Shooting from a tree stand for the first time (and missing).


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JeffDilla
November 3, 2012, 08:20 PM
Hey folks, it's been a while since I've posted here but tonight I'm looking for answers to something that's left me scratching my head. I shot (at) a deer, my first time from a tree stand, this afternoon.

It was about a 100-yard shot with a scoped .308 Browning BLR from a tree stand about 12-15 feet off the ground. I had a wide open shot at the buck. He stepped into a small clearing from a heavily wooded area and was standing facing me, so I aimed for the front of his chest. I thought everything about the shot went smoothly. The gun was resting on the bar of the stand and was not moving around. Of course my adrenaline was rushing, but it was a calm, steady shot. He jumped when I shot, leading me to believe I hit him, and ran. My buddies and I searched high and low for over an hour looking for traces of blood or hair. Nothing. We found and followed his tracks for about 40 yards into the woods with not even a slight trace of blood before losing them. I have to swallow my pride and say that I just plain missed. I've shot deer before and have always been a decent shot, but I fubbed this one up. I'll be going back to comb the area tomorrow just to be sure, but I think I can chalk this one up to poor shooting.

So my question is, for you experienced stand hunters, is there a trick to shooting from a stand? Compensating for the elevation difference? My guess is that I shot low, probably right between his legs, and that caused him to jump like he did. What could I do differently next time? Any advice is appreciated.

Also, feel free to rib me all you want. My skin got pretty thick tonight after taking a lashing from the guys at the hunting camp.:o

Thanks in advance,
Jeff

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jmr40
November 3, 2012, 08:36 PM
Shooting from an elevated position will cause your bullets to appear to have less drop, but you'll need a lot more than 10-12' of elevation at that range for it to be an issue.

Shooting at 300-400 yards at a steeper angle could make enough difference to account for a miss. Or shooting a bow from that height at a deer 25 yards away is steep enough to cause a miss with a bow.

You may well have missed, but I don't think the elevation is the reason. Possibly the stand swaying in a breeze, that can be an issue. If you zeroed your rifle on a padded rest and then rested the forend on a hard surface to fire in the field it can also effect POI.

Kachok
November 3, 2012, 08:38 PM
I don't adjust my point of aim at all with a rifle, now a bow is a little different but my rifle is spot on from a tree stand. Chalk that one up to buck fever, it happens to the best of us. I have to get a shot off quickly whey they step into the clearing, otherwise my nerves get me jittery as heck and I have to pass on the shot. Have not missed one yet but had to pass on several LOL

JeffDilla
November 3, 2012, 08:47 PM
If you zeroed your rifle on a padded rest and then rested the forend on a hard surface to fire in the field it can also effect POI.

Funny you should mention that because that's exactly what I did.

JonathanE
November 3, 2012, 09:49 PM
Have you fired a round since then at a target? Nothing made you lose your zero?

JeffDilla
November 3, 2012, 10:04 PM
I wasn't able to check the zero today, ran out of daylight. But I can't think of anything that has happened that would knock it out of zero. It's been two weeks since I zeroed it and it hasn't had any bumps or falls since then.

Lloyd Smale
November 4, 2012, 08:44 AM
sorry to put it to you this way jeff but id about bet you hit that deer. An hour isnt near long enough to look for a deer without giving up. Id also about guess you made a marginal hit. Why? Not because you were resting on something differnt, not because you were 12 feet in the air. both of these can effect point of aim but not enough to miss a deer at only a 100 yards. My guess and im not trying to be sarcastic a bit but id bet you had a bit of buck fever. Ive killed hundreds of deer and still have to talk myself down a bit before i pull the trigger on a deer. Get back over there with your buddys or better yet a dog and see if you can find that deer. Even if you have to come back again tommarow and look for ravens circling.

ADKWOODSMAN
November 4, 2012, 09:12 AM
Agree with Lloyd Smale. Many deer are hit and can go a long way. A dog will help.

JeffDilla
November 4, 2012, 10:45 AM
All my instincts say I hit the deer, the way it humped up and jumped and bucked, and I do plan on going back out today to look again. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a dog. What baffles me and also leads me and the other guys in the group to think it was a miss was that there was absolutely no sign of blood or hair, even after we found his tracks and followed them for a good distance.

Is there something that would cause no blood sign that I'm not thinking of?

Thanks for your replies, all advice is appreciated.

LordDunsany
November 4, 2012, 01:38 PM
Sounds like you hit it too far back and a bit high. If it was moving immediately then it didn't have time to start leaving a blood trail. Chances are you won't find this one.

