Why Did You Miss? I Bet It Wasn’t Your Bow

By Brodie SwisherNovember 15, 2017

Maybe you’ve seen the commercial from the bow manufacturer claiming that the reason you missed was probably your bow? It pushes human error to the side and simply states, “Why did you miss? I’m bettin’ it was your bow.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply pin all our misses on our equipment? Our bow, sights, arrow rest, and countless other gear get the brunt of our blame when we miss shots, but the reality is, in most cases, it was all us.

We all miss. Some more than others, but we all miss. If you bowhunt long enough it will happen. It’s never fun. In fact, it’s downright frustating. So here’s a quick look at some of the reasons we miss when hunting with our bow. Hopfully it’ll help you shift some of those whiffs into punched tags.

You Fail to Prepare

We say it all the time, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You can’t stay sharp and deadly when you haven’t shot your bow since the season opened a month ago. Keep a regular practice regimin in place. Even if it’s a scaled down version of your summer practice routine, be sure to fling a few shots every day throughout the season to stay sharp.


Don’t just practice before season. Maintain a realistic practice routine throughout the season to stay sharp.

You Fail to Keep Your Equipment in Check

Have you ever missed a shot because you failed to move your slider pin back to 20 yards instead of 80? It’s hurts bad enough on the practice range, but it bites especially hard when you sail an arrow over the top of a deer, elk, or turkey. Get into the routine of giving your bow a look-over before each hunt and as you settle into your stand. The slightest little flaw to our sights, arrow rest, peep, or broadheads can wreak havoc when it comes to executing the perfect shot.


Be sure to give your equipment a look-over before you head out to the woods.

You Get Caught Off Guard

This can happen as a result of countless distractions. A deer shows up when you’re on your phone, napping, eating a snack, or taking a leak. Deer always seem to show up when we least expect them. It sends us into scramble mode. And a scrambled shot is often a missed shot. Stay alert. Stay focused. Remember what you came for. Don’t get caught off guard.

You Rush the Shot

Rushing the shot is a close cousin to the scrambled shot mentioned above. But a rushed shot can happen anytime, whether we’re caught off guard or not. The rushed shot has cost me more deer than I can count. And when I think back over many of the the circumstances, there was honestly no reason for the rush. I would have a lot more deer on the wall if I could ever get myself to simply slow down, calm down, and execute the shot. There will be times when you will have to rush things in order to get the shot off. Just makes sure when it comes to that final squeeze of the trigger that you slow it all down.

hunter rattling

Things can happen quick when you’re calling whitetail deer. Don’t rush or panic when a deer responds.

You Panic

You get caught off guard, sending you into a rush, and the result is often panic. Yes, they all play into each other. But you can break them down one at a time in order to be deadlier when you find yourself at full draw. The little devil in our mind is screaming, “Get rid of the arrow!!!” And too often when our pin gets remotely close to the target, we panic and let it rip. It’s essentially target panic on a live animal rather than a target. The best cure is to talk yourself through it. Remind yourself that you are a stone cold killer and you ARE about to punch your tag on this animal.

You Tell Yourself You’re Gonna Miss

We often talk ourselves into missing before we ever launch an arrow. Why do we do this? The fact is, you’ll tend to accomplish what you set your focus on. If you’re thinking about missing, you’re probably gonna miss. Make sure your focus is on executing the perfect shot. Again, tell yourself, “I’m going to kill this animal, right now.” And then make it happen.


Don’t talk yourself into a missed shot. Tell yourself you can – and will – make your shot count.

You Try to Be a Killer and Cameraman at the Same Time

I love to try and capture my own hunts on camera. But self-filming a deer hunt from a treestand can be one of the most frustrating challenges you’ll ever come across.

Trying to film your own hunt is one sure way to miss more opportunities at punching your deer tag. But it sure is fun when it all works out.

My buddy, Troy Ruiz, of Primos told me years ago that a video camera is a conservation tool. You will save more animals lives by trying to video your hunts. Filming our own hunts causes us to do nearly everything we’ve mentioned above. There will always be a sense of rush and panic when you’re trying to get a deer in the frame of your camera and turn an arrow loose before he walks out of the frame. There’s just no way around it. The key is to slow things back down. Don’t neglect proper shot form for the sake of trying to quickly grab your camera to follow an animal after the shot. Make a deadly shot first. Then you can worry about filming your animal’s death run.

It’s pretty safe to say that there will be more missed shots in our future. But, if you’ll consider the items mentioned above, and pick them apart from your shot routine, you will turn many of those misses into fillled tags and meat in the freezer.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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