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Making That Perfect Shot When Hunting Deer

Posted by admin on January 13, 2008

Where to Aim

Bow – Broadside game represents the best bow shot because it requires the least amount of penetration to reach the vital organs, which is especially important in large big game animals. The broadside shot is also the best single angle for accomplishing a double-lung hit, resulting in the collapse of both lungs. Find the best aiming point on a deer or other hooved big game by picking a spot halfway up the side of the animal and about a hand’s width behind the hollow of the shoulder. Or, in your mind’s eye, eliminate the head, neck and tail. Then, divide the animal equally both vertically and horizontally. Hold on the spot where these imaginary lines cross, then aim about six inches forward. This is called the “cross hairs” method of picking a spot. Both methods will help you put an arrow in the center of the vital area by enabling you to pick a spot rather than shooting at the whole animal. Remember, an arrow will penetrate the ribs, but be careful to avoid the shoulder bone. Wait until the near leg is forward and concentrate on a spot behind the shoulder. Avoid head and neck shots when bowhunting. The brain and spine are small targets protected by heavy bone. The only artery of any size in the neck is the carotid artery (which in a deer is only the size of your bowstring). Wait for the chest shot behind the shoulder!
Gun – The broadside position offers several excellent shots for a firearm hunter. The best target is the shoulder and chest area. A bullet of the correct weight and fired from a firearm adequate for the game being hunted will break the shoulder and enter the lungs or heart. A head or neck shot will drop an animal instantly with no meat damage, but should only be used if you are proficient enough with your firearm.


Quartering Toward:

Bow – This is one of the poorest bow shots and should not be taken. Picking a spot behind the shoulder will result in the arrow barely missing the vital organs and angling back into the stomach and intestines. Heavy shoulder bones shield the majority of the vital organs from penetration by arrow. An error of only on inch or two will result in a miss or a non-fatal hit in the shoulder. Another disadvantage of this angle is the possibility that the animal will sec the hunter drawing his bow. Wait for the animal to pass by and take a broadside or quartering-away shot.
Gun – The quartering-toward angle is fine for a firearm. Aim at the head, neck or front of the shoulder for an effective hit. A light bullet may deflect off the shoulder bones of large big game such as elk, moose or large bears. Be certain you use a firearm and ammunition adequate for the game you hunt and type of shot you select.


Head-On Shots:
Bow – This is a very poor shot for the bow. The vital area is the chest between the shoulders, which is an extremely small target. The animal must have its head up to expose this small target area, and it will almost surely see the archer draw his bow. An alert animal is capable of “jumping the string” of even the fastest bows and avoiding the passing arrow. Do not take this shot.
Gun – This is a good shot with an adequate firearm. The head, neck and center of the chest are vital areas that the hunter can use as aiming points.



Rear-end Shots:
Bow – This is a shot all responsible bow hunters will pass up. The only major target in the rear quarters is the femoral artery, which is smaller than your little finger and extremely well protected by heavy leg and hip bones. Also, the hindquarters have very heavy muscle tissue which, together with the heavy bone structure and viscera, make it a long, questionable journey for an arrow to get up front to the vital organs of even a small deer.
Gun – The rear-end shot is a poor shot with a firearm. A shot to the body at this angle will probably not bring the animal down quickly and could ruin the best cuts of meat. A head or neck shot is possible if the animal has its head up. Wait for a better shot opportunity.


Elevated Stands:

Elevated stands, particularly tree stands, are commonly used by both firearms hunters and bowhunters. The change in the shot angle makes little difference to a hunter using firearms, but results in a smaller portion of the vital area being exposed to a bowhunter. Position of bones in relation to the vital organs changes more and more as you climb higher. The back bone and shoulder blade shield more and more of the chest cavity as the angle gets steeper. This causes the vital area to become narrower. To avoid the shoulder blade on a broadside animal when shooting from an elevated stand, aim farther behind the shoulder than you would from the ground. Many experienced bowhunters suggest that you wait for the animal to travel a few more feet and take a quartering-away shot. Complete penetration will result in a good blood trail, so avoid bones that could prevent the arrow from exiting low in the animal. Elevated stands also make it more difficult to make a double-lung hit. Consider the angle of the shot when deciding how high your stand should be. Bowhunters should be sure to practice from elevated stands before hunting. Shooting down at narrower targets is very different than shooting horizontally at targets on the ground. Always wear a safety belt when practicing and hunting from elevated stands so that you can concentrate on making a good shot without fear of falling.



See Also: Hunting, Hunting Dogs, Fishing, Trapping, Camping, Boating, Guns/Shooting, Game Fowl Other


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