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Hey guys, so this past Saturdsy I shot my first buck after an 8 year hiatus from deer hunting.
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I have made it 30 years in the mitten state without taking a deer with horns, and have passed many years on small spikes. I had passed on the same buck I took in my sit a week earlier, but he came in quick, and I couldnt decide to pull the trigger on a small buck that quick. Well after I let up on my bow he waited around and I felt like he actually looked bigger in the body than a little 4 point. So when he walked 20 feet in front of my stand this time and stopped broad side, my desire for venison and excitement to shoot a deer got ahold of me and I took him. It was a perfect shot. The rage broadhead did the trick and knicked his heart and got both lungs. I am truely grateful to have the meat in the freezer for my family, but I cannot shake the guilt for not just taking a doe for meat. The property I hunt on starts getting a lot more hunting pressure when november 15th comes around so I also had a little bit of, "if I dont shoot him, someone is going to" going on in my mind. I dont need a trophy buck or a big mount on my wall, that's not why I'm bummed. It just seems like I added to a problem rather than help fix it. I want to see mature whitetail bucks and I know to see them, you have to let the little ones go. Anyone else feel like this? Did you ever shoot another small buck again? As of right now I cant see myself ever shooting anything without 6 points ever again when I can just take a doe and not lose any sleep over it.
 

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Personal standards are just that, personal. You wanted to shoot it, own it.
If this doesn't make you feel great then learn from it and be more selective but you don't owe anyone an explanation.

Congrats on getting back into it.
 

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That's a nice shot! Good job.

I went into this season fully expecting to go buckless because I was planning to hold out for a bigger, older deer than I had in years past.

Then one appeared out of nowhere, right in front of me, and I instinctively grabbed my bow and killed it. Then I thought about how I didn't even take a moment to gauge body size, body shape, or tine length. I just went into auto-kill-mode almost.

I put the tape on it (spent about 5 minutes) and in really rough terms, it measured ~110".

I have zero regrets about killing the deer because I (like you) made a really good shot and that is something we can both be proud of. Having said that, I have reflected numerous times on whether I should have s-l-o-w-e-d down and thought it over a bit more.

No shame. Just part of the progression, I guess.

If you didn't start this thread, I was going to do it...thanks for saving me a few keystrokes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's a nice shot! Good job.

I went into this season fully expecting to go buckless because I was planning to hold out for a bigger, older deer than I had in years past.

Then one appeared out of nowhere, right in front of me, and I instinctively grabbed my bow and killed it. Then I thought about how I didn't even take a moment to gauge body size, body shape, or tine length. I just went into auto-kill-mode almost.

I put the tape on it (spent about 5 minutes) and in really rough terms, it measured ~110".

I have zero regrets about killing the deer because I (like you) made a really good shot and that is something we can both be proud of. Having said that, I have reflected numerous times on whether I should have s-l-o-w-e-d down and thought it over a bit more.

No shame. Just part of the progression, I guess.

If you didn't start this thread, I was going to do it...thanks for saving me a few keystrokes.
Congrats on your deer! It's so exciting to be close enough with a bow to take a deer its hard to keep composure. I am proud of myself for not taking a nearly 40 yard shot at him a week earlier and taking that time you talk about. I don't think the call would have been so easy had he come in closer the first time though.
 

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My criteria for shooting a buck is based solely on if I get fired up when they are coming in/ when a shot presents itself. Sometimes it’s on smaller bucks I might not typically shoot like if I’m on the ground and I manage to get one real close it adds a whole new challenge. Don’t let the whole big buck mantra make you feel bad about shooting this buck. Enjoy it. If you think you can do better next time then up your personal standards and set a hard goal of what not to shoot and stick with it. But if you enjoyed your hunt and got some venison out of it why feel bad? If you want to be more selective in the future then by all means be more selective, but don’t let anyone guilt you into tarnishing the memory of this hunt.
 

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I have never felt any guilt over the many 1.5 year bucks I have shot. Not ever! I have shot some very nice bucks in my hunting life, I'm 60, but still feel the same joy, pleasure, excitement, and satisfaction when I kill deer of any kind. I hope that feeling never goes away cause then I might consider not doing it. Congrats on the nice deer and good shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My criteria for shooting a buck is based solely on if I get fired up when they are coming in/ when a shot presents itself. Sometimes it’s on smaller bucks I might not typically shoot like if I’m on the ground and I manage to get one real close it adds a whole new challenge. Don’t let the whole big buck mantra make you feel bad about shooting this buck. Enjoy it. If you think you can do better next time then up your personal standards and set a hard goal of what not to shoot and stick with it. But if you enjoyed your hunt and got some venison out of it why feel bad? If you want to be more selective in the future then by all means be more selective, but don’t let anyone guilt you into tarnishing the memory of this hunt.
Wow! That is a cool perspective! "if i get fired up" is really what its all about anyway. Well, that and eating the meat. I would bet you i remember this the next time i'm in this situation! GREAT comment!
 

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Yes I have felt bad. The lesson for me was to slow down and make sure the buck is a "shooter" before pulling the trigger. It's up to each individual to decide their goals...but for me I don't like the feeling of shooting a small buck and will chance missing an opportunity rather than rushing a shot.
 

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I also have a tinge of regret every time a shoot a deer. They are beautiful creatures, and taking a life is a solemn event. My regret isn't about the status of the deer beyond it being a deer. Maybe you are confusing that with some regret about the size.

Congrats on a job well done.
 
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