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I imagine we have all had a great encounters while hunting that did not result in getting a shot. I happen to pass by a place recently that holds a great memory I'd like to share. I hope others can jump in with similiar stories.
Several years ago on the the first day of " BUCK" season, I sat for the first three hours without seeing a thing. Being cold and a bit disgruntled, I decided to take a walk and warm up. My intention was to cross an open area of mountain hollow to get to the "GOOD" cover on the opposite side. As I quickly went about crossing the bottom, my heart skipped a beat as I saw the biggest rack buck I had ever seen, before or since, just shifting into about fourth gear, running straight away. This was a once in a lifetime encounter, I could clearly see at least five long tines as he began to quarter right to left. He had undoubtedly watched me cross that bottom, and was well in high gear before I ever saw him. At one point, I bet we were less than 100 yards apart. Now, he slowed and stopped in a stand of large Hemlock, perhaps 250 yards away. Being as smart as a buck that big is, he kept his frontal body well covered by tree trunks as he briefy looked back at me. Although the pause was perhaps five seconds, I could clearly see at least 12 points on the rack, and the last 18 inches of his hind quarters, the rest obscured by trees. The 264 Mag in my hands could kill him at twice the distance, but I had no shot at vitals. For the briefest of nanoseconds, I moved the crosshairs to his rear hams, and thought about pressing the trigger. I brought the rifle to port arms, knowing I would not try that on such a monarch. He simply wisped away, like his feet were not reaching the ground. I can still see that rack as white as snow, tines at least a foot long. Although I know he's long dead by now, I hope his spirit still haunts that spot, for me, he's the one that got away.
 

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I was hunting deer up at my camp in Elk County. This was before AR. I had just stepped up over a little ridgeline and saw a buck trotting parallel to me. Wasn't a huge buck, but was a nice 8 point, which in those pre-AR days was a much more highly regarded mountain buck than today. Anyway, I raised my rifle to fire and as I swung, caught a glimpse of flourescent orange through my scope. I held fire and the buck continued on out of sight.
Going up over the ridge further, the "orange" was a father and son (I assume) sitting on a log.
It was disappointing not getting that buck, but I shudder to think what may have happened had I taken that shot. Glad I didn't.
 

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A little over 10 years ago I was bow hunting a giant buck, he would have been the archery state record at the time. Anyway I was sitting in my stand one morning and I heard a deer coming. I look up and coming down an access road 25 yards away is a doe and right behind her the second biggest buck I ever saw. He was a 22" 10 point that would have scored in the 150's. He walked right past me and stopped broadside to smell the doe. I could have shot him, but never drew the bow. After a few seconds the doe bolted and he followed. I don't regret not shooting and I never got a chance at the big boy, but it was a ton of fun trying
 

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About 15 years ago, I worked for Co-Ven-Co in the Frackville Industrial park. It was all game lands behind the place and I had an area bounded by the Industrial park, Interstate 81, The state prison and the fire training grounds which backs up to the PPL plant. All in all only about 100 acres or so.

One day during archery, a co-worker and I took a walk out back after work.....This is a transition bush....there is nothing to keep the deer there. Ya' see them at daylight or dusk. We snuck up on 2 buck right before dark....an 8 and a 10...problem was....they saw us first.

That year on the first thursday in Buck season....1988 I believe....I got back to the shop like a half hour before dark. Grabbed my S&W 629 and snuck out back. I sat on a little spill bank and could only see about 40 yards at most. Right at dusk I caught a glimpse of a deer....My heart darn near stopped....Biggest rack I ever seen...Then a glimpse of a doe.

I was ready....Had the hammer cocked...Never again could I see the head on either of those deer....just glimpses of brown as they followed the trail around me about 40 yards out.

Next day, Friday, I got off work pretty much right at dark but took a walk down there anyway. Got to the path I sneak in on and found a rather large gutpile. Walked back to the car and ran into another hunter. I asked him if he knows of anyone getting a big one back in that little patch. He says "Yeah, my brother got one this morning".

I asked him..."Was It like THIS" (Holding my hands and arms wide) He says "Yep....14 points and a 22" spread.

