View Full Version : ever wound an animal and not find it

November 6, 2004, 12:34 AM
Has anybody ever wounded game and not located it. Anyting from squirrels to elephants.

November 6, 2004, 01:14 AM
I, once as an inexperienced deer hunter took a too long shot at a running deer and gut shot it. Instead of sitting back and letting the deer expire I excitedly tracked the wounded animal. I would come across large areas of blood where the deer laid down and would have probably died but it kept getting up and running at my approach. I followed it into a swamp and gave up the pursuit when the water got to my mid thighs. It was also snowing very heavy at the time. Later I learned from a neighbor that he found a deer on the other side of the swamp dead. They waited awhile for someone to claim it and then took the deer when nobody showed up. At least it didn’t go to waste. I’ve taken many deer since without any problems.

Things I learned:

Know your limits as to the range of your hunting weapon
Avoid shooting at running deer.
After shooting a deer stay back for awhile, and most of the time the deer will lay down and bleed out.
If a deer heads to water try to go around the waterway and look for the animal on the other side.

November 6, 2004, 03:38 AM
I applaud your honesty and integrity, and especially by helping to teach people from your own experience. I think to post took a lot of guts. :)

November 7, 2004, 02:01 AM
Just as I thought 1 person owns up to not being a perfect hunter only human.

November 7, 2004, 09:10 AM
In Arizona, I shot a running coyote at about 40 yds with a .44 AutoMag and a 180JHP at over 1800fps. The coyote spun around in a cloud of dust and was up and running. My second shot missed.
I made the mistake of going after him instead of waiting. I found where he had laid down under some brush and then run off when he heard me coming. Considering all the blood and other stuff he left behind, it was a gut shot and fatal. If I had waited just a minute or two, he would have died under that brush or been too weak to get away. I could have put him down and ended his suffering.

Cape Canaveral

November 7, 2004, 03:32 PM

November 7, 2004, 06:42 PM
Its happens, it has happened to me. My first year bow hunting.

I work with a couple guys that hold state records on white tail. Guess what? They have lost animals too. I have seen deer take a single hit and drop in the spot. I have also seen deer in a drive take multible hits and not be found for days, if found at all. If you hunt long enough it will happen to you.

Arizona Fusilier
November 7, 2004, 06:58 PM
Not that I know of, for sure. All the evidence suggested I missed.

Bad feeling just wondering about it, though.

November 7, 2004, 07:20 PM
An armadillo once, right at dusk. Found it 2 days later, where it bled out just beyond where I stopped looking.

OTOH sometimes you find something you don't want to know about. The last squirrel I ever shot, about 40 years ago, was wounded and ran into a hollow log. The only way to get to it to put it down was to blast it with a shotgun at about 2 yards range. Not enough left to eat. I"ll never shot a squirrel again unless I'm starving.

November 8, 2004, 01:29 AM
MM, A tree fell where I worked on a weekend and was blocking traffic, a friend was using a chain saw on monday and was cutting into the big tree, while I was chipping limbs and moving logs, and all of the sudden there was bright red blood flying everywhere off the chainsaw. It turns out the tree was hollow and a fat racoon was living in it. We all have "convinced" ourselves, that the raccoon was already dead from the concussion or from being thrown around in it's den. :barf:

November 9, 2004, 08:21 AM
I have lost a few birds [dove & quail] over my nearly 40 years of hunting, 1 duck, and 2 squirrels. Lost one deer, but guy in the next stand got him.

November 10, 2004, 01:34 PM
I think if you hunt ducks long enough you will have one go missing or fly off out or range (but hit none the less) sooner or later. Very tough critters.


November 16, 2004, 11:40 AM
It happens....Anyone that has grown up hunting has wounded an animal and not been able to recover it. As a teen I wounded a couple of deer and could not find them despite several hours of searching. A few years ago I put a .223 square in the chest of a coyote and to my amazement he took off running. I never found much blood and all I can figure is that the bullet did not mushroom and just went straight through.

While I regret not making a clean kill, my deer hunting strategy has changed, I wont take a running shot, nor will I go for a heart/lung shot. For the last 15 years I have dropped every deer in it's tracks with a high neck shot or head shot. With a shot like that the chances are slim that you will wound the animal. I have not hunted bucks since I was a teen and try to shoot about an 80 pound doe so I dont much care about something to hang on my wall.

AS far as yotes go, head shots are much more challenging and you either miss or drop them immediately.

