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I recently came back from helping a first time hunter out. We had been talking for a few months about the hunt and what he needed to do and the things he would need for his first hunt. Upon arriving at camp I have him shoot his bow to make sure everything is still dialed in, misses the target 3 out of 4 times at 20 yards. After seeing that I kind of sabotaged the hunt, in a sneaky way, because I wasn't willing to let him shoot at a deer and not know where the arrow is going. He saw alot of deer and a few bucks dandy bucks and I think he got alot of the experience but I don't feel great about it. Did I handle that completely wrong?
 

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Honestly....you did him a disservice by not having a chat with him when you saw that he wasn't shooting like he should have been. He should know that not practicing and being accurate with his weapon of choice is not acceptable. If nobody has the chat with him...he with continue to not ever practice and next year will be just as lousy of a shot as this year. Just my two pennies worth.
 

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I may take some heat for this but I think you may have deprived him of one of the most powerful tools in learning on this planet... learning from his own mistakes. Missing a shot or even wounding an animal would be a much more powerful teaching moment than saving the hunter from himself and quietly "sabotoging" this guys experience.

If he sticks with hunting he will eventually realize exactly what you were doing to his first hunting trip.
 

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Show him this thread

As this thread grows, share it with him. These are not just you but are solid opinions coming from different folks - all with credibility (as far as I'm concerned). We owe it to ourselves and the animals we hunt to be as proficient with our weapon of choice as we possibly can. That also means knowing our personal limitations.

I also like the quote: "practice doesn't make perfect - perfect practice makes perfect." Offer to take him for one or two shooting lessons to learn form and technique.
 

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Was he having problems because he didn't practice enough or was it his equipment. A lot isn't being said and a lot is being presumed. Perhaps you should of gotten behind him as he shot his bow and watched to see what he was doing wrong and may of been able to of helped him.

If it was because of very little practice his form may of been off which could of been helped by seeing what was wrong and giving him some pointers. I know that I have taken kids out target shooting with bows and had them hitting close to the center of the target after only a few shots and a helping hand.
 

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I have to admit that I think you missed some teaching points as well. There could have been a myriad of reasons why he was not hitting targets with his bow. I would recommend that you take the time to have a conversation about what is going on with his bow and his accuracy. Help him to get a bit more comfortable and try to figure out what is wrong. There are a lot of guys that are good hunters, but not necessarily good teachers of hunting. If hunting was all about shooting animals, it would be called killing. Taking that extra time to help him set up his bow, shoot better, and gain confidence is one major component that all hunters must go through before he/she really gets to know and enjoy hunting. I bow hunted for a lot of years with no luck before I had the confidence and understanding of my equipment and skills. The "Final Shot" at wild game is just another aspect of it.
I honestly believe that you would benefit your hunter if you would delay heading for the hills for a couple more hours of helping him understand the other part of hunting. He probably would have returned to whereever he came from and talked about the great tips his friend/guide gave him while he was on his trip. A lot of people did not have the luxury of grouping up hunting with family members that taught them these things. I was fortunate with that. But, as the hunting populations declines in this country, we need to take that extra effort to teach anyone that is willing to give it a try about ethical hunting and proper usage of our equipment. Shooting big bucks and bulls will come later.
Don't beat yourself up about it. That is your call as the guide and it is a decision you made. As the guy on the ground, no one can second guess your decisions at that time. Just think about the other options with out new hunters.
 

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It can be hard to confront someone and tell them they aren't ready, depending on the relationship you have. Especially if they are more of an acquaintance or work friend. If I really knew the person, then I think I can tell them, "You haven't practiced enough, I'm not taking you" but otherwise I probably would have done the same thing you did.
 

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If you had an employee who was doing something incorrectly would you feed him tasks that avoid the incorrect behavior, or would you correct him in order to become proficient in all tasks given him? Same thing applies here, you did him a great disservice by allowing the incorrect behavior/method to continue. If you look at a bigger perspective you did your fellow hunters a disservice by allowing someone to be in the woods who might have a higher chance of wounding an animal when it could have been corrected beforehand.
 

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Was he having problems because he didn't practice enough or was it his equipment. A lot isn't being said and a lot is being presumed. Perhaps you should of gotten behind him as he shot his bow and watched to see what he was doing wrong and may of been able to of helped him.

If it was because of very little practice his form may of been off which could of been helped by seeing what was wrong and giving him some pointers. I know that I have taken kids out target shooting with bows and had them hitting close to the center of the target after only a few shots and a helping hand.
I concur with this assessment. To be honest I haven't shot a bow in decades and couldn't shoot one now with my shoulder and elbow issues (long story, surgery to come in December) however I was a championship archer in college and came in 1st or 2nd in every tournament I shot in. That being said I totally agree it could be form or equipment issues and I have seen guys and gals go from not hitting anything at 20 yards to getting good enough for hunting at 20 yards in just an hour or two of coaching.
 

