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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It occurred to me while deer hunting over the holiday, what if you mistakenly shot two deer in a one buck county? In my hypothetical question, what if you shot at a good buck from a long distance and missed. Then, you saw him again and shot him. While going to retrieve the dead one, you discover the one you thought you missed you actually hit. Obviously you would have missed some of your obligation to be vigilant and know your target, but I did see two very similar bucks together and wondered if anyone had ever encountered anything similar.

I am a strong conservationist, but what would your obligations be beyond tagging and cleaning?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm not questioning whether it would be illegal and certainly not defending it. If you read the post, I ask what your obligations would be as a responsible hunter. I'm not so jaded as to think that people can not make honest mistakes. Would you never take a second shot if you legitimately thought you missed?
 

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Well besides being unsure of your target, I think you should have gone to look to see if the first shot was a hit, before you continued hunting. Just assuming the miss is also a big mistake in my book.

I am sure that if you did this, the right thing to do would be to call the game warden and explain the situation and take your medicine. Not sure how many guys would really do that. I was on King Ranch when a guy did this with two turkeys and admited it...but it might have been that he couldn't have gotten away with it more than virtue.

I would not waste the animal.

Many years back, I was on a big goose hunt, about 12 to 15 guys, I don't remember exactly. I only knew one or two of them. We had a great day and shot our limits. When we were getting close to our limit, I warned the guide that by my count we were getting close and that we should be careful. He said he had it under control. When we picked up and started to leave the field it turned out we had one dark goose over the combined limit.

I was really upset with the guide and told him so. Plus, he wanted to just dump the bird in the field, but I didn't allow him to do that. I didn't insist on calling the GW, and we didn't get checked. I don't know how that would have gone if we had called, but it obviously still bothers me today. I take the regs seriously.
 

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I was hunting mule deer in Wyoming when I shot a deer. The gun jumped and I looked through the scope to see it running for a fence to an adjoining property. I readied to take another shot at it but then held off as it jumped the fence into a no hunting area. It was a good thing because my buck dropped dead in it's track and I would've shot a second buck, putting me in a jam.
***** happens. I can't say what I would've done had I made that second shot but it would've depended how much money I had in my checking account and if my property taxes had been paid because doing the right thing would've set my finances wa-a-a-a-y back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It occurred to me while thinking about fishing. Since I am way more in to fishing, I realized that we usually have the benefit of retreiving our catch alive and being able to release it based on game rules, personal preference, etc.

With hunting, obviously we're not given that luxury. And, I know that the cover we hunt in can make it sometimes hard to tell whether you hit or not or if you would ever even be able to retrieve your game.

Chunky, your goose story made me think of the geese that get shot and dissapear over a canal or in to brush. How are you supposed to count those? We always counted them if we/our dogs could retrieve them.

I guess it just all plays in to hunting and fishing and the human element. I am a firm believer in game laws and support our GWs (with my dollars and time, not just words). I just don't know if I am so straight I would call the GW on myself, I think intent should factor in to the equation.

Thanks for your stories and takes.
 

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I would not waste the animal.
What you consider as "not wasting" could be considered as "greed" by others.

I'm in no way picking on you, but I'm taking this opportunity to address this predicament in a way that many folks have never thought about.

First, once the dirty deed has been committed, there is no easy way out...

Choice #1 - You call the warden and turn yourself in. The deer will be confiscated and donated to a non-profit organization and chances are you will be ticketed as there's not much you say in your defense.

Choice #2 - If you happen to be hunting with a buddy who didn't get a deer then he might be willing to tag it and take it home. While technically not legal, since you shot an illegal deer and thus have no right to give it away, you are both home free if this is done before the warden shows.

Choice #3 - You walk off and leave the buck in the woods. This adds "Wanton Waste" charges to your ticket if you're caught.

Choice #4 - You sneak the illegal deer home so it won't be "wasted". Or is it "greed" by taking home more than your limit?

Point is, it's not just the single act of shooting an illegal deer; it's the fact that it always generates a secondary problem from which there is no good choice that will won't cost you financially or morally, or both.

"WASTING A DEER"

I am in no way advocating that anyone commit Wanton Waste with any game, but the phrase of "not wasting" is a misnomer except as it applies to one's stocking the freezer with game that they aren't legally allowed to take.

What really constitutes "waste" in nature?

Had that second buck been wounded and died never to be found, or if it had lived and died a natural death years later, the energy stored in its meat would be absorbed back into the ecosystem to be recycled over and over.

This is an empirical law of physics known as the "Law of Conservation of Energy". It states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Energy can only be changed into another form.

So in nature, a dead deer will either decompose into the soil or be eaten by predators, or both. In ether case the deer's energy lives on. The soil is nourished which provides energy in the form of plants for future deer to eat. Predators are a valuable part of the ecosystem as they remove sick and inferior members from the deer herd, thus keeping the herd healthy. Droppings from predators also nourish the soil and predators die as well, providing nourishment for future deer. Nothing in nature is wasted, if left alone.

Nature is a closed ecosystem that functions with its up and down cycles, but it is always working toward a balance.

Man used to be an integral part of that natural ecosystem. As Man killed and ate animals and plants, he would deposit the digested waste back to the soil. When Man died, he decomposed where he laid, or was eaten by other animals. Later he would be buried in a shallow grave and his energy was passed into the soil for plant nutrition which benefited the animals and plants that came after.

But Modern Man changed all that. He takes game out of the ecosystem but he doesn't return the energy he took. Now his waste goes to sewage treatment plants, not back into nature. Even when he dies, his body is treated with chemicals and is buried deep where his energy is robbed from returning to the ecosystem from which it was stolen.

So think about what constitutes "wasting game" in the real world, the natural world.
 

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AvianQuest,

Excellent post and I enjoyed reading your take. I know you are right about the whole circle of life and nature business. I was looking at it more from a human aspect...where the game animal is a renewable resourse and food for humans. My parents were of the opinion that wasting food was a very serious offense.

As far as my own situation, it would not be greed. While I do eat much of the game I take, I give away just as much. I hunt for entertainment, challenge, and as an escape from my normal routine. The meat is secondary.
 

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About 15 yrs ago I shot two does in thankfully a two doe county in almost this same senerio.

I thought I was placing a finishing shot in a wounded doe that was standing in the woods 20 yards away after following a blood trail for 40 yards...This was not a fawn, but a full grown bedded doe that happend to pop up in front of me. Both deer were 20 yds apart at the end.

Cant say I would have done much different but I knew I had hit the first deer I've always taken a little more time since then when following up my shot. I was running out of daylight and pressed the issue.
 

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This has happend to me, but a little differant rule. I was hunting in Llano county and it was a 2 buck county but the land owner told us 1 buck each. I shot a pretty nine point that ran off into a hay field next to me. Then I saw him get up on a level where they had built a ditch to water the hay I looked at him through my scope at about 200yrds and shot again and dropped him this time, I took off across that field and 30 yards from that deer was the first 9 point, they look identical, I still got both antlers mounted side by side and they are almost identical 9 points. My brother tagged one of them. We told the land owner later and he told my brother to shoot his buck anyway and said he understands my mistake after seeing the idetical racks. If it was a one buck county we would proberly do the same thing.
 

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I have thought of that and heard of it happening. I would tag one of the deer, clean both of them and process them. Im not going to let a deer go to waste. After the panic of screwing up wore off I would take it as a serious lesson learned. It was a careless mistake on my part I would be upset, but I'm not going to turn myself in.
 
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