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Is it better to wait for the best possible shot opportunity, or should you take the first good opportunity? And does bow hunting vs. gun hunting make a difference?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
    With the shot angles taken out of the equation... I don't know.

    When I actually get out to rifle hunt I generally have 2 or 3 days of the 2 week season out in western PA. The bucks have improved dramatically in the past 10 years, but still, if you see a shooter, and you have a shot, you'd be highly advised to take it. Archery seasons in my unit run from the middle of September to the end of January.. then it all gets a bit more subjective. I'm out for meat, and would prefer if I take a buck it's a decent buck.
    I generally buy 2 doe tags and we can take one buck per year with your general license. If I have a doe tag free, a mature doe that gives a good shot is in mortal danger at any point.
    A buck gets put through an algorithm that involves lots of variables like size of antlers, size of body, time left in season, is there venison in a the freezer..? It all depends.

    I've eaten tags on several years where I was completely skunked after passing over young, but legal deer early in the season. It makes me hesitant to pass on the first good shot on the first legal animal I encounter.

    I'm having trouble with the concept of being more likely to take a questionable shot with a rifle than a bow. There are more good shots available with a rifle just due to energy. But questionable shots are still bad shots. I could argue that other than being gut shot, a deer is more likely to shake off an arrow hit to deep muscle than the additional trauma and bone crushing energy that a rifle will deliver.. but you're still likely to be hard pressed to find that rifle deer you shot in the rump.

    Full disclosure, I just recovered a doe that I hit badly after a branch deflected my arrow into it's lower rear leg breaking it. It didn't go far due to terrain, a bad break, and a lot of luck. But the shot that I was presented with looked great, other than not seeing that branch in the flight path in the shadows.
    Canines are quicker than we give them credit for. I had a similar experience with a fox. Was on stand out behind the house and saw a fox run up to and pause at the chicken coop door. Only time I'd shot at a fox while hunting, in other circumstances I like watching them and have no desire to kill one. It's left side was facing me as well, when I released it startled and pivoted on it's front legs. Arrow went by the left shoulder of a fox that was now facing my direction.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
      With the shot angles taken out of the equation... I don't know.

      When I actually get out to rifle hunt I generally have 2 or 3 days of the 2 week season out in western PA. The bucks have improved dramatically in the past 10 years, but still, if you see a shooter, and you have a shot, you'd be highly advised to take it. Archery seasons in my unit run from the middle of September to the end of January.. then it all gets a bit more subjective. I'm out for meat, and would prefer if I take a buck it's a decent buck.
      I generally buy 2 doe tags and we can take one buck per year with your general license. If I have a doe tag free, a mature doe that gives a good shot is in mortal danger at any point.
      A buck gets put through an algorithm that involves lots of variables like size of antlers, size of body, time left in season, is there venison in a the freezer..? It all depends.

      I've eaten tags on several years where I was completely skunked after passing over young, but legal deer early in the season. It makes me hesitant to pass on the first good shot on the first legal animal I encounter.

      I'm having trouble with the concept of being more likely to take a questionable shot with a rifle than a bow. There are more good shots available with a rifle just due to energy. But questionable shots are still bad shots. I could argue that other than being gut shot, a deer is more likely to shake off an arrow hit to deep muscle than the additional trauma and bone crushing energy that a rifle will deliver.. but you're still likely to be hard pressed to find that rifle deer you shot in the rump.

      Full disclosure, I just recovered a doe that I hit badly after a branch deflected my arrow into it's lower rear leg breaking it. It didn't go far due to terrain, a bad break, and a lot of luck. But the shot that I was presented with looked great, other than not seeing that branch in the flight path in the shadows.
      @hft,
      Offer a sleeping dog a piece of food and see how fast they jump up, haha. Seriously though....great reflexes.

      Comment


      • #18
        My motto, "If you have the shot, pull the trigger. You may not get another chance."

        Often I hunt in wooded spots with 60 yard or less shot opportunities. If a deer or pig is moving through, I may only have 7 to 10 seconds before it disappears back into the undergrowth.

        So, I will take the first available shot, often within 3 seconds of recognizing and identifying the target. That was the case for the big sow pictured below, taken before sunrise.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
          With the shot angles taken out of the equation... I don't know.

          When I actually get out to rifle hunt I generally have 2 or 3 days of the 2 week season out in western PA. The bucks have improved dramatically in the past 10 years, but still, if you see a shooter, and you have a shot, you'd be highly advised to take it. Archery seasons in my unit run from the middle of September to the end of January.. then it all gets a bit more subjective. I'm out for meat, and would prefer if I take a buck it's a decent buck.
          I generally buy 2 doe tags and we can take one buck per year with your general license. If I have a doe tag free, a mature doe that gives a good shot is in mortal danger at any point.
          A buck gets put through an algorithm that involves lots of variables like size of antlers, size of body, time left in season, is there venison in a the freezer..? It all depends.

          I've eaten tags on several years where I was completely skunked after passing over young, but legal deer early in the season. It makes me hesitant to pass on the first good shot on the first legal animal I encounter.

          I'm having trouble with the concept of being more likely to take a questionable shot with a rifle than a bow. There are more good shots available with a rifle just due to energy. But questionable shots are still bad shots. I could argue that other than being gut shot, a deer is more likely to shake off an arrow hit to deep muscle than the additional trauma and bone crushing energy that a rifle will deliver.. but you're still likely to be hard pressed to find that rifle deer you shot in the rump.

          Full disclosure, I just recovered a doe that I hit badly after a branch deflected my arrow into it's lower rear leg breaking it. It didn't go far due to terrain, a bad break, and a lot of luck. But the shot that I was presented with looked great, other than not seeing that branch in the flight path in the shadows.
          Yep, I've had a couple of branches cause my shots to totally miss.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by huntfishtrap View Post
            Good points all. I should have clarified, I wasn't comparing specific shot angles, etc. when asking if bow hunting was different than gun hunting. Obviously what constitutes a "good shot" with a gun might not be the same for a bow.

            I definitely have a different mindset when bowhunting than when gun hunting. With a bow, I will usually wait for a slam-dunk shot. Sometimes that's the absolute best possible shot, sometimes it isn't, but in general I try to hold out for a very high-percentage opportunity. This represents my current philosophy, and unfortunately I had to learn some things the hard way. I used to be much more aggressive with my shot selection, which lead to a couple of wounded deer, and a couple more I killed due to luck more than anything.

            With a gun, I tend to take the first shot that I know is within my capabilities. I've always been a gun hunter at heart, and I'm much more confident with a gun in my hands than a bow. There aren't many shots I won't take with a gun, within my effective range. I won't take running shots, except when the animal is already wounded or something. But other than that, if I have a shot that I know I can make, I take it, regardless of whether or not I might be able to get a better one.
            I pretty much do the same as you describe HFT

            Comment

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