Ya know....There were times, the night before, that I am sure I had the crosshairs of that Burris scope on the buck......But I wasn't positive.

That is the biggest buck I have ever seen in the wild. And I have no qualms about not pulling the trigger.....It was not meant to be.
 

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About 15 years ago...in Wyoming county near my cabin. In a stand where I had shot 2 real nice buck in archery the first weekend in November. The first Friday of Nov I climb in the stand. About 9am I look down the ridges towards the river and see a monster.200 yds away, all downhill. I immediately hit the grunt tube and he turns and begins walking uphill. This is the same pattern the 2 above mentioned bucks took. Oh baby, we are gonna do some business! I grunt once or twice more, he keeps coming. My stand is on a side hill that is very steep. I found this straight tree growing in between 2 pine trees in a small pine thicket. I had a loggy bayou at the time. So I picked this tree because the pine in front of the stand blocked me out from deer coming out of the fields on the top of me and the pine below me allowed me to have some movement without being picked up. The set up was perfect. Anyway this buck comes right at me and stops 20 yds downhill of me behind a big pine. I have my scent cannisters on limbs and logs at 15 yds( I was using Still Steamin'Estrous scent). Deer has no idea that I am there. He stops behind a tree and starts grunting like crazy, shaking his head and pawing at the ground. But he won't step into a shooting lane or come any closer. This goes on for at least 15 minutes. I am now certifiably nuts. Anyway, after about 20 minutes of this he turns and slowly walks away, stopping every 5 yds or so to look back and grunt. At about 12 noon I get out of the tree, hunt later that day, see nothing. As I make my way back to the cabin I think maybe the scent had something to do with it. I was using scent that I had my brother pick up from a hunting store in Tunkhannock. So I go into my knapsack at the cabin and pull out the bottle. Sure enough...Still Steamin'. But it was Dominant Buck lure not estrous. This buck was looking to fight not mate! My buddy later that rifle season shot that buck....11 points with a 23 inch spread. I have one more infamous no shot. Tell ya later.
 

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Mine happened about 10 years ago in York county, one of the last times I ever hunted with a gun. I decided to take my pre-64 Winchester model 94 .30-.30 out for a walk one morning on a farm I used to hunt quite a bit. I sat a stand for the first horror so of daylight, and then decided to stalk around for awhile. It was one of the first times I had ever hunted with that particular gun, and I wasn't as familiar with it as I should have been. I came upon a thick draw surrounded by fields that we called "the island". As soon as I hit the edge of it, a giant 140"+ ten point stood up from the sunny side of the draw about 50 yards away with a few does. As he stood there broadside in the sunlight, I shouldered the open sighted rifle, centered on his shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. About the time nothing happened, I realized that I had never cocked the hammer. He seemed to realize it at about the same time and hightailed it outta there. I cocked the hammer, and tried to pick him up before he bounded out into the field on the other side and out of my life forever. Never did see that deer again. If I ever do decide to do some rifle hunting with that gun again, chances are I won't forget to cock the hammer...
 

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Shootbowtech, I have never found the first 60 minutes of daylight to be horror, quite the opposite actually, haha.

Mine came this year. It was the first time I could say I passed on a nice buck that would have been an easy shot. I killed quite a few bucks early on in my hunting, and some real nice ones, but I never had to be selective because I was lucky enough to have some good bucks be the first deer to come by. This year I had some trail camera pictures of a wide 11 point with a split tine, the biggest buck I've seen in the big woods that I hunt. I decided I wanted that deer. Hunted all archery season for him without a glimpse. Saw him the first day of bear season at about 80 yards. Darn, I've got the rifle in my hands and I cant do anything about it. But what a beautiful sight he was chasing does around. First day of rifle at about 11 and I havent seen a thing yet. Heard a shot and a while later some deer run into the valley I'm overlooking. They stand around for a while and eventually funnell up towards me. I see big antlers, thats him I think. Bring the gun up and...hey thats not right. Its not him, boy he sure is a nice tall eight point though. When he was standing there at thirty yards I'm looking at his rack through the scope, the crosshairs drift down to the shoulder, the finger starts to squeeze...nope, saftey back on and rifle down. The buck let the does take the lead and headed over the hill. I found out later that the shot that sent those deer to me was the shot that killed the big 11. About 300 yards away. My uncle talked to the guy that shot it and got his phone number. We sent him some pics from the trail camera of the buck in velvet, and he sent us some of him with the deer. I didnt mind at all not getting a buck this year and it was neat to have some pictures of the buck up close. I'm sure the guy who got it liked the trail cam pics too. Had alot of fun hunting that deer and hope I find another to chase this year, maybe the eight from last year that got a pass.
 

