Are You Aiming to Take a Whitetail Home?

The purpose of this posting is to talk about shot placement when hunting deer.

Basic Facts

The aim of every hunter should be to bring a deer down with a quick, certain kill.  Whether using a bow or a gun, the aim is to hit a vital area, so the animal does not suffer.

In general, bow hunters aim for the heart region. Thus, if the deer suddenly drops low before running away, your arrow may still hit the lungs.

The average whitetail weighs 150 lbs., and pumps about 8 pints of blood. If you do not kill the animal immediately, then massive hemorrhaging is necessary to bring the deer down.

Biologists estimate that a deer must lose 35% of his blood before he will fall.

A Handsome Buck Watching for Trouble!

Generally, this is a shot for gun owners only.  This is because, unless the archer hits the animal dead-center, there’s a good chance that the arrow will deflect off a bone. Head-on, the chest area is a rather small area to hit.

Gun hunters have three vital organ areas available (head-on): in the neck, the lungs and the heart. Striking any one of these areas can cause the deer to drop dead, through shock or destruction of vitals.

A Wonderful Shot for Bow or Gun!

When a deer presents his side to the hunter, a well-aimed shot at the shoulder-blade can often drop the deer quickly.

Bow hunters need to avoid the shoulder-blade shot (arrow can be deflected by major bones) and zero in on the heart and lungs.

Another Good Position for Gun or Bow!

This  phrase refers to a deer that turns 1/4 the way towards or away from you (note the photo). This is a great shot for bow hunters. Even if the shot isn’t dead-on, it can angle through the body and still kill the game.

Gun-hunters also consider this a good shot. Most hunters aim to go through the deer to the opposite shoulder.

Bow-Hunters & Deer Hunting

The folks who use a bow to bring home food are a special breed!  Generally, they must:

  • be less than 30 yards from their quarry,
  • have to worry about their scent warning game,
  • keep their movements down to a minimum, and
  • have the physical strength to fell a deer with just one arrow.

Yet, they move elegantly and I admire their skill. You have to be a great hunter to down a deer with so many factors against your success!


Deer Rear Window Graphics used through the courtesy of ClearVue Graphics (# 1) and Vantage Point Graphics (# 2 and # 3)


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 11:07 am  Comments Off on Are You Aiming to Take a Whitetail Home?  
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