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

matechakeric

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Dec 15, 2020
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339
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!!
Couldn't agree more. Then again, people mistake all kinds of things in the woods for big foot
 

shrapnel

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Aug 27, 2015
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1,127
Good Lord! You don’t belong in the woods!


I made due with the optics of an old 3X Weaver scope and shot a helluva pile of animals. Now I have a decent 3X9 which really makes binoculars redundant.


And I was surprised to learn I'm not the only guy in the world smart enough to avoid dragging bulky binocs around elk hunting.
 

Cheesehead

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Dec 6, 2017
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651
No! I once scoped an orange vest a half mile away because it didn't move in a half hour and very nasty country. Wanted to make sure he wasn't down and out. He was scoping me! Happened to run into him as I was driving out that night. He was waiting at the highway to intercept me and apologize. He was also scoping to make sure I was okay. I don't know what he was shooting but my 06 with 180 gr wouldn't make it half way there if a meteorite fell on me and discharged the gun. We were both shocked to see another hunter up in that gawdforsaken place. And I was surprised to learn I'm not the only guy in the world smart enough to avoid dragging bulky binocs around elk hunting.
PLOT TWIST: It was the late great Otto Matic
 

88man

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Jan 31, 2011
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Pa
Colorado about fifteen years ago. Group of friends pop out of the timber after legal shooting hours and start walking back to the truck thru a great big improved mountain pasture its gotta be almost 1.5 miles long and almost a mile wide with a little elevation changes in it between 2 and 4 feet in areas. The pasture was private ground, they had written permission to use it as access but not hunt it. While walking back to truck and it was real windy they hear a gun shot and stop to say wow what are they shooting at this late as its dark. A few seconds later before they got walking again another shot sounds off and they see/hear/feel the bullet hit the dirt basically at their feet just a few feet away. Anyway, here is what happened> A very very drunk local had permission to hunt it, relative of owner, his wife had a cow tag, drunk husband thinks he sees 4 cow elk but it was 4 hunters and he tells her aim at those cow elks heads maybe you can drop one. Guys didn't have a head lamp on as it wasn't a real dark night, bad move. CRAZY
 

HAP

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May 6, 2020
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Colorado about fifteen years ago. Group of friends pop out of the timber after legal shooting hours and start walking back to the truck thru a great big improved mountain pasture its gotta be almost 1.5 miles long and almost a mile wide with a little elevation changes in it between 2 and 4 feet in areas. The pasture was private ground, they had written permission to use it as access but not hunt it. While walking back to truck and it was real windy they hear a gun shot and stop to say wow what are they shooting at this late as its dark. A few seconds later before they got walking again another shot sounds off and they see/hear/feel the bullet hit the dirt basically at their feet just a few feet away. Anyway, here is what happened> A very very drunk local had permission to hunt it, relative of owner, his wife had a cow tag, drunk husband thinks he sees 4 cow elk but it was 4 hunters and he tells her aim at those cow elks heads maybe you can drop one. Guys didn't have a head lamp on as it wasn't a real dark night, bad move. CRAZY

Wow, that's insane. I've had a few bullets whiz over my head over the years but never that close.
 

EKYHunter

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Dec 13, 2020
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657
I’ve never mistaken a human being for any animal but I can see how it happens. There are some real idiots out there who call themselves hunters who have no business being in the woods. Some “hunters” actually believe it’s ok to shoot at movement or sounds and will brag about it. I’ve heard them myself. You can’t fix stupid.
 

a.huntress.m

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Nov 25, 2021
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Not exactly... That being said, I had someone with his grandchild (I'm assuming) come at me through very thick 0-vision brush while not responding to my loudly saying "hello? Are you human?" Repeatedly. I drew my sidearm thinking I was about to be attacked by some animal (bear? Cougar?) and began backing away to the clearing I'd come from. This guy finally came out of the brush in full head to toe military camo, grandson in tow in all green (which is illegal here, minors are required to wear blaze orange) gave me the nastiest of looks and took off towards the road. Apparently I'd ruined their hunt by trying to establish that I wasn't a target.

On another instance, my dad was actively shot at, while wearing blaze orange in broad daylight, about 200 yards down onto a draw. He took cover below a big stump, on the downhill side, while chunks of wood flew off the stump around him from the bullets hitting it. 28 years ago and says he still has nightmares on occasion.

Last instance I'll site.. a young man from my home town shot and killed his hunting partner who was in blaze orange (hat, vest and lower sleeves of his shirt) No way in hell it wasn't intentional. He got off the hook claiming it was mistaken identity, despite the 3 entry wounds to the chest from the shooters bolt action 300w/m...
 

dgc1963

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Feb 17, 2019
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744
I never could understand how this happens except for the fact their are idiots out their that never spend anytime in the woods except opening day maybe 2 or 3 days and just send lead flying
Probably due to major buck fever and stupidity
 

AKByrde

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Nov 26, 2021
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Indiana
Not that I am aware of. However, my Dad was shot by another deer hunter way back in 1971. He was fortunate and lived to hunt again; and he credits the hunter who shot him with saving his life. Let's just say gun safety was huge in our household when I was a kid.
 