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In 2003 I was here in Germany on a temp assignment. Was supposed to be home the first week of August, giving me a month to finish prepping for an elk hunt in Montana. As it turned out I got extended, and would not be getting home until 4 Sept. One week before my 11 Sept flight to MT. Thankfully I had the foresight to have all my gear ready, only problem was I didn't shoot my bow in almost two months!! I shot a lot in that week, and was comfortable with my shooting, but still limited myself to 30 yard shots max. I wasn't too concerned with that since my brother and I had decided to change our approach that year. Instead of running the ridges and calling, then trying to setup on responding bulls, we would do more stand hunting. There are a couple of drainages in the area we hunt that seem to always hold some elk, and since we know the area well we figured this would be an effective method. And it almost was.
The second or third day I was standing about 15 yards uphill from a heavily used trail, cow calling lightly. I hear a loud crash below and suddenly a black bear appears coming straight up the hill toward me. He hit that trail and turned right. Wondering what spooked him (this is grizzly country) I kept a good watch down that way. Suddenly I spotted movement and see a couple of cow elk coming up, followed by a whole lot more. Which were all being followed by the biggest bull elk I had ever seen in the wild!! They came up the hill but crossed right over that trail. The bull was even with me on the hill, unaware of my presence, and within 25 yards, but he managed to keep something between him and me the entire time. I was at full draw for what seemed like an hour, but was probably around two minutes. They continued up the hill and he came into an opening at about 40 yards. I held on him momentarily, but stuck to my 30 yard limitation. Probably a good thing, since being drawn for that long I'd have most likely blown the shot! When I finally let down, I noticed two cows that were standing about 10 yards away the entire time. As I was relating the story to my brother, he reminded me that I had said that I'm not bull hunting that year and that I was taking the best shot that presented itself, cow or bull. I don't think he believed me that I never did see those two cows until afterwards. But, that was one big bull!! Hard to focus on anything else at that time!
 

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I have no problem shooting Jakes, but one day a couple years ago I had 2 in my lap. For some reason I decided to pass them up. That led to more hunting....more passing of jakes....more hunting....missing a huge boss gobbler....more hunting....passing more jakes....and more hunting. Thinking back, I'm glad I didn't shoot those first birds that came by.
 

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About 8 years ago On the last day of rifle season I decided to spend the last hour of day light sitting on the ground with my back to a stonewall over looking a large field. As I sat there I reflected on the entire deer season and came to the realization the this year it just want meant to be... Suddenly I hear crunching in the leaves directly behind me on the other side of the stone wall. I decided I would sit still and wait for whatever it was to cross through an opening to my left. About 15 minutes went by and I could still hear scratching in the leaves and an occasional foot stomp and it sounded as if the animal was only about 20 yards behind me, but not coming any closer. At this time I looked at my watch and I had only about 5 minutes left of legal shooting time so I decided to take my chance and turn around to peak over the wall behind me. As I turned my body I could just see over the wall enough to see the rack of a large 9 point buck that I was very familiar with. Only problem was I had to almost stand up to be able to get a shot. I waited for the deer to turn his head and decided to pop up as quick as I could when suddenly both of my legs instantly cramped up and i fell right on my butt. I couldn't believe it. I sat there helplessly and heard the sound of the buck dashing away into the thick swamp behind me. When I finally got my legs to stop cramping, and I was done cursing, all I could do was laugh about what had just happened. That year it really wasn't meant to be !
 

