Viewing 19 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #30191
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      Concerning where to shoot a deer, there were many years I held the opinion that a head shot was the only shot worth taking. My logic was: a miss is a miss, and a hit is DRT.
      I did take quite a few in this way, but as I go along, I have adopted a high armpit shot as the ideal placement for several reasons.

      1. An armpit shot forces me to wait till the deer is broadside, and clear of brush. This is not the shot that presents itself most immediately, as the head is usually the thing I see moving first in my peripheral vision. Waiting for the broadside shot makes for a more sporting hunt, and gives me valuable time to judge the legality of the shot. In Arkansas, the rule is a deer must be a doe, or have three on one side in order to be legal. By the time the broadside shot becomes available, the sex and horn structure is almost certainly established.

      2. No matter how good a shot you are, waiting for the broadside shot increases your likelihood of a mortal hit. If there’s one thing we know about real hunting, it’s that a real field shooting situation is often far from ideal; likely requiring you to feed your projectile through a maze of brush and weeds in order to connect with the venison, and regardless of what tall tales we might read about heavier bullets “busting the brush” better than others, discriminating hunters know that a 45-70 is as easily deflected from the kill zone as a 270 Winchester when it encounters a stick. This leaves very little room for head shots.

      3. A near miss on a head shot can produce the most inhumane “eventually lethal” wound a hunter can inflict on a deer. I was once told about a deer that was put out of its misery by a friend. He said it was nearly dead, and horribly emaciated when he shot it. Upon closer examination it was clear that a hunter had miscalculated slightly when taking a head shot and had blown the deer’s lower jaw off. Amazingly and horrifyingly, the deer was not killed by this shot that was mere inches from it’s mark, but instead suffered a horrific existence unable to eat or drink till my friend ended the horror with a merciful shot behind the shoulder.

      4. A double lung hit will shock the heart and possibly rupture it as it plows through the deer a few inches above. Watch a few slow motion videos of ballistic gelatin tests, and you will see the enormous shock wave sent through anything within a few inches of the bullet path. True, the armpit shot rarely results in a bang/flop, but it very commonly produces a three step plunge.

      5. With a behind the shoulder hit, often there is greater meat loss. One blood shot shoulder and the rib cage is almost a certain outcome. However, after butchering dozens of deer, I fond that the meat loss in that area is no great loss after all. Also, I shoot slow, soft, cast lead bullets which greatly reduce the damage caused by hitting a deer in this spot.

      That’s why I take a bead on the boiler room.
      I like the idea of a “lights out” shot as much as anyone, but I’ll settle for a 5 second expiration with a much higher likelihood of success any day.
      The only exception to this rule is if a deer is walking straight towards me and realizes I am there when it looks up. In this very specific situation, the deer is usually less than 30 yards away, and because I am 20′ up in a tree, a bullet fired at whichever nostril is closer to being lined up with the spine is the mark I aim at. The bullet destroys the nasal passages and fully deploys as it encounters the base of the scull, and either ruptures the wind pipe carotid and occipital arteries and spinal column, or it will punch straight through into the brain. The only downside to this shot is that you have no idea what angle the bullet will exit at, and it could ruin some meat as the entirety of the deer’s carcass is in the possible path of trajectory.
      Since this shot is relatively close and there are so many vital structures lined up in a row, I feel this is the one viable head shot that is worth taking as a last resort at close range. The last dear I made this shot on just stiffened and fell over.

    • #30196
      Anonymous
      Inactive
      • Bronze
      • Posts: 5
      • Comments: 71
      • Overall: 76

      I agree, I started out as a heart lung shooter, at some point a friend convinced me I should be a head shooter. I did that face shot thing (the one where the deer got away, lower jaw gone) with an 06 at about 40 yards, I never found that deer, despite being a good tracker, all signs just disappeared.

      I bothered me a great deal and I went back to the boiler room, I have never lost a deer with a heart/lung shot.

      This year it will most probably be a 357 mag with a 24″ barrel, and the NOE .360-180-WFN GC, the bullet dresses up to about 187gr with lube and a check and I can easily get 1650fps, that is plenty for the job at hand.

      I couldn’t muster up any of them big ole words, but I sorta figgered what you be sayin” ……..:eek:

    • #30198
      WCM
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 30
      • Comments: 368
      • Overall: 398

      If we are after meat (Does), we take head shots when possible.
      It is not always possible.
      I use to hang deer and take to four quarters and backstraps.
      My son insist that gutting deer ASAP make the meat better.

      I think he is probably correct.
      It is a lot cleaner to work with a head shot deer.

    • #30200
      Rattlesnake Charlie
      Participant
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 152
      • Comments: 679
      • Overall: 831

      Boiler room. From whatever angle is available. I won’t take a shot from the wrong end. Always seems to work fine, no matter what I’m throwing at them. But then, I tend to lean towards the overkill end.

