learned my lesson the hard way

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Rowenna7, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    I'm pretty new at this whole deer-hunting thing. This past deer season was my 3rd year going, and I was desperately hoping to get my first deer this year. As things turned out, neither my DH or I were able to tag a deer, which was a huge disappointment because the venison we get each year is the majority of our food supply.

    Anyways, on to my story. Last week on Tuesday, the DH and I both got a shot at a really large buck as it ran by. The DH was a lot further away and we know he missed for certain. I was much closer, but as the buck was running full speed and didn't jump or fall or even break stride when I shot, I made the assumption that I missed it. DH and I discussed it, and we ended up not going up to where it was to check for blood or anything, we figured we blew it. Today I found out that either I or another woman out hunting killed the deer. She was on an adjoining property and had shot at him first, he kept going and that is when he ran by the DH and I. When we saw him, he did not appear to be injured at all, no limp and his run appeared totally normal other than the fact he was moving really quickly, and we know he wasn't shot at afterwards, so DH believes that I was the one that actually shot it. The neighbors think they are the ones that shot it. Regardless, unfortunately he wasn't found until 4 days later, the neighbors found him by accident lying dead in some brush. They tagged him themselves, turned out he was a very large non-typical buck. It doesn't bother me so much that they got what we believe to be my deer (although it would have been pretty cool to tag a deer like that as my very first!) but the fact that it was dead for 4 days before it was found and all the meat was spoiled really bothers me. I hate being wasteful, and this to me was a huge waste. I told the DH that I will never make that mistake again. In the future if I get a shot at something, I'll follow up and check for blood or any sign that I might have hit it, even if I believe I missed, like I thought I did in this case.

    There's a 4-day late doe-only late season coming up shortly, so we'll be trying again to harvest some venison then, and I will definitely make a point of following up on any shots I make.

    edited to add...my rifle is a .223 single shot. DH says the reason the deer didn't jump or fall or whatever when I shot was because the rifle I use is smaller and so fast, the deer might not have even felt it right away. I don't know if that is possible or not, but if so, it is good to know for the future that something like that could happen!
     
  2. jross

    jross swamper

    Messages:
    1,040
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Live and learn. Any deer can run over one hundred yards with it's heart and lungs destroyed in those 11 seconds it takes it to die. A .223 hit on a running deer may not show as you said. Anyone who says they haven't made a mistake in their hunting life is either fibbing or the best hunter in the world.
     

  3. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    WV
    Had a friend (rookie hunter) in Michigan do the same thing one year. We met back at the camper at noon and he said he shot at a deer and it didn't even slow down. He showed me where the deer was when he shot. I found a few spots of blood and trailed it up over a ridge into a cut over area.
    We soon found the gut pile. He learned real fast too. :p
     
  4. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    First off unless you have pacticed shooting moving target you never shoot at a running deer. Even if you have practiced its not a good idea. Secondly if you do take a shot at a deer and it runs you have a duty to go check for blood . Not doing so is unsportsmanly.
    The reason Our ground is closed to most hunters is because Ive found too many dead deer that no one bothered to trail. So far this fall our timber has produced an 8 a 12 and a 6 point buck all between 9 and 11am , does come through 7-10am .
    Biggest mistake I see hunters make is not entering the hunting area until deer season.Want a successful hunt know the area and the times the deer move through. Ive not had to make a 75 yard shot in years most are within 50 yards.
    I hope for your 223 your using the heaviest soft point you can find
     
  5. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    Thanks for replying, I am new to this (DH has hunted for many years so I depend on him for a lot of how to go about things.) I do have some comments to make regarding your post. I have heard some people say not to shoot at a running deer. I have done some target shooting and done pretty well with it, but with a moving target it is definitely a lot harder. That said, every single deer my DH has taken in the last several years has been running. Most of those were when someone was driving the woods however...this year it seems like even without the drives they are still running. He told me if one came running by to at least try for it, as we have a family to feed it is worth the attempt. I agree with you 100% that we really messed up by assuming I had missed and not checking for blood, etc. I really screwed that up, and I honestly feel horrible about it....I guess that was the whole point of my original post, that I would NOT make that mistake again. That is a very good point you make also about observing the deer before the season starts. We don't own or live on the property we hunt, it is the DH's family farm, his uncles live there but we have permission to go up whenever we want. I'll definitely have to try a little scouting ahead of time next time around! I'm not sure exactly what my shells are, I'd have to ask the DH on that one. They were recommended for deer by one of the local gun shops. Anyways, thanks for your input on this!
     
  6. After years of hunting I finally just quit shooting at running deer. Instead I will raise the rifle and follow it as long as I can in hopes it will stop and look back. Sometimes they just keep going till I see them no more, but once in a while one will stop and look back. Bad mistake on their part, cause that is when I will finally shoot.
     
  7. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,625
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    Dont beat yourself up too bad about it. Thats how we learn. Id suggest getting a larger gun if possible. That would increase your chances. A 243 wouldnt kick a whole lot harder but would have MUCH better killing power. And as others have said, always assume youve hit it and check for a blood trail. Many deer wont show any outward signs of being hit Better luck next time!
     
