Bowhunter Thought He’d Bagged a Buck But Got a Branch Instead

by Matthew Memrick

A bowhunter took a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a buck but saw his attempt thwarted by a branch, and the memory of the miss lives on in video infamy.

A two-year-old video from bow hunting outfit Afflictor Broadheads is making the rounds. 

The 11-second clip shows bow hunter Tanner Hartz waiting on a seven or 8-point buck. The buck is within the grasp of the patient hunter. Hartz takes his shot, and the deer jolts off out of sight.

While Hartz should be looking down at his prized catch, he sees his arrow directly in front of him, splitting a branch perfectly.

Sigh. Oh, the heartbreak. The buck lives for another day, and Hartz can only ponder what if.

Many Afflictor Broadheads fans shared their pain with the company upon seeing that sad clip. The company went on to offer good luck to the bowhunter the next time around and “hoped he’d get another chance.”

Bowhunter Mending From A Missed Shot

According to the website Deer and Deer Hunting, one “possible” study says that a bowhunter won’t find 1 or 2 deer for every ten deer hit. The source also said another study said, “one out of three or even one out of two are never recovered.”

Hopefully, Hartz and other hunters in that situation can shake it off without ruining the hunting day.

First, a miss means you didn’t just wound the animal. But if it did, there are lots of ways to recover. Website Raised Hunting offers a few tips.

Second, keep practicing. Some bowhunters quit early in the season, but the practice is essentially more than any other time. The key is to put that miss behind you because confidence is critical. Maintaining confidence is also vital in staying comfortable with your equipment.

The website’s best advice may be to take two days off, grab a target and your compound bow and shoot a couple of arrows “downrange.”

Plus, it’s not about dwelling on a miss, but instead figuring out what went wrong. Bowhunting experts say simple fixes like trimming shooting lanes, stepping, or using a range finder may be all it takes to get back on track.

Breaking Down The Bow Hunter States

According to Archery Trade, Texas has a million registered hunters while Rhode Island only has 8,000. The trade group goes into detail with the states in an undated article but uses statistics from 2017-2018.

In September, Bow Hunting magazine broke down the top five states for hunting on public land. They were Wyoming, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Missouri. Wyoming’s vast public land outnumbers the other four states with 31,403,000 public acres.

The publication said Wyoming whitetail hunters amassed a 67 percent success rate in 2019, finishing only behind South Carolina nationwide. It also helped that year that the state recorded 345,800 mule deer numbers.

But does South Carolina offer the Cowboy State’s wide variety? The publication said bow hunters flock there for archery-specific seasons with deer, antelope, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and black bear trophies. Additionally, bowhunters can pursue turkey, wolf, mountain lion, bison, and grizzly bears.