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Old November 21, 2006, 02:29 PM   #1
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Why aren't neck shots more popular?

I dropped two deer in their tracks Sat morning, both neck shots. Not only is there no tracking, and no meat damage, but in addition, since the doe dropped first instead of running, the hormone-blinded buck stuck around that doe because he didn't want to leave her, and so I got him too. Wouldn't have happened with a vitals shot....she'd have run a ways, with him too. In those thick woods, I likely would never have gotten a shot at him, even if she'd only run another 40 yards.

For shots under 75 or 100 yards, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would take a vitals instead of a neck shot. Has anyone ever had any result *other than* a bang-flop with neck shots? My own and everyone I know who describes hunting stories always talks about B.F.s with neck hits. Granted, my experience is pretty limited, so I'm all ears to contrary opinions.

Now I can see when the shot is longer range, over 150 or 200 let's say, shooting for the vitals to provide for a margin of error to ensure the hit, but at close range, with proper bullet selection and velocity, giving you good expansion, I don't see why you'd opt for the meat-damage-tracking-usually-required heart/lung shot. This all assumes your shot is good, but again, it should be at ranges under 75 yards, even if you're fairly unsteady.
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Old November 21, 2006, 02:52 PM   #2
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Lung shots are my choice.For broadside shots very little meat is lost, the deer bleeds out well for better quality meat, and the run usually no more than 50 yds.
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Old November 21, 2006, 03:52 PM   #3
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With lung shots you get a bigger target and still no meat loss. If it runs 30 yds, I'll go get it. Lots of folks confuse shoulders and vitals, I'm not sure why.
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Old November 21, 2006, 04:02 PM   #4
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I believe it has to do wirh the size of the target/kill zone. A neck shot you're trying to hit the vertebrae (small target), with a heart/lung shot you have a naturally larger target.
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Old November 21, 2006, 04:03 PM   #5
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Head shots......
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Old November 21, 2006, 04:04 PM   #6
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I used to shoot them in the neck when I had to use buckshot, with differing results. If a pellet hit the spine, down they went. If not, they would need to be shot again.

I think neck shots are like head shots. If you've got the time and know you can hit it, go for it. A vitals shot just gives you more margin for error. Anyone who can consistently hit a squirrel in the head at 50 yards with a .22 ought to be able to hit a deer in the neck or head at 75 yards. On the other hand, if you're off a couple of inches with a vitals shot, you've still got a dead deer. If you're off a couple of inches with a neck shot, a deer can go a long ways with a hole in it's windpipe, or lacking a lower jaw in the case of a head shot.

I agree with mete about not losing much meat with a vitals shot. If you don't mind messing up a shoulder, a scapula shot will drop them where they stand.
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Old November 21, 2006, 05:10 PM   #7
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I saw a deer once with it's lower jaw shattered - that made sure I would never take a head shot.
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Old November 21, 2006, 05:42 PM   #8
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For shots under 75 or 100 yards, I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would take a vitals instead of a neck shot.
Because the neck is a smaller target than the broadside vitals shot, and a deer will move its head (and neck) when it sniffs, looks around, eats, etc. I'd rather shoot at the larger vitals target that doesn't move around so much than to shoot at the neck; just my own personal preference. I've taken (and hit) the neck shot before, but only because the vitals were behind a bunch of trees, and that was the only shot I had (and the only shot I was going to get) at that particular doe.
Edited to add: I was also in a stand, with the rifle rested on the edge of the stand, no wind, and I took my time to make the shot. I'm not at all sure that I would try that kind of a shot again.

Some people are more comfortable with their shooting skills, and they can confidently take the the neck shot. Take the shot that you are comfortable with.

If you don't mind messing up a shoulder, a scapula shot will drop them where they stand.
Swampdog sure is right about that!

