View Full Version : Do you think more game is wounded by bows or muzzleloaders?

October 4, 2004, 10:20 AM
I had a discussion with my friend about this. He thinks that more game is probably wounded by guys with muzzleloaders than with bows, by unethical or unskilled shots - theory being that every Joe Sixpack thinks that his muzzloader is just like a gun, and so thinks it's easy to get a deer or other game, and is so inclined to take bad shots (i.e. they don't realize the basketball trajetory of their muzzleloader, and/or don't properly sight in and practice); whereas most bowhunters tend to be a little more serious and conscientious hunters, and even those marginal hunters know that you have to get the game in close to take a shot at all. But I'm thinking maybe that more deer and other game is wounded by bows than are with muzzleloaders, for the reasons that modern muzzleloaders ARE quite accurate and powerful, and usually are sighted very well from the factory nowadays (irons), whereas with bows, it's just dang hard to get a good, close shot, and let's face it, bows have less energy to impart to the game. So, which weapon do you think is involved with more unethical shots, and/or unintentional wounding?

October 4, 2004, 10:36 AM
I've personally seen more deer wounded or lost by sloppy BP hunters in my area. Bowhunters in that same area tend to be more dedicated and serious about their "marksmanship".

A couple seasons ago, me and several of my hunting buddies helped a complete stranger track a blood trail for several miles only to find out it was the second deer he'd wounded that week with a BP rifle. Rain washed away the meager blood trail before we found the deer (we caught a flash of him at one point). We did find the 1st deer on the way back to camp, shot in the neck and dead less than 1/4 mile from the forest road. Needless to say, it was already starting to stink, so all he could do was collect the antlers. :mad:


Tom Matiska
October 5, 2004, 01:20 PM
Few years back I'd say bows. Since PA allowed modern ML's there has been an explosion of activity that probably results in a greater number(but perhaps a lesser percentage) of wounds.

October 5, 2004, 02:25 PM
Don't make assumptions .I believe it was Colorado, when they permitted handgun hunting of big game, that required a proficiency test. Yet there was no such test for rifle hunters !! Tell me how many rifle hunters you know who never practice .How many shoot running game yet never practice at a running game target range .How many shoot well beyond their own and their weapons capabilities.Who never track game after they are shot.Slob hunters are slob hunters regardless of the weapon they use.

October 5, 2004, 05:37 PM
I don't believe that the shooting test is required in Colorado anymore. I still keep mine just to say I did it. it should be required for all hunters. I don't think it is fair to blame the bowhunters and muzzleloaders though as there are enough bad rifle shooters out there to take some blame. after all there still is more rifle shooters than there are bowhunters and muzzleloaders.

User Name
October 5, 2004, 10:58 PM
Slob hunters are slob hunters regardless of the weapon they use.
That about sums up my feeling on it...

October 5, 2004, 11:45 PM
I would be willing to bet that there are more game wounded by modern rifles than by bows or muzzleloaders combined.

User Name
October 6, 2004, 08:02 AM
Thats not a realy fair statistic when you consider rifle hunters prolly out number them 5 to 1. I do see what your trying to say, though...

Ohio Annie
October 6, 2004, 10:52 AM
How many animals are wounded by idiots vs. non-idiots?
I try to be inch-at-maximum-yards accurate before I shoot at anything living. Though I admit wounding hedge apples with my .410 (they ooze light green sap). :eek:

October 6, 2004, 06:10 PM
Being from Washington, I get to see a lot of hunters from the big city (Seattle) who couldn't hit a barn with thier gun if they were standing inside it. Its frustrating and shame. Most of the time wounded animals are lost and all hunters end up getting blamed.

I even wrote an article on it for one of local papers.


Editors watered it down from the intial writing, but the message was still clear.

High Mountain Hunting Supply

October 11, 2004, 07:22 PM
Most archers and hunters w/ muzzleloader know they only hav one shot , and what ranges are effective...Far more guys with repeaters have no conception of same, and just bang away and hope for the best. IMHO

October 12, 2004, 08:09 PM
Nice article Kelsey - I'll look to buy from your online store for gear in the future!

October 17, 2004, 03:15 PM
I think a lot of game is wounded by both muzzle loaders and bow hunters. I don't do either. I would not campaign against either method, but they are not for me. The average charcoal burner's skill level is not high, from what I have seen. The average bow hunter can't kill beyond 20 yards, and does not have the skill level to get that close.

Charles S
October 17, 2004, 04:09 PM
I think a lot of game is wounded by both muzzle loaders and bow hunters. I don't do either. I would not campaign against either method, but they are not for me. The average charcoal burner's skill level is not high, from what I have seen. The average bow hunter can't kill beyond 20 yards, and does not have the skill level to get that close.

