Ledbetter...your tender conscience does you proud. Fine thoughts indeed.
We all "miss" sometimes.To say we don't is fooling ourselves.
I would say 'don't worry about it', anyway the 'coon was probably running on adrenaline and would soon drop under shock.
But the wild is tough...an injured animal knows the score...it is part of the scheme of things. A wounded animal is predated pretty quickly around here, [especially any birds by red foxes or hawks.]
But I know how you feel.Ethics and pride is involved.
But you imagine how I felt- when in the same urban environment as you, but in OZ under the treat of a $15,000 fine and /or 6 months in jail AND 10 year ban on firearms ownership for "discharging a firearm in a public place" -I used a 2" Winch low velocity(5 gn Green Dot- Winch magnum primer, standard shot capsule - 'safe in my gun only').410 shotgun with 3/4OZ #10s (BRIT)- lazer sighted to "frighten off" pest european brown rats on my 1,500m2 block near here at abt 15 foot range on a stake-out with bread bait near the big store-shed.[I don't like poison and the smell of dead rats make my family ill.]
Well the report was a "slap" sound out of a 24" barrel single shot .410.
All OK so far and no neighbour complaints yet...but...
...It killed the first rat stone dead with its legs still running uselessly in the air.... I couldn't believe it and still really can't fron such a puny load out of a "whimp" shottie.
Got no rats now though - as all 7 went the same way as the first for the cost of 8c per shot(56c all up...cheaper than poison too and more fun!).
If we shooting sportspersons don't hang together... we will all hang separately !
Never knock another's different shooting interest or discipline...REMEMBER we are all but leaves on the same tree of freedom.