    • #30206
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      Another shot I refuse to take is a frontal chest shot. Amazing how much a deer can take front ways. A couple years ago, I had the vantage point of watching a hunting buddy shoot a deer right in the chest from 85 yards away with a 338WM loaded for elk (overkill much?). Anywho, he shot the deer, the bullet entered just an inch left of center, and exited just in front of the rear thigh. Through and through with a Nosler ballistic tip. I watched that deer run a good 90 yards before expiring (of course, it covered that amount of ground in less than 5 seconds. Unbelievable how much run that deer had left after getting it’s internal organs blended into soup in a couple milliseconds. That’s a situation where I believe a shot up the snooter would have been in order.

      My suspicion is that the bullet didn’t deploy till it was past the heart and lungs, and all my buddy really did was gut/liver/kidney shot it front ways without doing too much damage to the lungs and heart. That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

    • #30211
      WCM
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 30
      • Comments: 368
      • Overall: 398

      Another rule me and my son have, is we never shoot Does till after Thanksgiving.
      The doe is the best bait for large bucks that there is.
      Shoot all the does and the bucks relocate.

      We also never kill more than two or three does ,even though there is a ten doe limit.
      We only take what we are going to eat, That goes for squirrels too.

      I no long eat much deer meat.
      I ate so much of it growing up when that was all I had .

      I trophy hunt, and give the meat to a really poor family that lives down the road.

      The last deer I killed was in 2012.

      I watch the small bucks and let them pass.

      I mainly go just to be in the woods during my favorite time of year.

      November.

      The leaves the sounds and the smell.
      I know once I fire a shot the real work begins , so I only shoot something I will mount.

      To go into the woods in stealth and silence,and never be detected.
      To me that is a successful hunt.

    • #30212
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      WCM;n9903 wrote: Another rule me and my son have, is we never shoot Does till after Thanksgiving.
      The doe is the best bait for large bucks that there is.
      Shoot all the does and the bucks relocate.

      We also never kill more than two or three does ,even though there is a ten doe limit.
      We only take what we are going to eat, That goes for squirrels too.

      Bravo. That is a very wise position to take in my opinion.

    • #30218
      GhostHawk
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 2
      • Comments: 258
      • Overall: 260

      Like you I have seen a deer that had much of its lower jaw blown away. We spent a day and a half finding it but eventually got lucky.

      I personally never shoot for the head although I have hit them there. The head moves much more than any part of the main torso, and can move 6 inches in a instant at the snap of a twig or the crunch of a leaf.

      Most of my deer were harvested with shotgun and slugs, and if they are coming my way I let them come. Closer is better. Although my hunting partner did give me a hard time about one doe. She was maybe 20 feet away coming right at me when I let fly, she did a triple somersault and skidded to a stop with her nose on my boot. He came walking over, saw where I was hunkered down behind a power pole and a bushy weed. Went and looked at her tracks, saw where her chest hit the dirt and tumbled then saw her nose still resting on the toe of my boot. “That is a little too close Bill!” he scolded as I got my knife out. Yes, but she is dead on the spot, and I don’t have to walk far to dress her out.

    • #30219
      Waksupi
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 6
      • Comments: 106
      • Overall: 112

      I’m another who never shot does until the rut was underway. That is when the fawns are kicked loose and weaned. A doe in heat is my favorite lure. I locate one, and just stay with it. It doesn’t take long for a buck to show up.
      I’ve seen too many deer with jaws shot off over the years, and a nice lung shot is the right medicine.

    • #30223
      Harter
      Participant
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 76
      • Comments: 807
      • Overall: 883

      I was taught ,3 generations worth, to shoot the boiler house . I’ve seen 1 with a jaw shot up . Fortunately the 7mag hit behind it going in and caused enough CNS disruption for the lad to bleed out before he could run .

      Out here we base every practice shot on a 250 yd field shot the last I killed were under 100 but the 1st was open flat broken granite right at 9000′ MSL and just over 350 yd. The 5000# granite rest paid off. The heart lung shot pays, it’s a bigger target with soft easily damaged parts . If a bullet blows up it cuts lungs ,heart and/or liver. If you hit a shoulder bone the bone parts add to the shrapnel in the chest cavity . Too far forward with a hit you get major arteries CNS disruption and blood drowning. Too far back , liver , diaphragm and still lung damage …… although tissue disruption may include stomach tissue . If you get stuck with a quartering shot there’s still a huge target . 75% of the above applies to fast jacketed but I’ve shot 5 pigs from 90-165 # and all but 1 with cast through the engine room and only 1 of those 4 went anywhere ….it was stretched out like a scared greyhound before I pulled the trigger so the 200yd before it dropped in a heap and pool of lung blood gets a pass. The other 3 basically just fell over . Go-go Colts…..
      ​​​

    • #30227
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      Ha ha!!!! THAT’S what I call hunting!
      Good on you! I have found it’s actually much harder to shoot them close than to pop one half a mile away. Doesn’t get much closer than that!