Last edited by Fremmer; November 22, 2006 at 10:30 PM.
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Old November 21, 2006, 06:13 PM   #9
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Not that much meat on a front shoulder anyway, As Mete says better quality meat and as Fremmer says very easy for the deer to move its neck, then you have wounded deer.
I hunt with a buddy who uses a 25-06 and he consitently shoots it into less than an inch at 100yds, always took head or neck shots. We had just this discussion and he was saying killed 30 deer over the years never had a bad shot etc. I pointed out as he wasn't god but human he would bound to mess up once in a way. Sure enough a few months later in the season, he hit one in the mouth when it moved its head it dropped and got up immediately, ran off. Lucky for him it came over my way and when I saw it from my tree stand it was shaking its head and making noises. I put one from my 270 through the vitals and it was DRT.
I had heard his shot so guessed it was his and he came over and was not happy with the outcome but said maybe his rifle was off ( it wasn't ).
Since that he has had 2 misses and now has changed to vitals shots
Listening to that deer in real pain and seeing it convinced me I was going the right way taking heart/lung/shoulder shots, If it hadn't come my way it would not have been found and would have died in agony and starvation.
No game animal deserves to die that way!
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Old November 21, 2006, 06:21 PM   #10
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If you miss, only a little, with a neck shot... you wound a deer that takes a couple of days to die...

If you miss a little bit with a lung shot... the deer is not going very far...

Most hunters are not good enough for a "pin-point" shot... and would be lucky to hit the heart on a broadside...
"Political correctness is tyranny with a happy face." Charlton Heston

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Old November 21, 2006, 06:30 PM   #11
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I believe most people are afraid that the exit hole in the back of the neck will be rather big and ruin the mount if it's a good buck They are probably right about the size of the exit hole if it hits the neck bone.

It it's a meat hunt then shoot for the white spot under the jaw. Instant death, no tracking what so ever.....


My son dropped this nice buck opening day 10 days ago with a neck shot at 160 yards. Went straight down where he stood. Dressed out at 150lbs.....hpg
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Old November 21, 2006, 06:34 PM   #12
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Your average hunter just ain't that good of shot to be taking a neck shot at the ranges you've mentioned.

Why do you think most folks trained for CCW & police officers are trained to COM. Same reason applies here = bigger target - more vital areas affected - less movement.

Sure head & neck shots are effective, there have been many threads discussing this subject, but under stress of hunting or an armed encounter they are iffy at best.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend, it is my life. I must master itas i master my life.Without me my rifle is useless, without my rifle i am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I Will. Before God i swear this creed. My rifle and myself are defenders of my country. We are masters of our enemy. We are saviours of my life. So be it until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.
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Old November 21, 2006, 09:03 PM   #13
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Neck shots are good way to get a hunter hurt.
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Old November 21, 2006, 09:46 PM   #14
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Double lung shot - no significant meat damage here (graphic image). Ok, so I'll lose a rib or two.

If neck shots work for you, keep it up and happy hunting. But I think you might be discounting the efficiency of a good broadside lung shot. They don't go far, and they're usually all bled out into the chest cavity ready for draining - hardly anything left to drain while the animal hangs in the garage. They leave a blood trail so easy to follow any city slicker could pick it up and find the animal (which in my experience is never more than 40yds away with a solid lung shot).

hpg -- nice buck!
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Old November 22, 2006, 01:36 AM   #15
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I'll take a neck shot if I can. But the neck is often moving around a lot more than the body. I was watching a little two-pointer feeding this afternoon (I didn't shoot him), and while it was only 140 yards, his head/neck was bobbing around so much that I would have had to go for the shoulders or lungs had I taken the shot.
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Old November 22, 2006, 10:27 AM   #16
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Inside 100 yards, standing shot= neck shot
Outside 100 yards or walking shot= behind the shoulder shot.

1" groups at the range is what I practice for, so that when presented a good neck shot, I can take it with confidence.

I did the same thing this year FF, my hunt was over by 7:00 on saturday morning. Had a buck following a doe, and shot them both through the neck, no muss no fuss.
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Old November 22, 2006, 11:10 AM   #17
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It all depends on how the shot presents itself.

Broadside - - I'm a big fan of the double lung shot too.

Head-on - - a neck shot IF and only if he's standing still.

But if that deer or pig is standing relatively still at 50 yards or less a head shot is very tempting.
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards. Claire Wolfe
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Old November 22, 2006, 04:08 PM   #18
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While completely confident in my equipment and my ability to place the shot with sufficient accuracy to do the job on a stationary target, I have never been a fan of neck shooting deer. Not that it is not a very lethal target, but because a deer can move that target in a heartbeat, resulting in a wounded animal should that move occur just as your shot breaks. I know, "you either kill the deer or get a clean miss", but that is not always the case.

