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While trying to take down deer or elk in the wild with a bow, failing to take them down in one shot or missing entirely will send them into flee mode. When this happens, I've noticed that it's nearly impossible to hit them due to their seemingly sporadic movement patterns.

However, after studying these patterns in the hopes of being able to better anticipate their movements, it almost appears as though there is some cheap AI that's actually working against me while I aim. When I have the bow aimed directly at them, they start moving side to side randomly as if they know they're right in the crosshairs. If I calculate their trajectory and aim just ahead of where I anticipate them to be by the time my arrow actually gets there, I swear they either stop dead in their tracks or slow down as if to purposely throw off my trajectory calculations. I then aim directly at them, but they take off again. And once they start running, it seems as though they will run for miles before they stop to graze casually again. It's so frustrating.

So is there some pattern to their movement speeds that will make them more predictable once they become frenzied?

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Blanket the area with Fire Storm and let Talos sort it out. – user3389 Aug 26 '12 at 6:10

From my observations, startled animals will not flee you to the end of Nirn. It is safe to assume they will attempt to put a certain distance between you. On a level plane, I am willing to bet they would be fleeing directly away from you, however in the real (imaginary) world they will have to route around obstacles, otherwise the first tree directly in front of them would stop their flight. Every n milliseconds, their Ai will adjust their heading to account for your position and any obstacles. As they turn, they will decrease speed. They will also slow down and stop after they have managed to distance themselves enough from you. I very much doubt the AI actually tracks your aiming, as I haven't observed them moving any more erratically when being aimed at than necessary to run away while navigating around obstacles, not to mention that it would be unrealistic. If you cannot reliably kill them with projectile attacks, i would suggest either using AOE attacks (fireballs) or letting them run away and shooting them once they've stopped.

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There isn't really a predictable movement pattern. This is a good thing from the immersiveness perspective as they shouldn't be predictable - that would be boring.

You can guess where they might go based on the terrain. ie: they won't go up a mountain that is too steep but may zig-zag over less steep hills.

They will certainly move away from you, not towards you, and instinctively they will start running before changing direction. What I mean is that if they are facing right, they will start running right, and then make some kind of turning decision.

You could attempt to gauge when they change direction and shoot then. ie, follow them ready to fire and wait until a direction change. To a small degree, more of their body will remain in the space used for turning even while moving. This is unavoidable because to turn while moving, part of your body needs to either slow down, speed up, or both (for a better example, think of how a turtle turns/moves). Depending on how the game handles it, this could be a window.

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The question isn't asking for hunting techniques, so only your last two sentences come close to bothering to answer the question and they are too short to be useful. – SevenSidedDie Sep 12 '12 at 17:33
Implied desire. The previous post answered the immediate question well enough but suffice it to say, that kind of answer doesn't help the problem which is hunting deer/elk. The poster obviously cares about the techniques involved in hunting else he would not be trying to predict movement paths. – Enigma Sep 12 '12 at 18:16
That's not how this site works. We're not a discussion forum, we're a Q&A site. Site quality goes down as tangents go up, so non-answers are discouraged. However! If you were to give a full answer to the question (which is not answered by the other 'answer', which you can judge by its lack of checkmark or upvotes), and then answered the implied question, that's usually OK. The important point is that every submitted answer tries to answer the actual question asked. – SevenSidedDie Sep 12 '12 at 18:26
Apologies. I was not opening a discussion nor adding to one, just pointing out an alternative approach to the problem. Narrow-mindedness should not be a component of Q&A. Tangents are bad sure, but this was not one, or at the very least a small one. These are the kind of waste of space justification comments that DO degrade the integrity of the site. You started the unnecessary tangent discussion and I continued it. Point taken that I should have repeated the already good enough answer before adding an alternative viewing hole to the problem. I suppose a comment would have sufficed. – Enigma Sep 12 '12 at 18:48
It's ok, just don't rely on other answers—an answer should stand on its own and not refer to others, which might be changed or deleted over time. (That other answer isn't a "good enough answer" anyway because it hasn't attracted any agreement from the OP or other users. Don't just repeat a bad answer, but provide your own justification for your answer.) – SevenSidedDie Sep 12 '12 at 18:52

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