Yeti

Ever Mistake a Hunter for a Deer/Bear/Elk?

Bullshot

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Dec 21, 2018
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Two days into the rising sun
I was in a treestand bowhunting and a guy was bent over slowly creeping through the woods. With the fog and transitional light along with the angle he cast a silhouette that looked just like a deer. After that I always throw on a head lamp now. I even wear orange during archery.

People who lack experience or are surprised will have their mind involuntary fill in the blank space with whatever it defaults to.
Some of the no’s and hell no’s on here belie the fact that this can happen, and ALWAYS seems inexplicable to others and to the person themselves after the fact. Every year people are mistaken for game, often at close range (turkey, archery hunters, etc).

My own story- I was a kid in middle school or high school, taken to a private farm with huge deer afoot. I sat a treestand all evening watching a deer trail out of bedding cover. On cue, right as dusk turned grainy and shooting light was ending, I heard light footsteps creeping along the deer trail. I saw the form of a buck cautiously approaching. Through the saplings, a glimpse of antlers. More glimpses. Holy crap, its a big buck. 40 yards.... 30 yards. 20 yards. Then my buck became my fully camo clad host as he shape shifted to human form. That’s the only way to describe the abject shock of the moment.

During that same era, a hunter in my state was killed by an archer at close range mistaken for a deer.

Same era, a kid that was hunting was killed by another shotgun hunter who said he was shooting at a deer. I now live a 1/2 mile from that spot and drive past it often and always think of that news article every time.

For these and many other reasons, I use a headlamp walking in or out in the dim/dark, an orange hat while walking between turkey spots, will talk or whistle if I feel the “spidey senses” tell me I need to, and would never consider firearm hunting out west without orange.

Don’t be overconfident it can’t happen, if not by you.... could happen TO you.
 
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MarvB

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Apr 5, 2001
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₵tral Oar-e-gun
Nooooope! I’ve had a few hunters “feed out” of the timber I was glassing and heard them coming (hoped it was a deer/elk) before I saw them. Again, with BINOS... glassing with your scope and me don’t get along!

....ask me how many times I’ve been sure that a burned stump was a black bear...different story
 

Bullshot

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Dec 21, 2018
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456
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Two days into the rising sun
Some of the no’s and hell no’s on here belie the fact that this can happen, and ALWAYS seems inexplicable to others and to the person themselves after the fact. Every year people are mistaken for game, often at close range (turkey, archery hunters, etc).

My own story- I was a kid in middle school or high school, taken to a private farm with huge deer afoot. I sat a treestand all evening watching a deer trail out of bedding cover. On cue, right as dusk turned grainy and shooting light was ending, I heard light footsteps creeping along the deer trail. I saw the form of a buck cautiously approaching. Through the saplings, a glimpse of antlers. More glimpses. Holy crap, its a big buck. 40 yards.... 30 yards. 20 yards. Then my buck became my fully camo clad host as he shape shifted to human form. That’s the only way to describe the abject shock of the moment.

During that same era, a hunter in my state was killed by an archer at close range mistaken for a deer.


For these and many other reasons, I use a headlamp walking in or out in the dim/dark, an orange hat while walking between turkey spots, will talk or whistle if I feel the “spidey senses” tell me I need to, and would never consider firearm hunting out west without orange.

Don’t be overconfident it can’t happen, if not by you.... could happen TO you.
Nooooope! I’ve had a few hunters “feed out” of the timber I was glassing and heard them coming (hoped it was a deer/elk) before I saw them. Again, with BINOS... glassing with your scope and me don’t get along!

....ask me how many times I’ve been sure that a burned stump was a black bear...different story
Ha Ha! I was just going to add that exact point - how many stumps have you been SURE were a black bear.. but why won’t it move??? LOL
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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4,706
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SW NM
No.
I have been scoped. The last guy I went after.
I was soo loud in my rage the cabin below called the law. I had his rifle on the ground unloaded,the kid & the dufus dad crying when SO showed up.
The deputy cited him and told him to take another safety course.
I hope he quit hunting.
Since then whenever I see more than a couple vehicles in an area, I leave. I will leave a good area,for my peace of mind.
I could never hunt or hike where most of you folks do. But then again I'm me.
 

Straight Arrow

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Jun 10, 2009
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Gallatin Gateway, MT
Years ago nearby a father mistakenly took his son for a deer and fatally wounded him. The rancher, young man at the time, was first on the scene. He never hunted himself after that. He does allow youth and disabled hunters to hunt on the ranch, but with close supervision and with strict rules regarding safety and weed controls.
Use your spotting scope and binoculars. Be careful out there!
 

Bam Bam

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Jul 2, 2021
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Location
Eastern Wyoming
My Dad and I both did it at the same moment. We were hunting a thick forest in Western PA when I was a teenager, and my Dad's uncle came hiking through the pines with a big walking stick in each hand. We couldn't see the upper half of his body, and for just that first moment those sticks looked like deer legs coming through the brush.
 
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nick87

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Dec 12, 2014
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Northern Illinois
Hell no.

I got scoped once 10 years ago at 50 yards. Redneck in overall’s with no binos. Hell all he had was a pocket knife and a Fanny pack. Toothless type.

I’m not too cool to wear plenty of orange.
Yup, once you've been scoped you wont soon forget it. Give me plenty of orange. Had a guy parallel to me on my right scope me from about 200 yards away. Said he was watching a rabbit behind me through his scope, he was deer hunting. I mean wtf!
 

Sytes

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Sep 25, 2009
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Montana
On a lazy day, several years ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

<Queue Star Wars intro music>

Caught antlers move in high grass and staged myself some 80 yards distance. Some time later it stood and I had my scope lined up, waiting for a step broadside.