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I think you did what you thought was best at the time. I was not there. Good experience and no wounded animals.:thumb: Telling someone "They can't hit the broad- side of a barn if their life depended on it " Never goes over well for some reason.:)
 

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I would of done a little more to help him out hell letting him know of the issue is a lesson in itself. And most likely was an equipment issue. My 12 year old nephew was missing the target Friday when we pulled into camp. A couple of adjustments and he was smacking the target at 40 yards. And I by know means am a archery expert. But get the guy on a range in town with some experts get him back up there and smack a deer
 

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Were you hired or paid to guide him and help him be successful on this hunt? If that answer is yes then you did not hold up to your end of the agreement/contract and I would say no you did not do the right thing in that case. If you are hired or paid to help someone be successful then I feel it is your job to do everything you can to do so, including but not limited to helping them learn to shoot or use their equipment if need be.

However, you as a sportsman do also have a responsibility to your quarry to do what can be done to make a clean, quick and ethical kill so I understand your struggle.

I think these two things combined are the main reasons that some CWMU's in the state have a requirement that their hunters pass a shooting abilities test, perhaps you need to implement a similar practice in the future to avoid being put in this position.
 

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You did what you thought was best, and I don't think anyone can fault you for that. Especially not knowing the whole situation and your relationship with this individual. But, paid or not, I think you should do your best to get your friend on an animal that is harvestable within his abilities. In this case that might be close enough to reach out and stab the deer with the arrow rather than shooting it.

If it were me, I'd have been up front and honest with what he should expect. i.e. Either you will not be going out until you help him work out the issue he's having, or he likely won't get an opportunity since his effective range is 10 yards. It's not like he wasn't present when you saw him miss the 3/4 20 yard shots. So understanding that it's unethical for him to shoot at or beyond 20 yards should not be a surprise to him.

At any rate, I hope he gets his accuracy issues worked out and you get a chance to get him back out and on a deer.
 

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While every situation is different the people I have gotten into archery hunting were recuited generally in the winter. As they begin to shoot it is good to some expections of the level they need to be when the hunt comes around. X amount of arrow in X amount of area at X amount of distance.
Working with them to help acheive the skills to be successful. And being honest when the time comes as to how far you will let them shoot at an animal.
I have had no problem telling kids, grand kids and friends that the should not shoot past X amount of yards and really 20 yards should be the minimum IMO.
 

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Who knows what would have been "best" in the moment? An honest conversation, as many have stated, is probably in order. To be perfectly honest, telling someone in the field that they can't shoot at an animal past their nose because they're a horrible shot could be pretty devastating. In that situation, correcting the problem off the mountain might be the best course, I mean, it's not like there isn't plenty of season left. Who really knows though...you did what you felt best. Now, it's just up to you (and the other hunter) on where this goes next.
 

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Saturday, I "guided" a friend I met on the internet several weeks ago with his first archery antelope hunt. He is an avid traditional whitetail bowhunter from Michigan and hunts mostly from treestands. Early on, I told him he needs to be proficient from the ground out to 40 yards. A few days before flying out, he tells me he's only good out to 20 yards. Luckily, I had the makeshift waterhole blinds set at 20 yards or less depending on which side of the tanks/ponds the animals came to drink. Since I wasn't actually guiding him, just accompanying him, I didn't even think to test his skills and we were just going to enjoy the hunt and time together.

We bumped a bunch of antelope driving into the first blind, but decided to wait it out for a while, but it got too hot (no shade), so we went to another blind that was in some tall tamarisks where there was shade. Early afternoon they started coming in. The first chance he got was at a small buck at 21 yards, but he missed, shooting under it. The second chance was at a P&Y herd buck at 19 yards, but again he missed, this time shooting over it. The third chance he got was at the small buck who came back because he didn't get a drink the first time. AGAIN, he missed because the buck whirled just as he released. I never said anything negative about the misses because I didn't have to. Jim was upset and apologetic about the misses, but I wanted to calm him down, so we joked about them and I got him to relax. On the fourth try, the small buck returned again (he still hadn't gotten a drink) and this time Jim nailed him with a perfect double lung shot at 27 yards and we were hoopin' and hollerin'.

Sometimes it's neither the practice nor the equipment at fault, but the nerves or just circumstances and we've ALL been there. Could it have turned out badly? Yes, but if we learn to profit from our mistakes, those mistakes are few and far between.

I agree with most of the replies that the hunter needs to know there's a problem whether he recognizes it himself or whether he's told by someone else. And telling him doesn't mean you have to rip him a new one.
 

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My opinion is.... Sometimes its just not up to me to dictate how or why someone should or shouldnt do something. I will give my opinion or advise, but i dont like big brother, therfore i will not be big brother. I dont agree with how a lot of people hunt, but its not my place to tell them how or why they shouldnt. Im sure this guy knew if he couldnt hit a target, how do i hit a animal. Like elkfromabove said. Sometimes you have to learn and let people learn. Just my opinion, and just like hunting, will be different from a lot of yours out there.
 

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I am the hunt that Elkfromabove was talking about. I did miss my first couple shots...but I did not shoot at the herd buck as he mentioned because I could never get a clear shot. Anyway he is right in stating that we just had to brush it off. My problem was I was over thinking it and not being relaxed. And worrying about shooting in front of someone. I have taken over 100 big game animals with my recurve and to be honest with you 90 percent of the time I hunt solo. I have this thing about shooting in front of people but I knew that I had to stay focused and just have fun and remember all the practice this summer. Which by the way was out to 35 yards...lol. Just wanted to be close as possible when I said 20 yards. Anyway I jst think hunters need to relax and enjoy the moment and not get so wound up and over think things like I was doing at first.
 
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