View Full Version : Bowhunting success/close calls

05-29-2011, 09:36 PM
I am going to borrow this concept from the backcountry forum.

What is your bowhunting success rate? I know some of you are stone cold killers and will post up some impressive numbers and then there will be others like myself who just cannot seem to put it together.

Also post up your most memorable bowhunt or the close call that still haunts you. Pictures would be good too, in order to give guys like myself confidence that one of these days it will happen.

05-29-2011, 09:53 PM
I will start. I am 0-7 on big game bow hunts. I have had my share of close calls and just cannot seem to put it together and get it done.

I have one close call with all three species that I have bowhunted.

Elk- A few years back I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to bow hunt Arizona unit 4B. It was a really tough hunt, but one morning we got in on a rut-fest with some of the biggest bulls I have ever laid eyes on. We worked in toward the herd and I found myself close to two 330 class bulls sparing. Both of these bulls were dandies and I would have been happy with either. I ranged the distance just before they pushed behind a tree. Being a rookie I waited for them to come back out, instead of sneaking closer. When they pushed back out I drew and let one fly. Left-right was dead on however they pushed out 10 yards back from where I originally ranged them causing me to miss low.

Deer- High country CO deer hunt. I glassed up 3 bucks in a basin with one bruiser 3x3. I waited for them to bed and went in for the stalk. I got above them and was working down towards them when I noticed the 3x3 chewing up a mountain mahogany bush. He worked right up toward me and he needed to take 3 more steps to be in an opening I could get a shot when he bedded down. Thinking this is textbook I ranged his antler at 15yards. Came to my knees and drew. He say me and stood, just as mule deer do. However, given the height of the brush and the curve of the hill, all I could see was his rack and face as he stared me down at full draw! I could only sit and watch in disbelief as he bounded off.

Antelope- I have a few with these critters but the one that haunts me most is with a stud of a buck. I had been watching him for awhile waiting for the best opportunity. In the afternoon he appeared to be working his way to a stock pond to drink. This was perfect because there was a small set of ridges that I could work behind and beat him there. Well I popped out to see where he was and he was on path that would have him cross at about 40yds. I knelt down and waited. Well he bedded. I noticed a path of yuccas that would allow me to get close. So I went for it. I ended up 20yds from this bedded buck and he had no idea I was there. Because of cover I decided to wait him out so I could draw while he fed, when out of nowhere he spun and had me pegged. Taking a last ditch effort I drew hoping he would stand just long enough to get a shot off. Just as I was settling my pins, he bolted.

I guess bowhunting is just as much about failures, as it is success. But man it would be nice to have a successful trip here soon. I guess I will keep after and one of these times my luck will turn around.

05-29-2011, 11:54 PM
I am 2-4 on mule deer and have picked up archery hunting with in the last five years. I haven't taken a chance on the elk yet but it is definitely on the to do list.

The last buck I shot with my bow was a little fork and the smallest buck I had ever taken. However it was the most memorable and exciting hunt I have had. It was the morning of our last day hunting. We glassed a group of deer feeding at the top of the draw about to head over the ridge. We saw there were two bucks in the group. A decent 3X3 and the forky I ended up taking. This possibly being my last chance at getting a shot we tore off up the mountain.

As we began closing the distance we would peek over the sage brush or some rocks here and there trying to locate the bucks. Before we knew it there were deer below us, above us, and every where around. We were right in their kitchen but we couldn't locate the two bucks. We were pretty much pinned down with no where to go. After sitting in the sage on the middle of a trail for about 20 minutes (felt like 2 hours). I heard some movement coming out of the draw toward the trail we were on. Well it was the little forky at 22 yards. Whammy I put him down.

He was no monster but it was very intense and satisfying to sneak in on that many deer and not get busted. I would much rather hunt with a bow than my gun after that experience.

