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Why did you pass on the shot

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Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Lefty » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 1]

We have had longest shot , closest kill.
An elk story: why did you pass on and elk,.. or other game.
Im not sure but Ive developed a weird senses of "fair chase" that I often fall back on,..and occasional regret.
In Washington state I had a little buck nuzzling my rifle barrel,.. Other hunters were watching me and were flabbier gassed that I passed.
My first deer hunt in Washington I followed and passed on a little 5x7 "basket rack",.. First minutes of legal shooting time, The hunt would end too soon
Ive passed on cows with calves,
Ive waited for the last animal in a string
And Ive always passed the little bone for the big bone thats coming in :lol: Mistakenly a lot of times :oops:


Last year I had a bull of most peoples dreams ( mine too) in the thick just twenty yards away. Maybe not a great full frontal.
At the moment I looked away it was marginal in my mind, anyway,.. but I do believe it was good shot within the next moment.
Why did I pass: I dream of those big bulls! Ive been too close to so many and have"failed"
Another bull had stopped where I thought my daughter was sitting. I did have a bit of fatherly concern about the bull being right on top of her,.. literally on top. I hadnt realized she had moved back while we set up.
I also wanted to see her make the shot.

My first few years archery hunting I was close to a lot of elk, way too many for a newbie,.. Saw lots of elk and plenty of bulls many hunters never get to see. I thought thats the way it was.
That was before my shoulder was rebuildt and I had a self imposed distance of 27 yards,.. and at that time I didn't realize how lethal a broad head would be and my shooting ability was good,..
One day I had a herd trickle past me , 7 bulls total,most of them stopped at 40-45 yards. Cows and calves at 10 yards an out.
Three years ago we pulled a herd up a big mountain side The biggest bull was 3/4 frontal to my daughter for 8 minutes,.. yep I timed it. And never gave her a shot. In the mean time nlittle 6x6 , nice 5x5's raghorns and spiked milled around often unter 20 yards,.. She dint even think about the shots at the "smaller" bulls until the next summer :lol:

Lets here about the ones you passed on


I had been listening to bulls for the hour before I crawled out of my ten, I followed the bugles in the dark but then got pinned down by three cows as it got light.,. and where I was hunting the soles of my boots were the only thing to hide behind :P
I expected the bulls to be nearby and glassed for an hour trying to find them,.. nothing.
During the stalk on the cows i kept vigilant looking for the the bulls.
The wind was perfect. I kind of hung out 30 yards from the nearest two cows facing me. Then moved in closer.
2 cows were bedded at 12 yards. ,.. passed on them and took the long shot, 25 yards
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 2]

Hunting the WA Peninsula for Rooseys in the late 80s. Driving back to camp, well after dark, from another drainage I hunted that day, I see fresh elk tracks crossing the road heading up into a draw. I was there before dawn, working my way up the draw as it got light, following the tracks. Once I got to a spot where I felt I could be getting close to the small herd, I set up and gave a couple of loud, whiny cow calls and BAM, got an immediate answer above me maybe 200 yards. I moved up quite quickly on a small, false ridge game trail, to where I figured I was within 70 yards or so of what I heard answer me. Set up, another whiny, rather seductive cow call, and from right to left, above me, came an elk. Six seconds of movement, again from my right to left, above me and the elk stopped broadside no more than 25-30 yards, with his head and neck smack dab behind a fir tree from my position. I drew back, floated my 30 yard pin in the "<" for a handful of seconds...... then let off (didn't have the 60 pound let off bows back then). As soon as I let off, a really nice 5 points stepped out and showed me his fine head ware, whirled, and was outa there. You see, this was a 3 point or better area. I saw a glimpse of a rack as the bull moved quickly from right to left before stopping, knew in my heart of hearts that it was a nice bull from the glimpse I had, but......... could not see his head ware at the moment of truth so I didn't shoot. Shoulda, coulda, woulda but in this situation, I just wasn't positive enough to take a chance at killing the wrong animal :roll:
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Swede » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 3]

I am not that fussy about my elk, but have passed on many over the years. I had one monster in a situation like RJ's but I just could not be positive it was legal. I have had many that some people would have shot at, but were out of my effective range, or there was some obstacle in the way. There have been some elk I just did not want. Sometimes I will wait to take a cow or spike, but sometimes I will shoot one the first morning.
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby saddlesore » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 4]

If there is the slightest question about shot placement, angle etc, the elk walks.I have killed enough elk that I'm fussy about the shot
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Old school » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 5]

Passed a 50 yard frontal shot on an elk and a 70 yard broadside shot - both with a bow. Enough can go wrong without me adding another variable of stretching the yardage. I practice out to 100 and am putting arrows in the kill zone at 80 - but that's a target not a live critter. Passed on too many deer to even remember them all - for various reasons. Usually because I was waiting for "Mr. Big".

--Mitch
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Lefty » 06 06, 2019 •  [Post 6]

saddlesore wrote:If there is the slightest question about shot placement, angle etc, the elk walks.,,,,,,,,

My dad hammered shot placement,,..I figure it isnt a pass,.. if the shots just not there
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby MtnOak » 06 07, 2019 •  [Post 7]

The shots I've passed up were because it was too thick or I only had a high shoulder head and neck or it was too far.
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Elkduds » 06 08, 2019 •  [Post 8]

When ass and antlers are all I see, my projectile will remain w me.

Say my target is on the run, watching, not shooting, is my kind of fun.

Instead of shooting, I relax and laugh when out of the trees walks a cow w a calf.

If the boiler room is is blocked by limbs or brush, no need to let it fly in a rush.
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Re: Why did you pass on the shot

Postby Swede » 06 11, 2019 •  [Post 9]

As I drew my bow to get ready for an easy shot, an ever so slight of sound was made by the arrow sliding over the rest. It was enough for the bull to bolt away from below me. Rats! An he was a fine animal. I would have liked to hang by tag on his antlers. I did not realize that small of sound would ever be noticed. It was the same rest and arrow combination I had used to kill numerous elk before.

Well about a week later my son was sitting in that exact same tree stand when that bull returned. Oly waited until his head was down and the critter was getting a drink, then he drew. Instantly the bull raised his head. He was very skittish, but did not move. He just kept looking in Oly's direction. Oly was at half draw with his 70 pound compound bow. This was not sustainable. He knew if he let down there would be movement. If he came back to full draw there would be movement. Oly decided to bring the bow string back to full draw and see what happened. Fortunately the bull did not leave. Within a couple of seconds the arrow was on its way and the bull was still broadside.
Would you have let down when you came to that same decision point? Probably not, but I think my son's situation illustrates, not every situation is a slam dunk or the like. There have been several times I had to decide in a moment if I could make a shot.
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