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Mine happened back in the 70’s when I was still bowhunting with a longbow. Muzzleloader season was still in but I had already killed a nice buck with the gun and my bow was calling me😊 so I put the “black powder” rifle up. I had a stand up in a nice area close to a pond behind what we call the 50 acre field and had not hunted it that year, and since I walked around the pond across the damn a day or 2 early and seeing some huge buck tracks, I decided to hunt that area.
I had some buck lure that was really good (forgot the name🥴) back then so I squirted some on my boots and walked over the dam to my stand at daybreak. I had been settled in my stand about 30 minutes when I saw antlers coming through the thick reeds that surround the pond. When he got to where I had turned and walked up to my stand, about 40 yards from the pond, he had his nose on the ground smelling my buck lure. He was absolutely huge!!!!! He was standing well within my rifle range but I had my longbow🙄. I stood up and got ready. He started slowly walking towards me up the little path to my stand with his nose on the ground. He liked that buck lure. He turned sideways smelling the ground at what I guessed as 30 yards. My rangefinder was still in my hunting bag🙄. I drew the longbow, aimed for 30 yards, pulled through the clicker and sent the arrow on the way……….no more then 1 inch over his shoulder/back!!!!! I think the feathers actually raked across his shoulder☹. He took a couple leaps, looked around and walked away. The largest racked buck I have ever seen til today and my love for bowhunting saved him. I never saw him again and hunted that area often for the next couple years. I stepped the distance off where he was standing………24 yards🙄.
That was years before my crossbow hunting began in 2003, a hunt I will never forget.
 

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My first ... crossbow "kill" (attempt) about a decade ago as a rookie crossbower. Had a deer behind me so I leaned the crossbow around the tree sideways with the limbs perfectly vertical...lol Talk about "canting" the crossbow??? I don't recall ever finding the arrow.

A second early lesson was trying to snake an arrow through a small opening in wild grape vines at a deer 45 yards away. Having been a rifleman, "trajectory" was not in the equation for anything within about 200 yards. Two mistakes I made and never made again. I DID find that arrow! 😂
Sky Wood Twig Branch Tree
 

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I loaded an arrow with a field tip instead of a broadhead for my evenings hunt -- this was decades ago.

Luckily I eventually looked at the arrow and about fell out of the tree in dis-belief -- I made the switch right then.

.....never carried another arrow with a field tip after that.

Horns
 

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TenPoint Siege, TenPoint Eclipse
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There have been so many so I will just mention the latest one...lol.
This past Nov 4th, prime time to be in the stand as it’s just prior to the dreaded lockdown period and the more mature bucks are finally on their feet.

I began the morning in a ladder stand overlooking the end edge of a standing cornfield. Sightings were few so around 10:00 I relocated to another ladder stand 80 yards away, but now I am in an inside corner stand just inside of the woods.
The results were pretty much the same, nothing exciting to see there either.

At 12:30pm I climbed down but before heading home, only a 1/4 mile away, I decided to look for the remnants of a broken arrow I had successfully killed a nice nine point with two weeks prior from that same stand.

Sat my pack down nearby but my crossbow stayed with me with an arrow in place, so I was still cocked and loaded. I learned that lesson two years earlier when I arrowed a different mature buck who saw me from a about 300 yards away, then approached exhibiting no fear whatsoever. I killed that buck when he stopped at 30 yards, laid his ears back, and pawed the ground. That was enough for me and I didn’t miss, thankfully. The entire account was posted here in 2019.

Anyway, back to the story.
As I was scouring the ground with my eyes and shuffling the leafy debris with my feet I looked up and saw a very nice buck enter the 10 acre wood lot not more than 100 yards away.
Moving at a pretty good pace it was apparent that he would be pass right to left thru some occasional brush and within range.

The Siege was raised, the crosshairs were where they needed to be, and the shot was taken.
He stopped and looked to his left where the arrow actually ended up going, then proceeded on his way and thru a wide open area and headed towards the before mentioned corn field.

Had I just been more patient he would have been mine ....but knowing he was in the area I decided to hunt a stand about 60 yards to the north.
Just about the time it was climb down now, or do it in the dark he sauntered by once again.
This time and with a little luck and just the right amount of patience the outcome was different.

20 and 5/8ths wide inside spread with good mass, 8pt but with a smaller than average body for mid Michigan. That’s probably why I missed him earlier in the day. Lol

Leaf Wood Plant Trunk Grass

Trophy hunting Plant Hunting Deer hunting Tree
 

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not sure its my worst screw up but a lesson learned. i left work early and rushed to get to my stand. i get in my stand and realize i lost my quiver, i leave my crossbow (parker) hanging in the tree and retrace my steps, luckily it was only 40 yards from my tree stand. just as i picked them up, shooter buck walked in between me and the tree my crossbow was hanging in.
 

