I missed one this morning. At about 7:45 I looked up and saw a deer step out of the woods, to the east of my pipeline. I saw horns, but I couldn't tell you if he was a spike or a 10-point. His nose was down, probably tracking a doe, and he was moving at a steady walk. By the time I got the rifle up, his nose was entering the woods, so I put the crosshair on his shoulder and squeezed one off. He bolted.
I thought I heard the bullet strike, so I poured another cup of coffee, then waited a half-hour. Climbed down from the stand and crossed the creek to where I had last seen him. I expected to see him piled up in the edge of the woods, but no luck. I found the track where he had bolted, and made a thorough search for blood or hair. No luck. I made a big loop through the woods, trying to cut his trail. No luck.
SO, I went to the camp and got help. My sister-in-law had heard the shot from her stand 300 yards away, and she thought that she had heard the bullet strike. Five of us went back and conducted another thorough search, at times on hands and knees. My pocket GPS showed that from the stand to where we found the tracks was 170 yards, give or take five yards, which is still the longest shot I've ever attempted at a deer. The rifle is sighted to be 1" high at 100 yards and down 1" at 200 yards, so I'm not convinced that ballistics caused a problem. After an hour, we called it quits. I'm convinced I didn't hit that deer.
After two thorough searches, no blood, no hair, no indication that I did anything but scare the living hell out of him. He probably didn't stop running until he got to Georgetown, and I've missed a deer for the first time in 10 years.