  8. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Location:
    No. Illinois
    Good advice in these responses. A 243 would be a great choice and not produce much felt recoil at all.
    Hitting running deer is something I gave up on too. My mistakes came in gut shooting them. It's real easy to not lead them enough.
    Better luck in the doe season!!!
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,625
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    I noticed you said youre using a 223 single shot. If its a Rossi or NEF, you can get a 243 barrel for it. You'd have to send it to the factory to have it fitted, but once thats done, you could switch barrels any time. It can also be fitted with shotgun barrels

    http://www.hr1871.com/Firearms/Rifles/youth.aspx
     
  10. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    When you shoot at a deer and "miss", always note two points. One is where the deer was when you shot at it and the other is the last place you saw it. First check where it was when you fired. If the bullet passed through the deer, look for signs of blood from there to 10-15 feet further on the trail. If nothing, then track from there to where you last seen the deer and continue on until either finding a dead deer or proving that it's left the county. I had to go for a heart shot at a standing deer with my .222 a few years back. Deer took off like a rocket and ran over a hill. Since I was trying to thread the bullet between two trees, it looked like a miss. But when I got to that spot, there was a spray of blood on some prickly ash bushes a few steps further on. For the several hundred feet that the deer's flight was visible, there was nothing apparently wrong with it. She barely made it over the hill and dropped.

    Smaller caliber bullets often don't exit the deer and the same goes for some big guns. Twice, my son shot deer with .30-06 and had two entrance holes but no exits from a single shot. Core and jacket separated after passing through brush! Also, the last buck that I shot with a .30-06 had his heart reduced to nothing but mush and I thought that he would never stop running at top speed!

    Another time with my .222, I went to fire at a deer and a sling snap broke just as I pulled the trigger. I was going for a neck shot at a deer quartering away from me. I heard the bullet hit but the deer simply vanished into a lot of thick brush. There was only one way that she could go but impossible to visually follow her. Out of the corner of my eye, there was a quick flash of white. It was her belly showing when she flopped from a liver to heart shot! Without catching that glimpse of white, I may never have found her since all the bleeding was internal.

    Always, and I mean ALWAYS, assume that you hit something every time you pull that trigger. "I think that I only hit a tree." has never been an excuse for not checking.

    As for shooting at running deer, the first one I ever shot was running and I dropped her after firing from the hip! But that's a story for another time!

    Rowenna, you should be able to find plenty of venison-on-the-hoof in your area yet. Our family hunts a basic triangle from Hollandale to Spring Green to Mineral Point. Those hunting the Point area are getting some monster bucks which are the result of attempting to control the doe populations the past two years. That's why Iowa County had lots more bucks than does during the regular 9-day season. I've informed my shooters that I'm full. Otherwise, I'd have them looking for one for you!

    Martin
     
  11. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    292
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Location:
    Meade Co Kentucky
    I'll give you credit, at least you're out there trying. When I first started hunting years ago, they're weren't that many deer in Kentucky and I think I hunted about 5 years before I got one. It sure was getting frustrating!
    If you go to a store about a month before deer season and look at the magazine racks you'll see all kinds of "Sure fire tips for Whitetails!" or "Tactics for monster Bucks", or "Do's and dont's of deer hunting". Everybody has an opinion on what the best way to deer hunt is. And as far as the "rule" about never shoot at a running deer???? Who decided that? I've got several while running, I've missed several while running. The one I got this year was running. I wanted some deer meat this years. I sat for 2 1/2 days of rotten, windy, rainy weather and didn't see one single deer. Finally, the one I did see winded me at about 75 yards and took off running full tilt parallel to me. And I'm not going to shoot? NOT! One shot, broken neck, fell where I hit it. The thing to consider about a running deer is safety. Be aware of where other hunters are or you suspect they could be, homes, livestock, etc. Don't wait until you see a deer. Prepare ahead of time where your field of fire should be safe so you don't get too focused on the deer and spray bullets everywhere. And, the most important thing....enjoy the outdoors and have fun.
     
  12. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,780
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Location:
    Maine
    I give you credit for posting this in the hopes that it may save others the same experience. Do they teach shot selection and blood trailing in these hunter safety classes that the states require for new hunters?

    I don't shoot at moving deer, I think it just decreases the odds of a quick, humane kill, and may ruin a lot of good meat. I have found several dead deer in the woods that had been gut shot, or shot in the hams. Not a pretty sight. I've had to let a lot of deer go that didn't present what I considered a good shot.
     
  13. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    Thank you all for the great ideas and advice, it is really appreciated. Some of you suggested I get a different gun, that has been in the works for a while now. I'll finish out this year with the .223 but out of our tax returns we are planning to get a 22/250 (is that how you write it?) bolt-action. The reason I've got the .223 single shot right now is because I am left-handed and left-handed guns are more expensive. The DH didn't want to get me a more expensive gun that he would be unable to use himself (he's right-handed) until he knew for sure I was going to continue to deer hunt. After 3 years, I think he's established that I'm going to keep going, so now I'll get to upgrade to the better gun! He's actually talking about getting a 22/250 for himself for deer hunting also, everyone we talked to has said they are excellent guns.
     
