Jason, I could and should have worded that statement better, but you are misinterpreting the meaning.
In one of your updates, you made mention that in your experience as a hunter and guide, “perfect shots are as rare as feathers on a frog.” The only thing I can say is that my photo album is full of frogs that needed a good plucking,and there’s a reason for that. 😉
Effective shots and shot placement will always be a subject of dispute among hunters. Take that hip shot you mention. It was one of Fred Bear’s favorite shots. Fred claimed it was faster and a more certain killing shot than was one into the thorax.
Yes, Fred Bear is credited with coining the phrase “Texas heart shot.” Howard Hill killed an elk at 185 yards too. Hunting ethics with regard to shot selection has changed (rather, improved) a lot since that time. There was an excellent article in TBM not long ago about that very subject. Needless to say, I don’t think it would be a good thing to go back to the days of “if the arrow isn’t flying, the animal isn’t dying.”
Regardless of who they are, EVERY shot a bowhunter takes at a game animal is one they are less than certain of making.
I suppose we can agree to disagree, but if I ever feel less than certain of making a good hit, I simply don’t drop the string. I expect do less from the people with whom I hunt, and they from me — goes back to that “feathers on a frog” thing.
What about when one’s well intended shot ends up unintentionally hitting a hip, neck vertebra, spine or scapula, but because he’s chosen to use an arrow setup that will, with an extremely high degree of probability, work, and he makes a clean, humane kill? When that setup performs the ‘fail safe’ function it was designed to do should we not herald as a success story the recovery of what would otherwise be likely to end up as a wounded or lost animal?
I’ll again refer back to the difference between making a bad shot and taking one. Discussing the lucky positive outcome in the former is one thing; giving people a pat on the back for the latter, in my personal opinion, is not, and breeds more of the same.
There’s a certain comfort in blaming our equipment. As a general rule, people don’t like having their judgment questioned. It’s easier to tell ourselves that a bad result was the fault of our equipment, instead of taking a good hard look at how we could have avoided the “unavoidable.” I get that. I see it at work every day, and I see it a lot in bowhunting.
What I’m saying is this: if we’re going to have an appropriate discussion about reducing wounding losses, we should stop accepting behavior that needlessly lends itself to those situations (taking bad shots) and stop simply blaming our equipment for the rest.