regret bearDuring my entire hunting career, I have experienced plenty of highs and lows. The highs are awesome and certainly worthy of remembrance, but the lows can, and do, haunt me. Some lows are humiliating and some are sad. If you hunt, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Here are some of my lowlights.

After a few years of bowhunting, I was fortunate enough to experience nothing but success. I practiced with my bow all of the time and I seemed to have built a false sense of perfection with some bow kills under my belt. One warm September night many years ago, I loosed an arrow on a blacktail doe in the sand dunes of western Oregon.

I made a bad shot and after a few hours, I began trailing and tracking her. The blood ran out, but I could see her tracks in the sandy earth. I followed her for a couple of miles and finally was convinced she would be alright. I didn’t care if she lived because I knew she was hurting and suffering. I was ashamed and I never took a good bow shot for granted again.

Another great regret is after having a dry spell of hunting success, I found myself as a guest on a fancy black bear hunt. I was not the only guest of a very generous guy. In fact, I considered myself the lowest ranking guest, so when I found myself 30 yards from a shootable bear, I let him walk partly because I did not want to be the first one who was successful. I felt it would appear rude or that I would seem like a game hog. I let that bear walk and nobody else ever had a chance at a bear that entire week. I should have made the easy kill and not worried about it. Big regret.

The worst regret I have is letting my nephew convince me that he could clearly see a deer in his scope when I think I knew better. I let him take a shot at 100 yards that I felt was automatic to any hunter, but he missed. Of course I did not know he missed until after hours of searching, we never found a speck of blood. The nephew was disappointed but not as much as I was, even today, several years later.

As hunters, we all experience bad news. It is a fact of hunting and all we can do is prepare as best we can to eliminate potential regrets. 

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