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Old 10-01-2018, 11:47 AM   #1
SPUD
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Default Sons 1st arrow released...doesnt go as planned...lessons from a deer stand

So my 12 year old son has set out on the journey to become a bowhunter. He has worked his tail off and putting in some quality practice time in the back yard gearing up for this season. Last we checked he was up to 44# draw weight. We have had numerous discussions about bowhunting and what to do and when to do along the way. Even though there is no practice & discussions that can replace live hunting situations!

Let me say, and I'm sure MANY here can agree.......bowhunting in general is hard, but kids bowhunting is TOUGH!! tough physically and emotionally!!

He found out this weekend just how hard it can be!

It was the first time he drew on an animal. A big nice East Texas pineywoods rooter. It took a few minutes for him to circle around and come to corn for what was setting up to be a 22 yard shot. I was afraid about him not being able to get the bow drawn due to fever and we have talked about that. Adrenaline must have been flowing so good when he pulled that sucker back I thought he was going to pull the string right off the bow!! I bet he could have pulled 60# at that moment! lol

He anchored and settled in and released!! I watched the lighted nock the whole way as it buried into the pig about 15 inches from where it needed to be!!! Yardage was spot on!! Just way back. I knew right then.....Gut Shot!! I saw the arrow kick up in the air about 25 yards into his retreat. As I looked back at my son, he had his release hand on top of his head with the most disgusted look on his face shaking his head...He Knew! Then the emotions were set free!!

After him being quiet for about 15 minutes on the way home, I decided to break the silence. We talked about how good it was to be out hunting on the opening day of deer season. Talked about how many of his school buddies are at home waiting on gun season. And then we talked about what happened. Only thing I could offer up was the fact that things are going to happen and we must learn from them. No different than making a mistake at school or home. He made a bad shot....no use in dwelling on that. I even told him of the misses and lost deer I've suffered through.

I left him with 3 things that hopefully stick with him...

1- Get Ready during the animals approach - be patient and control your breathing..this will be important when it comes time to make the shot. it will help steady your shot.

2- Focus on the shot - don't worry about what type of animal or the headwear!! Pick out the spot you want to shoot and settle the pin on that mark. He said he was shaking so bad!

3- Observe the shot placement and animals retreat path - I explained to him we cant let our emotions take over and block the importance of watching where the arrow hit, the animals reaction and the path it took!! all those things will be important during the recovery.

Although we didn't recover, this was a great learning experience for him and myself! There will be other shots!! He knows that. I told him that he will constantly be learning something about hunting every time he goes out with that bow in hand.


So if you got any other "helpful hints" or similar stories, post em up...I'm sure my tater tot would love to read em. He is a over-the-shoulder TBH reader!!

Last edited by SPUD; 10-01-2018 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:52 AM   #2
willie
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that's why it is called Bowhunting and not Bow KILLING!
Don't give up and keep practicing!
it happens to all of us.
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:52 AM   #3
Seay
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Set the kid up EXACTLY like he was for the shot gloves long sleeves and all. With a broadhead and let him take the shot EXACT range in the back yard at home.

Just to keep his confidence up and show him that he can make the shot with no problem next time. Hopefully that will keep him from dwelling on the miss during his next opportunity when he needs to stay focused.

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Old 10-01-2018, 11:53 AM   #4
tmurray
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You're doing great, keep on practicing. I will ask, what kind of target is he shooting at in the backyard? If he's shooting at a regular target, I would highly recommend a 3d target of some sort. I got worlds better at hitting my mark in the woods when I started practicing on something that didn't have a dot on in for me to aim at. Instinctively, he hit right in the middle of his target which in the heat of the moment the whole pig became the target. Happens to the best of us, keep at it!
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:55 AM   #5
slicktricker
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Tell tater tot to keep his chin up. Everyone has or will experience marginal shot placement. It happens.
Just keep that learning experience and try to make a better shot the next time.
Practise practise practise. Glad he got an opportunity. Better luck next time..
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:55 AM   #6
Tylerj5699
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I clean missed 3 deer before I landed my first arrow. The journey to confidence with the bow is one that can be full of heartache. Knowing what you should have done and thinking about it constantly until the next time youíre in the blind. My problem seemed to be that I was thinking about my self holding that dead deer before I even drew back. The best thing I could provide is to tell yourself: ďletís get excited later, right now Iíve got a job to doĒ
Those failures only breed more advanced skills. Itís hard but itís part of the process. I still find myself already happy when I see that rack come out of the woods. I have to tell myself to relax and breathe, Iíve done nothing yet.
Great to hear about another up and coming bow hunter especially at such a young age. Heís got a great start and will have an advantage early on.
Good luck!


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Old 10-01-2018, 12:14 PM   #7
Chew
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I'm sure you did, but make sure he practices with broadheads. 22 yds is a long shot for a kid, even longer if the bow is out of tune and the broadheads are hitting off from the FTs.

He will get it right! Good luck.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:26 PM   #8
Silvey
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He got the hardest and best "helpful hint" there is. I've watched my share of critters run off never to be found. It will make him be a better bowhunter.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:10 PM   #9
Kdog
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Keep on keeping on is all you can do. Been there myself and it is not a good feeling. My 13 year old son shot a pig last year, would have been his first bow kill. The tracking job turned into a fiasco. We ended up losing our dog for 24 hours. That pig survived the shot, got him on camera after the fact. I think the shot was too low or maybe caught shoulder blade. Not 100% sure. My son says now he really should not have taken the shot because he couldn't see very well.

