John's Journal...


Use The 10-Yard Formula

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You'll immediately feel violently ill when you release an arrow and watch the broadhead cut nothing but air. Unfortunately, I've had this happen to me more than once. At times, like you, I've heard off in the distance my hunting buddies screaming and hollering when they've missed shots. I've also seen bows have rude encounters with tree trunks after they've failed to perform properly. However, I've learned often the best part of your bow hunt occurs after you've missed a shot. Many times, you'll get a second shot at the same deer or a bigger deer.

Bob Foulkrod of Troy, Pennsylvania, a nationally-known bow hunter, suggests that you have 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-yard pins sighted on your bow. "You never know when you may get a second Click to enlargeshot after you miss the first time. Or, if you get a poor hit and can place a second arrow in your buck before he gets away, your chances of recovering that buck will be much greater. I'm not suggesting that anyone attempt to first shoot at a buck at 40 yards with a bow. But if you'll set a sight pin at 40 yards and practice shooting at that distance, if you do get a bad hit on a buck and can make a second shot when the deer's at 40 yards, try and take it."

Dr. Bob Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, has taken more than 100 deer with his bow and has developed two strategies that have proven successful when he thinks his arrow has missed a deer. "I shoot a 55-pound bow with small-diameter arrows and relatively small broadheads. I like the lighter-weight bow because I can hold it longer to wait on a good shot. I can draw it when I have to shoot at odd angles, and even on the coldest days, I can still get the bow back. When you shoot small-diameter arrows and broadheads, the arrow can pass through a deer so quickly he doesn't know what's happened to him. If a buck acts like he hasn't been hit but runs 5 to 10 yards, stops, looks back and stands perfectly still,Click to enlarge I don't move a muscle. I don't nock an arrow, and I don't try and get off a second shot. Usually that buck is well-hit and just doesn't realize what's happened. Within a few minutes, the deer generally will stumble and fall over." Sheppard doesn't want to spook the deer because the deer may run further if he sees Sheppard move.

But this strategy didn't pay off for Sheppard a few years ago when he arrowed a nice buck, watched the deer run 10 yards and then saw the deer fall over. Because the deer didn't move, Sheppard assumed the buck had died. Climbing down the tree, he picked up his bow and walked over to the buck. The deer got up and began to walk in a 10-foot circle in thick cover, unaware of Sheppard's presence. "Although I shot all five arrows I had left, because the cover was so thick, I failed to hit the buck," Sheppard recalled. However, Click to enlargeSheppard knew what to do when he missed. He picked up one of the arrows he'd shot previously. When the dazed buck walked close enough to Sheppard, he shoved the arrow into the deer's vitals. He knew that when the bow failed he had to take the arrow and the misses into his own hands.

However, Sheppard suggests that if you know for sure you've missed the buck and the deer bolts to run, nock another arrow immediately, and draw. "You must draw when the buck's moving," Sheppard emphasizes. "If he stops to look back and you draw, he'll spot you before you can get the bow back. However, if you're at full draw, then when and if the deer stops, you often can aim and shoot quickly enough to make that second shot count."


Check back each day this week for more about WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU MISS WITH JOHN E. PHILLIPS...

Day 1 - Second Chances
Day 2 - Use The 10-Yard Formula
Day 3 - Determine Whether Or Not You've Hit The Deer
Day 4 - Don't Leave a Good Spot And Have A Good Attitude
Day 5 - When The Bucks Come Running And When You Hit But Miss



Entry 273, Day 2