Going on a quality hunt with 2 tags to fill with another person with 2 tags to fill.
Not always being aware of what my bottom cam was around when shooting. If it hits the rail of a climber it'll cause the arrow to nose dive about 20yds out...and likely shoot under a buck you see 1 time in 4yrs of hunting him.
Not being in good enough shape.
Not having the correct clothing to help you perform.
Fail #1 was when I tumbled with my gun because I was so exhausted trying to race up a hill.
Fail #2 was convincing myself that i didnt hit the scope off. I ruined an opportunity at a big herd bull because I was too lazy to take a half a day and get the gun back on.
Another fail that I have to fight is to stay calm after a kill to think straight and make a good plan.
Not being in top shape is huge! Man I've learned that lesson a time or two!
I don't Break the rules, I Modify them.
Right now I'd have to say just not going. I can't remember how many times I wish I still would have just went hunting instead of waiting the weather out. Now that I have less time to hunt I really wish I had this days back.
1. As a teen I shot at a cow elk in an alfalfa field. I misjudged the range and hit her low in the shoulder and she ran to the edge of the field and laid down in the sage. Not realizing she wasn't mortally hit but knowing I hadn't hit her well I sat and waited until close to dark hoping she'd lay down and die. When I did go up to find her it was getting dark fast, she exploded out of the sage and headed up towards the nearby mountains. By then it was dark and I had to wait and try to find her in the morning. It snowed 18 inches that night. No tracks, no blood, no carcass, nothing....
It's experiences like this and the accompanying sick feeling that lingers (even to this day) that probably make one committed to ethical shots and ensuring we prepare and do all we can to prevent something like this from happening again.
2. Not starting to buy bonus points as early as I should have.
And as far as this thread goes... "Thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you're at it, why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!"
My biggest fear in life, is that when I die my wife will sell all my guns for what I told her I paid for them.
I really think that discussing these issues can help people avoid at least some of these mistakes. If you continue to ignore mistakes made in the past, they will continue to happen. When we focus on what has gone wrong in the past, we will likely not make the same mistakes again.
I am in the trip planning stages for my elk hunt next fall. In reading some of the comments, I have already adjusted a few of my lists and plans. While the information may not be new to everyone, these posts acted a great reminder to me. Thanks again to everyone who posted on this subject!
For me, the biggest mistake is quitting on the hunt early, or not hunting as hard as you know you can. Missing an animal, or making a poor shot, are all just a park of the gig, and sometimes that happens, and is out of your control...
But, if you quit early on a hunt or don't hunt as hard as you could, that will eat at you from the second you get home, and it won't go away until you're back out there next season.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
For me, it is rushing the shot. Rifle or bow, I need to remember to slow down and rely on my training. I rushed a shot last year and hit him high and never found him after he went on private ground.
Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)