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Went hunting with a group of guys on private land that had never been to before. Got there at dark. They had a map of all the stands, picked one out way away from the rest of the guys. Somehow found my way to it in the dark next morning. Old wood stand about 15 ft up. Got up in it and got settled,next thing I know I am laying in a pile of wood and nails. Was not sure how bad hurt. Wind knocked outta me, finally get up no nails in me or broken bones. Cannot find headlight or gun as its still dark out. Sat down waited for light. Found my stuff about 15 feet away in the bushes. Scope bent. Took a good look at what was left of stand. Must of been built in the 50s! Will never even think of climbing in a stand I have not checked out before the hunt again. Course the boys all thought that was some funny $hit. Got lucky with just some serious bruises. Lesson learned the hard way.
 

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Cool thread! I have three nice bucks that i missed. I am in NY so can only use a crossbow the two weeks before rifle season. First was with my compound. I was sitting in a ladderstand over looking a ravine. I am in hardwoods with lots of acorns, down the ravine is a stream and the opposite side of the stream is scrub brush the deer bed in. A very nice buck comes out of the scrub brush, jumps the small stream and starts heading up the ravine toward me. I stand up, hook on my release and try and remain patient. He comes up the ravine perfectly and is only 20 yards away when i draw. I need him to take 1 step to clear a hanging branch and he does. I release the arrow and send it right over his back. He jumps and runs about 20 yds and stops and looks around. He had no idea what that noise was. I nock another arrow, Draw and again line up the shot, release the arrow and sail it right over his back by an inch or two. This time he doesn't stick around. I went home and shot my bow that evening and it was right on. Not sure what the heck i did twice in a row. I killed that same buck the opening day of rifle that year from that same stand. Came out across the creek and this time walked down the opposite side of the creek. It was a pretty easy shot with the rifle. Nice wide 8 pt.

2nd was also with my compound. I was walking into my stand in the dark down a 4 wheeler trail. I don't normally use a flashlight and just let my eyes adjust. Heard some noise to my right about 20 yds away and saw a very large outline and swore i saw a very nice rack. I just kept moving and the deer let me walk right past. I got to my stand a couple hundred yards away as it was getting gray light. I have an HHA slider and i have to slide the site all the way up to get my quiver off. I took the quiver off and settled in. About 30 minutes later, i hear a noise over my right shoulder. It was a nice buck about 30 yds away. I stood up and got ready while he was behind a tree. He circled down in front of my and couldn't have played out more perfectly. I had a tree ranged at 25 yds and he was standing right in front of it. I drew and sailed the arrow right over him. He ran about 60 yds stopped and blew about 100 times. I was sick and didn't understand what i did. Then i looked at my site. I never set it back too 25 yds when i took my quiver off.

3rd was with my crossbow. It was probably my most exciting day ever in the woods. I had small bucks running doe all around me. Almost all afternoon. Then a big boy stepped out and started chasing off the small bucks. He runs this way and that way. No idea how he didn't smell me or maybe he did and didn't care. He circled me at least 3 time but was going fast every time. Now he is coming at me and is going to pass my tree on my left. I am following him in the scope not paying attention waiting for a good opening. I pick an opening, squeeze the trigger, and here a awful noise and my bolt smacks a tree in front of me about 5 feet higher than i am in my stand. I wasn't paying attention following the buck in the scope and got two close to the tree. When i released the limb smacked the tree and nearly pulled the crossbow out of my hand. None of the deer stuck around to find out what the heck happened
 

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I don't know if it was a screw up, but back before I retired, I would always take off opening day of bow season. As it was my birthday, and after all, opening day, I would sit nearly the whole day in my ladder stand. Around 2, I started feeling drowsy, so hung my xbow, climbed down and sat against the tree to take a power nap. Drifted off for 15 minutes or so, then woke refreshed. Climbed back up, sat down and caught movement coming fast toward me. 3 coyotes trotted right under my ladder. Shot 1, and then started shaking, wondering what might have been if the timing had been different. I have very rarely seen more than 2 coyotes together around here, much less during the middle of the afternoon. I've been told
they would have been more afraid of me, than the other way around, buttttttt.
 

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Too many to list and the day is young!

The deer hunting screw up I remember most, right now, was the first year I got the R20 with the jack plate. About 8 years ago we had a picture of this squirly antlered buck that was a perfect 8 on one side and on the other side tThere was an antler kind of twisting and turning out of the side of his head. Never saw him and no pictures after that one year. Well it turns out he disappeared into the swamp for a few years (which they tend to do around my place) and resurfaced in front of one of my raised blind stands that I was sitting in. I wasn't paying attention but there he was all of a sudden 20 yards out and limping slowily in front of my stand with the corkscrew pointing in my direction. Ugly rack but the spread must have been 30 inches or more with that antler coming out the side of his ear... and he was "chasing" does limping slowly in front of me. I don't know what happened. I picked up, put it behind his leg and hit him hard. From the looks and sounds of things, I hit him really hard in his good shoulder! There was a seriously loud crack on impact.

