An interesting question that often comes up among the new comers of the bow hunting scene is, where exactly do I shoot a deer with a bow.
Like most things people often with overload you with information without actually telling you the right answer. So in order for myself to give you the right answer I’ve laid out in a way that everybody can understand.
The short of the answer is the most ideal shot is a heart shot, followed closely by a lung shot, however you may be able to achieve that. But it’s rarely that simple. There’s a lot more that goes into the perfect shot then just hurling an arrow down range.
Getting the perfect shot often comes down to timing and angle, not every shot that presents its self will be the right one, and you need to understand how to differentiate between humane and inhumane shot, that you can comfortably take with full confidence.
Not taking the time to understand these things will result in poor shot placement which most likely will result in you having a lost opportunity, and thats not what you want if you’ve got a prized buck sitting in your sights. Not to mention a non critical wound will result in poor blood trails which makes it harder for you to track that wounded animal, which in-turn results to cruelty and unethical hunting.
Patience and knowledge is the master my friend, so grab a beer and get comfortable while we get a little more in depth on this.
What do you mean by angles?
When you sit around the campfire you’ll hear the old timers talking about their perfect shots. They’ll throw in terms like broadside and Quartering away. These terms are whats known as angles.
Their basically just a common language hunters use to describe the position of a deer, but their much much more then that.
One you start to understand the anatomy of the deer, the next thing is to understand the angles or positions at which the deer is sitting at to help you make a well educated and ethical shot.
Their are four main angles you’ll hear about mostly and they are Broadside, Quartering Away, Quartering toward, and straight ahead.
So let me explain them a little further…
Broadside is the most commonly used term among deer hunters, and for good reason to. This is the best shot you could ask for, and this is the shot most hunters aim to get.
Reason being as it provides the highest chance of striking a vital organ and performing a humane shot.
Broadside basically means that the deer presents itself perpendicular to your position.
The best way to perform a broadside shot is to memerise the lung and heart area. Forget about all other anatomy and just focus on where the heart and lung sit, as a shot in either of these areas prove to give the quickest and best results.
If done properly a well placed shot will enter and exit straight through the deer. Sometimes it’ll happen so quick that the deer doesn’t even know they’ve been hit, which makes tracking 100 times easier.
Remember, the heart and lung area sit just behind the deers shoulder, so memerise it and practice, and you’ll be sure to pull off the perfect shot when the opportunity arises.
Quartering away would be the second best shot to take if the opportunity presents it’s self.
Reason being is you’ll basically be shooting the dear from behind, meaning you’ll have easy access to all vital organs. At worst you’ll make a gut shot, but even then you’ll be able to track the deer and humanely take it down.
The angle is similar to broadside, however the deer is facing away from you. A quick call just before the shot can get the deers attention and make it pick up its head and look toward you, presenting the best type of shot at the quartering away angle.
Once again, memerise the vitals and practice, and you’ll be sure to make the perfect shot.
Quartering toward is starting to get into the more difficult of angles now. While it’s not the worst angle to take a shot from it’s definatley not the most favorite, and it’s usually only a last resort if you cant get into any other position.
Obviously quartering toward is the same as quartering away, however the deer is facing you. This become increasingly difficult as the deer comes more and straight onto you, to a point where the shot becomes almost impossible.
The reason being is that vital area that you want place your arrow is getting smaller and smaller with every step the deer takes toward you.
As stated though, if it’s all you have to work with, then you need to make a decision to get the shot in earlier rather then later, to give you the best chance of a take down, otherwise you risk a missed opportunity.
This leads into the next angle. The worst possible angle any hunter could ask for….
Taking a shot straight ahead is an absolute pain in the ass, and definatley not advisable, and truthfully you should probably just forget it all together. Especially when bow hunting.
Remember when I said you need to make a choice early on in the picture if you need to take a shot at a buck quartering toward you, well if you don’t make that choice soon enough, you risk the chance of being presented this angle.
Like I said, this is not the the angle you want to take a shot on.
Effectively the deer is in its most protected position, as all of it’s vitals are basically impossible to get at.
The same happens when a deer is facing straight away from you, however when a deer is facing straight away you have a much better at improving the shot to a a quartering away.
As I said, if it can be avoided, dont even take these types of shots. This is an absolute last resort. Usually you can wait out these shots and get a better angle.
Shooting from tree stands and hills
Generally shooting from a high up angle isn’t a problem, but if your just starting out on your bow hunting journey then you’ll want to know early on the picture, that gravity does have an effect.
Shooting from a high up angle changes flight path in a couple of ways.
Shooting over dead ground means taking a shot across a small valley, or maybe even a small creek. The ground in between isn’t flat, and it causes an illusion. you may think the shot is actually shorter then what it is.
Generally a good laser range finer will solve the problem, but if you fancy the challenge then just remember to account from dead ground.
Hills and Tree stands
The same thing happens when shooting up or down hills, or from tree stands. There’s usually a bit of an optical illusion which changes our perceived distance from what the true distance is.
This happens because subconsciously you’ll try to measure in a flat line from your self to the target. In actual fact you need to take into account the angle f the position you are shooting from, and how much or how less that will change your shot.
So folks, there you have it, where to shoot a deer with a bow.
Some things you’ll want to remember are obviously the angles, and where the vitals are on the animal. Remember those and you’ve one half your battle. Also remember to never take a shot at a deer thats straight ahead, or moving directly away. Use your knowledge and have patience and the deer will be sure to present its self with a much better shot.
So folks, ’til next time,