10 famous Canadian hunters share their most memorable missed shots

T.J. Schwanky earned some redemption on a second chamois

T.J. SCHWANKY

T.J. Schwanky is a Cochrane, Alberta-based outdoor writer and co-host of Outdoor Quest, Canada’s longest-running hunting television program.

When other hunters tell me they’ve never missed an animal, I automatically assume they’re lying or just haven’t hunted long enough. Missing is part of hunting, and no matter how diligent and prepared you are, it’s going to occasionally happen.

Advertisement

I remember one such miss back in 2011, when my partner, Vanessa Harrop, and I were hunting chamois in New Zealand. We’d spent most of the day climbing to the high crags and peaks that these animals call home and ended up spotting an exceptional buck. We were exhausted after five straight hours of climbing, but we knew we’d be able to rest the following day if we were successful, so we pressed on.

There was a large spire between me and the chamois, and I figured if I just circled around it I could get to within 300 metres of the animal without being seen. Halfway around the spire, however, I ran smack into the buck; he’d come down off the mountain and was now standing a mere 100 metres away. I quickly chambered a round and found him in my scope.

I recall thinking what an awkward position my body was in, but that it was only a 100-metre shot. All these years later, I still remember yanking on the trigger and watching the bullet smash into the rock face above the chamois. Between my awkward body position and my rush to take the shot, I’d forgotten a basic principle of trigger control—squeeze, don’t pull. It was a long walk down the mountain as I hung my head in shame, knowing I would have to climb it again the next day. Twenty-four hours later, I made a perfect 400-metre shot on another chamois, and felt a bit of redemption.

Advertisement