blood leavesMike: I’m sick. I shot a doe the other night but couldn’t find her. I looked all night and for the next day and half. Some blood at first, but then nothing. I feel so bad I’m going stop hunting for the rest of the year. Just wanted you to know, because I can tell from your TV show that being ethical and respectful means a lot to you.–John

John: A lot of people who are going about hunting the wrong way would have poked around a little bit and said, “What the hell, it’s just a doe, I’ve got more tags…” But you didn’t and I applaud you for that.

Losing either a doe or a 10-point buck is hard, but it happens, even when you seemingly do everything right. I am not afraid or ashamed to say I have lost some deer over the past 30 years. It makes you feel like s—. It brings a tear to your eye. It should or you shouldn’t be hunting.

But John, shake it off and get back out there this weekend. Don’t let this eat at your insides and wear you down mentally. Don’t let it make you less confident the next time you get ready to shoot. Pick a spot on the deer’s side, loose that arrow smoothly and confidently and follow-through with the shot. Drill that next animal, find it stone dead 70 yards away and you’ll feel good again.

I wish everybody I knew took the killing of a deer as seriously as you do. Good luck my friend. You can hunt with me any day.–Hanback