John's Journal...

Day 2: Jerry Peterson and Ronnie Groom’s Hardest Bow Shots

Editor’s Note: Making a shot on a big-game animal at crunch time makes-up both a hunter’s dreams and nightmares. Here are some dreams that came true. Can you remember the toughest shot you’ve ever made with a bow? Did you have confidence you could make the shot? Did you get lucky? Let’s look at some of the toughest shots made by some of America’s greatest archers.

Jerry Peterson of Franklin, Tennessee – President of Woods Wise Products

Click for Larger ViewAt about 8 am in the early part of bow season one year, I snuck into a draw on my farm looking to set-up for a late-morning vigil. I came upon a spot showing churned-up dirt with drops of blood. To me, it looked as though two deer had gone at it, maybe battling for breeding rights. I hit some rattling antlers together two times and heard a deer running on the far side of the draw from me. I rattled again, took up my bow and prepared for the shot. A nice 8-point came to within 30 yards of where I stood. Bristled-up as though he was ready for a fight, the buck slowly walked from my right to my left. When the buck went behind a tree, I came to full draw. But I heard another deer behind me running toward me, at about 50 yards. I looked over my right shoulder and saw he was a bigger 8-point with at least an 18-inch spread.

Click for Larger ViewI turned back to my right and re-anchored my shot at the buck in front, not knowing what the bigger deer behind me would do. As I heard the big buck closing ground, I bleated with my voice. I swung my bow to the left just in time to see the buck skid to a halt about a foot from the end of my broadhead before I released the arrow. Not realizing what had happened or possibly thinking he had been gored, the larger buck chased the smaller animal out about 50-yards before finally going down. Being able to grunt, having the buck stop 2 feet from the end of my broadhead, making an accurate shot and watching the buck chase another buck off after he’d taken the arrow made this hunt and this shot something I’ll never forget.

Ronnie Groom of Panama City, Florida – Avid Bowhunter and Bowhunting Instructor

Click for Larger ViewI was hunting in Georgia, slipping-down an old woods road when I spotted a buck bedded-down behind a large, blowdown pine tree. I only could see the buck’s neck and head above the trunk. Although the buck was at 60 yards, I felt comfortable at making a 60-yard shot since I practiced that shot almost every time I shot my bow. I decided that if I aimed just at the top of the log that the broadhead should center the deer’s neck.

Click for Larger ViewWhen I released the arrow, it flew true, hit the top of the log, glanced-off the log and then struck the deer about 4 inches from the base of the log in the center of its neck. The buck instantly dropped. I knew this was a safe shot to take, because I was certain I either would kill the deer or miss him completely. That’s the only time I’ve ever glanced an arrow off an object and killed a buck. It was my hardest shot to make ever.

For more in-depth information about deer hunting, get the new Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails” and “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer.” Go to, type in the names of these books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Toxey Haas and the Late Dick Kirby – Their Most-Difficult Bow Shots

Check back each day this week for more about "Big Game Bowhunters Recall Their Toughest Shots"

Day 1: Jim Crumley and Chris Kirby’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 2: Jerry Peterson and Ronnie Groom’s Hardest Bow Shots
Day 3: Toxey Haas and the Late Dick Kirby – Their Most-Difficult Bow Shots
Day 4: Brad Harris and Randy Ulmer’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 5: Ronnie Strickland and Mark Drury’s Exciting Bow Shots

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Entry 679, Day 2