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Pangs of guilt shooting this Roe Buck

devon deer

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Devon, England
The season for Roe Bucks in the UK started on 1st April, but i have been so busy fishing i have had little time to go hunting.
But for the past 3 weeks i have been trying for one, but only seeing out of season deer, the bucks have been absent, probably in the crops where i can't see them, but last evening i noticed a doe lying down with a buck in a grass field, it's coming up to the rut so i assume he was getting ready to have some fun with his little lady.
But she was so alert she caught some movement and ran off with him into the thick timber, so i worked my way around and waited, 30 minutes later she appeared followed by the buck, she was nervous, he sensed it and started to bark an alarm, i watched him barking for ages until he came to within 80 yards slightly quartering away and i shot off my sticks, i could only see his neck so that was the shot i took, .243 and 100 grain Speer.

But i have never ever felt so guilty about shooting a deer, it played on my mind for a while, robbing him of some fun times ahead, but i think it was because i observed him for so long before taking the shot, anyone else had the same guilt feelings?
All part of hunting really and being human i suppose.
Oh well, at least i will have some venison in the next few days.





Cheers

Richard
 

1_pointer

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Congrats! To answer your question about guilt, not really. Though I'll admit to a plethora of emotions when finally taking an animal I don't think guilt truly describes it. I used to think it was, but the more and more I hunt I think it's more a combination of relief and accomplishment.
 

Southwind

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Nicely done as usual, well maybe he got his boogie on before he came out of the crops.

Closest I have been to that is taking a buck after witnessing his 5 seconds of fame, I think he was still happy when I filled my tag.
 

Nameless Range

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I don't know if I have ever felt guilty for the actual killing of a deer, though I have felt guilty over poor shots.

I did feel guilty when I killed my moose, and still have mixed feelings when I look him over on my fireplace. I didn't need to kill him. I didn't 'need' the meat, and moose don't really "need" to be managed and in fact they were and are hurting in Montana. Even though he was on the upper edge of a moose lifespan, and had certainly had his fun(in fact he was looking for fun when he found my bullet). I have always experienced moose sightings in my life as special and somewhat rare experiences. In killing him I certainly robbed someone of the experience of seeing a giant. I felt like that moose walked the line of being too beautiful to destroy, and I destroyed him for reasons belonging to and benefitting me and me alone, and to the detriment of everyone else and the moose himself, I destroyed him.

Guilt is definitely part of hunting for some.
 

sbhooper

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No guilt here, but I understand what you are saying. I guess the only bad feelings that I ever get about shooting a critter, is doing depredation work for my neighbor.in the summer. Does and fawns have to go and it is a little crappy shooting the small fawns sometimes (but, MAN, they are tasty!). The justification is that all the meat is salvaged and used by me or someone else.
 

T Bone

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West Slope, CO
I get it with mountain goats. To me, they seem like God's pets. They are very amazing critters carving out a living in some formidable country. I don't care for the taste of the meat....

The hunt itself is the trophy and I'll continue applying and may get one or two more goat hunts in before the knees get too creaky.
 

BR-549

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I never used to have a problem with it. However, since my father passed in 1992 (@46yrs old) I always teeter between sad and joy after taking any animal. I think maybe as a young adult I realized the finality of death by the experience.
I still love to hunt but I am very carful about the animals I choose to harvest. Meaning I try my best to only harvest mature animals.
I know animals do not have the ability to rationalize and only live by means of instinct and survival, but it is hard not to project our emotions. I think it is a normal reaction/ feeling.
 

Foxtrot1

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Jacksonville, Alabama
Not really sure if it can be called guilt or remorse, but as I've gotten older each time I kill something whether it's a deer, wood duck, or pheasant I feel a little sadness at the passing of such a great animal. It's just a small part compared to the joy of a successful hunt, but it should be noted. I think it comes from the amount of time we spend thinking about and working toward a successful hunt. No one that doesn't hunt can truly understand the value these animals have for us. Each one we take is one that won't be there in the future. I now see those thoughts as paying respect to the animal. In many ways this makes the other parts of the hunt that much more special whether its the experiance, hard work, or utilization of the animal that comes from hunting. It means more because of the price that was paid for it.