I can not speak for muzzle loaders, but I hunt with five other bow hunters. I personally practice at the shortest distance of the group and I routinely practice at 40 yards. I shot a six point buck at 30 yards last Friday. We can and do hunt from the ground and consistently stalk close enough to make our shots. I don't know what caliber of hunter you hang our with, but I don't believe that the generalizations you make are true.


Fred Hansen
October 17, 2004, 05:03 PM
Do you think more game is wounded by bows or muzzleloaders? I'm not sure whether to respond as a WA St. Hunter Education Instructor, a WA St. Master Hunter, a lifelong hunter, or all three, but the answer would be the same in any case: SLOBS.

I've hunted using just about ever legal weapon there is, and weapon types are never the issue. Inanimate objects are never to blame for poor/negligent human input.

October 17, 2004, 08:55 PM
This might be off point but there is a show called MI outdoors in the big D. The Host is an accomplished outdoorsman. I have seen on the show that he shot deer, black, bear, elk. He also hunted snapping turtles by wading in a stream and feeling under the bank and pulling them out by the tail. His hunting was done with rifle or muzzle loader. Seemed very relaxed. One show he was in alaska handgun hunting elk or caribou. One came within 30 yds. He was up aimed and you could see he was visibly shaking missed the animal shooting 5 yards into the dirt in front of the animal. He freely admitted that he was not prepared for the closeness the other animals around and the adrenaline rush. Kelsey did not read your whole article. Everybody has to have their first hunt with a weapon type and an animal. How do you prepare for that situation? Do you think trophy hunters or people hunting for meat wound more game. My neighbor rents a place to bowhunt at and gets gets a lot of meat for the freezer he seems to favor smaller deer. Gets 3 or 4 a year. Butchers them himself, he says you get about 10% more meat per animal that way.

October 18, 2004, 11:38 AM
Of course it's from slobs (overwhelmingly). So, to rephrase: do more slobs wound animals with bows or muzzleloaders?

Fred Hansen
October 18, 2004, 12:02 PM
Well, since they are slobs, there is no way to know the answer to that question. They aren't telling. :rolleyes:

October 28, 2004, 01:23 AM
I've spent the last 25 years selling hunting equipment, so I've dealt with a lot of hunters. Not surprisingly, very few have ever actually admitted to a wounding loss with any sort of weapon, but from listening to all the talk about hunting and observing their purchases, I've got some pretty well-established conclusions.

I'd be willing to bet that the highest percentage of wounding losses come at the hands of rifle hunters. Here's why. It seems to me that when a hunter elects to hunt with a bow, muzzleloader, (or pistol, to a lesser degree), there is inherent in that decision an understanding that the weapon has performance limitations, and they have made a concious decision to work within those limitations. Bowhunters, in particular, seem to fully appreciate the fact that proficiency requires significant amounts of practice and intimate familiarity with their abilities. As for muzzloading hunters, I get considerably more questions from them regarding bullet design and performance than I get from rifle hunters. Handgunners also seem to be a bit more savvy about the limitations of their chosen arm, though a shockingly high percentage don't seem to understand the importance of bullet design for hunting big game with a pistol cartridge, and I get the feeling that many, possibly most, believe their effective range is greater than it really is.

Now, I've met an awful lot of very knowledgable and capable riflemen over the years; folks who have admirable abilities both as shooters and hunters. But there have been many more, especially in recent years, who suffer under the combined weight of misconception, inexperience, unpreparedness, and overconfidence. The hunter I'm talking about reveals these things to me in myriad ways, such as: he purchases a new rifle just days before hunting season; he asks if it will shoot 1 inch groups; his caliber selection is at one extreme or the other of those appropriate for the game - e.g. for whitetail, a .300 Rem. Ultra Mag (he wants to be able to shoot out to 500 yards) or .223 Rem. (that little high speed bullet blows up on impact and drops 'em in their tracks); his scope selection is both cheap junk and over-powered; he buys ammo loaded with hyper-expanding bullets originally designed for varmint hunting; he buys 1 box of ammo, or asks if he has to sight-in with the same ammo he's going to hunt with; he has me mount and boresight his scope, then asks what range it's boresighted for; he apparently believes that "practicing" means shooting half a box of ammo off a bench rest to make sure it's sighted in. So here we have a guy with a new moose rifle, with a BSA 4-12x50 scope on it and a box of 150 grain ballistic tip ammo, who's going to go to the range the Saturday before opening day and shoot 5-10 rounds off the bench to zero the sight. He had no idea that Ultra Mag his buddy recommended was going to beat his shoulder so bad, and by the time he's got the barrel hot he's got a pretty good flich started, plus he's pissed at the gun store guy 'cause the thing won't put two bullets next to each other. Come opening morning, he's going to get into a stand, and if we're unlucky, a deer is going to get shot at way over across that field over there. And if we're really unlucky, it's going to run off with a bullet through the paunch, but because it didn't fall over dead, our hunter is going to utter a curse about missing with this piece-of--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- new rifle, and go back to watching for the next deer.