Back when we were still fighting screw worms in S. Tx. I shot one poor buck that had a 2" hole in his neck that was at least a week old. Had I not shot the buck, he would have suffered a pretty horrible death from screw worms.

Having said that, I have taken a few deer using the neck shot when conditions were absolutely ideal; 100 yards or less and animal facing me. I still prefer the double lung shot which is always lethal with little or no loss of (useable) meat.

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Old November 22, 2006, 04:54 PM   #19
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Sweet, WBB, tell us your hunt story from Sat - I got my two about 11:30 am.
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Old November 22, 2006, 10:21 PM   #20
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Firstfreedom, I can't remember what caliber and ammo you're using for deer. Would you remind me?
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Old November 23, 2006, 06:34 AM   #21
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The saying goes "Aim big, miss big". In other words, the more major the organ, usually the smaller the target, like brain and spine.

Shot consideration should be based on circumstance, not by what's popular. I just had this discussion with a buddy the other day and he said he would take a neck shot in an instant. I then asked when was the last time he dropped a deer or even killed one with a neck shot and he replied "Can't remember". The fact is, a neck shot is one of those shots that you take only if you can't take a lung/heart shot and you know this is your last chance.

Also, remember that passing up a deer based on the fact that you didn't have a money shot shows alot of patience and IMO, helps define a good hunter. Also IMO, the order at which shots should be taken are as follows

1. Lung/heart
2. Neck
3. Head (and you better be thinking this one through before attempting it)
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" B. Franklin
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Old November 23, 2006, 11:45 AM   #22
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To drop topple the biggest elk that ever walked is an easy task with a neck shot. Of course, distance and angle are criticial. It's very helpful when the animal is not alarmed or aware of the hunter's presence. How often to all these factors occur at the same time for a modern elk hunter? More often than the magazine writing so-called experts would suggest.

Neck shot is certainly deadly. I read somewhere that Dan'l Boone favored this shot placement with his round ball shooting 45 caliber flintlock. Boone shot more deer in one year than most of us in an entire lifetime of hunting. This says a lot for his hunting ability, shooting talents, and opportunities.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old November 23, 2006, 12:44 PM   #23
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Killed two elk with neck shots both times was the only shot I really had. One from the side, all I could see was head and neck. One straight towards me. Elk went 30 feet or so with the side shot and the other took the neck bone out so just dropped.
Shot a antelope thru the head once, trouble was it only took his back teeth out on both sides. Dropped like a rock, kicked a bit then lay still. We thought he was dead but half way to him he got up and ran having to be shot again.
I prefer heart lung shots but thats my personal decision.
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Old November 23, 2006, 04:37 PM   #24
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A deer will die if you hit him in the femoral artery - it doesn't mean you should start shooting for the hams.

In my humble opinion, the risk of crippling a deer with a really painful and grizzly wound is too great with anything other than a broadside shot.

I personally chose to pass up deer if the shot is not 100% PERFECT. Despite only taking perfect broadside shots, I have STILL lost 2 deer in my life, a fact that is painful for me to think about. Why risk it? It's MY repsonsibility to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen, so I pass on the trick shots.
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Old November 24, 2006, 10:40 AM   #25
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I don't mean this to sound like a smart butt, but I practice all year with my deer rifle, to be able to place my shots as close to perfect as I can. I presently have a load worked up, and I am confident enough with it, to put 1" groups together, consistintly. If I could not do that, then I would take nothing but heart shots.
Taking a neck shot is really no big deal for me, and I have taken the last 12 or 13 deer, over the last two or three years, without having to track a single deer.

I'm not saying this shot is for everyone, and in every circumstance, but when it is available to me, it is my first choice. The neck, when shot with a .308 presents the same size kill zone, as what I would consider to be the kill zone for a heart shot, and it is a whole lot less trouble when tracking, and cleaning takes place.

One should always limit theirself to his or her capabilities.

FF, Doe came out with two others, just about daybreak, so I downed her. I decided not to immediatley, get down and go get her, since I could see she had not moved out of her tracks when she went down, and about 5 mintutes later a nine point, came in, and turned toward her laying there, and gave me a great angle on him about 100 yards out, so I downed him also. Both deer went down immediatley, and the work then started.

Felt pretty good about it, being as how I got SKUNKED during ML season this year.
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