WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU MISS WITH JOHN E. PHILLIPS
Editor’s Note: You'll immediately feel violently
ill when you release an arrow and watch the broadhead
cut nothing but air. Unfortunately, I've had this happen
to me more than once. At times, like you, I've heard
off in the distance my hunting buddies screaming and
hollering when they've missed shots. I've also seen
bows have rude encounters with tree trunks after they've
failed to perform properly. However, I've learned often
the best part of your bow hunt occurs after you've missed
a shot. Many times, you'll get a second shot at the
same deer or a bigger deer.
The 4 point came out of the gallberry thicket, meandered
through the red oaks and then moved on to the trail
that led to the big swamp chestnut tree. The deer stood
right where I wanted him. The buck turned when he heard
a squirrel jump from limb to limb. Only 20 yards from
him, I drew my bow and let the pin settle behind his
front shoulder. Then I gently touched the trigger on
my mechanical release. I wish I had an excuse for why
I missed. The deer might have jumped the string, my
arrow might have hit a twig, or my broadhead might have
been out of tune. But
for whatever reason, my arrow cleared the buck's back
and put the young buck's running gear into high. I watched
as my opportunity for the morning fled into the brush.
He waved a white flag, not as a surrender signal but
rather taunting me as if to say, "You didn't get
me this time."
I had three more hours left of hunting before I planned
to meet my partner at noon for lunch. Although I knew
the 4 point wouldn't have qualified as a trophy, he
would have provided many tasty meals for my family.
Discouraged, I sat still, replaying the shot, thinking
about what I might have done to prevent the miss. Held
securely in my tree stand by my harness, in the stillness
of the woods, I began to get that warm and comfortable
feeling that usually would lead to a nap in a tree stand.
I had my bow with the arrow mocked hanging on a limb
to my left. As my eyes started closing, I relaxed, knowing
that the shooting bar surrounding my tree stand would
prevent me from falling out of the stand.
minutes passed before a screaming blue jay returned
me to the conscious world. Reluctant to give up a sound
sleep, I gradually opened my right eye. On the same
trail where I'd missed the 4 point, I saw a really nice
8 point walking. Closing my eye again, I wondered whether
I was really asleep or awake. "I'll chance opening
both eyes at the same time," I told myself. "If
that 8 point is still on the trail, I'll know he's not
a mirage. I'll have to get into my hunting mode quickly."
This time when both my eyes opened, the 8 point had
his head down, feeding on acorns. When he moved his
head behind a tree, I took my bow from the limb that
held it. As a jet airplane flew low overhead, I stood
to prepare for the shot. The buck walked from behind
the tree and continued to come toward me. With the whitetail
less than 12 yards from my tree, I put the pin sight
behind his front shoulder and aimed for the lower one-third
of his chest. I tried to place the pin sight on the
white belly hair that started on the buck's underside
and intersected with the brown hair on his side. If
the buck squatted at the sound of the arrow, he'd drop
into the broadhead instead of below it. If he didn't
move when my bow fired, I'd either hit his heart or
the bottom part of his lungs. I gently squeezed the
trigger on my mechanical release. The shaft of the arrow
carried the broadhead to complete its mission. Although
the buck ran through open woods, I saw him fall about
70 yards from where he'd encountered the arrow. Had
I left my stand after missing the 4 point, I never would
have had an opportunity to take the bigger trophy buck.
make a screw-in arrow-holder that I screw into the tree
next to my tree stand to enable me to make a quick second
shot," Jerry Simmons of Jasper, Alabama, the originator
of Simmons' Broadheads, said. "I've found that
many times if you miss a buck or get a poor hit on a
buck, if you can get an arrow nocked quickly by having
it close at hand, the buck may give you a second chance."
Simmons believes a buck that doesn't know what really
has happened when he hears the sound of a bow and arrow.
The deer only may run five or 10 yards, stop and look
back, offering you a second shot. "Many times young
bucks will return to the spot where they've been shot
at and actually sniff the arrow that's stuck in the
ground," Simmons mentioned. "If you've nocked
an arrow right after the shot, you'll be prepared to
get off a second shot and may take the buck you've missed
the first time."
TOMORROW: USE THE 10-YARD FORMULA