Okay, like I said, I've known a lot of seriously capable riflemen over the years. Problem is, there's a whole lot of inexperienced new folks taking up hunting, and by far the majority of them are going to start off hunting with a rifle. All they read about in magazines is the hot new flat-shooting mega-mag calibers, and how fast and accurate they shoot off the bench. It has never occurred to them that the barrel should be broken in, or that they really have to practice field shooting with it; 150-200 rounds pre-season every year, minimum, at various ranges from every concievable position except sitting at a bench. As for the scope, well, bigger is always better, right? So what if the quality is cr*p, the extra magnification makes up for it. And of course nobody ever explained to them that a thin jacketed, polymer tipped bullet at 3000+ fps is likely to blow up if it strikes bone, or that a bullet disintegrating is actually a bad thing.

Jeff Cooper has been known to say, "All American males believe they were born with the ability to do three things very well; drive a car, make love to a woman, and shoot a rifle. Generally, they are wrong on all counts." There are too many hunters out there who believe they are far better prepared than they really are, and I'm confident in saying that most of them are carrying rifles, simply because they want the best chance for success, and they believe the rifle is not really all that difficult to use proficiently. With the decision to take up a bow or muzzleloader, comes a personal commitment to try something a little more challenging, and at least a bit of understanding that it's going to require more skill and knowledge.

There are slob hunters in all sectors. Let's all make an extra effort to help guide them in the right direction, okay? I'm.....


the possum
November 8, 2004, 02:18 PM
Hi fellas. I see some familiar faces, though I'm new here myself. I just saw one small thing I'd like to comment on.

I don't believe that the shooting test is required in Colorado anymore... it should be required for all hunters.

I don't personally believe any kind of test should be required simply because I think it would be too easy for the Government to make them rediculously difficult at a whim, if they ever decide they don't like hunting. Also, at least here, gov't regulations regarding hunting don't always have a firm basis in fact, morality, practicality, etc. If anything at all, I think this should be policed privately. Maybe some involvement with hunting clubs or something? I don't have the perfect answer.

Also, I don't think a shooting test is the way to do it, either. Why should I be able to shoot small groups at 200 yards if I never intend to shoot past 75? I can see where being able to hit a moving target would come in handy in case of a bad shot, but why should it be a requirement if I will only take a perfect broadside shot? If any kind of test should be required, it should be some kind of test on hunting ethics, since we all seem to agree that's the real heart of the matter.

November 9, 2004, 03:00 PM
Hi Guys
Heard some really good responses. I have been hunting with both a rifle and a bow for years.
I agree with those of you that side with it being the user of the weapon, not the weapon itself that wounds animals.
I routinely practice up to 60 yds with my bow, but wouldn't consider a shot over 40 yds. I can also routinely place all of my arrows in the center section of a pie plate at 60 yds(probably a 6" group or less), but it is alot different shooting at an animal while in full camo crouched behind a tree than it is standing in front of a hay bale. Before I hunt every year I shoot for a couple of weeks prior to the season with broadheads to be sure of shot placement. Most of the bowhunters I know do the same. Unfortunately you can't control whether or not the animal will "jump the string" and you might not get a good clean hit. The closer the shot the less likely the animal will be able to get out of the way in time. Especially if they are not aware of your presence.
I also routinely practice with my rifle at the range and I will not hunt until I am satisfied with my groups at the range, out to 300 yds.
In my area of the country, the majority of the big game hunters road hunt, which sometimes only allows for fleeting snap shots at game. Now don't get me wrong, I am not against road hunting, but if the hunter can't be sure of a good shot maybe the shot shouldn't be taken. I think it is the responsibility of every hunter, no matter what the weapon to become proficient enough with it to kill game cleanly at whatever yardage he or she is comfortable with and to avoid the temptation to take a shot beyond that yardage.

November 10, 2004, 12:42 AM
All weapons combined, nowhere near what we do with out vehicles. And, it will continue that way because we have the same speed limits at night as we do for daytime. The same idiots who gut-shoot deer drive 70 miles an hour at dusk and dawn.

taa, cs :D