View Full Version : Shot Placement On Deer

February 27, 2008, 09:39 PM
Based on the attached "artist's rendering" of possible shot locations on a deer, which location would be the best for a clean kill...1, 2, or 3? 1 being right behind the shoulder, 2 being the shoulder, and 3 being just in front of the shoulder, broadside. (Stole original pic from OJ)

February 27, 2008, 09:59 PM
That's just about a broadside shot, so somewhere between 1 and 2 would be the place I would like to put the bullet.

I usually aim for just behind the joint in the front leg low on the rib cage for a broadside shot.

February 27, 2008, 10:04 PM
Number one is the first choice and the cleanest...#2 waste meat, probable clean kill, #3 not sure I'd take it. Preston

Double Naught Spy
February 27, 2008, 10:23 PM
I attached a graphic that provides a bit more insight into the deer's anatomy that might be helpful in understanding shot placement options.

February 27, 2008, 10:28 PM
Easy enough, #1 on flat ground, #2 if on top of a ridge w/ deep deep canyons either side. I just don't like pulling big critters out of canyons. 40K worth of back surgery at the start of Feb. No more canyons for me.

February 27, 2008, 11:14 PM
For me #1 but a little higher in the ribcage. Take out both lungs and that deer will not go far.

February 28, 2008, 01:18 AM
Looks like that buck is facing towards you just a bit, so #1 is an OK shot (a bit too far back, but will double-lung him), #2 would destroy the shoulder but take out the heart and arterial trunk like a hand grenade, and #3 would probably just wound him.

I might take a high shoulder shot in a case like this, or wait for him to take a step to let me put one in his armpit.

February 28, 2008, 01:37 AM
In the OP's photo all three points are low (no margin for error). Even on the other photo the brisket is shown to be less than what I feel it is. But I am thinking MN whitetail, they carry a good deal more Fat than some areas, IMHO
This is a photo from the Youth firearms Safety Handbook.
I hear you Elkman, I always hunt uphill from camp and camp is uphill from the truck.

February 28, 2008, 03:47 AM
Between one and two and a tad higher.

February 28, 2008, 04:31 AM
#2 slightly higher.

45Marlin carbine
February 28, 2008, 04:49 AM
I like to shoot 'em in the neck, in the mass around the spinal area. down they go.

quack fiend
February 28, 2008, 07:11 AM
I'm also going with number 2 but higher up, lots of margin for error in all directions in case of a not-perfect shot. Neck shots are great, no doubt, but I simply can't trust myself with them unless at close range and with a decent rest.

February 28, 2008, 10:39 AM
The correct answer depends on the gun, cartridge and projectile. You hit it at #2 with a projectile that has enough energy and won't break up and that deer drops on the spot. If I'm shooting with a 243, I'd take spot #1. I would not take spot #3. BTW, this isn't African game. You can shoot a bit further back than that. Also, I would shoot a bit higher as well.

February 28, 2008, 10:53 AM
Shoot for the heart. Always your best option. I shot a deer high in the neck like 45Marlin mentioned and it went down like a pile of bricks, but I think heart/lungs is always what you want.

February 28, 2008, 03:25 PM
Okay, so right above the elbow and just behind the shoulder should put it right over the heart, correct? The cartridge will either be a .30-06 or a 7mm Rem. Mag., I haven't decided which.

February 28, 2008, 04:02 PM
Yes, Just don't shoot too low, witch is easy to do shooting from an elevated stand. I once made a low brisket shot but recovered the animal in a short track as the lungs were lacerated by shattered rib bones. Just got lucky on that one.
As for the rifle's you list, There is excellent hydrostatic shock potential with both. The '06 out to 350 yard and the 7MM RM 450Yards.IMO

February 28, 2008, 05:09 PM
I'll take #1, but just about 2" higher....for any weapon. The "general rule" is 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the chest, for a heart/lung shot. This shot will take out both lungs, with the least amount of meat damage. :)

If you were using a large bore rifle .308, .30-06 or a simular power ability, the #2 shot will break the shoulder, hit the heart and left lung on the way out. This is NOT a bow shot!

#3 is nothing other than an injury of the off-side shoulder. :barf:

Good hunting, Bowhunter57

February 28, 2008, 06:14 PM
+1 to bowhunter and others.

As to -06 or 7mm Mag - I would say it is an absolute coin flip for most of us that don't need/can't effectively use the extra distance the 7 gives.

Plus I hate the way the 7 sounds.

February 28, 2008, 06:41 PM
Alright, thanks everyone. I want to be extra sure about where to hit so I have one less thing to worry about if/when I finally get a deer in my sights. Which will hopefully be later this year :D

February 28, 2008, 07:33 PM
Between 1 and 2. You will do just fine on your hunting. Just be calm, don't get buck fever and squeeze the trigger .

February 28, 2008, 07:42 PM
anyone consider head shots?? the have always worked great for me i dont like tracking deer after the shot

February 28, 2008, 08:11 PM
anyone consider head shots?? the have always worked great for me i dont like tracking deer after the shot

I only consider head shots if it is the only opiton I have on a wounded animal. I don't hunt from a stand or blind where I always have a steady rest. A body shot always gives me a larger margin for error. I like to aim about half way up the rib cage just behind the shoulder. There isn't much meat to ruin in the ribs and since I usually only get one tag a year I want as much meat as I can get off of my deer.

February 28, 2008, 08:43 PM
very true...but if i can i always take a head shot....i shot stright on at a deer in the chest and took out his heart ...he droped like a sack of **** but it was not fun to clean ..lesson learned

February 29, 2008, 10:39 AM
No head shots for me. Too many variables and too easy for the head to move.

February 29, 2008, 06:08 PM
One more quick question: if the deer is head-on (look out, it's coming right for us!), do I aim for the center of the chest, about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the ribcage, for a heart shot?

February 29, 2008, 07:15 PM
i would go for 1. i would aim for just behind the shoulder. to get to the heart and lung area. i figure that if it goes a little to the right it'll bust its shoulder and hopefully go deeper. a shotgun slug or a .30 , .35 cal. rifle should do it. i bow hunt too and neither one of these 3 choices are bow shots. definetly firearm shots. i would wait for a better shot if i saw that deer using a bow.

February 29, 2008, 07:30 PM
turkey.....head on in the chest works but is messy when you clean it especially if you hit the stomach and intestines

February 29, 2008, 07:37 PM


February 29, 2008, 07:45 PM

W. C. Quantrill
March 7, 2008, 11:27 PM
If I were presented with that mulie at that angle, I would take him in the neck, straight above the yellow #3 arrow, even with the bottom of his mouth. That will sever the spine. Notice how the spine of the deer curves in the diagrams.

1, 2, or 3 will likely kill him but will bust the shoulder and could get into the paunch and make a stinking mess. I would rather not clean $hi! out of the inside.

March 23, 2008, 05:29 PM
I like Hiking Man's location. That has the greatest chance of a clean kill, even if the shot is a bit off. I don't like low shots or head shots on deer. Those shots often result in difficult tracking. The heart is a small target for many people under field conditions. It's one thing to hit the heart consistently on the range, quite another when in the woods.

Personally, I may be a good enough shot to take riskier shots, but I respect the game too much to let one run off and die a slow death, just because I pulled the shot a little. That's why I tend to aim for the center of the lungs.