He quickly turned his head alerted by something. I raise the scope a bit and there in the distance a lady was enjoying her walk (no orange) along a fence line maybe 75 yards beyond. Almost spot on in my line of fire!

A cold chill ran down my back! I packed up and left the area. Never to return there again.
 

ThunderNocked

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Aug 3, 2020
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421
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North Pole, Alaska
Growing up nobody I knew used Binoculars outside the vehicle. They were cumbersome, noisy and got in the way in the sage brush you were sneaking through. So once we left the vehicle they got left. Dad never scoped anybody that I know of - never saw people on most of our hunts.
Fast forward to me starting to hunt alone in Alaska where there is no Orange requirement. In my first two years of hunting I had multiple incidents where I saw movement in the brush above or below me so I would stop and toss my rifle up and identify what was moving and every time it was berry pickers out in these areas where I was trying to get back and bounce off main trails. So after that I decided that I would get Binos because it just didn't sit well with me. Asked my dad about it and he said he'd never run into the issue and never thought about it.

My really sketchy moment came though when I was with a hunting partner - neither of us had on orange (like I said not required in Alaska) and we split up to try to get this moose. Well as I was working down from above he started working up. I saw movement in the trees threw up my bino's and it was him. So I stopped as I realized bull was gone. I waved at him, and he froze, then i saw him moving up to a tree and acting sneaky. After a couple seconds i saw him peaking out and I waved again. Threw my binos up and he was using a limb as a rest and had his rifle aimed. I waved, whistled and jumped all while I was still watching him through the glass. when he didn't stop I YELLED "HEY MAN WHAT THE HELL!" he immediately whipped the rifle down and then stepped out. When i got to him and asked he said 'oh i was just checking out the movement for a sec but saw it was you.' Needless to say we don't hunt together anymore.

Second story but not about being glassed up- took my daughter out on a pretty 'wild' Caribou hunt - had us both wearing Orange - and I got her hot pink too since I knew that pink arrow vanes are the easiest to see but it wasn't nearly as visible as that blaze orange - and we ended up having people shooting over our heads from a ridge top. They shot Caribou that were cresting the ridge and running parrallel between us but they just shot them up top without looking over. The problem was we were climbing up to get on that ridge. That was the closest I've ever heard a bullet as I could see the racks of the Caribou as they were running along the ridge. I wouldn't have shot because that was the direction of the road - but my daughter is still nervous about going out this year. So that was pretty crappy.
 

fwagner

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Jan 13, 2020
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While turkey hunting in the late spring when the woods were really starting to get thick I heard footsteps coming up hill towards me, I turned my gun barrel towards the direction of the sound thinking it might be a bird and it turned out to be a deer. I realized my mistake immediately that I pointed my gun in a unsafe direction while making a unreasonable assumption could have been a disaster. So I made learned from that mistake and realized it was good example of how things can go bad. I do know a hunter safety instructor, with decades and decades of hunting experience, who mistook a young kid for a tom in the early morning and shot him. You would have bet your life he would be the last person to make that mistake.....
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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East TN
To quote Steven rinella, "so not only did you think you were shooting a deer, you thought it was a buck, and you thought you were shooting it in the lungs?
Didn't his brother catch a bullet through his backpack while packing out a deer sometime in the last few years?
 

JV842

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Aug 26, 2016
Messages
517
Location
San Antonio TX
Was watching a herd of elk going to there afternoon bed in Colorado. Had what appeared to be a father n son walking up to me completely oblivious to the beard a few hundred yards away in the open. I stood up in a position wide open to the hunters n covered to the elk; orange vest and hat, hunters were maybe 50yards, they didn’t notice, waved, no notice. The next thing was stupid on me but I let a mew out on my diaphragm, immediately had 2 rifles pointed in my direction!!!
 

homers

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Sep 20, 2015
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I did once, was told by the doctors he probably would have made it if I hadn't field dressed him.
 

manitou1

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Oct 29, 2017
Messages
268
All the time. Yank the backstraps, kick some dirt and sticks over them and move on!
BTW: Cookout at my place noon, August 1st. All invited!
 

Stephen A

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Jul 30, 2021
Messages
15
I'm always amazed whenever I hear of a hunter being mistaken for a turkey or deer and shot by a fellow hunter. I've hunted off and on for 10 years on public land and I've never seen a person strongly resemble a game animal, let alone so convinced I was about to pull the trigger. Obviously, it happens and a lot across the country.

I feel like the nature of spring turkey lends itself to this type of incident but wide-open western hunting seems less likely.

Has anyone ever been straight-up fooled?

I do know a few years back, a family-friend was hunting on my in-laws cattle ranch in CO and he was shot while riding an ATV by a shooter from the public access road that cut through the private property. He survived but almost lost his arm. Hunter wearing orange moving on an ATV, not convinced that was an accident
I'm always amazed whenever I hear of a hunter being mistaken for a turkey or deer and shot by a fellow hunter. I've hunted off and on for 10 years on public land and I've never seen a person strongly resemble a game animal, let alone so convinced I was about to pull the trigger. Obviously, it happens and a lot across the country.

I feel like the nature of spring turkey lends itself to this type of incident but wide-open western hunting seems less likely.

Has anyone ever been straight-up fooled?

I do know a few years back, a family-friend was hunting on my in-laws cattle ranch in CO and he was shot while riding an ATV by a shooter from the public access road that cut through the private property. He survived but almost lost his arm. Hunter wearing orange moving on an ATV, not convinced that was an accident
The day I mistake a hunter for a turkey or deer is the last day I will ever hunt. I ask myself the same thing all the time, do people really just start letting bullets fly when they see a little movement? Have some ethics about yourself and know what you are shooting at!!
 
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