Knowing which shots to take on whitetail deer will make you a better prepared and successful hunter. You need to learn prior to going on a deer hunt what shots are able to take a deer down cleanly and quickly. Hunters need to know how to avoid injuring or maiming deer. Knowing what shots you are willing and able to take ahead of time will make you a better prepared hunter when the time comes. There are times in deer hunting when you need to make a split second decision on taking a shot or passing it up. If you know what you are looking for, these decisions will come quickly and easily. Listed below are the four most popular angles that you will see a whitetail deer, and tips on what to do in each situation.
A unobstructed view of a broadside deer offers the best chance of a shot hitting the vitals. This is by far the favorite position for bow and gun hunters to have their deer in before taking a shot. The kill zone on the average deer is 9 inches. The broadside shot offers the hunter a clear shot on all the vitals, with even a little room for error. Aim for the heart right behind the shoulder blade. Even if your shot goes high you will pass through the lungs. This will provide you with a quick, clean, ethical kill.
A quartering away deer also offers both gun and bow hunters a good selection for a shot. This is the second best position to have a deer in before taking a shot. With a deer in this position you need to aim for the exit hole, in essence, you want to aim to shoot through the deer to the opposite shoulder. With an accurate shot, you will hit the vitals and take the deer down cleanly. The quartering away shot, as with the broadside shot, gives a little room for error.
A quartering toward deer is a shot that is very risky to take. You need to be an excellent marksman to attempt this shot. There is no room for error with a deer in this position. Do not use a bow. With a bow, it would have to be an absolutely perfect shot to kill the deer in an ethical way. If your arrow was slightly off, you would have an injured deer that you would most likely never recover. There is too much bone that your arrow would have to pass through before it would contact the vital area. With a gun, a shot high in the chest will pass through the lungs. A shot low would pass through the heart. I would personally pass up on this shot in the hope for a better one.
Head On Shot
When a deer faces a hunter head on, it gives you two possible shots, the chest and the neck. The chest area is the most popular because it provides a shot to the heart and lungs. A shot to the neck area will break the neck or cause enough shock to drop the animal in its tracks. A head on shot should only be done when using a rifle or muzzleloader. In this situation with a bow, you have a higher chance of injuring or maiming the whitetail. With any weapon you are using, excellent marksmanship is needed to make this shot. For the average deer hunter, I recommend to be patient and wait on a better shot.
Always make wise shooting decisions. Making a fast, efficient kill should be the goal of all deer hunters. Enjoy hunting in an ethical fashion
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