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Old November 29, 2009, 08:42 PM   #1
Hog Buster
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Head shots ?

How many of you deer hunters try for a head shot?.......... Now I'm not talking about worlds record antlered deer, I'm talking about does and not so impressive bucks. Most deer are killed at less than 100 yards so head shots aren't that hard to make.

How many only shoot for the shoulder?

How many, be truthful here, just shoot for deer, anywhere, and hope for the best?
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:08 PM   #2
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Naahhh. I don't think head shots are all that great, and I have done a few. A deers head is about as big as a boot, and a deers brain is about as big as a tennis ball. Admittedly, a non-brain hit might still kill or at least drop the deer, but for most hunting situations there are many mobetta money shots. jd
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:08 PM   #3
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I`ve never wanted any deer so much that I couldn`t wait for it to present me with a broadside shot to the heart/lung area. I have seen deer wondering aimlessly with snout/jaw blown off and killed them to put them out of their misery:barf:.
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:10 PM   #4
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I shoot for the head.... usually get what I aim for.... buck or doe alike. Just killed two on sat morn with head shots.
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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If I can get a good head shot I take it, if not, one in the pump and bellows is usually sufficient.

Last edited by cornbush; November 29, 2009 at 09:20 PM. Reason: cant spell for @#$% tonight
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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I prefer neck to head.

Heart/Lung - 70%
Neck - 30%
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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Heart, lungs only.
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Old November 29, 2009, 09:52 PM   #8
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I have kind of come and gone on head shots. They are sometimes necessary if an animal is near a boundary that you cannot legally cross. Most of the head shots that I have done tend to leave the animal deadern a doornail right there. This leaves meat that is really red and bloody as the heart stops beating instantly. In other shots that leave the heart beating for a minute or so the animal will be well bled out, and the meat well drained. It seems that the best shots tend to be high in the rear of the boiler room and clip both lungs wile breaking the spine from the bottom side. Thats not really intentional but since all three of my rifles are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high at 100 yards it just works that way alot. Thats just my observasions of some 53 kills since 2001. The last head shot I took was end of 2008 season and was a 240 yarder bing on the money. I didn't take any this year as I didn't feel I was in good enough training. (not couch potato, just a hell of alot of work) I killed three deer this year with shots to the body and one of those wasn't that great. (didn't go anywhere just an ugly shot).

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Old November 29, 2009, 10:05 PM   #9
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im not too picky on shot placement, head,neck,shoulders chest..what ever i can get a clear shot at..thats why i deer hunt with a 338 mostly head neck, if its a big buck shoulders
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Old November 29, 2009, 10:27 PM   #10
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I have hardly ever done it, but I did this year. I had a doe 10 yrds away & I was in an elevated box blind with a steady rest. I had it planned before hand. I put the 250 grn SST from the muzzle-loader right behind the ear. I only would do it with this ultra close shot with a nice rest.
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Old November 29, 2009, 11:05 PM   #11
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I never tried head shots on deer except once on a wounded deer but at distances under 100 yds I did use neck/spine shots for instant kills. Much less messy than a lung shot.
Good shooting and be safe.
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Old November 29, 2009, 11:08 PM   #12
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I thought about the head a couple times but I stick to neck shots out to 250 - 300yds. Past that I shoot the heart and lungs. It is neat seeing a neck shot deer instantly puddle.
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Old November 29, 2009, 11:08 PM   #13
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Neck shot usually drops them like atone - only at 40 yards or less in my book.
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Old November 30, 2009, 01:25 AM   #14
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no brainer

Against head shots. Seen deer w/ jaws, noses shredded by head shot artists and not recovered, hard to track. Soft ball size target (brain/upper spine) very articulated, vs a pie plate target relatively stable. That's a no brainer for me. Plus, a skull blown deer with eyes bulged and head scrambled is just plain ugly.
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Old November 30, 2009, 03:41 AM   #15
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I won't shoot a doe unless I head shoot it. Of course I'm not going to try a 300 yd head shot on a doe. I keep them no more than 100 to 150 yds. If I don't have a clear shot that I'm 110% sure that I can make, I don't shoot. It's not like it's the buck of a life time. There will be another one come along shortly. As far as bucks, I only make behind the shoulder shots. My dad was a taxidermist and neck shots were a big no no. I've only shot one buck in the neck and I can still remember that ass chewing.
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Old November 30, 2009, 09:18 AM   #16
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Head shots

Never have tried them. Haven't thought about it as I guess instinctively I go for heart/lung areas. That is how I was taught. Not for me to decide what is wrong or right for each hunter. Hope all here have had successful seasons. Jim
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Old November 30, 2009, 09:37 AM   #17
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I`ve never wanted any deer so much that I couldn`t wait for it to present me with a broadside shot to the heart/lung area. I have seen deer wondering aimlessly with snout/jaw blown off and killed them to put them out of their misery.
I have seen sharpshooters miss trying to do head shots and then we end trying to find wounded deer.

