Where to place the shot for big game animals can be a controversial topic among plenty of hunters because there are many variables to take into consideration such as range and weapon like we discussed in our recent article. For every variable, there is a different outcome so the last decision comes to you, the hunter.
Shooting a deer in one of the several locations available will kill it in a relatively short period of time and with minimal trauma to the deer’s body. Naturally, some of these ways can be considered to be more risky when compared to the other options you have available to you. We will discuss shot placement and angles in this section so that you can get a rough picture of what is going on.
The broadside shot
The broadside shot is considered to be the most perfect by the majority of specialists. When you’re watching a hunting program, it’s extremely probable that this is the shot that everyone is looking forward to seeing take place. This is due to the fact that deep in broadside provides you with a target that is vast enough to provide you complete access to the critical areas.
A well-placed shot right behind the shoulder, right at the shoulder, or just above the point that is generated by the shoulder, regardless of whether you are using an arrow or a bullet, has the potential to cause the necessary damage in the lungs and the heart.
If all goes according to plan, the shot should enter somewhere between the ribs and leave on the opposite side between the ribcage as well. This will result in the least amount of damage to the meat possible, as well as a significant amount of blood loss and a blood trail that will be easy to see.
Even though an arrow shot can be difficult at times because it may strike a bone, if it strikes a rib, you will not experience any difficulties. The same rule applies to rifles with calibers that are on the small end of the spectrum.
It is considered ethical to take this type of picture because it provides a large margin for mistake. Considering that lungs are an obvious target, especially when we’re talking rifles, you are still extremely likely to break the shoulders, or at the very least one of them, even if you miss your goal.
While missing on the high side can result in the deer breaking its back, missing on the low side can result in either a complete miss or a shot that hits the deer in the gut. If you shot the animals in the gut, you can still use the flesh, but it is not a recommended location to aim your shot.
Quartering: access to vital organs
Even though the broadside shot results in the least amount of meat damage, some hunters favor the modest quartering away shot while hunting deer on the ground. If the deer is quartering away from you, you can go for it even if you are a long distance away, and by hitting it in the shoulder, you will be able to smash the lungs and heart with the bullet you have in your possession.
You can employ this technique with a variety of bows and guns because they are all capable of breaking the shoulder without difficulty. One disadvantage of making this selection is that you will experience meat loss around the off-shoulder area. This can be prevented by shooting an arrow or using a small-caliber rifle, as the shock and bloodshot are reduced in this case.
If the deer is quartering toward you, it is best not to use a bow on him. It is quite likely that the nearside front shoulder will obstruct the vitals, and an arrow is known for not providing the necessary damage in such a situation, resulting in the animal not being put down.
The deer can be quartered or broadsided if you are using a rifle since the bullet will pass through the shoulder easily and have the intended effect on the important organs if you are using a shotgun.
As previously said, you will almost certainly have meat loss in either one or both of the shoulders, but you will almost certainly be able to recover the animal after it has been slaughtered in the most compassionate manner imaginable.
Face to face can be tricky
If the animal is facing you, it indicates you’ll have a very pleasant path leading to your heart, which sounds really effective, doesn’t it? If the animal is facing away from you, it means you’ll have a very unpleasant path leading to your heart. You should be aware, on the other hand, that this shot is more difficult to execute than the previous one stated.
Assuming the bullet or arrow passes perpendicularly through one side of the chest cavity, it is quite unlikely that both lungs will be struck in this situation. At some point, hitting one lung will result in the animal’s death, but hitting both lungs is the most essential element.
When shooting with a rifle, this style of shot is more effective. If you hit the deer too hard, you may cause it to shatter its back or neck. In the event that you shift too far to the right or too much to the left, you still run the risk of injuring one of the lungs and breaking one of the shoulders. A low hit can be critical or entirely miss the animal depending on the situation.
Although most bowhunters would choose to take another shot rather than this one because it is too risky, if you have enough experience, you can take a chance with this one.
The risky neck shot
As we progress down the list, the shots become more dangerous. In the case of a rifle, for example, the neck shot can be something that some people appreciate, while others shun it entirely. A correctly executed attack on the deer’s spine will kill it in a matter of seconds by destroying a portion of its spinal column. In certain cases, you don’t even have to hit the deer in the vertebrae if the gun has a lot of force.
For the most part, the bullet’s impact is so great that it will do the job so long as it hits strong muscle, which can be found a couple of inches around the spine. You will not be able to kill a deer if you simply hit the windpipe or the edge of the neck with your shot. However, the deer will be unable to raise its head and will be unable to flee in that state.
The tracking of the deer is also more difficult in this circumstance, and there is only a small possibility that they will recover if they do manage to move away from your presence.
When it comes to archery, this shot, like the facing shot, is favored by some and shunned by others, depending on the situation. A major artery or the spine will be targeted by those who are confident in their abilities. They believe that the shot has too little of a possibility of being successful and hence they avoid it entirely.
Headshot: for those with accuracy
Whether you aim for the deer’s eyes or the brain from one of its sides, if you hit it and it dies, you’ve done your job and are finished with it. Even though it is lethal, if done incorrectly, it is simply brutal.
The instantaneous death of the animal is considered by some to be the most compassionate method of execution. However, if you do miss, even by a small margin, you can hit the animal in the jaw, allowing it to escape and die several weeks later from starvation in excruciating agony.
It is unnecessary to point out that a properly executed headshot results in no meat loss and does not necessitate the use of tracking equipment. Some individuals offer this option as one in which you either win from the first shot or lose and continue, but as previously said, this is not necessarily the case. You have just as much of a chance of striking the nose or the jaw as you do of hitting the brain when it comes to size.
Once again, when it comes to archery, this is a shot that many people fear taking. A deer can be killed by shooting an arrow straight through its head, but the chances of doing so are extremely slim due to the roundness of the deer’s skull, which can cause the arrow to deflect.
The base of the skull: best for killshot
This sort of shot can be classified as either a headshot or a neckshot due to the fact that it is found exactly where the two categories meet. Because the margin for error with this version is quite small, you can experiment with it after you have gained some experience. We included this one individually because it is not widely regarded as a particularly effective beginning shot, but it is a really effective kill shot.
If you use this type of shot, you can kill the animal in a split second with no damage to the meat and no damage to the antlers or the skull, if you want to keep them.
Essentially, the decision on where to place the goal is up to you and is dependent on your circumstances and previous experience.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.