We generally steer away from videos that show poor shot placement on big game, but this next one highlights a scenario where we can learn from someone else, and maybe become a better bowhunter.
(This video shows slow-motion footage of an impact shot on a deer. Some viewers might find the content disturbing, so viewing discretion is advised.)
Thankfully, this bowhunter is able to find the doe. You can check that out in the original YouTube video below. He has to use a follow-up shot, but at least the hunt concludes on a positive note.
So what lessons can be learned from this encounter? In no particular order, we can think of several:
Bowhunters shouldn’t shoot at alert deer, especially at long range. (Yes, 30 yards is long range with a bow.) It’s clear that this doe is on edge; she knows something is up. The chance of a deer jumping the string increases dramatically when a deer is alert.
When deer jump the string, they actually drop toward the ground before moving forward to run. Here, it appears the doe drops and then begins moving forward and rising again well before arrow impact, which is a big reason the arrow hits so far back.
At very close range, say 15 yards and less, a deer can still jump the string, but it has less time to move before arrow impact. Shooting at an alert deer at 5-15 yards is still not a good idea, but it’ll move less than one at 30 yards.
Stopping a deer with a bleat or grunt, like you see on all the hunting shows, can work . . . sometimes. But it can also cause a deer to go on high-alert, which can increase the chances of it jumping the string. As a rule, if a deer is totally unaware of your presence and walking slowly within 20 yards, you’re probably better off shooting without stopping (and alerting) the deer. If you choose to stop a deer with a vocalization, you’d better be quick releasing the arrow. In our experience, the longer you wait after a deer has stopped, the greater the chance for it to jump the string.
Bowhunting teaches us some hard lessons. And one we all need to learn and remember is that it’s okay not to shoot, even if a deer is within shooting range and broadside. If the deer is alert, anything can happen. No bow and arrow is fast enough to beat a string-jumping whitetail.