Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sometimes even in the woods things go wrong

The world is far from perfect, even in the woods. I lost my first big game animal last week. I did the best I could and still lost it. Its bothering me a great deal. In bed at night I play everything over and over in my mind. I may be a long time before I shoot at another moose. I always felt for the animal at the kill but I really appreciated the meat. If you like and respect animals though, to hit one and lose it leaves an awful sensation in the pit of the stomach. Probably finished with the blog for a while as well


  1. The fact that you care shows that you're one of the sort decent enough to hunt in the first place. Take some time if need be, but go back soon.

  2. I know very few hunters, myself included, that have not been leveled by a misplaced shot. It is a terrible sensation. That said, I can tell you that I have used the experience as an inspiration to tune my skills by becoming exactly familiar with what I can and cannot do. That's not to say that I won't miss again, but I can say that I am a far more knowledgable and confident hunter than I was before the tragedy. I feel for you, but hope you will use the experience as a positive opportunity rather than beating yourself up.

  3. Dan, Sorry to hear about your loss, it's a tough deal. Reflecting on my own recent failure to find two pheasants I realized that, up until the moment the animal comes to hand (whether dead or not) the very act of hunting is itself founded in uncertainty. The uncertainty of finding game in the first place, the uncertainty of the shot, and finally, the uncertainty of retrieving a wounded or killed animal. Contrary to the absurd view largely presented by the hook & bullet media, success at any stage is a kind of small miracle. I realize there is a huge difference between loosing a pheasant and losing a big game animal and I'm not trying to equate them, I just wanted to share some recent thoughts I'd had on the topic.

  4. Thanks Gary , Gorges and Jim,

    Jim your latest post was an excellent one with regards to unrecovered game. Yes it truly is a small miracle to bring game to the kitchen. It is a strong feeling of loss. I always feel privileged just to see wildlife but to kill without recovering is a heart-rending experience. I cannot kill without eating what I shoot.
    Jim as you stated: "The intimacy of the relationship ends with the enjoyment and sharing of an honest meal of wild meat. A lost bird is a lost opportunity for a kind of perfection. I feel as if I wasted an animals life.

    Thanks Gary.
    My problem is though if I was in tomorrow I don't know what I would do differently though. It wasn't a difficult shot but the animal headed into the thickest tuckamore around. after 50 yards there was no tracking. I am willing to bet I passed closed to him.

    Gorges I am no great shakes Thnaks though


  5. Dan,
    Sorry to hear about your experience. It does suck when you lose an animal. I have felt the same thing after wounding birds that got away as well as accidentally shooting a non-game species. I imagine it is many times worse for a large animal. Any moose that dies of natural causes will probably undergo as much or more suffering than your moose did.

  6. Dan

    It sucks when we run smack into the brick wall of our moral code, but it only hurts because its there in the first place. Please keep blogging I've always enjoyed your writing and photographs.

  7. Thanks Grant and SBW. Will be back in the woods the weekend and for 14 days over Christmas/New Years.
    Gonna retire soon and become a hermit