The most painful lesson from last season was likely the most valuable, as they always are. I had two very nice bucks get away because they “jumped the string.” In other words, they dropped at the sound of the shot to load up their legs before leaping away, thus unknowingly eluding the arrow. While not a new phenomenon, this was not something I was used to when hunting in the Midwest; however, the more people I talked to about it, the more I realized this is a major problem for many bowhunters.
I’ve had more does than bucks drop at the sound of the shot. I thought that a relaxed buck would rarely drop at the shot and that even alert bucks only dropped occasionally. Well, that was my old opinion and it has since been shattered by the events of last season.
Success or failure often boils down to one quick decision: What are you going to do with an alert buck? I ran into this tough spot with two bucks that were walking past my stands last season, a common event during the rut. Both bucks were 30 yards away. I drew my bow and then stopped them with a mouth grunt. Both bucks locked up, presenting the nice still, broadside shot I sought. At the shot, they dropped as if a trapdoor had opened beneath them.
Full story: The Science of String Jumping