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Top 10 Worst Excuses for Missing a Shot

Brodie Swisher

Missing the mark is the ugly side of archery. Rarely do we want to talk about the shots we miss, but when we do, you can bet we have a variety of excuses at the ready for why we missed. And while some bowhunters are more creative in their excuse-making, the majority of archers stick to the basic excuses that have been around since the early days of archery. Here’s a look at the top 10 excuses you’ll hear this season for missing a shot. 

retrieving arrow

10. I Didn’t Have Much of a Hole to Shoot Through

This excuse won’t cut it. If you didn’t have much of a hole to shoot through, you shouldn’t have made the shot, right? This excuse is an indication that you struggle with decision making at the moment of truth. It also shows that you’re willing to take a gamble on the life or death of a wild game animal. Our mentality at the shot should always be, “I know I can make this shot,” rather than, “Well, here goes nothing.”

9. He Was Starting to Leave

This is the classic panic excuse, often referring to a deer that is on the move or spooked to the point of leaving the scene. Hunters often freak out when the deer makes a move to leave and launch a reactionary shot that sends an arrow wildly down range. Rarely does it find its mark. Don’t allow a panic shot to be your go-to response to an animal’s movement. Grunt or bleat to stop him, or wait for him to stop on his own. Just don’t send a risky shot downrange at a fleeting live target. 

8. I Couldn’t See My Pins

couldn't see my pins

Couldn’t see your pins? Then why did you send an arrow? Again, poor decision making on the hunter’s part when this is the first excuse they can come up with. Don’t gamble here. If you can’t see your pins, this is most likely not the shot for you. You owe it to the animal you pursue to take high percentage shots. 

7. I’ve Made That Shot a Million Times in Practice

I hear this one all the time. It’s a prideful excuse we use to avoid looking like an inferior archer that can’t shoot his/her bow. The bottom line is, it really doesn’t matter what you can do on the range, if you can’t make the shot when it really counts. Rarely is your effective range the same in the wild as it is when you’re shooting in the backyard. 

6. My Arrow Must’ve Hit Something

arrow in quiver

This excuse will often fly out of your mouth before you even know you said it. It’s a solid go-to excuse for missing any shot. It’s our way of saying, “There’s no way I could miss.” However, after further review, most hunters soon realize their arrow didn’t hit anything in route to the target. They simply choked.

5. I Bumped My Bow on the Stand

This excuse is much like the, “My arrow must have hit something,” excuse. It’s a quick excuse that often comes out without a second thought. More times than not, there was zero contact with our bow on any object. We simply missed. 

4. I Couldn’t Get Him to Stop

bow at full draw

How many times have you seen this one played out in a hunting video? The hunter grunts or bleats to stop a deer. When the deer fails to stop, the hunter immediately launches a desperation shot. Desperation shots are no good. More times than not, they are a miss. Commit to shooting deadly shots, not Hail Mary’s, this season. 

3. He Was Farther Than I Thought

We like to think we’re good out to 50 or 60 yards when it comes to dropping long shots on deer. However, 50 or 60 yards on the range is not the same as 50 or 60 yards in the timber on an actual hunt. Everything is different in the hunting scenario. Deer in the wild look smaller than your 3D target. And you can bet your eyes will always play tricks on you. Sometimes they look closer and sometimes further. Work on taking closer shots this season and you’ll watch your miss-rate shrink dramatically. 

2. I Didn’t Have My Rangefinder


Another classic excuse among archers. Blaming your rangefinder, or lack of, is much like saying, “The devil made me do it.” We want to blame someone, or something else, for our failures. The deadliest bowhunters I know can get the job done, with or without a rangefinder. Learn to judge distance without the aid of a rangefinder, and you won’t have to worry about dropping this excuse. 

1. He Ducked My Arrow

The all-time #1 excuse that dates back to well before most of us were alive is the, “He ducked my arrow,” excuse. I don’t know a man or woman alive that hasn’t used this excuse at one point or another. And for those who haven’t, just wait. The time will come. You would think the excuse would only come after an arrow flies high over a deer’s back. However, countless hunters have blurted out this excuse, regardless of where the arrow sailed. Fortunately, with many hunts now being recorded on video, this excuse seems to have been tightened up a bit. The ability to play the shot back in slow motion tends to keep people a little more honest and not so quick to drop the excuse, “He ducked my arrow!” 

What about you? What’s your favorite excuse for missing a shot? Do you have a favorite from the list above? Be sure to comment, and let us know. 

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