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!