Caribou Gear Tarp

A story, an outcome, and maybe a change of direction

Gravelyctry

Active member
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
71
Location
Holy Cross, IA
I had a similar year last year during whitetail season. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve only wounded and lost one doe several years ago and learned from that mistake and swore not to make it again. I would listen to friends stories and could easily identify the mistakes they made And was able to learn from them. I’ve kinda prided myself on taking good ethical shots. But last year, I ended up losing two during bow season and one late muzzleloader. I felt like crap, and considered hanging it up. im Not over it, but have decided to learn from the mistakes I made last year and recommit to good shot along with more time spent practicing.
 

Bambistew

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2002
Messages
7,030
Location
Chugiak, AK
Losing an animal sucks. A. Lot. I don't bow hunt much anymore either because I like to kill animals and will only handicap myself if its the only way to hunt. The room for error is just too small. Stone cold killer or not, shit happens. I think a lot of wounded animals survive though. When I cut meat for a couple years, we'd dig out a broadhead out of an elk our of about 1 in 50-75. We'd cut 15-20+ elk a day.

If the truth was actually known, I'd put money on the wounding loss for archery around 15% easily. No one likes admitting it. I think for Rifle its much less, but still happens for sure.
 

elkduds

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
3,461
Location
CO Springs.
Does that make it better? I've been around hunting and hunters long enough to know this isn't unique. But that shouldn't matter right?

I am, always have been. One of my many flaws. As Ken says, time will likely soften the feeling.
I respect your honesty in posting on this topic. I remember from personal experience how it felt to search for wounded game and not find it, it was archery hunting for me as well. Keep being honest w yourself and not being swayed by others who can never know how you think or feel. You'll find your way through this and grow because of it. The conclusions you reach will be your own, the kind you will rely on for the rest of your life.

Sorry it happened to you.

If the truth was actually known, I'd put money on the wounding loss for archery around 15% easily. No one likes admitting it. I think for Rifle its much less, but still happens for sure.
I've read some studies that put the loss # around 50%. I don't know the true #, I'll venture higher than Bambistew's 15%.
 

Ben Lamb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Messages
18,067
Location
Cedar, MI
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Confucius

Take a break, heal your wound. Know that nothing goes to waste in nature and get back to chasing big game when it feels right. No shame in knowing your limits or when it's time to regroup.
 
Last edited:

trb

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
673
Location
Colorado
Thank you for sharing an honest story, and I'm sorry it didn't turn out the way you had hoped. I will echo others in saying that your ethics and dedication to wild animals in wild places is evident in your writing, and hunters such as yourself are a critical part of our community voice. I hope time gives you perspective and the healing you seek, and that you'll get back after it sooner rather than later.

I know I would be more than happy to share a hunting camp with you in Colorado anytime.
 

elkmagnet

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
4,660
Location
Hodale, Idaho
I get "buck" fever over does, rabbits, and pretty much everything else. Wish I could kick it completely.
This is a careful what you wish for.

I personally don't usually get buck fever while rifle hunting. I also don't enjoy doing it as much because it lacks that excitement.
I do however get it archery and muzzleloader hunting the adrenaline definitely keeps me coming back. I cleanly missed a 6pt this year on a shot I make 10 out of 10 times. I can't believe I missed but I am so thankful it was a clean arrow. I would argue that neffa3 performed better than I did under pressure this year.

I wouldn't want to pay to ride a roller coaster if it didn't look like it would scare me at least a little.
 

RealMuddyboots

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2021
Messages
311
Your honesty on what happened and how it affected you is sign of a true hunter that respects the animal your hunting. You cannot hunt without a conscience and sometimes your own self reflection can be tougher on you but reality is hunting is not a video game, there are no do overs, things happen out of your control no matter how much you think you are on top of everything. If you are going to hunt, you will lose an animal now and then. Can be from equipment failure, unseen branch that is impossible to see, outside influences from the environment, other animals, even unseen other hunters. All you can do is hunt with your conscience and leave no stone unturned which you obviously did..
When an animal loss occurs, it should hurt to your core. It clearly does. Everyone goes through the pain from losing an animal but it is part of the circle of hunting. What and how you limit mistakes and learn from them is what makes a better hunter. You are now a better hunter from this experience. The pain will lessen and I truly hope you pick the bow back up soon. You not hunting is everyones loss not having a hunter like yourself in the woods. We need more like you out there.
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
3,688
Location
WY
If it's not bringing you joy, or the joy isn't worth the risk of misery, taking a break seems like a fine idea. A healthy amount of self evaluation is beneficial.

If you (or I, or most people) never hunt again, it would be OK. You'd miss some great experiences and also avoid some great disappointments. There are other things of consequence and long lasting value. Maybe hunting regains that place for you, maybe it doesn't.
 

