hunting, Shot Placement Enigma
    I know the feeling and haunting and ghosts riding one because of that missed shot. Check out my miss - rookie error after 35 + years of hunting - the moment was too big for me due to the kudu being so close - i suppose - totally forgot about to compensate for the close range. This miss will stay with me a lifetime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fhm3006 View Post
    Stretch,

    you will probably find these misses interesting.Hunting - Shot Placement, Hunting, Shot Placement Enigma
    I know the feeling and haunting and ghosts riding one because of that missed shot. Check out my miss - rookie error after 35 + years of hunting - the moment was too big for me due to the kudu being so close - i suppose - totally forgot about to compensate for the close range. This miss will stay with me a lifetime.
    Interesting how our misses leave an indelible souvenir on the memory. I feel your pain man. Great story.
    When I am not hunting, I am thinking about hunting....I think I'll go hunting.

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