Coons, skunks, opossums, etc-as long as you dont use a .22, I have not had anything run off. I have been using a .17HMR around the house lately and really really like it, It has replaced my 22 mag as my go-to gun for varmits around the house.

Be safe,


the possum
November 16, 2004, 05:15 PM
Care to share some of your experiences with the .17 on them Coons & possums? I'd be mighty interested.

November 16, 2004, 05:26 PM
I wounded a 6 pointer this year....I was in a slug zone and using a smooth bore barrel on my 870...Deer was walking through the thick stuff and walked through a small opening about 80 yards away where i fired at it. Not sure where I hit it to tell you the truth but it was on the ground kicking for like 5 seconds and finally got to its feet and fell down again. I thought i had a good hit and didn't fire another round at it until it got up again and started running away like it got hit somewhere in the front legs. I took a couple shots at it while it was running but i'm sure i was hitting nothing but brush. I sat in my stand a little and marked where he ran, i thought he would fall somewhere. Much to my suprise there was no blood or nothing to track when i did get out of my stand. I never did find him or any blood and feel horrible about it whenever i think about it..... I'm decided i'm not going to take shots like that with my shotgun as it is anymore. I plan on getting a rifled barrel /scope set up for it for next year.

November 16, 2004, 11:25 PM
I have had a few chucks get hit and make it back to their whole. I ain't going to dig them out. Most I figure will die. call it a self made grave.

November 17, 2004, 09:23 PM
Anyone who hunts lots sooner or later is going to wound, perhaps fatally, but nevertheless fail to recover the animal... this may be because a winged game bird buried itself in cover so well that you had no chance of finding it, squirrel escaped to hollow tree, poorly hit deer ran off in the rain leaving no discernible trail or track, and etc. It happens, regretably, but shouldn't be your norm. Self-imposed ethics are supposed to be what we are about, and that would include restricting shots to the conservative limits of your weapons and skills, assiduous follow up on every attempt (I've found animals that I was sure were irretrievably lost, because I persistently and carefully investigated the scene... ) assume you made the shot and follow up on that assumption... With big game, acute tracking skills are helpful, as are helpers' eyes, good light, e.g., Coleman lanterns for night tracking, etc.

Dusty Miller
November 17, 2004, 10:30 PM
Like the man sed, use enough gun.

November 17, 2004, 11:54 PM
Last year I lost what would have been my first buck.

I shot it center between chest and belly but far enough forward to still get the ribs because I found an inch piece of bone along the trail. The bone was compared to another deer carcass a friend shot. I also saw the bullet hit. When the deer was hit it started to run I fired once more and missed. (.30-06 BTW)

My girlfriend and I waited a half an hour on what I thought was a good shot. We soon picked up a blood trail and began following it quite slowly. After about 200 yards of tracking we found a large blood pool. I shot the deer on private land that borders public land. This blood pool was 30 yards from an ATV trail. We found no blood past the ATV trail. We searched till dark. We came back the next morning with four people and searched for about 3 hours. We found no other blood trails than the one from the night before. We finally gave up and guess that another hunter picked it up and put it on an ATV.

Hopefully this year will be different. I have killed does before but am still waiting for that first buck.


November 18, 2004, 05:23 AM
I'm a new hunter and it happened to me just yesterday. So far I haven't successfully hunted anything. I was after a doe and was playing fawn bleats out of my Foxpro. Five minutes into the calling a coyote came from my left and gave me a good broadside shot at 35 yards. I let go with a 12 ga sabot. He bolted out of there and I noted his direction. I kept calling for about 5 more minutes in case he had a partner. This land abuts a gun club. So the critters around there are accustomed to gunfire. After the 5 minutes I went to where the yote was and saw fur and a few small pieces of meat. There was no bone and I saw where the slug impacted the dirt behind the coyote. It definitely went clean through. I searched for a long time for any sign of a blood trail, but there was none. Two other hunters came by and helped me in my search, but no cigar.

I'll be back out there today. Hopefully he found a place to lay down and die quickly. I'm going back out this morning for deer, but with any luck I'll stumble on the coyote.

November 24, 2004, 02:59 AM
I hit a whitetail a few seasons ago and never found it. I was using a 25-06 and the range was about 60 yards. I was using 117 sierra gamekings ( I had already used them sucessfully twice). The doe was quartering towards me and I guess I must have hit the front shoulder blade. We found several pieces of bone that were about an inch and a quarter long. I tracked it for quite a while, but it ran onto our neighbors land and I didn't want to trespass.
Lesson learned: don't shoot at the shoulder blade with lightweight gamekings.
They work great when you are patient and don't take shots at bad angles like I did.