    • #30240
      JPHolla
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 1
      • Comments: 120
      • Overall: 121

      If using high velocity bullets, I try to hit both lungs and miss both shoulders (and guts). Preferably diagonally, otherwise a shot right behind the shoulders tends to drop them within 100yrds. With slow bullets, I shoot through both shoulders if possible because it doesn’t really damage any meat and it gives more “ancorability.” I never take head-shots because they can move too quickly. I have had deer move their body after I had already committed to pulling the trigger enough that I accidentally took out a shoulder. If it had been a head-shot it could have ended cruelly. However, I recently read this http://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/Effective+Game+Killing.html and think I will try aiming right in front of the shoulder and see how it goes. He makes some very good arguments for it and shows some good photos to back up his assertions.

    • #30242
      Bodean98
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 8
      • Comments: 103
      • Overall: 111

      I would agree with all of Tim’s stated reasons! I learned the hard way as well about the head/neck shot. Yes it’s a bang-flop but a slightly off shot results in a horrible slow death for the animal. Found that the same to be true of the direct frontal shot as well as the Texas head shot.
      I do put the shot farther forward than is mentioned here because I want to take out as much of the running gear as possible too. Both shoulders if possible. I learned to do this elk hunting in very rough country. Too many were dead but lost because they could run far enough away for me to not find them. I figured that loss of meat to the wound was much less than loss of the whole animal.

    • #30284
      jwt
      Participant
      • Bronze
      • Posts: 2
      • Comments: 18
      • Overall: 20

      I was taught to take the heart/lung shot.

      I had one exception when hunting in Montana. It was my last day and I had a buck running straight away from me. I had my 30-378 and did not want to deal with the mess of a Texas heart shot. I aimed for a high neck/spine shot figuring if I missed the spine more than a little it was going to be a clean miss and if I was close the shock would at least knock the deer down for a follow up shot. The bullet destroyed 2 vertebrae. Not a shot I would care to try and repeat if I had a heart/lung shot available.

    • #30288
      oldblinddog
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 4
      • Comments: 110
      • Overall: 114

      I aim for a spot behind the armpit calculated to take out the arteries on top of the heart. This ALWAYS results in the deer going straight down. It is also a double lung shot. Also, I shoot a large caliber bullet at moderate speed (2400 fps). This results in a bullet caliber entrance hole and a nickel sized exit hole and zero meat damage. My favorite bullet for this is the .338 200 gr. Speer bullet, which was designed by Speer to be a deer bullet. The .338 Win Mag loaded down (45 gr IMR 4198) works perfectly.

    • #30292
      Butch Wax
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 22
      • Comments: 158
      • Overall: 180

      No one has mentioned “Aim for the Exit.” Hummmmm.
      Being an old bowhunter from the recurve days when compounds were not even thought of yet, I learned to aim for the point of exit. If the animal is quartering from you, say facing a bit away from you, shooting at the shoulder pocket will result in hitting mostly breast bones and cause a wound. But looking forward towards the point of exit will allow you a far better hit in the chest cavity where the vital organs are. Knowledge of the animal’s anatomy is critical for this action, but pays off in bigger blood trails and a more solid kill. This is true with a bullet’s path as it is with a cedar arrow shaft with a hammer forged broadhead. So know what you need to drive a projectile through and don’t aim for the entrance. Aim rather for the exit.

    • #30293
      WCM
      Participant
      • Silver
      • ★★
      • Posts: 30
      • Comments: 368
      • Overall: 398

      I will hunt some this year, but I doubt I will even fire a shot.
      I no long hunt for meat,and the trophy bucks here are few and far between.

      I will go hunting with my son if he has time.

      I use to really enjoy hunting when I was growing up.

      Just spending time with my father and learning woods lore from him.

      Nowadays I still like being in the autumn woods, but would rather not even fire a shot.

    • #30294
      Harter
      Participant
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 76
      • Comments: 807
      • Overall: 883

      Actually my guideline for instruction is vertical hair on the elbow horizontal centeredand up as needed and try not to explode a shoulder ……. being jacketed advice .with a scope….. Curse of the west.

    • #30295
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      A very worthwhile point. You can hit the exact spot on this side and miss the vitals on the way through. I got caught once by this last year.

    • #30296
      Goodsteel
      Keymaster
      • Gold
      • ★★★
      • Posts: 208
      • Comments: 2452
      • Overall: 2660

      Actually, on your picture, the exact spot where it reads “6R” is the spot I take the shot “assuming a perfect broadside situation”.

Viewing 19 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

© 2017 Goodsteel Forum. Designed by Covalent Designs, LLC.