View Full Version : Sad story - No cure for buck fever
December 10, 2001, 09:43 AM
After two weeks of hunting with about 10 different outings and not seeing anything but two does running flat out away from me at a distance of a about a quater of a mile, I found myself exactly where I wanted to be. I was standing at the top of a bluff in a sparse stand of trees watching the ridge above a big creek bottom. My Father-In-Law was walking the bottom as the pusher, and a neighbor was on the opposite side of the bottom from me. With exactly one hour left to go in the season, with plenty of light and almost no wind, Bambi stepped out of the brush and casually started walking across the open pasture. Nice buck, big rack, about 150 yards away and walking at a medium pace. That is the end of the good part of the story. My first mistake was not remembering to whistle to get him to stop. Instead, with my heart pounding, I tried to take a shot while he was moving. I was standing next to a big tree and had my forward hand against the tree for support. The picture in the scope looked reasonable for distance and stability but I had never practice shooting at a moving target. I let one go and he stopped cold. He didn't look hit, but he had stopped, so a racked the bolt and chambered another round. In my haste to get my crosshairs back on him, and with my heart pounding in my ears, I shoved my heavily gloved hand back into the trigger guard and caused a premature shot. No sight picture, missed him by a mile. Round three. By now my composure, what little I started with, was completerly gone, and the buck was starting to move again. I put the scope on him and tried to sweep the gun as he moved. When it looked as good as it was going to get, I squeezed one off. He sped up a little and kept on going. No sign of being hit. I was too embarrassed to take another shot at him, and he was starting to pick up steam. I watched him run out of sight. While I can make excuses about the difficulty of making a standing shot at that distance, even with a support, truth is I know I could make that shot on paper tomorrow. No matter how much you think you prepare for hunting season, sometimes being at the right spot with the right rifle at the right time just isn't enough. I laughed when I read about a guy that ran back and forth to his targets when he was target practicing to simulate the effects of buck fever. I'm not laughing now. Sounds like a damn good idea. BTW, I have taken two deer before this, so I'm not a total beginner. But this buck was the best I had ever seen.:rolleyes:
December 10, 2001, 11:14 AM
Just remember that if the time comes that your heart doesn't respond to a big buck, you'll need to find some other hobby as all the fun will be gone from deer hunting. My only suggestion to you is that you "visualize" that big buck in your mind during all those hours of waiting on a stand and play out the role in yur mind as you calmly take a solid rest and bring the cross hairs to bear on target and squeeze that trigger. With enough mind practice, it won't be such a shock when he does actually show up and you will have played it out in your mind so many times that the buck fever will not arise. Better luck next year.:)
December 10, 2001, 03:28 PM
Well, you're not alone in your fever. Lotsa guys have done a lot worse! At least you didn't rack the bolt until the gun was empty, swearing that there was no way you could have missed that buck--and had a bunch of unfired cartridges at your feet.
December 10, 2001, 04:37 PM
the gun was empty because I only loaded three shells that day. I figured one well aimed shot, maybe a finishing shot, and one for insurance purposes. The only part of your desciption that doesn't quite fit me, is that I know why I missed. It's a whole lot easier with a nice solid rest and plenty of time to think about it. I like Stubby's idea. Next time I'm at the range I'm going to try to pretend that "it's the Big One" and not give myself forever to setup the shot and see how I do in the accuracy department.
December 10, 2001, 09:46 PM
From my daze as a pool-shooter: "Think long, think wrong."
December 11, 2001, 11:48 AM
"Amen" to that last post, Art! One of the things I like about archery is that typically I see the deer long before I get a shot, so the adrenaline dump is fading and I'm settling down already. Best buck I ever took with a gun was one I didn't have time to think about at all!
ks_shooter, thanks for telling the story, even though it's a tough one. But Stubby has it right . . . if you don't get the "rush," you should probably give up hunting. Best of luck for future seasons!
December 11, 2001, 12:16 PM
A shooting stick might help calm things down, in terms of waving the barrel around. At least one part of you wouldn't be shaking.
December 11, 2001, 01:19 PM
MeekandMild, I had my support hand pressed solidly against a big 'ol walnut tree to steady my aim. Unfortunately, what was at the end of the buttstock was shaking like a leave. I've had a couple of days to think about this now and I'm convinced that it was the preceived time pressure that did me in. I had myself convinced that if a didn't shoot him NOW! he was going to just walk off and that would be the end of it. He was straight north of me when he came out of the timber and he was moving west. Every second he kept walking he was putting more distance between me and him. The deer that I have taken before had the good manners to stop so I could shoot them. Oh, well. Live and learn. That's why we're here.
December 11, 2001, 08:20 PM
Simple example: A deer in overdrive is about 30mph, or 44 ft/sec. At 100 yards, it takes the bullet about 0.1 seconds to arrive. The deer will have travelled about 4-1/2 feet, so that's your lead. I always figure about three feet in front of his nose, or roughly about a half a deer length (stretched out, running)--per hundred yards. Farther out, more lead...
A walking deer? For 100 to 150 yards, just hold a smidgen of daylight in front of his chest.
The key is a smooth swing, just like shooting doves except a deer is slower. Come from behind, get your lead, and shoot--but follow through, just like at the skeet range!!!
That's "all" there is to it! :D
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