Ron in Texas

WayBeau
November 4, 2012, 01:58 PM
If something were to get in the hole, entrance, exit, or both and 'plug' it, you'd be hard pressed to find much blood. If you hit guts, that could do it. I've never heard of a deer humping up when it wasn't hit, so I'd get back out there and start searching in grid patterns.

CountryUgly
November 4, 2012, 02:22 PM
Just from personal experience if there isn't an exit wound blood may be nill and hair usually only blows out on the exit. Entrance wounds are small, bleed little and not immediately with little hair loss. If it bucked up and jumped I'd about bet it was a hit also a little low and far back. The bullet may not of exited because it lodged in a rear quarter. It may be a lost cause but does deserve the effort to track. When hunting high I personally rest the crosshairs horizontially across the back and vertically lined up with the back edge of the shoulder blade then drop down the crosshairs about 1/4 or just a little more down the body from there. Doing it this way has resulted for me in the majority of shots being spine hits with no tracking and the occasional double lung blowout with little (never had one run more than 20 yards) or no tracking. Granted it only works for broadside shots but that's all I'll take anyhow.

courtgreene
November 4, 2012, 04:48 PM
a bit high, yes. If you shot it in the chest I don't know about too far back, but if you shot high you could technically miss both lungs and the heart. That thing's dead, keep looking and good luck.

Patocazador
November 4, 2012, 05:05 PM
Shooting a deer head on is a bad choice. However, sometimes it's the only choice. Depending on the bullet construction a hit in the front of the chest may not exit as it has to go through the deer lengthwise. The deer may never have spilled any blood outside of the body cavity. They can go a lot farther than 40 yards before dropping even with a lung or heart shot. My guess is that there's a dead deer about another 50-60 yards from where you stopped tracking him.

JeffDilla
November 4, 2012, 05:29 PM
Update: I scoured the area with some friends today and no sign of the deer. We covered a lot of ground looking for it and no sign whatsoever. Still scratching my head.

nathan
November 4, 2012, 07:06 PM
that happens to all hunters. recheck your riflescope screws and test at the range.

osprey176
November 5, 2012, 10:20 PM
If you rested your rifle on an unpadded bar,you most likely shot over the deer.Usually,resting on a hard surface sends the shot high. Why not recreate the shot on paper and see for yourself?

d2wing
November 6, 2012, 11:04 AM
All good answers. I feel for you. If you get after them too soon they can keep going rather than lay down and die. A good hit may not leave hair and blood. Resting on a hard surface can cause a total miss. That deer could be holed up in a good hiding spot a mile or so away and dead or may survive. 40 yards is not far enough to track unless you know it was a heart shot. More often guys shoot under but shouldn't be an issue. You may not find out what happened and it is good that you have remorse over losing a deer. We learn from our mistakes so you must improve your game. Good careful shooting and skilled tracking are keys to deer recovery. Practice makes perfect so learn and keep hunting. Stuff like that happens to even skilled and experienced hunters. I lost a deer 3 years ago that I did not hit as well as I thought and it escaped into a swamp because I went after it too soon.
2 years ago I missed a record book buck because I rushed a risky shot. I won't forget that one.

Sav .250
November 6, 2012, 11:20 AM
Some time you just ......miss.

JeffDilla
November 6, 2012, 11:50 AM
All good answers. I feel for you. If you get after them too soon they can keep going rather than lay down and die. A good hit may not leave hair and blood. Resting on a hard surface can cause a total miss. That deer could be holed up in a good hiding spot a mile or so away and dead or may survive. 40 yards is not far enough to track unless you know it was a heart shot. More often guys shoot under but shouldn't be an issue. You may not find out what happened and it is good that you have remorse over losing a deer. We learn from our mistakes so you must improve your game. Good careful shooting and skilled tracking are keys to deer recovery. Practice makes perfect so learn and keep hunting. Stuff like that happens to even skilled and experienced hunters. I lost a deer 3 years ago that I did not hit as well as I thought and it escaped into a swamp because I went after it too soon.
2 years ago I missed a record book buck because I rushed a risky shot. I won't forget that one.

I appreciate those sentiments. Thank you.

Mobuck
November 9, 2012, 07:48 AM
12-15' elevation @ 100 yards will not make any significant difference in POI with a centerfire rifle.
That elevation @ 20-25 yards with archery equipment WILL make noticeable difference.
A hit from a .308 on a frontal presentation would normally produce a flop over backward result. A raking hit would result in a LOT of hair being clipped and some visible at the point where the animal was standing.

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