A Blacktail buck at spitting distance is a seldom sight. When it happens, it's usually from a treestand during the rut. In Oregon, that means archery season. With such a rare occurrence, do not allow desperation for success cause you to take a risky shot.
From an elevated position, one actually has a smaller kill zone than a shot from the ground. That kill zone becomes smaller as the angle becomes steeper. Take the following experience that occurred a few years ago.
While the bow hunter was rattling from a treestand, a three point buck came in to investigate. As the buck entered a shooting lane, the archer drew his bow. Unfortunately, the buck unexpectedly changed direction and headed straight for his treestand. This turn did not present a good angle into the kill zone.
As the buck walked closer, the hunter’s odds of success diminished. However, time was running out in the season and the only buck he had seen was in front of him. The archer shot the buck down from the top of the back and out the center of the lower rib cage.
The arrow stuck in the ground and the buck retreated into the brush. The arrow was the right color indicating a good hit, but after a long tracking process, it was obvious the buck was not going down soon.
The blood sign on the ground indicated that he had missed both lungs. The arrow at that steep angle had passed between the lungs. After six hours of tracking the animal, hope of finding the buck washed away when a heavy rain storm blew in from the west. The rain rinsed clean the faltering blood trail.
All the hunter could do was start walking circles outward from the last seen speck of blood. Night fell and he gave up the chase. Even with a return trip, he was never able to recover the buck.
The wisdom of foresight is better than hindsight. In hindsight, he should have let the buck pass and waited for a better opportunity. If it never came, he would been none the worse. That kind of discipline usually comes upon the heals of bitter lessons learned.