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
9,136
Location
Wenatchee
If it's not bringing you joy, or the joy isn't worth the risk of misery,
My wife asked me last night, after hearing me recount the trip to multiple people over the last two days, if I had fun. It wasn't a quick answer. Eventually I said yes, if I try to assess just the trip itself, but that it certainly wasn't fun when you account for all the tangentials that had to go into it, the planning and prep, the forced rucking, the practice, retuning, rebuilding arrows, the having to relive the trip and the failures every time I meet a friend or coworker this week, the money spent, the time spent, and strings pulled at work, all the effort from my wife, from my in-laws, the inability to watch my daughters first x-country races, my son's first soccer games (of the fall). When you pile all that on the scale of life. It doesn't tip to positive.
 
Last edited:

marshman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
862
Location
Southwest Washington
Part 1.
The story is a short one. WY GEN tag, in grizz country. Did a little digital scouting and one on the ground scouting trip to whittle down the areas. Setup camp with bulls bugling close by, had a couple of opportunities that night and the next morning.
View attachment 241896
then a massive camp from Kansas showed up and ruined the basin with their generators, sxs, and drunken shouting.
View attachment 241897
so we moved. Luckily hunting WY is so good as to not require backpacking "in deep" just find somewhere no one else is hunting.
View attachment 241898
We then proceeded to have the best elk hunting I've ever experienced. Consistently lots of opportunities on bulls. Unfortunately most of the bulls were <6. We ended up killing the second biggest one we saw (sorry no pic), my little cuz's first archery elk. And had opportunities on the largest.
The terrain was easy. Far easier than anything I've hunted before. But also not conducive to glassing.
View attachment 241899
So we relied on walking around and calling and stalking, or just calling (which resulted in our 6 pnt).
View attachment 241900
View attachment 241901

We saw some other wildlife (g bears and moose)
View attachment 241902
View attachment 241903
Some other sign.
View attachment 241904
View attachment 241905

Part 2.
We all shot bulls. The 6pt mentioned above (again sorry no pics). Despite all my plans, which included a long hunt, shooting close, and holding out for a large 6, I ended up shooting a broken off 4-pt at 60 yards on day 3. Hit was high but complete pass through. Sucking chest wound I could hear. He seemed to bleed quite a bit from the entrance (but not the exit) and walked slowly off. Unfortunately after an hour and a half, and ~400 yds of blood trailing we bumped him out of his bed (~1 qt of concealed blood in his bed), and never saw him again. We gridded that day and came back and gridded again the next. Nothing. I didn't hunt anymore.

Part 3.
Based on my complete ineptitude to execute both a plan and a bull, I am rethinking both archery and hunting in general. Not that either isn't effective or fun or a worthy pursuit, but maybe just not for me. All the practice in the world doesn't seem to alleviate my mental inability to make good decisions in the moment. A lot of people refer to it as "buck fever." It feels more than that to me. But even if it's not, it doesn't seem fair or ethical to continue to pursue this hunting, and specifically archery, endeavor if I cannot make coherent appropriate decisions in the moment when the results of which are likely to be life threatening to the animal I'm pursuing. And this isn't a knee jerk reaction to a bad experience, I've struggled with this "fever" my entire life, with several regrettable moments to show for it. There are cold blooded killers among us, those who can think clear and critical under stress. I'm just not one of them.

So for now, I think I'll hang up the bow. Maybe leave the rifle in the safe. And allow my free time to be consumed with my kids and a bird dog who is always game to take a walk in the woods. I'll still chase birds later this fall. Maybe by next spring (more like this winter) I'll feel like putting in for some tags again, but I think it's more likely that I'll be taking an extended break from big game.
These thoughts - feelings you are experiencing are those of a true outdoorsman. It just shows that you care about the animals you hunt, the sport and yourself. I have lost two animals in my lifetime both were very difficult situations for me to deal with and made me feel like shit. But it helped me to realize that the fact I was so upset about these situations and at the time did all that I could to find them is why I consider myself to be entitled to continue hunting.
The day that losing and animal does not bother you too much is the day you need to quit hunting.
It does not seem to me by what I have read from you on this site that this is something you need to be worried about. Get back on that horse and ride.
 

BirdManMike

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
952
Location
Montana
My wife asked me last night, after hearing me recount the trip to multiple people over the last two days, if I had fun. It wasn't a quick answer. Eventually I said yes, if I try to assess just the trip itself, but that it certainly wasn't fun when you account for all the tangentials that had to go into it, the planning and prep, the forced rucking, the practice, retuning, rebuilding arrows, the having to relive the trip and the failures every time I meet a friend or coworker this week, the money spent, the time spent, and strings pulled at work, all the effort from my wife, from my in-laws, the inability to watch my daughters first x-country races, my son's first soccer games (of the fall). When you pile all that on the scale of life. It doesn't tip to positive.
I know these feelings. If the highs don’t overshadow the lows, it is time for a break.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

fowladdict

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 20, 2005
Messages
2,396
My wife asked me last night, after hearing me recount the trip to multiple people over the last two days, if I had fun. It wasn't a quick answer. Eventually I said yes, if I try to assess just the trip itself, but that it certainly wasn't fun when you account for all the tangentials that had to go into it, the planning and prep, the forced rucking, the practice, retuning, rebuilding arrows, the having to relive the trip and the failures, every time I meet a friend or coworker this week, the money spent, the time spent, and strings pulled at work, all the effort from my wife, from my in-laws, the inability to watch my daughters first x-country races, my son's first soccer games (of the fall). When you pile all that on the scale of life. It doesn't tip to positive.
Chances are...you are a good man and people happily do these things to make sure you do things for you. I'm Sure you would do the same for them.