  14. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    We're in Grant County so pretty close to you. If you are familiar with the Beetown area that is where we do most of our hunting. There are loads of deer around, this season, except for opening weekend, there were very few people out hunting so the deer were for the most part staying hidden. DH has a muzzleloader and muzzleloader season is going on now so we're hoping he'll have a chance at something in the next few days here, and then after that there is the late doe season which I'll be able to go out for. We do have some venison already, the DH's brother got a couple of small deer and his dad also got a little button buck. All three of these deer were smaller than my dog (LOL I have a saint bernard) but the entire extended family (it is a large family) will all get to share the meat. I also just found out after I posted yesterday that my family is eligible to receive some donation venison (we're low income) so I'm not going to worry quite so much if we aren't able to get a deer.
     
  15. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    I definitely agree there. When I shot at the buck I was sitting at the top of a ravine that I had been watching for a couple of days. I made sure I knew exactly where the livestock was ahead of time, and I also made sure there were no roads, homes or other hunters in that direction. Otherwise I would not have tried the shot. We had actually hunted another area on a different day where I could see the highway through the trees. I told the DH that I felt very uncomfortable hunting there because of that. We ended up leaving and have no plans of going back to that spot. I worry a lot about safety in general, you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to guns!
     
  16. Rowenna7

    Rowenna7 Looking for my place...

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern Wisconsin
    I sure hope my experience can help someone else avoid the mistake of not following up on their shots. I know I'll NEVER make that mistake again!

    You know that is a very good question about the classes! I took hunter's safety 10 years ago, when I was 17, although I never hunted until much later. I don't remember anything about shot selection or blood trailing being covered in class, although maybe they do now. My 12 year old nephew just went through the class recently, I'll have to ask him if they cover it now.
     
  17. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,040
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    First I applaud you for hunting. I do however have a big problem with the .223 single shot for shootin runnin deer. The .22 cal rounds are NOT the best rounds for game. They are not even recomended by very many at all. A semi .223 at runnin game close may be better because your follow ups are available quickly, but you really need to upgrade to the .243 or above class. You can handle a 30-30 or .243 easy enough. I believe savage makes a lefty bolt gun that works well. A lever gun is pretty lefty friendly too if stocked ambidextiously. To not even check the area because "you did not think ya hit it" is WRONG - as you found out. You do owe that to game you shoot at. A lung shot at a runnin deer or heart shot often shows little or no sign of a hit. But the good news is that you are learning.
     
  18. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,625
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    If your single shot is a "Handi Rifle" you can get different barrels for it. A 22 cal is NOT really big enough to reliably kill deer. PLEASE get at LEAST a 24 caliber!
     
  19. GREENCOUNTYPETE

    GREENCOUNTYPETE Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,225
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    WISCONSIN
    I am in green county wis about an hour east of you it sounds
    i hunt farther north but all of our deer were running this year also
    i think it may have been partly because of how dry it had been and they can hear the rustel of the leaves from the drivers that seems to get them good and spooked and i hear some of these guys talk about deer that stop and turn back to look. when I say running I mean running like a race horse in the 4th turn not the little trot and stop to look i have seen that out of season of and from a tree stand bow hunting

    but you may want to look into a tree stand if your not in one now then you are much more likely to see standing deer or watch them walk in when you get a deer from a tree stand it seems almost unfair they have no idea where the shot came from or wich way to run

    but good luck with opening weekend I don't know if most people realise what wisconsin looks like on opening day imagine 60,000+ in the woods hunting on one day if you go for a drive on opening day it is nearly imposable not to see orange

    one year i hunted one of the large tracts of county owned land just noth of black river falls there were so many hunters they had a cop directing trafic into the place and there were constant shots from the time you could see till 9 am
    we only have a 9 day gun deer season followed like you said by a 7 day muzzel loader so hopfuly your luck will be better durring mzldr season
    but the deer are pushed hard opening weekend so for the most part people that i have talked to in wisconsin have thier deer by 9 am saturday or shoot a runner later unless like one of my freinds who just seems to have the luck of getting a lot of deer to just wander into the area behind his garden and pastures this is why he got 2 deer if he could hit the broad side of a barn with that new rifle he would have 5 more.

    good luck
    Pete
     
  20. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    Sorry didnt mean to come off as harsh as the post looked .
    If you were in our area Id be happy to take ya down and set you up for a doe
    though You'd have to use my little rifle . 223s and 06s carry too far for our area . Its a 44 winchester not much kick at all :) and they dont run
    When I hear someone using a 223 Im always afriad they are using the cheap chinese FMJs which arent good for hunting .
    A hint though on a running deer blow a loud whistle some times they will stop at the sound givinig just enough time to get a good shot . A doe call or buck grunt will also work