Top 10 Excuses for Missing a Deer

By Brodie SwisherSeptember 2, 2019

Hunting season is right around the corner, and hunters across the country are flinging arrows in the backyard, studying maps, and preparing gear for the arrival of the opener. But if you’re not one of those hunters that puts in the time and prep work to ensure success when hunting season arrives, then you might want to consider preparing a list of excuses to have on hand when failure comes your way this season. And if you’re looking for some fresh excuses to keep the guys at hunting camp on their toes, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at the top 10 excuses for missing a deer.


What is your go-to excuse when you miss?

He Was Too Far

Watch Outdoor TV enough and you’ll come across hunters blaming their misses on the deer being too far. What’s interesting is these hunters never seem to come to that conclusion prior to the shot. They launch an arrow out there and when it falls short, then it becomes apparent to them that the deer was too far – simply because they failed to execute the shot. Know the distance. Know your abilities. No surprises.

He Got Too Close

The excuse, “He was too far,” tends to highlight our inadequacies as a shooter. Nobody likes to admit that a target is out of our range, right? That’s why a more popular excuse these days is, “He got too close.” You can go a number of directions with this one. He got too close – and his 6th sense kicked in. He got too close – and gave me a bad angle. He got too close – and smelled something, heard something, got edgy and the list goes on. A deer that’s too close to your stand is one of the toughest targets on earth, making this excuse one you’ll want to refer to from time to time.

I Couldn’t See My Pins

This is another excuse that’ll pop out of your mouth before you know you even said it. It’s an excuse that makes you look like an idiot, knowing that if you really couldn’t see your pins, you never should have taken the shot. It’s a lame excuse, but it’s one that will be uttered across the country this season. Make up any other excuse – just not, “I couldn’t see my pins.”

I Used the Wrong Pin

“I used the wrong pin,” is a classic excuse that sounds pretty good. It’s a simple mistake that happens when we get caught up in the heat of the moment. But keep in mind, this excuse only works if your arrow flies just below or right over your intended target. You can’t bounce an arrow off the deer’s rack, rump, or leg and make the statement, “I used the wrong pin.” It just doesn’t work like that.

He Ducked My Arrow

No excuse has been used as much as, “He ducked my arrow.” This one has been around longer than most of us have been alive. It’s a timeless excuse for missing that should be at the top of every hunter’s list. Again, if a witness is present, you can only use this one if your arrow flies high.

I Shoulda Stopped Him

When a deer gets in tight to our stand, we often go into panic mode. We are scared to meh, grunt, whistle, or anything else to stop him for the shot for fear that we might blow him out. So we take a shot at a moving deer and often come up short. The natural response is, “I shoulda stopped him.” And yes – yes you should have. But you panicked instead and sent a hail mary down range. Next time, stop him before the shot.

I Think I Hit a Limb

This is another go-to excuse that gets thrown out by bowhunters everywhere. It’s a safe and easy excuse that takes the pressure and blame off the hunter and places it on some unforeseen object in the woods. I’ve seen this excuse used in a variety of circumstances, even when there wasn’t another tree or limb anywhere close to the deer or hunter.

My Bow Limb/Cam Hit My Stand

This is another quick excuse that gets thrown out when things get crazy. It’s the perfect excuse when you choke big time. Regardless of whether you sail an arrow two feet in front of the buck’s nose, or hit him in the guts, just blame it on treestand interference. Again, be sure to save this for your biggest shot meltdowns and misses.

I Shoulda Used My Rangefinder

They say hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy to see what we should have done after things unfold. “I shoulda used my rangefinder,” is an honest excuse for the humble hunter that knows he blew it. The hardest part is admitting it. When it comes to knowing the distance to your target, the key is to know it before you blow it. But when you drop the ball here, you’ll know what excuse to use.

I Got Buck Fever

If we’re honest with ourselves, most all the excuses above can be summed up with one solid excuse, “I got buck fever.” All the highs and lows that take place at the moment of truth can be attributed to our ability to handle the shakes when our adrenaline is raging. It’s the rush – the reason why many of us climb back into the stand day after day. God bless the hunter that can admit it!

Best of luck to you this season. May your arrows fly true, find their mark, and leave you without the need for an excuse for why you missed a deer.

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