As I woke up at 4am I had to make a decision 12 guage or bow. I have yet to shoot a deer this season and wanted to make sure I brought meat home if the opportunity presented itself, so I decided the gun. There is nothing like the smell of a freshly brewed pot of coffee and tasting that first cup as the anticipation of what the morning might bring. After my cup of coffe I loaded up my truck, kissed the wife bye, and head out to the woods.
Its a long walk to my stand location (tree, I use a climber) but made quick work of it with excitement. Knowing that I had found a rub line with a lot of trees freshly scared and seeing some does in the area, I could only imagine. I made it to my tree, hooked up the climber, and put out some doe in heat sent (first time I used this stuff). In the cypress it is dark here in FL and in this location it was hard to hear anything with the highway being close, so using my sight and listening was out. It is finally getting cooler here and as the rain started falling I could feel the chill, but I still wait. With the moon at my back, I noticed green beady eyes staring at me occasionally. Was not sure what it was, but all I could think about was the alien creature the guy said he captured on his field camera.
Well dawn had finally broke and I could now see the woods floor. It was at this time I realized I had to stretch my legs and stand due to my back bothering me lately. I slowly stood in my climber checking all of my surroundings. Nothing moved, nothing made noise, and neither did I. As I sat back down a brown head protruded out of the thick and he was making his way right down the rub line. I noticed the left rack on the deer and it was good enough to be a shooter, but that was it, from here on out I don't look at the antlers until I am holding them. This deer went right to the scent tab hanging in the tree and was just standing there maybe 10 yards away from me. I slowly bring the gun up and thought to myself dead deer. The deer turned broad side and I thought I did everything right. I squeezed the trigger and imagined the 12 guage slug in the bread basket, but no.
I climb out of the tree and search, no blood. I see a huge crater in the swamp floor where the slug hit. I continued for 2 hours to find blood because I did not and could not believe I missed at that range. Needless to say no deer and my dreams of bringing meat home day before turkey day is gone.
Now I look back on that moment and try to ponder what it was where did I go wrong. I bow hunt a lot and have killed more pigs with that thing at further ranges than this shot. I believe my shot went high over his back. I only shoot bead on the gun and even though in the moment it felt like I took my time, I now believe I rushed the shot. When I bow hunt I have a checklist in my head because everything needs to be the same. Draw the bow, nock at the corner of my mouth, place the correct sight for the distance, act like you are pulling the bow apart, and release. I did not do this with my gun. I do not remember my sight picture and I do not remember the recoil felt. I rushed the shot! Lessons of hunting and one I wont make again.
Now my question how long do you think before the deer will be back in that location and should I still hunt it? Right now is doe season and I am just looking for freezer meat.