That deer will probably stand out in your mind among all the ones you have harvested. Take pride in the hunt that went well, cook some tenderloin, pour a cold beer, and think back about all of the good times you've had chasing deer.
 

HSi-ESi

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Guilt isn't exactly how I would describe my feelings (and being raised Catholic I have had serious doses of guilt in my life). Pangs of regret at times - definitely yes.

It's great that Devon Deer got up close and personal with this animal. I have the strongest feelings when I have watched an animal for some time - knowing well what my intentions are. A bull elk in 2011 was this way. I watched him for about 6 hours. We spotted the herd in the morning but couldn't get a clean shot. The herd moved out to about 700 yards and bedded. I watched them the entire 6 hours, sleeping, sparring, bugling, chewing his cud - knowing that when afternoon came they would feed back down within range. That night we cooked a tenderloin on a 'super heated rock' in our backpack camp. It still remains one of my better memories of after-the-kill meals.

Now I look forward to the 'after the shot' activities much more than I used to. Field dressing, packing it out, cutting it up and packaging, making sausage and great food my kids love. The slight change of perception helps soften the regret for me.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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IMO, I would be more worried when the feelings stop; good, bad, or otherwise. It's what makes us human. I can honestly say I have felt almost every different emotion while hunting, and that is why I love to do it.
 
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----

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I don't know if I have ever felt guilty for the actual killing of a deer, though I have felt guilty over poor shots.

I did feel guilty when I killed my moose, and still have mixed feelings when I look him over on my fireplace. I didn't need to kill him. I didn't 'need' the meat, and moose don't really "need" to be managed and in fact they were and are hurting in Montana. Even though he was on the upper edge of a moose lifespan, and had certainly had his fun(in fact he was looking for fun when he found my bullet). I have always experienced moose sightings in my life as special and somewhat rare experiences. In killing him I certainly robbed someone of the experience of seeing a giant. I felt like that moose walked the line of being too beautiful to destroy, and I destroyed him for reasons belonging to and benefitting me and me alone, and to the detriment of everyone else and the moose himself, I destroyed him.

Guilt is definitely part of hunting for some.

I appreciated reading this, and often wondered the same thing and have talked to others that have felt similar.

I had to stop putting in for moose tag that I know so well, just because I know how bad I would've felt killing one in there.

The double edge sword in Montana is that if you want to put in for a tag with decent draw odds, you're going to be hunting a struggling moose population.
 

LopeHunter

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I grew up thinking no different about an animal we could hunt than a carrot in the garden. These items are food. The animal deserves respect in how I harvest the animal. Ethics are involved in how I go about hunting and what can hunt when. If I make a poor shot then I feel significant discomfort in knowing I should have done better and I now need to quickly resolve this so the animal does not continue to needlessly suffer. Is food, though. Organic and free-range food.
 

RobG

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If I was to be shot I would rather it happen while I was thinking happy thoughts about getting laid instead of being terrified about getting shot. JMO :D.
 

NKQualtieri

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I think the honesty of this post is worth noting. I'm going to be hunting for the first time this fall and I think about the emotional implications I have wrapped into the hunt simply from spending so much time in the backcountry and experiencing wildlife in such amazing, intimate ways.

When I was in 4-H, my friends who raised meat animals had to learn a lot of hard lessons. The kids are taught to take care of these animals from an emotional distance--you don't name something you're going to eat, you don't build a relationship with that animal. But it's never a simple lesson to learn when you're involved in that animal's life. I watched a friend cry inconsolably as she sold her first steer in the fair auction after he'd won an award. She'd bottle-fed him, named him, cared for him, and he'd become her friend. The next year, she didn't make that mistake again.