He ran away with the lighted nock bobbing around and we found 6" of bloody broadhead and arrow broken off and then the other half. But no blood trial after about 20 yards. We never found him. Some of those bad shots and misses still haunt me. Yup I missed a limping deer at 20 yards. Probably in his only good shoulder from the looks of things. I still feel awful about that.

I blamed it on the jack plate and took that off the bow. No issues with those bows since.
 

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I have screwed up every which way but loose in 56 years of bow hunting. But without a doubt my worse was when I was in my late 20s and my brother and brother is law and I had built a permanent stand on timber company land with a support board to lean against on the back side of the stand and I went to hunt it for the first time a week or so later. I was hunting with a vertical recurve back then and had a doe sneaking by behind me so I leaned against the support board so I could draw on her. Next thing I knew a buddy of mine found me laying on the ground with a noticeably broken wrist and I was unconscious. Lucky for me he had heard me fall and came looking.
He got me to the local hospital who took one good look at me and shipped me to a larger hospital. I had fallen about 20 feet or so and broke my left wrist in 3 places and my Scapula (shoulder bone) in 2 places. Both breaks had to be pinned with metal pins.
My brother in law couldn't understand how I fell so he went out to the stand and found that the support board had been sawed almost in half and then packed with mud to hide the break. I don't know to this day if it was another hunter or maybe even an anti hunter who sabotaged the stand.
My birthday and Christmas were coming up fast and I was give a Baker Climbing Tree Stand as a present. I have not climbed in another permanent stand since that day (not including shooting houses, Ladder stands, etc).
 

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Mine was when I was set on the ground over looking a field with my old PSE. I miss judged yardage and some how put the arrow in the side of the does head and out its jaw. She spent some time in the field going back and forth across the field. It was a good thing for hunting with friends that evening. We had to steer her toward a shooter to get a good shot in her.
 

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mine was leaning my new 900.00 Hoyt bow up against the rear bumper of my friends dodge ram.

When we went to back out he thought he was on a stump as it lifted his rear of the truck up.

It made a nice jack stand for a bout 40 seconds.

From that point on the rule was.."if you dumb enough to lay your bow anyware near the truck or even on the ground its all on you."
 

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Soon after I got my Exomax I had finished up a long day sitting in the ground blind and was packing up. In my haste I forgot to remove the arrow from the crossbow and proceeded to uncock it with the cocking rope. I happened to look down in time to see the Slick Trick before it had pierced the boot very deep. So here I am with a Slick Trick sitting on my boot all the while trying my best to pull the string back up. I was finally able to get the broadhead far enough off my boot to push the arrow out of the rail enough to let it down on the ground. Needless to say, it broke my arrow but no damage to the broadhead or my foot. I patched up the hole in my boot with GOOP.

I was physically shaking afterwards and am a lot more aware of my surroundings now while cocking or uncocking my crossbow.

Very stupid thing to do!!

Bill
 

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Worst?? That would be tuff to say. When I was a youngster I drew my vertical back on a doe and bumped the trigger before I ever got it back all the way. Arrow went at least 10 feet over her. I never even got to anchor…….. that didn’t hurt as bad as the time I punched myself in the lip using a hinge.
 

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So back in the late 90s I decided it would be a good idea to get one of those game trackers for my vert bow. I had it mounted on the end of my stabilizer. Target practice went good with it, hunting not so much!

I had a nice doe come out at 15 yards. Drew the bow back with my left hand open to keep from torquing like I always do, settled the pin and let the arrow fly expecting a "fish on" moment.... didn't happen... the arrow hit the doe on the side and fell to the ground. As I sat there trying to figure out what happened my finger started to burn. I looked down and the string had wrapped around my finger, burned thru my glove and into my pointer finger. I pulled the string out and there was no blood. The string cauterized the wound! I still have a scar from it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Took the thing off and threw it in the swamp! Lucky it didn't just cut my finger off! 😬😁
 

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I have a few but here's a short one. I saw the branch in IronDukes post, and I remembered back to......I was hunting a ridge that was very productive. I wasn't there long a two does came trotting up and were coming right to my "sweet spot". This was going to be a slam dunk, 20 yd., broadside shot on a big doe. I readied and shot....WHAT!? The doe trots off, stops and looks back in wonderment. The arrow was sticking in the ground not too far from where the doe had stood.? I was upset and got down. I was thinking, if I can't hit her, what am I doing out here? My mind was going over and over what had just happened trying to figure it out. After picking up the arrow, I looked back to see if there was anything (branch,etc.) in the way. As I looked toward the stand, I saw a little, like flash on a branch. The branch was about 10' from the stand. It was about 1" diameter. I was able to get back in the stand and look from there. There was a perfect looking broadhead hole right through, dead center of that branch! Cool looking but not cool outcome. I've done worse, but the stories are too long and may bring about tears! LOL. HAVE FUN!!
 