November 24, 2004, 12:27 PM
Two weekends ago I was lucky enough to save my Father-in-Law from a lost animal. He was stand hunting and I was ground hunting about 100 yards apart on adjacent fields. I followed two bucks with my binos into his field and waited for him to fire. After he fired I stalked behind his stand to try for the first buck. I spooked one up and had a close shot of less than thirty yards. I thought it was the first buck, but on dressing found a perfectly clean entrance and exit hole from his .243 in the hams. Luck put him down on the spot, and meat in the fridge. Last night he shot another buck and tracked for two hours in the rain but still couldnt find the animal. Tomorrow we are resighting in his rifle. :(

Long Path
November 24, 2004, 01:43 PM
Yes, I have. I looked for hours, with no blood spore (only know I hit it because I found the bullet in a mesquite tree with a bit of hair on it.). The shot was with a borrowed rifle at a deer that I could just see in deep brush. I will forever be ashamed of that shot.

Another deer I creased the hide of, ripping a furrow in the white belly hair. I'm sure it was hurting, but recovered. This was an iron-sighted rifle that I was hunting with, and my partner and I had belly-crawled to one side of a large pond and were each going to take a deer from the other side. We agreed on which deer to shoot (me left, him right), and that, because he had a scoped rifle and I an iron-sighted rifle, he would wait 'til I lined up my shot and would fire his shot upon hearing mine.

Well, he blew the entire plan. He saw two completely other deer line up, and decided to try to take two deer at once. He shot before I was ready, and I saw what I had thought was "his deer" running away. (Why shouldn't it? He didn't even shoot at it as planned.) Thinking it was wounded, I made a quick snapshot at the deer, hitting a little low and creasing the chest. I could see where I hit, and my partner later saw the deer again and reported a side-to-side red line running across it's underside. The big doe likely recovered-- but I felt bad. More importantly, I felt angry at my hunting partner, who had precipitated this, and had wounded the back deer! He was using 150g Nosler Ballistic Tips in his .30-06, and at 100 yds, his bullet completely opened up to leave a quarter-dollar-sized exit hole, so that it just basically slammed into the second deer like a hammer without penetrating. Who knows if that doe made it? We never found her, nor any blood spore from her. :mad: :(

If you hunt long enough in real fair-chase situations, the game will occasionally get away, even when hit. Heck, they'll get away even when hit well, sometimes. (I've seen a hog hit in the boiler room with a 165g '06 that we NEVER found after it made the brushy creekbottom.) That's why it's called "hunting" rather than "gathering." But we owe it to the game we hunt to do our best to prevent that from happening by making the best shots we reasonably can with what can reasonably be considered effective tools, and we owe it to them to follow up on those shots for as long as it takes to recover the meat of our game.

Track 'em down!
I have recovered two bucks that had to be searched long and hard for. The first I shot on the run, hitting too far back but benefitting from good bullet construction when the bullet continued through the lungs and created a mortal wound. The deer ran on into some brushy cover. I got my father and brother, and sent them to look for it at the spot that I had last seen it at, while I stood on the exact spot I had shot from to direct them to the spot to try to find spore. (Trust me: everything looks different when you get to the spot physically. Best technique is to that the hunter stand in the spot he shot from, and send his buddy to the spot where the game was last seen to him. If you can't do this because you're alone, mark your shooting position with something bright, and then mark the position of the animal when last seen, and the position of the animal when hit.) As the shot had entered the right ham and stopped against the sternum, there was ZERO blood, anywhere. Still, I knew the shot felt good, and kept looking. And looking. And looking. Finally I went back to the truck to get the shotgun to attempt to run it down, and got a holler from my dad-- my 9 year old brother had found it piled up in a brushpile, not 20 feet from where I had seen it last! Camouflage is amazing.