My step-brother stopped hunting after he killed a deer in which its sibling or buddy refused to leave it, even as he butchered it. The other deer sat watching the entire time he gutted and broke down the animal, even when he'd try to chase it away. He'd hunted his whole life & was in his early 20s when that happened. Everyone else in the family hunts. He just didn't after that experience.

The relationship & interconnected nature of humans to animals--even wild ones--is important and complicated. It's okay for guilt to factor into that I think, hopefully that feeling can evolve into something different, or help you to take different routes in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to examine this, Devon. I'm sure I'll be going through that processing this fall, as I'm sure many hunters have done before us.
 

mulecreek

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Devon Deer,

I don't think that emotion from hunting is all that uncommon. My father killed a buck when I was 16. It was the first deer I had ever seen taken and I was very excited. He was completely the opposite. You could see it in his face that he regretted killing that deer. He asked me to leave and continue hunting while he cleaned the buck. When I returned he told me that he would never kill another deer again and he hasn't. He has since taken many birds with no regrets and has been with me when I have taken large animals but he has no desire to do it himself.

I had a friend I worked with that had taken dozens of big game animals and as he put it had a blood lust like no other. He was hunting with a friend that shot a calf elk and he said that almost put him to tears.

I even remember an episode of Meat Eater where Steve Rinella watches a black bear on the shoreline for some time and in the end just cant bring himself to pull the trigger. Not due to the size of the bear but there was just something that felt wrong to him

I think it happens more than people think it does.
 

Sawtooth

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I had a similar experience as NKQualtieri's brother happen to me when I first started hunting as a teenager. The buck I had just shot dropped right in its tracks, legs folded under itself with its head straight out in front. It looked just like it was bedding down for a nap. The smaller buck that was with it walked up to his bigger buddy and just stood there. I was only 50 yards away from them when I shot, and after the shot I took my time putting my backpack on and walking over to the bucks.
The smaller buck refused to leave and would just look at me, then look back at the "sleeping" buck, and then back at me. When I got within 20 yards of the two deer, I yelled at the buck to "get out of here" and the smaller one tried to nudge the bigger buck to get him to move and then moved off about thirty yards away. It stayed within 50 yards of me as I started to quarter out the other deer and didn't leave until ten to fifteen minutes into the process. Needless to say my excitement of being a successful hunter was tempered that day. That experience did help to remind me of the finality that comes with a successful hunt and not take venison for granted.
 

Ben Long

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I think "guilt" is a big emotion, best reserved for really bad deeds. Cheating on a spouse, stealing, poisoning someone's dog or burning down their house. That is the realm of guilt and remorse. Killing for meat evokes a lot of emotions -- sometimes regret, second-thoughts, misgivings, existential wonder at the circle of life. It's all part of it and all part of what makes hunting a rich experience, IMO. When you kill something as beautiful as this roe buck without a pang of emotion, it's time to take up golf. Meanwhile, I try to embrace the experience and enjoy the meat.
 

Ben Long

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BTW, is a roe deer native to Great Britain? I read somewhere that the Romans imported pheasants and some kind of deer to Great Britain 2000 years ago? Any truth to that?
 

bobbydean

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New Mexico
My daughter grew up shooting in the 4-H shooting club ( an great program). Became and still is an outstanding shot. Has regularly outshot her boy friends thru the years.

She first shot a small antelope buck when she was 12. We both enjoyed the experience.
She had been on my deer hunts since she was 3. Love to help me gut the animal. Another great experience.

When she was 16. my brother and I took her on a mule deer hunt. In a small public patch of land surrounded by private, we had her set up on a nice 4 X 4 at 75 yards.
She could not pull the trigger, Hasn't hunted since. She is now 26.

She still shoots frequently, but the hunting bug has not bitten her again. Now, living in Denver, she talking of taking the Colorado Hunter Safety. In school now, with no extra time, I think it will be next summer before she gets back into it.

There is a deep emotional attachment with certain species. She would shoot an antelope without a thought, but waiting till she overcomes the "Bambi" attachment, She may never overcome it
 

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