It happens to even the best of us. We asked 10 prominent Canadian hunters to share the story of their most memorable missed shot—and what they learned from it
Taylor Wright says luck doesn’t always go your way on hunts
Taylor Wright is a native of southeastern Ontario and host of the well-known hunting TV show The Canadian Tradition.
Several years ago on a late-December afternoon in southern Ontario, I caught sight of a heavy, old 4×4 buck I’d been hunting for several seasons. I had nicknamed him “The Son,” and like most mature deer, he was notorious for being on the property one day and vanishing the next. When I first saw him moving through the underbrush, I didn’t quite recognize him, having only seen him on trail cam pictures. But just like that, there he was, in broad daylight, headed my way.
Pausing at the edge of a meadow 30 yards to my left, The Son stood motionless, cautiously surveying his surroundings. If he entered the meadow, I would have an unobstructed 20-yard broadside shot. It’s at moments like that when buck fever can temporarily impair sound judgment. Do I risk moving, and force a shot through some bushes while I have the chance? Or, do I hold off and trust that he’s coming, unaware that I’m there?
Well, I rushed the shot. I repositioned my camera, then made a quick move to raise my bow, which was a costly decision. Already on edge, The Son caught my movement, turned sharply and bounded off. Despite devoting the next month to hunting him exclusively, I never laid eyes on the big buck again that season.
Fast-forward to the following fall. The Son was still alive and making regular appearances on my trail cameras, but by late December, I’d yet to see him in person. By then, I’d shifted my attention to another buck on a different tract of land. A good friend joined me in camp, and I briefed him on The Son before setting him up in the same stand where I’d missed my shot. I advised my friend that if the buck showed up, he’d likely approach from the left and stop at the edge of the meadow. If that were to happen, I urged my friend to learn from my mistake and wait for the buck to walk out into the open on his own.
It would prove to be a magical night. I connected on a beautiful, high-racked 10-pointer, and just minutes later my friend called to say The Son was down. The buck had followed the script perfectly, again stopping at the edge of the meadow before eventually stepping out. “Several minutes went by and I nearly lost my cool,” my friend told me. “I wanted to swing on him in the worst way, but I forced myself to remain still.”
We encounter many scenarios as hunters, and luck doesn’t always go our way, with things often out of our control. But at least we can learn from our past mistakes—and those of others—and vow to not repeat them.