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Two spring Gobbler seasons ago my brother and I got set up on a hot gobbler before daylight. He was roosted above us and we had managed to slip in close to a group of pines in the field on a steep sidehill directly below him.
Fly down time came and we began to hear A LOT of hen talk. Being that I was set up facing more downhill and had my brother in positions to shoot, I did a flydown cackle and wing beat and waited. All those goofy hens pitched straight down and instantly started tugging the gobbler in the other direction, up over the crest of the hill. We both attempted to get the hens coming our way, but they were having none of it. Finally my brother turned to me and said to try a gobble.
We had tried it numerous times in the past and honestly had never had any luck with it other than getting a bird to answer. This time was different.
My brother called and I gobbled and all heck broke loose. I couldn't see it at the time but my brother said he had never seen a gobbler get so angry so fast. He RAN straight down the hill to within about 10 yards of my brother, his hens stumbling to keep up. Only problem was that the bird was covered up by some oak brush.
I was not planning on shooting that morning no matter what. My brother is 32 years old (30 at the time) and has had a very successful hunting career in calling in birds for other people. The first year of the youth hunt he called in three birds for three different youth hunters on three different setups in one morning. He has the touch, for sure.
He has not, however, killed a spring gobbler. Snake bit is an understatement. Every possible thing that has ever been able to mess him up has.
Back to the story: At about the same time that big (and he was a tank) gobbler was running to pick a fight with me, another big gobbler flew directly over top of us and landed downhill about 70 yards away. I was running camera and trying to get my brothers attention (I didn't know the other bird was there yet) to let him know that there was a long beard coming in from the left.
The downhill bird walked right in on us. I kept the camera rolling and as it got closer it finally spied me and started to putt. I had numerous chances to get my gun up and kill that bird, but I was committed to my brother getting the shot. He putted and began walking out to our left front, and eventually went behind some pines when he would have been in my brothers sector of fire.
So up to this point, he was having a Mexican standoff with the dominant bird at about 7-10 yards. When the downhill bird started putting, my brother whispered to me that he was going to get up on a knee and shoot... The big gobbler was nervous and starting to walk straight away.
At that point I realized what was up and the camera turned just in time to see my brother raise up and miss. He was mad at me for not shooting the bird in front of me, I was laughing hysterically at the whole situation, and two big gobblers got away without a feather harmed. It was a debacle on one hand and an awesome memory on the other.

I guess it was a greatest shot we never took for both of us. I could have hammered that downhill bird about 100 times, but I want my brother to kill one more than I want to shoot one myself. When we got done and he showed me what was between him and the bird.... I probably would have shot that turkey through the brush at that distance. I to this day don't think there was any way that it wouldn't have died. But I understand why he didn't shoot, it was a split second judgment call. At least we have good video to remember it by!
 

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This had to be about 4 seasons ago, myself my dad my uncle and my younger cousin were hunting behind my uncles house. It was opening day, a rainy warm day, and I was in my newly built stand watching the backside of our hollow. Not even 2 hours in my stand I decided I would just walk towards my dad and get up in our big stand with him. On my way, about 100 yards from my dad but I couldn't see him, I heard a shot. At that point I knew it was my dad or my uncle and cousin, so I continued my path and wouldn't you know it, my dad was looking at busted up old 7 point(lost a tine) laying on the ground dead. I'll be honest, being like 17 at the time an not having a buck under my belt I was ticked off! It was my dad though, so I made sure to tell him he was welcome for driving that buck towards him. As he begins gutting the buck, I'm in in the tree stand irritated as can be when I hear BOOOOM, another close shot. I radio to my uncle and cousin and my uncle said he shot at a giant he doesn't know if he hit him though.
yep, at this point I was STEAMING!! I hang my rifle on the hook, grab my peanut butter sandwich and start texting my buddy to tell him two bucks were down. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I see a buck. I see a big buck sneaking not even 20 yards below me in between my uncle and me and my dad. I dropped my sandwich, set my phone down, grabbed my rifle and scoped in right on his front shoulder! BOOOOM, he's hit, I think it's a good shot, he's not running yet he's not down. Next thing you hear is loud crack and the buck goes down. Later my uncle thought I fell out of the stand by the loud noise haha
This was my first buck, a solid 8 point on the same day my dad shot one. This day gave me 2 things, a memory I'll cherish forever, and a reason for the hunting addiction I have and plan on having forever.
 