He got his redemption Saturday, with his first bow kill a doe. He just kept practicing and I actually bought him a different bow that shoots a little better than the one he had before. I would also agree a 3d target is best. Your son just needs to stick with it and be patient. It will all come together
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:33 PM   #10
lk05077
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keep on practicing my 11 year old daughter just got her first bow kill last night a smaller doe but got a pass through. You can practice all you want be it a regular target or a 3d target but when you draw on a living thing it is totally different my daughter has been shooting her bow almost 4 years now competitive never seen her as nerves as she was when she drew back on the doe. was only a 12 yard shot should have been easy for her crude happens and animals move. Tell him to keep after it he will get one. We did not think we would find her doe blood trail was drops at best. Got a high lung shoot but she quartered to after the shot so we ended up with gut also. so worked out for her in the end and we found it but was ready to have the long ride home with the conversation you had. good luck next time
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:39 PM   #11
AntlerCollector
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The hardest deer to kill with a bow is your first one.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:46 PM   #12
JonBoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seay View Post
Set the kid up EXACTLY like he was for the shot gloves long sleeves and all. With a broadhead and let him take the shot EXACT range in the back yard at home.

Just to keep his confidence up and show him that he can make the shot with no problem next time. Hopefully that will keep him from dwelling on the miss during his next opportunity when he needs to stay focused.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
I'll second this. I spent years target shooting bows while standing up before I took up bowhunting. When I got in a treestand for the first time it really hit home how different that situation is...shooting from an elevated & seated position, fully clothed, gloved & masked. Everything felt foreign to me which is why it was no surprise that the first ever shot I took on a whitetailed deer I punched the trigger on my release and gut shot that animal. I took a lot of learning lessons from it and my next shot was a double lung clean pass through and I got to watch that animal expire. Now I practice with a chair set up on top of a picnic table with gloves & facemask just to mimic shooting from a seated elevated position.

I think the thing that took me the longest to drill through my head was once I committed to shoot, pick my spot and execute my mental shot checklist. Its so easy to psych yourself out of the shot but if you focus on executing the basics...step-by-step you'll be more successful.

Also, I've learned to let the animal settle. I used to get in a big hurry to set up and shoot as soon as I saw the deer. Nervous animals jump string more...let em settle and take your time.

Last edited by JonBoy; 10-01-2018 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:55 PM   #13
Dillakilla
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Well said AC. I agree totally!
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:00 PM   #14
Buff
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As a fellow who owned a hunting ranch.....
It is hard for folks (even grown men) to not panic just as they are releasing the arrow and move their pin to the middle of what ever they are shooting at.

Talk to him about picking a spot, aim small miss small
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:17 PM   #15
kruppa24
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First of all good write up. Second good on you for raising him right.
The only thing I can add is make sure he is not closing his hand when shooting. This happened to me on my first couple of deer. When I practiced at home I was shooting with my hand opened not gripping the bow. When my adrenaline was going on a live animal I was gripping the bow tightly tweaking the shot. Make sure he has opening his bow hand on his mental check list. Make sure to go through metal check list before each shot. Happy hunting to you and your hunting buddy.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:25 PM   #16
Native Texan
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When the "fever" gets a hold on you and the shakes start, best thing to do is close your eyes, take some deep breaths and think about something else for a moment. Hard to make a good shot when you are shaking.
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Old 10-01-2018, 05:14 PM   #17
Miller
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I think you said it all best and can't add anything to that.

My older son is about the same age and has ben bowhunting for a few years now. All I can add is to video his shots when at all possible. That can be a great learning tool. I try when all possible to keep my son's shots on deer and pigs to 15 yards and in. He shoots a lot for hunting and in competitions so it is not an accuracy reason. I have just found that after 15 yards deer and even pigs start to move on most shots from slower speed arrows. He has made a couple of shots on pigs that weren't as great as he liked. After slowing down the video it had more to do with the animal moving than him making a bad shot.

I would not be surprised if at 22 yards that pig may have done some ducking or moving that can't be detected with the naked eye.

I also have my kid stand up when he shoots now, but that is not always possible with different blind setups. When he gets real worked up I make him draw and let down on the animal a couple of times as well. Once again, this is not always possible.
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Old 10-01-2018, 05:26 PM   #18
SPUD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I think you said it all best and can't add anything to that.

My older son is about the same age and has ben bowhunting for a few years now. All I can add is to video his shots when at all possible. That can be a great learning tool. I try when all possible to keep my son's shots on deer and pigs to 15 yards and in. He shoots a lot for hunting and in competitions so it is not an accuracy reason. I have just found that after 15 yards deer and even pigs start to move on most shots from slower speed arrows. He has made a couple of shots on pigs that weren't as great as he liked. After slowing down the video it had more to do with the animal moving than him making a bad shot.

I would not be surprised if at 22 yards that pig may have done some ducking or moving that can't be detected with the naked eye.

I also have my kid stand up when he shoots now, but that is not always possible with different blind setups. When he gets real worked up I make him draw and let down on the animal a couple of times as well. Once again, this is not always possible.

Yes..I have him stand to shoot. We were in a 16 foot ladder stand with me recording the action. After playing back several times.....he just pulled it to the right.

We constantly shoot dots and 3d targets here at the house. I'm pretty confident in his bow and shooting for that 20 yard range...I think the nerves got the best of him and he just pulled it off the mark.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:11 PM   #19
brokeno
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He fits right in with the rest if us. Can't tell you how many coons and squirrels I shot at before I hit something. Biggest mistake is practicing standing up and then shooting sitting in a chair from a blind. Practice practice practice.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:20 PM   #20
Anvilheadtexas
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Good write up. Hecwill be that much more ready for the next hunt.
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