My third buck ran transversely to my right out of the field that I had just made a 300 yard shot on it in, jumped the fence just as neatly as you please, and ran into the brush. THICK brush. I looked and looked and found no blood. I got my father and hunting partner. We could find no blood. I thought about how the buck had reacted to the shot. Um... unconcerned, actually. He just ran out of the field. We looked for over an hour and a half, and hiked for well over a mile in a line through that brush, looking for that deer. Finally we returned to the fence. My host went back to the fence, and began walking it toward my firing position. Surprise! New tracks crossing the fence much closer to my firing postion than I had expected. The old buck had actually approached me as he cleared the field, exiting about 100 yds closer to me than I had expected. We shortly found him piled up about 80 yards from the fence. A nice 11pt with dulled tines from fighting, I would have been utterly crushed to have lost him. It would have been easy to have given up and decided that I must have missed him. (No blood, no reaction to the shot other than running...) But by making the extra effort to find him, I saved the meat and I still have that rack on a plaque. And it's a fact-- that closing morning of deer season, January of 1991, there wasn't a prouder 19 year old in all of N. Texas. :)

Art Eatman
November 30, 2004, 10:35 PM
I've lost two deer. The first was a good, solid hit very close to the heart with a .270, at maybe 75 yards. I saw blood fly. He went to his knees and then jumped up and ran. I waited a bit and then went to look. Found blood, but then the trail petered out. After about an hour's frustration, my father showed up and we started all over. No luck. No idea about "why"...

The other was what I thought was a kill shot. Boom, WHOP! into the chest with an '06 at about 60 yards. I slung my rifle and walked toward the dead deer to gut him out. At about ten yards, up he jumps and away he goes. I'd hit the right front leg, having pulled slightly left of my aiming point in the chest. I got on him for a second shot; no problem but one: When I went to aim, through the scope I got a setting sun at 4X. It was a Billy Graham moment: "Jeezus Keerist!"

Stuff happens, I guess, over a 40-year period...


December 1, 2004, 12:45 AM
More than I care to think about, especially quail when hunting with no dog. One "tool" I've found helpful tho in heavy brush or grass is a big fishin' weight with ribbon tied on it. After shot and before taking another step, I often throw the weight to a point as close as possible to where the bird went down.

Last recalled "bad shot" was on a prarie dog with .222 in high wind. Based upon "components" found topside, he musta been one tough puppy to make it deep into hole. I lost about 1/2 wink of sleep over that one. Game animals are another story tho.

December 1, 2004, 09:49 AM
I've lost a few ducks and more then one ruffed grouse, but never a big game animal (knock on wood) I've tracked and dispatched a fair number of deer. Last season my brother hit a big buck that took us until 9PM to find and finish off. With sunset at 5PM is was very dark under those trees, thank God for 5" of fresh snow and Petzl head lamps.

T in VA
December 1, 2004, 03:06 PM
I am pretty sure that all of the animals that have gotten away from me have been clean misses. But who can know for sure? you look for blood, hair, bone, or whatever sign there might be but even then there is always a chance you didn't look hard enough.
This past friday i was hunting with the club that i have belonged to for the majority of my life. Our land is bordered on both side by water one side is a creek the other is a swamp. One of the men i hunt with was hunting the swamp when he shot at a nice 6 pointer. He shot 4 times hitting the buck twice. The first hit was in the front leg the second in the back leg. I put on my chest waders and headed for a swim to look for the buck. I was able to work my way to within 20 yards of the thicket where the buck was before he got up. As he got up i was able to quickly unsling my winchester 30-30 and finish him off. Had i not stumbled onto this buck he would have layed there for days before death from starvation or infection took him. It is always good when you can prevent something like that from happening.

December 2, 2004, 04:37 AM
I hunt a lot and I also hunt year round. Inevitably something will go wrong! Like Old' Murphy says!

Two animals I lost were completely because of my lack of experience at the time. It was a warthog and a wildebeest. It was both shot on weird angles with my 30-06. You can not believe how tough they are! Both were quartering towards me. I was definitely under gunned for the wildebeest.

This experience encouraged me to get a .375. It was the best decision ever!
I just love hunting with it and I am not under gunned any more!!

December 2, 2004, 06:50 AM
Last year I was muzzle-loading for deer and took a 25 yard shot at a rather large doe walking below my stand. The doe fell over, then jumped up running. Thee was fresh snow/powder on the ground, and she was relatively easy to track, but I found no blood. I spent about 3 hours trying to find the deer, but she ended up going into a swamp that was not frozen over solid.

I have wondered if I screwed up and only used one Pyrodex pellet when loading my rifle, as every other deer I have shot with my muzzle-loader had had an exit wound and bled. Those sabot 300 grain 44 mag bullets usually do a good job.

I wish I had just missed cleanly, but the deer falling down and the very short range makes me think otherwise.