I played a lot of baseball growing up. My parents sacrificed a lot of time and money. I spent a lot of time not with family, not hunting and not fishing through college and beyond. I never made it to the bigs. It was still worth it to me. If you don't feel like sacrifices are worth it, then maybe hunting isn't for you. Or maybe you feel like you just gave up the game winning home run and swear you are going to quit, but then you get a chance another day and make the most of it.
 

RyGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2022
Messages
347
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
Neffa3, I have much respect for you after reading this both for your honesty and your reaction to losing an animal. I’ve been there, and I think all hunters have. All weapons can and do lead to mishaps now and then. Its an unfortunate part of the hunt, it’s part of nature, and nature has its ways of cleaning these things up. Not all wolf hunts that end in a dead elk end with the elk being eaten by wolves.
This is something that is often swept under the rug when it comes to mainstream hunting media because non-hunters and often new hunters just can’t understand.
Only you can decide what to do moving forward, but as a fellow hunter I’d be happy to see you back in the woods sooner rather than later (not that my opinion is important).
 

RealMuddyboots

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2021
Messages
311
You mentioned getting buck fever. We all have been down that road. At one time, I swear my arrow would fall off my rest shaking so hard. I struggled a long time until I thought through my process when an animal approached. I realized my brain shut down and my adrenalin took over. So I was thinking if I had a structured shot process I may take over my thought process and prevent adrenalin jacking me into another planet.

So I started listing what steps I should be taking right down to minutia so I had a mental checklist I had to follow when a game animal approached. Once I started recanting my steps to take in my mind, calmness became easier to achieve since my mind was busy making sure I followed my internal procedure. I listed everything from confirming immediately it was an animal I wanted to shoot to picking the right window of opportunity to shoot arrow or gun. Constant checks throughout for wind, angle, distances, distance to window, shot process itself. Once I decide the rack or flathead is good enough, I make it a point to not look at it much and concentrate on where I want to put the shot. Even better if animal has a mark on it to help keep focused on the shot. Even with rifle, especially on a long shot, having a defined shot process keeps you focused on the task at hand and not holy crap stuff. It takes time to build a solid shot process but I believe this approach works even for those who don't get the fever.

But I will tell you the instantaneous my OMG shakes start immediately after shot!

I hope this might give some thought, it just might help you through controlling those adrenalin releases.
 

DouglasR

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
2,659
Location
East central, Il
Should Dougs Chrondre the ski bum from summit county who’s only been vacationing in the mountains for 4 years give up bow hunting?
Probably.
Should Neff of Wenatchee, a man who can put ear to ground, nose to wind and accurately predict snowfall down to the 1/10th give it up?
I think not.
 

kansasdad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
6,062
Location
Wichita
First of all, sorry about the knucklehead Kansas camp. Tell me who they were and I will try and train them better.

William Shakespeare in Hamlet has Pollonius tell his son Laertes these famous words of wisdom:

AEA36F3D-C56B-44C8-8F4F-8BF688C72320.jpeg


To thine own self be true.

There is a certain amount of self awareness that is required to be a good hunter. @neffa3 you are a good hunter to have this event bother you. Thanks for sharing and kickstarting a good conversation on HuntTalk.
 

devon deer

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 25, 2011
Messages
2,599
Location
Devon, England
I respect your decision @neffa3 and a very honest thread.

When I first thought of trying for an Elk I considered archery, but as it's banned in the UK I had to get a recognised qualification over here to hunt over the pond, I did it, and passed the first part using a recurve, but then doubt started to creep in, and my confidence dropped, so I ruled it out, I couldn't have lived with myself injuring an Elk through my incompetence, so I decided to hunt with what I knew would do the job, rifle, and it did, twice.

However, even with rifle, those who hunt enough, and say they have never lost an injured deer are either lying, or clearly haven't hunted much.
Shit happens, I can honestly say I've lost around 8 deer in 30 years of hunting, but putting that into perspective, I sometimes shoot 50 deer a year, I imagine if I did archery I would have lost a lot more.

Give it a break and get back on the horse, you are obviously a very conscientious hunter with high standards.
Sell the bow and buy another rifle!

Cheers

Richard
 
Use Promo Code Randy for 20% off OutdoorClass

Forum statistics

Threads
103,828
Messages
1,698,197
Members
32,429
Latest member
rabbit hunter
Top