Dispair at wounding

Bush Baby

New member
Jul 1, 2001
South Africa
Well I just returned from my hunting trip – hunting for my own table fare and biltong - and I am not the same man I was when I left.
For the first time in nearly 22 years of hunting I have lost an animal, a wounded animal left to die, and I am truly distressed by it. I need some help here guys, the incident happened on Wednesday the 2nd of August, and I have not brought myself around to even clean the guns since then.
It happened like this: The previous day I had stalked up to about 25 meters from a medium sized Warthog – taking a heart shot as the head was not visible – the bullet struck the ‘elbow’ joint smashing it and going straight through the heart and leaving a SMALL exit wound just behind the opposite ‘elbow’ – short run and pig down, no problem. Remember the topic on Nosler Bal.Tips? well that’s what I was using again (finishing the last 11 loaded rounds) in my Thompson Contender – 7x30 Waters (140gr)
Next day I’ve got the T/C again and I’m onto a heard of Impala, as I’m shooting for my own pot I select a ewe, standing broadside on at about 70 meters, I’m shooting from the prone position half my body in a road and half in the bushes, down a steep hill (perhaps 25-30deg.) and aiming for the shoulder/lung area. At the shot the ewe is gone, I lose sight of her in the thick bush, the rest of the herd however are still standing around !! No problem I think, she won’t go far with the rest of the herd staying put. I’ll take another one (gift horse and all that), After a minute or so I place the cross hairs on the neck/chest junction of another animal that’s facing me, fire and the whole herd – including the one I aimed at – again just stand there. I stand up now, completely confused and having had enough of this, I don’t care now and walk in broad daylight down the road towards the herd, at about 40 meters I sit down to look over the herd for any wounded animals – because they are all still standing there !! It’s like something out the *#*#??* twilight zone.
By this time my brother in-law has come up the hill, from where I left him to stalk the Impala. And the animals run off at last. Clearly the second shot was a complete miss but where is the first Impala, after nearly 40 mins. of finding nothing, we find a 3 inch sapling with a bullet hole in it. Dig out the bullet and find only the lead core – no jacket material – the bullet must have hit something first. An hour later and about 80meters away I find the first blood on a leaf, follow it for about 140 meters and then it stops, and so do I. As is the practice of most wounded animals it had headed into the thickest bush it could find for refuge, as there were hoof marks everywhere, trying to follow a lone animal on it’s spoor alone in those conditions (long grass and shade) was just not possible – not for me anyway. Eventually a five man sweep line was formed and the area swept (as best we could in the thick stuff) for about 200 meters from were the last blood was found. But nothing was found so I and possibly the poor Impala (if it wasn’t dead already) spent a miserable night. From start to end I spent 6 1/2 hours looking for that Impala, it will live with me forever.
Considering the small exit wound on the pig and the lead we found in the tree and how rapidly the blood spoor stopped, leads me to believe that the Impala too had a very small exit wound.
My mistakes as I see them are;
* Obviously I will NEVER use those damn BalTips again – shouldn’t have used them then either.
* My son accidentally dropped the gun the day before – should have checked it straight away. Still haven’t checked it – haven’t got the heart.
* I should have checked the first animal was down before shooting at a second, might have had two
wounded animals.

Perhaps I’m hunting too much, getting too blasé, maybe give it break for a while.
I can’t help thinking that a bigger bullet or at least a better bullet would have made an exit wound that would have bled longer, allowing a longer follow up. Is the 7x30 Waters too small, when considering marginal hits or can it be improved with a better bullet?
Blood spoor indicated a gut shot, would a bigger calibre or better 7mm bullet have incapacitated the animal sooner?
Any opinions, I’m tearing myself up with all these questions.
Considering my post on shots that weren’t, was this……………
I cant help with alot of your questions on bullets and the like ,but I can say a few words on lost game.
None of us goes out with the intent on wounding game,we hate that it happens but it does happen.(WE all know it) Maybe not for everyone but we cant put our head in the sand and say it doesnt. OK so we as hunters own it to the game we hunt to do our best,but things do go wrong.Things go wrong for the game we hunt, things go wrong with our equipment,isnt all of that put together the reason we hunt?Because its exciting?
Yes we need to make sure to put it all togehter just right so we can bring game down fast .But the fact that something can go wrong is always in the back of my mind,thats one of the reasons I find it so exciting,the not knowing how it will all fall together.
The fact that you are having such a hard time with it shows that you have a love for the animals you hunt(as it should be)
But you are a hunter just like any other animal that hunts --is what you did any worse than that animal getting taken by another predator?
I think you did what you owed the aniaml by looking for it ,and yes you might have done things a little different ,(checked your gun out ,checked your first shot)(Who of us hasnt messed up?)Its called learning.
Dont get me wrong and think I have no feeling for the game I hunt, I would feel really bad also--but to not want to go back out ,I think your beating yourself up a bit to much here.
You need to get out and check your gun ,try to figure out what went wrong and use it to learn by.
Whatevery that lession is for you, use it to get better,not to tear yourself down.
We all strive for that perfict one shot kill and we like to think that we are the ones to do it,but we arent always in ultimate control,
isnt that what makes hunting so exciting?
We all give the next guy a hard time about wounding game but we sometimes forget that it can happen to any of us at any time.
It isnt what we want ,it isnt what we try to for,but it can happen.
Go check out your gun and come back and tell us how everything is shooting right on LOL ;) Now see, it could be worse

I know how you feel dont the same thing on a huge mule deer buck about 12 years ago.. I wouldnt blame balistic tips at all. i wouldnt blame the 7-30 waters either... Cant blame anything till you find out if your gun is sighted in or not...if your gun is sighted in then more thank likely you pulled your shot(that happens). If the scope is off then next time it is dropped make sure you resight if possible,Or not take the gun..

Leupold BX-4 Rangefinding Binoculars

Forum statistics

Latest member