January 3, 2005, 08:38 PM
ive seen one mule deer lost (mine) and two white tails (friend+cousin) my lost mule deer was a big doe that i dropped like a stone at 250 yards with a 150 grain powerpoint from my .270 she stayed down and i waited for a couple minutes to make sure she was staying down and started my approach when the dog from the neighbors farm believe it or not had heard th shot and came to check out the situation last i saw that deer she was disappeared over the hill with a dog on her heels. sounds ridiculous but thats the truth and we tried to track her but couldnt find anything it must have been a gut shot. oh how i hate gut shots

the white tails were a small doe shot with a .303 in the front shoulders and we followed her tracks for nearly a mile before we lost the blood trail in the bush and a small buck that i had nothing to do with but he also got away

its true we all hate to see it happen but id does and thats a fact we have to deal with the best thing we can do is practice and use enough gun ie: dont go smaller than .243 for deer and shoot it lots so you know where that bullet is going to hit

January 4, 2005, 12:39 PM
it happens to EVERYONE.
if it hasnt yet then it hasnt, YET!

January 7, 2005, 02:36 AM
yes, unfortunately, just this past deer season. Shot a doe offhand about 150 yards away, that was my first mistake. Went down there, heard a shot nearby, thought someone finished it off, two deer come running out, both look to be running fast, I shoot the first one @ about 20 yards away, she goes right down, and the other deer runs away. I talk to the guy who shot that doe, turns out he didn't shoot the one I wounded, but the second one that ran past me was the one I wounded, so two deer killed, one wounded, probably going to end up dieing, the man said the doe was dragging his front leg.. seemed to be running pretty fast to me, but there was a slight blood trail that seemed to disappear after a little while.

Sure is a terrible feeling, especially considering the lack of deer herd in PA the last 2 years.

What have I learned? Find a good rest for longer shots, and practice my marksmenship as much as possible.

January 7, 2005, 04:40 AM
Yep just this last season.

Anyone ever hunt pheasants without a dog? Sometimes no matter how hard you look the bird is nowhere to be found even though you watched it fold up and die in mid air and you know exactly where it hit the ground. Sometimes the cover is just too thick.

Also I was out deer hunting with my uncle who has been hunting for going on 40 years now. My uncle spotted a doe, and lined up the sights and squeezed the trigger, the doe must have spotted me just before the shot broke and she jumped. My uncle fired and the doe started running, but she was missing a leg. I got a shot off while the doe was running, but I believe I missed.

My uncle ran to see where the doe was disappearing to, but the sun was in his eyes and he had difficulty seeing where the doe entered a cornfield. There was no snow on the ground and we looked for blood and the doe for rest of the day and could not find the doe. The only blood was on the ground with the leg that was shot off. I hope the coyotes ate well that night.

Sometimes it just happens, I didn't get my deer this year because that was the only day I could get away and I spent it searching for that doe.



bill k
January 7, 2005, 11:58 AM
I was duck hunting in the fog, rain and snow one morning when a duck flew across my blind. I made a fabulous shot dumping him just on the other side of a small but deep cannal.
Not wanting to get wet yet, I decided to keep hunting and I'd pick it up latter. I shot another duck and placed him in my hunting jacket pouch. Then the trouble began, a duck flew over, I took aim just as the duck in my pouch came to life and escaped his confines, I missed the shot, the duck on the beach woke up and flew off. I'm not sure what the ducks talked about but I sure they had a good laugh about the hunter that got away.

January 7, 2005, 12:47 PM
If you hunt long enough, it happens to the best of us. It'll make you sick when it happens.

Dad lost a monster buck about 10 years ago. He shot it with his 30.06, going for a lung shot just behind the shoulders. He's a very good shot, and his gun is dead on. The deer runs off, we blood trail him for hours, all day, and never found him. Came back the next day, and looked some more, never found him. The best we can tell, the bullet hit a strand of barbed wire that was between the deer and dad, and deflected the bullet to a non-killing zone.

A buddy of mine, just the other day, pulled a moronic move and lost a deer. He shoots about 1 deer every 3-4 years, but is a gun nut. He's got a deer feeder in his back yard, and saw a lot of bucks this season. He had bought a new 22-250, and shot a nice 8pt on opening day. The deer dropped, 1 shot 1 kill, so he thinks he's got a new "deer rifle". A few weeks later, he saw the big daddy at the feeder. What does he do? He gets out his 22-250 again, tries a neck shot, and the deer drops. He unloads his gun, puts it away, walks out of the house to the deer (the feeder is only about 60 yds from his back porch), and the deer jumps up, and is gone! A slight blood trail, but that was it. Never found the deer.