Zootownelk

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Aug 26, 2016
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286
No, but once I was sitting elk hunting and heard some branches breaking and somthing "crashing" across from me on the opposite finger ridge. If I were a person who uses my rifle scope as my binos my rifle would've been pointing at a hunter on horseback riding up the ridge. This reinforced why I was always taught to use my binos and never my scope for a 'better look'.
 

msidahome89

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Dec 5, 2021
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north central ID 🖤
recently i was reading some article about this, and how apparently it can happen due to the same phenomenon that happened with that whole black/blue or white/gold dress thing that was popular on facebook years ago if anyone remembers that. how your mind can essentially “fill in the blanks” or whatever. the article was interesting to read, but i don’t know.. i’ve never had it happen to me and i feel like it couldn’t possibly. not saying its never happened to anyone, but i think in a lot of instances it was due to poor choices being made by someone.

although i’ve always been especially paranoid and careful about using binos and identifying my target and wearing orange, as one of these “accidents” is how my grandmother lost her life (there has been talk that it wasn’t an accident, but we will never know for sure). it happened before i was born, so firearm safety and wearing orange has been pounded into my head for as long as i can remember.
 

Dakotakid

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Dec 13, 2014
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336
I have experienced the opposite situation.

I was elk hunting way back in and had made it to the bottom of a timbered gully.

I heard branches breaking and twigs snapping coming from the top down towards me. Expecting the orange to pop out I waited patiently on the logging trail.

Sneaky bastard elk will use all sorts of tricks. If they could get blaze orange in their size, I expect they might wear it.
 

7Bartman

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Jan 7, 2018
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Maryland
Up until last year, I would've said how could you ever have someone else in your scope, but now I realize there is some nuance to these things happening.
I'll first tell you my story and then speak to what I suppose happens in many of these cases.
Last year, the first Monday of our whitetail gun season here in MD, found myself sitting in my climber on a piece of private that I had bowhunted regularly. Around 8 AM I watched a group of 4 does hightail it toward a thick area that I had been baiting. I was looking for the does in the thick area ~ 80 yards behind me, when I caught their movement in the thicket. Looking at the movement I also noticed a bright green vane on a trespasser's xbow which was also in my scope. Long story short some trespassing a**hole was sitting on the ground in a 3D ghillie suit with nothing but his Xbow not being camoed (blaze orange is required here in MD). I gave the guy a piece of my mind from the stand and got down and confronted him. If I had shot him, I would've been the "idiot" hunter that shot another hunter that would have made the headlines.

I think what happens in some of these cases is our brain goes into "hyper-predator" mode (e.g. tunnel vision, etc...) and doesn't pick up on visual signals/patterns that would seem easily recognizable to the uninterested observer. Not saying it makes it right, I'm just speculating at the neuroscience of what happens in many of these cases.

Case in point, I was hunting a remote drainage in Idaho this year. Walking in from the trailhead, I caught something jet black feeding in the willows below me. I nocked an arrow thinking it was a black bear. I got ready to draw when I heard some more sticks breaking behind me. I let down my draw b/c I figured it was a sow with cubs. It turned out to be two big beef cows, but my mind didn't initial recognize them as that because I wasn't thinking about them in the differential of jet black animals, so my brain only saw black bear. I had a good laugh about it at camp afterwards, but I could have easily shot a beef cow and felt really stupid for it.
 

elkmagnet

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Jul 14, 2011
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Hodale, Idaho
In Saskatchewan? Really? In eastern Montana I'll scope deer way out there to see what a buck looks like or to see if there is a buck. But they're not wearing orange. In that open country there's zero probability someone orange will suddenly pop up in my line of sight. Back East scoping game is a shocking taboo but in the open country of the West it is fairly common practice. The way I hunted elk in the mountains, binocs were pretty much dead weight. Not needed when tracking in snow. And it's just not worth the hassle digging them out and fiddling with pulling off my eyeglasses to make them work. I made due with the optics of an old 3X Weaver scope and shot a helluva pile of animals. Now I have a decent 3X9 which really makes binoculars redundant.
Seriously its a safety issue stop using your scope.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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Seriously its a safety issue stop using your scope.
Well I didn't read all this, no excuse for mistaking another person for a game animal, none at all! While I lived in Lakeside, Montana in the early 70's word came of a shooting over in Idaho. Some idiot had shot and killed a kid getting off a school bus! How in hell does that happen? Carelessness!
 

rideold

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Oct 28, 2015
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720
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Front Range of Colorado
The closest I have ever come to this is one snowy afternoon I was sitting tucked up under a fir tree in a nice hidey hole while elk hunting. I was more taking a break and getting snack than hunting at that point but I hear the crunch footsteps in the snow and so I quietly chambered a round and sat still waiting. To my disappointment a hunter walked out of the trees 50 yards or so away. I never shouldered the rifle or anything but it gave me food for thought about the situation.
 
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