05-30-2011, 11:04 AM
I've had super success on elk. I arrowed 8 elk in 8 years. 5 bulls 3 cows. Last bull was a 352 bruiser. From that point I've raised my standards. Let some smaller bulls pass and have had more gut wrenching close calls than I can speak of. Wouldn't ask for even one of them back either..lol. Those close encounters motivate me to push harder. I have buddies who are equally successful and buddies who cant seem toclose the deal if their life depended on it. They get frustrated but I tell them to stick with it. I've always said if you walk out of the woods mad, frustrated, and/or feeling sorry for urself, you should hang it up. Enjoy every moment, learn from your expierences and keep at it. I've also done ok on mulies. Just started hunting them hard couple years ago. Below are a couple pics. No field photos of my big archery bull..Sorry. 2010 archery muley

05-30-2011, 11:12 PM
Man what a bull!!! I hope to arrow one like that someday...he is pretty! Very impressive stats keep up the good work!

05-31-2011, 08:24 AM
This will be my first year bowhunting I should have 4 tags to fill so I am looking to go 4 for 4. I would be excited to go 1 for 4 but I figure beginners luck should count for something.

05-31-2011, 09:17 AM
Thx liv2hunt..He is pretty very symetrical. Heck of a story behind him too. Sure hope I draw a tag this year.

05-31-2011, 08:05 PM
2 for 2 on elk, 4 whitetails on 3 trips, 9 blacktails in 7 years of bowhunting for them (15 total when the rifle bucks are added). 7 of the 9 make the P&Y min. and a few pass the P&Y mark by 30". Usually stick at least a dozen pigs each year also. I'm 22 so hopefully I can continue the trend for a while.

05-31-2011, 10:44 PM
Wow that is phenomenal BigSurArcher if I have half the success you have had I would be a happy man!!! Keep it up!

06-01-2011, 07:16 AM
Muleys, I have done fairly well on. Elk on the other hand always seem to have something go wrong. In the thirteen or so years I have bow hunted them, I have killed 4 bulls. Passed up alot of smaller bulls looking for that next step up. I passed on 5 branch antlered bulls that were in shooting range just this year. (you can't shoot the big ones by shooting the little ones) But I would not change the good times I have had for nothing. As far as one that haunts me...I drew a limited entry tag that had taken me many years to draw, the second to the last day it finally came together, I had the herd bull pissed and he was coming to fight. At 15 yards he stopped broadside to bugle, I tucked my 20 low on the heart, checked everything and squeezed the release. I watched in horror as my arrow sailed a half inch over the 340 bulls back. To this day I still don't know what happened. But that is why I bow hunt. Don't even own a rifle.

06-02-2011, 06:56 AM
Well, I've been bowhunting critters for well over 30 years........been lucky many times throughout that time period. Heck, even a broken clock is correct twice a day, right? I've arrowed around 100 deer (mule deer & blacktail) over that time, some bull elk, bears, lots of hogs, antelope, javelina, all types of predators, birds, etc.....just about everything out West.

There were many times I've come home empty handed from a trip, but that's bowhunting. The CLOSEST shot I've made was 3 yards on a javelina with my longbow and wood arrows........5 yards on a P&Y bear coming towards me in the wilderness, and 8 yards on a tophy caliber mule deer. Archery is about getting close for me........Exciting stuff!

Doe Nob
06-02-2011, 11:12 AM
I have had 2 close calls with antelope with the bow and no success so far. My first hunt we walked about 40 miles in 2 days trying to get one in range. Got belly down on the back of a hill and had some smaller goats feed in to 35 yards out. Sat up on my knees, came to full draw, broadhead got caught in the long grass and arrow clanked off the rest. I let down, knocked it up again, goats had moved to 40 yards - and this time when I drew the string snapped and the bow exploded! That's about the worst ending to a hard hunt so far.

I am extending my effective shooting range to 60 yards this off season and hoping that will get me the last little way. All spot and stalk or decoy though, I can't stand sitting in a hot blind all day.

Deer seem to me to be a matter of putting stalks together. The more you do the more chances one will work out. That is balanced with the fact that to arrow a particular deer, you have to wait till everything is right to stalk in on them, sometimes that may mean just watching them for several hours or even all day.