It pissed me off when he told me the story, because he has 7mm magnums, a .308, 30-30's, .243, all kinds of deer rifles, but he chose that stupid 22-250. Moral of the story? Don't use a prarie dog rifle for a big buck.

I lost a 150 lb hog I shot with a bow. I found it 2 days later, and the other hogs had eaten the hams off of it. Losing animals is no fun, and it makes me sick when it happens. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often, and I do everything I can to make sure it doesn't.

January 8, 2005, 11:03 PM
I bet a lot of us hate to admit it but it happens to most all of us...... We all hope and pray only once....

My perfect evening bowhunt turned sour right after the arrow for a million reasons and maybe even the wind hit about 4" to the right of what I wanted it to hit.... I was still sure I had a double lung shot and the big doe was less than pleased as the 125 grain broadhead found it's place.

To make a long story a little short....... I tracked her - likely a hour before I should have started to track her..... I called it off for the night after 100 yards through the thick stuff. She had stopped once and layed down and bleed and got back up to get away from the dumb bowhunter (ME) that was pushing her. Well, the next morning I woke early and stepped out the cabin door to the sounds of coyote feeding songs about what turned out to be another 100 yards from the spot I called it off the evening earlier. Well, I found her and the little ****s had her 75% gone worked her from the South (butt) end and headed up..... I sat with her and felt very sorry for the both of us.... It was one of the worst hunts I have had and hope to never have again. The only slight positive thing was she went back to nature and served a real lesson to me in just how great I think I am - was - and will be..... I take a lot more time at aiming and pass up a lot more of the so called easy shots........ I keep it 20 yards or less........ even then.......but hey that's that..........


Andrew LB
January 9, 2005, 01:39 AM
Not being able to find a wounded animal is terrible and really gets to me the few times its happened. I've never lost any larger game, but twigged a goose which managed to keep flying and lost a few pheasant in the Owens Valley, CA. I've also had a few doves disappear in Yuma, AZ. :(

January 12, 2005, 02:31 PM
Not yet. Hope I never do. Probably will, unfortunately, at some point. Question: If you do go for a neck shot on a deer, where on the neck do you aim? Low toward the esophogus? High toward the spine? or Middle? Low toward the body? High toward the head? or Middle?

January 13, 2005, 11:15 AM
I have, with a blackpowder rifle. Was a clean broadside shot through the heart/lung area from about 25 meters, with a bunch of other elk standing around it (I chose the best shot/best legal target). Im a pretty good shot, esp at that short distance. I was sure I hit it, and me and my dad looked till it was too dark to see our feet without lites, and then some. We circled around in ever widening paths, but never found it. My grandfather found it (we hunted on his property) the next summer, and told us that it had run uphill about 100 meters, but the shot was perfect. What had happened was between the smoke, my nerves, and the scattering of the heard, I lost track of it, and there wasnt a blood trail, because the entrance wound isnt the wound that leaves a trail, its the exit wound, which blackpowder failed to produce. That was my last outing, and definatly my last outing with blackpowder.

Also, about the 22-250, in some states thats illegal, as it is not enough rifle for the task. in colorado, it has to be .243 or bigger

January 13, 2005, 11:38 AM
"Also, about the 22-250, in some states thats illegal, as it is not enough rifle for the task. in colorado, it has to be .243 or bigger"

Believe me, I know. But here in Texas, for some reason, it is legal. And for some reason, every season deer are lost because of it. What hacks me off the most is when I hear of friends buying a "deer rifle" for their wife or kid, and get the 22-250, .223, etc. for them "because it doesn't kick" and is easy to shoot. Now, I know there are those here who have hunted deer with those calibers. But to put that kind of gun into the hands of the most inexperienced shooters/hunters who have never shot a deer in their life....well, to me that's just wrong. When I call them on it, the excuse I hear is "well, but these Texas deer are so small, like 80lbs, so it's plenty of gun". Not if you shoot them in the gut, butt, or leg as some newbies may do. And what happens when the big daddy decides to walk out that day in front of you? I'd hate to loose the deer of a lifetime because I wanted to shoot a coyote rifle.

Nothing will turn a newbie off on hunting more than losing their first deer, or having to shoot it multiple times after it's wounded and stumbling on the ground, trying to run away.