I attempted to shoot two bucks with my bow this season. I missed one and got one. You may be able to learn from the stories of my two shots at deer with a bow this year.
Let's start with the deer story that includes a happy ending.
I picked a new treestand location this year because I wanted a stand closer to the cover than I had in previous years. I picked a tree that covered a corner of brush and trees. If deer move from the main bedding area to my big food plot, then they will pass through this corner of brush and trees.
I probably averaged seeing three 1 1/2 year old bucks each night that I sat there. So one night I first saw the standard nine does and fawns and the usual two 1 1/2 year old bucks. Then in the distance I saw another deer and a flash of some long tines over its head. I saw parts of the deer for a time straight ahead of me through lots of brush and branches. He was following a doe and I expected him to pass by me.
His tine length meant that I knew that I wanted to shoot him if I got an opportunity. He took his time walking around about 30 yards in front of me, but there were to many branches to shoot through.
I expected him to walk from in front of me to my right. While I was waiting for him to clear the brush I considered which sight pin I would use. (Bow sights often have 3 or 5 pins. You put the top pin on a target that is 20 yards away, the second on a target that is 30 yards away, etc.) I thought that if he cleared the brush at one point that he would be twenty yards away. If he cleared the brush near some taller grass, then I'd use the 30 yard pin...
And then I realized that I was thinking too much. I've shot several deer, I've shot my bow a lot. So, I stopped thinking, and when the deer presented me with a shot, I lifted my bow and shot him.
I don't remember raising my bow, I don't remember putting the sight on the deer...I just did it.
Once you have shot your bow enough and become confident that you will be successful when shooting at deer, then you to will no need to over think taking a shot.
I hit him a bit far back, but he was quartering away and the exit hole was right behind the right front leg. This hole acted as a drain and I had a solid foot wide, solid blood trail for about 30 yards until I found the dead buck.
Now that you know what to do, let's look at what not to do.
Another night I was in the same tree and saw the usual few does, fawns, and small bucks. Then a deer came from behind me ant to my right. I got a glimpse of him through a clearing, and I would have had a shot if he had given me a bit more warning before showing up.
He looked big, but I did not know how big. I heard him rub his head in some branches over a scrape, but I could not see him because a tree was between us. He looked like a nice one. But how big?
"HOLY SH*T!" I thought as I saw him through the trees.
I had a great look at his antlers through some tree branches, but no shot.
"I can shoot through those branches," I thought. "No, he's following that doe. He's about to give me a good shot...But I can shoot through those branches...I shouldn't. How big are his...freaking huge...don't look at the horns wait for the shot...please move, please move, please move...he's a monster...don't look at the horns; wait for a shot."
And after a while he took a few steps out from behind the tree and presented me with a picture perfect 20 yard, standing, broadside, shot.
At this point I'd like to point out the two types of releases. One type of release has a metal buckle, like your belt, and the other uses Velcro to attach to your wrist. I prefer the Velcro because there is no metal to click against anything and make a noise. The problem with my Velcro was the tag end. I did not need the full length of Velcro to attach the release to my wrist. And I was wearing a plastic mesh face-mask, to be more camouflaged.
Once I had the shot: I drew my bow, and my release's tag end made a ripping noise as it brushed against my face-mask.
When that happened all that I could think of was that I had made a noise, buck, heard it, and was about to run away.
"Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!" Was all that I could think.
I panicked, rushed my shot, and missed by a mile.