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The times temptation called, but you didn't shoot..

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by gspn, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. gspn

    gspn Member

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    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".
     
  2. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    There is a few minutes before sunrise and after sunset that your eyes can definitely play tricks on you.
    I've never pulled the trigger on a weed or a stump, but I have certainly seen them breath and scored their racks.
     
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  3. gspn

    gspn Member

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    ^^^That's the rock solid truth. I've "seen" all kinds of things in the twilight. Experience and discipline are the best things one can take to the woods with them.
     
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  4. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    More than once I've seen an animal standing with his head partially obscured in brush/trees and held up on the shot. >2x they turned out to be a buck but at least once it was not. Could swear I saw antler bases on all of them but could not pick out the size of said antlers and didn't shoot. Good on ya for holding up, one of my more frustrating but ultimately proud moments was when one of my sons refused to shoot at what I saw without a doubt to be a nice buck, because they could not visually put the antlers to the body for themselves. Even though I was strongly urging him to shoot. I believe if our sport is to survive long term, we need to act with the utmost integrity.
     
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  5. Johnm1

    Johnm1 Member

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    The first year I hunted an area in southeast Arizona the rancher told me there were three bucks hanging out in a flat area between two mountains/hills. Went out opening afternoon and sat down in some cover. Im on the ground behind some brush. I noticed all of the cows that walked past a certain spot just in front of me stopped and looked left. Could have been anything. Right at sunset a nice buck stands up at 70 yards and starts leaving the area. First at a walk and then a trot. By the time I confirmed antlers he was 180 yards away and in a trot. I don't have the experience to shoot at a trotting deer so decided not to shoot. It was only the first day of the season and surely I'd have another chance in the next 6 days. It was seven years before I had another deer in my sights. But I don't regret holding off.
     
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  6. gspn

    gspn Member

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    ^^ Love that discipline, and the outlook.
     
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  7. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    About 20 years ago I was slowly slabbing a side hill in Vermont with about 6" on new snow on the ground. I came over a small rise and there was a nice buck covering a doe. I had the gun up and on his chest, but i just could not pull the trigger. I figured I would get a chance shortly, but they broke and the doe ran down hill with the buck hot on her tail. It was the only buck I saw that year, and for the next few years for that matter, but I do not regret not shooting.
     
  8. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Every time I see my wife's nephew.
     
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  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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  10. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I was returning to camp just before sundown. I had come off the high meadow and dropped down into the crooked canyon that led to camp. About 1/2 way down and before the last turn, I heard a critter coming through the brush to my right so I stopped and waited. Out stepped the biggest buck I have ever seen! I mean this guy was absolutely huge and in his prime!! BIG body and huge mombo-buck rack to go with it!
    He was slightly downhill from me, about 25 or 30 yards. I brought my Remington 788 up to get him in my sights, but with the bright sky behind him above the rim of the canyon I could not see him or the sights! Just a big black patch!! I lowered the rifle and he stood there broadside, looking my way as if begging me to shoot.
    Again, I raised the .308 for a shot, and again, all I could see was blackness and could only guess where I would hit him if I COULD hit him!! Again I lowered my rifle and continued to stand still.. Mombo Buck stood there looking at me for another 30 seconds or so and then continued on his way up the opposite side of the canyon from which he came.

    That was the last time I hunted with iron sights. The old 788 has worn a 2-7x32 Leupold VX-I ever since.

    I do not regret not taking the shot, eventhough I have never seen a buck even close to the size of that one, AND nobody in camp believed I had seen it either!! Still, his tracks were there in the side of the canyon the next day, and they were big tracks and they were sharp and they were deep.

    Such are the memories of some of my "best" deer seasons....
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 8:19 PM
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  11. gspn

    gspn Member

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    Poper, I'm sure we've all spoken to guys who have tried to force a shot like that and had it end badly. Knowing when to NOT take the shot is a sign of hunting wisdom for sure.
     
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I passed on a really big whitetail buck due to some brush in front of it. I didn't want to take a head shot.
     
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  13. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I don't know about the wisdom part so much. I was afraid I would leave a wounded critter out there somewhere and would have to admit to taking an iffy shot to my dad's older brother whose opinion I valued more than anyone's, except for my father's, of course.
    I also did not want to go into camp for a flashlight and assistance to track a wounded deer. Lots of thoughts went through my head in the minute or so I watched that deer. I stood perfectly still until he disappeared up the side of the canyon and for a few moments more. I remember that scene like it was yesterday, though it was actually the third weekend of November, 1988.... Still gives me goose bumps.....
     
  14. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    I have passed a lot of shots I wasn't 100 percent sure I couldn't make. im not ashamed.

    or on deer I really wasn't interested in.
     
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