I worked with the USDA clearing deer from an airfield. Most (more than 99%) of the shots they took were wonderful and the deer dropped almost immediately. But they did occasionally take a head shot and we ended up looking for a deer with missing jaws, part of the skullcap blown away, etc...

The deer would have died eventually (That was the goal, kill as many as we could) but it would have been a lot of undue suffering. Even these guys, and they were professionals in every way, shooting at night, with a spotlight and sound suppressor, did not like doing head shots.
Someone mentioned a softball sized target for the brain. These guys call it 'smaller than a tennis ball' and avoided it when ever possible.

As an aside: The deer we harvested off the air field were all donated to the Share the Harvest Program. We took more than 125 deer in less than four months.
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Old November 30, 2009, 11:09 AM   #18
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re: head shots

I personally take 99% of my deer and hogs by head shots. I am very comfortable with taking them out to 200 yards but i shoot year round and know what my limits are. If there is a breeze, i wont take the shot. If i cant get the game to stop, if not eating still, i want take the shot. I like to take my shot and i dont like to track nothing if you dont have to plus i believe we (hunters) do owe that to the game we take to take them as humane and ethical as possible. Each one of us knows what we can handle,don't try to overdo it or try to make a shot out of your league and wind up wounding an animal. And about the airstrip and the professionals, i've seen (professionals) and "hunters" try to take animals with heart/lung shots much less a head shot and blotch that. End up scouting the woods all day, might find it, might not, how sad... If you've ever hunted at all, yes it has happened or will i'm not saying it wont. And i've made perfect heart shots and still seen deer run 100 yds. Or so. Personally i know what i can take, if for one reason its iffy i let it go and well play the game a later date, god willing! For myself, i take head shots and see them flip, clean, ethical shot, no suffering and no tracking.... Good hunting guys/girls.
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Old November 30, 2009, 11:58 AM   #19
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I have shot 3 deer and 1 hog with head shots in the past 2 weeks. It's just me, but if I can't get a good head neck shot then I let it pass. At the same time I am 100% food hunter, and I don't hunt bucks so I'm not worried about the racks. I have NEVER put a round into the head/neck and not had the deer go FLOP DRT.
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Old November 30, 2009, 12:06 PM   #20
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I make relatively precision shots in comparison to what I see most deer hunters making. I do not, however, shoot for the head. I see NO legitimate reason to do so. It's a small target and if you miss the target the animal could be maimed and slowly starve to death. The heart and lungs is a much larger target and will kill any animal within seconds. A near miss of the exact planned target in the heart/lung area will almost always result in a kill, albeit slightly longer time frame. Even a terrible shot that results in a leg injury is at least possible to survive.

I consider head shots to be unethical in all but the most rare and specific instances.
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Old November 30, 2009, 12:09 PM   #21
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Age 10-11 I took my first 3 bucks before grampa explained "vitals" to me. I had no idea anything but a "brainer" was a good shoot. He had intended to get my first one mounted then the next 2 got destroyed too. Never got to hunt with him again
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Old November 30, 2009, 12:21 PM   #22
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I like neck shots. If you muff the shot, there are normally two options, either the critter isnt hurt that bad or you're gonna have a good blood trail.

I ony muffed one shot where the critter didnt go down instantly, he managed to make it about 20 yards before he bleed out.
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Old November 30, 2009, 01:48 PM   #23
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Heart/lung is pretty much my exclusive target. Even when a deer is very close that's the shot I take.

It's force of habit more than anything else.

As far as just shooting at any part of a deer, that just doesn't make sense to me. Given how accurate modern rifles and scopes are, I can't imagine not aiming for a reasonable kill shot. It's not like we're pilgrims hunting with blunderbuss.
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Old November 30, 2009, 04:35 PM   #24
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"Seen deer w/ jaws, noses shredded by head shot artists and not recovered, hard to track."

What he said..........

Seen this a time or two......ugly.

Done a few in the head, only real close ones though. As I know I'm not perfect it makes good sense to take advantage of the larger target area the ribs provide.

If you are that good then it's a plan.

What's not a plan is encouraging folks that are not up to the task to be doing it. You do them no favors by increasing the cahnce they will lose a animal and it's certianly no favor to the animal with a mangled jaw.
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Old November 30, 2009, 06:35 PM   #25
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I only shoot the shoulder...

Don’t want to take a chance wounding the deer...

one shot, one kill...
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