There are two instances that I always think of on this topic. The first was a cold, overcast morning during gun season when I was hunting a thick brushy area next to a lake. The place was a madhouse of tall "shrubs" or bushes that rose 10 to 14 feet high. In the middle of this area we found a wide open oval area perhaps 120 yards long and 80 wide. We set up a ground blind there and began to hunt it. One morning I used a drag rag on my walk into the stand. I got to my place with plenty of dark remaining, and took a seat. A few minutes prior to legal shooting light I saw a "bush" that wasn't there before. This place was an absolute jumble of bushes from near to far, but I know for a fact that bush wasn't there. It was stone still. When the first minute of legal shooting arrived it was still there. Because it was so overcast it was still pretty dark. It was only 70 yards away and I held my scope between the antlers, lowered it to where I knew that bucks chest would be, and I reached for the safety, and I hesitated. Part of me wanted to shoot that buck, it had to be huge to be this visible in this area in this light, and the other part of me was screaming "DO NOT SHOOT AT WHAT YOU CAN'T POSITIVELY IDENTIFY". I lowered the rifle and waited for enough light to get a pos ID, but by that time, it was gone. I'm still glad I never touched that trigger. Another time I was stalking with my muzzle loader and I snuck up on a buck rubbing a tree. I had been creeping along the edge of this field with a creek to my right. Toward the end of the field I noticed a small tree getting thrashed. My heart instantly red lined and I snuck closer and closer. This buck was really giving it to that tree, and I was going to shoot him WHILE he was doing it, and it was going to be an AWESOME story! He was in some thick vegetation and I couldn't see anything other than a trace of the outline of his back. I could see where the tree was, but his head was down and thrashing it. I just measured far enough back from the tree, then down a few inches to put the scope where the lungs should be. it was all vegetation in my scope but were talking a distance of maybe 20 yards here, that slug is going to slam the vitals for sure. My finger was on the safety, heart racing, my mind already picturing a buck dropping dead with the tree still in his antlers. I couldn't do it. I could not bring myself to send a bullet into the bushes at where the target "should" be. I kept the rifle up, safety on, and waited for that buck to finish his business and move to a spot where I had a better shot. Eventually he did just that, and when he did, I saw that he was a cow, not a deer. I brought the gun down with a face full of disbelief. All the "signs" were there, but the "deer" wasn't. It was another lesson for me that reaffirmed my long held adherence to using discipline to drive my decision making, not emotion. How about you? Have there been times when you wanted to shoot but didn't? There have been plenty of times when I didn't shoot, but I'm talking specifically about times when your brain was screaming at you to pull the trigger, you were tempted mightily, but you overrode that and kept it on "safe".