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Late 1970's, hunting with buddies, in river bottoms with sloughs running parallel to the river. This area is several thousand acres of bottom land timber and cropland. Late October, mid morning, one of the hunting partners had hit a doe and the tracking began. After a couple hours, the temperature was rising and we all were overdressed for the present conditions. Being confident we could rid ourselves of coveralls, fanny packs, bows and quivers to lighten the load and possible make the tracking a little more tolerable. We picked a huge burr oak tree that stood out so it would be easy to retrieve our goods later in the day. We kept one bow/arrows and one fanny pack with gear for gutting/cleaning the deer. Probably tracked this deer close to two mile thru some unbelievable thickets and found her in a standing soybean field. We took a bit of a break prior to field dressing the doe and agreed two would drag the deer to the nearest road, about 1/2 mile across the bean field. It was getting quite warm by now and we needed to step it up or risk ruining the meat. I had the truck, so I headed back to where we parked and to retrieve the packs, bows and arrows left behind. Well, here comes the lesson learned. After walking for at least 45 minutes, I was unable to locate the equipment left behind earlier...Sick feeling. One bow a year old PSE Pacer, the other a new Jennings. Fanny packs full of knives etc and quivers with 4 or 5 arrows (XX75 and Game Getters). For poor guys, just starting families etc, heck of a deal. So, on to the truck, drive around to our rendezvous location to pick up friends and deer. Buddy who had the deer wanted to go directly to the processing facility to save the meat. We did, then back to the area we left the equipment earlier in the day. We all agreed we found the Burr oak tree where the equipment was left, one problem....no bows, arrows, packs...no nothing. We were sick, to make matters worse, much worse, the Shielas all had their say and as most here know they don't forget. The friend with the deer, had his bow and all his goods. The helpers learned a valuable lesson. Don't ever assume your alone in your hunting area and for even 1 hour it's not worth loosing your hunting equipment, KEEP THINGS CLOSE.
Near 45 year ago and I still remember that feeling of "it's gone".
 

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mine was leaning my new 900.00 Hoyt bow up against the rear bumper of my friends dodge ram.

When we went to back out he thought he was on a stump as it lifted his rear of the truck up.

It made a nice jack stand for a bout 40 seconds.

From that point on the rule was.."if you dumb enough to lay your bow anyware near the truck or even on the ground its all on you."
A friend of mine leaned his crossbow on the truck tire and forgot to put it in his truck. Yep he ran it over in the dark.
 

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The most memorable occurred late one afternoon in early November, 2002. I was hunting a steep draw at the bottom of a heavily timbered ridge with a marshy river bottom just below. My stand was located in an oak tree some 15 yards from the intersection of three well used trails coming from the ridge above. An overcast, misty afternoon with just a light breeze, about perfect for the giant I was hunting.

Three times during the season I had seen a monster 12 point from that stand, but each time had no shot, so I just watched him. Easily a 160" deer and a huge body under that awesome rack. He was definately number one on my hit list and I was sure this was his home range.

As it got close to 4:00 three does came down one of the trails and stopped to browse on acorns. Within minutes several more does joined them and there were deer feeding all around my tree.

A little later I saw movement coming out of the marshy bottom toward the harem of does. Through the scrub timber a large body materialized, then flashes of rack. I was hoping it was the big guy, but as it turned out he was probably a three year old 10 point. Definately a nice deer, but not the one I was wanting.

He stood there frozen looking up the hill to my right. He was a nice deer, and after several minutes of him offering a perfect broadside temptation won out. I glanced at the does in sight and they were all busy eating. With the buck facing toward me and the does around the tree I decided not to try to stand up. With a small spot picked just behind his shoulder I raised my Black Widow and steadily drew to my anchor. A short pause, then the release, and I watched the arrow disappear through the dark tuft of hair. He jumped, spun around, and scrambled back toward the marsh.

You might be asking at this point how was this a screwup. With the shot and the buck's frantic exit the does had grouped up and were now about 30 yards to my left trying to locate the danger. As I sat in my stand giving the buck some time and recomposing myself I heard something to my right. Slowly turning my head, there stood the giant 12 point some 15 yards from my tree. Knowing my tag was filled I just sat there and watched him. The does finally moved toward the bottom with him following. That was the last I ever saw of him.

A bitter sweet experience. I found my buck a short time later, but to this day can still see that big one under my tree. Patience does pay off, especially when you are after that special deer.

Photograph Elk Deer Natural material Organism
 
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