Missing

I missed.

There I said it. I don’t often miss but today I did and it was a sitter.

We don’t hear about it in write ups so I thought I would open my introduction to you all with an article about missing and why “I” missed.

 It’s a sore point with all hunters. We don’t like to miss, we don’t talk about it to our hunting buddies and its especially harder when your mates see you miss. The ribbing and the one-upmanship is endless.

I’ve just returned back to Hawkes Bay from a year overseas to start a new business venture and with limited hunting time available in the future I decided to make the most of a couple of free hours on Xmas eve to make up for lost time and search for that summer BBQ venison. I rung a friend and they were kind enough to lend me their rifle for the evening. I checked in with a couple of old hunting friends as to where a likely spot would be to find the said quarry as it had been nearly 15 years since my last sojourn to the area. After both had suggested the same location which I use to frequently hunt years ago I figured this was as good as intel as any.

The drive in was a whole new journey from years gone by. The small pines were now giant pines and the giant pines from years ago had been harvested and replaced with small pines. A light drizzle was falling and as I rounded a corner 4 familiar shapes appeared on the side of the road. I hadn’t even made it to my destination and here were 4 deer right in front of me. I’m not a superstitious person but I took this as a good sign.

The 45min walk to the hunting location was one of pure excitement. It had been well over a year since I had a rifle in my hands and to be back in the bush where I had cut my teeth chasing sika had me sliding between the manuka in silence and stealth. There was a slight north easterly breeze which caused me to change tactics slightly as my scent would be carried straight to the location where I was hoping to see a deer. As I crest the knob to overlook the area of interest not 150m in front of me was a young sika stag with his head down feeding.

James, incredulous at his miss

As I snuck up to the rocky outcrop where I had shot numerous deer from in the past, I was neither nervous or worried about the shot I was about to take. I could have taken the shot off hand from where I stood but as I was undetected and had time up my sleeve, I took my time to set myself up.

With the cross hairs settled on the engine room I touched off the shot only to see the ground explode above the stag and him spin and bolt back to the safety of the bush.

As I walked back to the car with a damaged ego and dragging my feet, I had all sorts of emotions but one of mainly embarrassment and shame. Ill touch on why later.

Do I know why I missed? Yes. I broke my one cardinal rule when I comes to using a borrowed gun. I didn’t do a check zero. I didn’t know where that gun was shooting.  I simply assumed that it was sighted in. I made It a rule when guiding that if the client was to use my gun or any other gun that is not theirs, they must do a check