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A few years back I made an out of state hunt to Missouri. We drove for 14 hours and arrived at our camp around noon. After taking a short nap we decided not to waste a good afternoon. We had hunted the same area the previous year so I knew right where I wanted to go. It was about a 3/4 mile hike up a ridge to a nice bench. On the way in I found two fresh scrapes so I knew I was in a good area. I set up my climber and got settled in for the afternoon. The previous year we had hunted this area all of our action on this ridge took place in the mornings. We didn't see one deer during an afternoon hunt. So as the evening shadows started creeping in and myself being blurry eyed from the 14 hour drive, I figured I would climb down while it was still light so I would have a much easier walk out of the woods. I tied my bow up and lowered it to the ground and was just ready to start my decent when I caught movement about a hundred yards away on the edge of an old pasture. I puled up the binos and here comes a buck right to me. I started scrambling trying to get my bow up but it was too late so I watched as the beautiful 130"+ 8 point waltzed past at a mere 13 yards perfectly broadside with my bow not in my hands. I can still see that buck as plain as it was that day walking past me with no idea of my presence.
 

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About 3 years ago it was a rainy day opener. My father and I set up along a ridge where there were pines to our backs and open hardwoods in front after sitting for about an hour and a half in the steady rain I walked down to my dad and said I was going to take a walk around to get my blood moving and warm up a bit. I was following the edge of the pines getting ready to make a large loop into them and hopefully push something out of them to my father when I see what I think is a bedded deer in some brush about 30 yds away. I look and look but it was real thick so I figure nope not a deer and continue on my way. The rain made everything quiet I put the brush to my right and when I got about 10 yds away the deer which was at least an 8 jumped up and started running I shouldered the rifle and followed it as it looped through the brush it was heading right for a clearing about 30 yds away I put the scope on the clearing and then the entire scope turned brown. I had it zoomed all the way up to 9 from sighting in the day before and normally I keep it at 4 not knowing whether or not I was looking at the shoulder, gut, or rump I never did squeeze the trigger. Trying to track in the steady rain would've been useless so I didn't shoot.
 

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I will make this short,
2003,off of the Billote road,I went for a walk off of the side of the power lines.
walking just to see an area that I was never in before.
I came upon a monster buck,put the crosshairs on him,slipped the safety off,,,and just stood there.
He never knew I was there.
There was no snow on the ground,never saw a soul,and I was just under 3 miles from the car.
Put the safety back on and yelled"bang"
He took off,and I never heard any close shots afterwards.
He was so lucky that day that I was so out of shape ,to not to even attempt to want to drag him over 2 miles back to the car.
But he was a great deer and would of loved to of been able to brag about him,,,,,But he wasn't worth the heart attack to get him back.
Plus being so dry,,,would of drug off half his meat.
 

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Joe,
A long time ago in 1961-1962 Pa Buck season my father took a beautiful 220 Lb, 10 point on our land here in Potter/Tioga. At that time really big deer were not seen all that often. The funny thing was the Buck standing beside that 8 point, was even bigger with a 17-18 point rack,
one of the biggest whitetail Deer we had ever seen.
As we hung the antlers, I ask my father why he had not taken the bigger Deer. He smiled and said cause we want his off spring on our land in the future. Just this last season my best friend, staying at the log cabin, could not sleep at about 3 Oclock in the morning he went outside with his star light scope. Sitting on the front porch he saw a monster buck, with over 17 points rubbing his jaws on the corner of our pavilion, after the Buck walked out of the auto light zone, and the light went out, Dan looked thru his star-light scope, and saw 4 or 5 more almost the same size. Every time we see one of these monsters on our land
I remember my fathers words.
Pine Creek/Dave

The smaller of the 2 Deer we saw that day.


In 1969 I took an 8 Point from this same monster Deers linage, the last Buck I have ever taken.
 

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How is an 8 pt shot 8 yrs later thought to be related?
 
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