2 Reasons Hunters Miss!

Part of hunting is missing. Not good. But there is a reality we need to face and simply stated,

“Not every projectile will fly to the precise point the hunter expects.”

There is always an explanation but frequently, the explanation is not correct. Wind, the bow, deer movement etc. are all reasons hunters will talk about in camp to explain their misfortune. Much of the time however, it is hunter error. In the last week, I was with 2 hunters who missed easy crossbow shots. They each made a simple mistake and after talking it out, the evidence was clear. These two scenarios are worthy of study.

crossbow scope for Kodabow
Poor understanding of optics is a key reason hunters miss.


Case #1:  The hunter was in a treestand.

A very large buck slowly approached across an open field to the hunter’s position responding to a grunt call. The prior year, the hunter passed on a frontal shot from the same position but at 37 yards, the buck was standing broadside. He looked through the scope. There was a little window through the tree branches in front of his stand but he could clearly see the aim point on the deer’s heart/lung area. He squeezed the trigger and “whack” ….. a small branch propelled the arrow into space.


When a scope is properly mounted on a crossbow, the scope is not parallel to the arrow. At Kodabow, we achieve this by cutting the scope rail with a slight downward angle…think 1 degree. The scope is angled down slightly which results in launching the arrow slightly higher and it all works out at distance. (If the scope was parallel, the arrow would immediately begin dropping at the instant the arrow leaves the rail due to gravity – a lot of scope adjustment would be required to get the arrow “up” to match the aim point the hunters sees in the scope. Many scopes would run out of adjustment.)

In this case, the hunter didn’t fully understand the parabolic flight path of his arrow. Yes – he could see a direct line of sight to the deer using the 40 yard aim point but didn’t realize the arrow started out slightly higher to offset the effects of gravity……just enough to hit the little branch at the top of the very small window he was attempting to shoot through. A better outcome would have been to wait and allow the deer to clear the brush and make the open shot without interference.

crossbow kills big buck - youth hunter with big buck
This big buck was shot at 15 yards. At closer ranges, there will
be less chance of making a judgement error that can would result
in a miss at longer distances.  “Just shoot” at closer ranges — less aiming
precision will work. 

Case #2:  The deer was in the open field at 45 yards.

The hunter studied the shot, used his rangefinder, and placed the aimpoint in his scope on the animal’s heart. When pulling the trigger, he launched the arrow into the dirt below the deer’s chest just beyond his intended aim point. The deer ran off.

No harm – no foul – but the deer was missed. I asked “What did your scope picture look like?” The hunter’s answer was basically a “25 yard aim point”  when we sorted it all out. In the excitement of the shot, he neglected to use the correct aim point in his optics that corresponded to the actual distance to the deer. If the distance error is great …. 20 yards or more ….. there will not be a great outcome.  The hunter kicked himself for making this mistake.

crossbow bolt in pop can
The Kodabow is an accurate shooting tool. Understanding ballistics
is critical whether shooting a rifle, crossbow or vertical bow. 


As the distance to the target increases, additional precision in aiming is required. In both cases, these hunters were shooting at deer that were not alarmed but a judgement error was just enough to deliver a clean miss. A “clean miss” is the 2nd best shot in archery. In both cases, waiting for the animal to close range or clear obstructions would have been prudent! Hope this helps.  Good luck out there!

Chuck @ Kodabow