Where to shoot a deer with a bow (Complete guide)

Every hunter wants a clean shot that brings down the animal without pain and without causing mere injuries. The use of a three-dimensional deer-shaped target can be a great start to practice the right shot on deer with a compound or recurve bow.

Whitetail deer hunting season is around the corner, and it will be good if hunters practice perfect shots on targets. However, a few lessons on whitetail anatomy might also save you some trouble in the field.

Understanding deer anatomy for the best shot with a bow

The largest organ for deer is the lungs, located rearward and behind the deer’s shoulders, while the heart is at the center of the chest and between the lungs.

The liver is below the lungs, and the three vital organs are so close together that this region becomes the primary target.

Hunters can cleave the deer’s vitals with one sharp shot using a good-quality broadhead, and this will ensure a clean, quick kill without causing unbearable pain for the deer.

With the correct placement of the shot, a broadhead arrow can cause massive hemorrhaging. Therefore, if a shot is not placed correctly, it can inflict pain and cause slow death for the deer, and none of us want that!

Practice makes perfect

A 3-D deer target with the vital organs marked on the body can be an excellent way to practice shooting with a bow. Hunters can perfect their aim, except that you have the deer’s vitals as the final aim instead of Bull’s Eye!

Gradually as you are more confident of your shooting style and aim, you can remove the vital organ marks or use the other side of the deer to practice clean shots.

One must keep in mind that the deer’s position will keep changing in front of the hunter and the aiming point varies. We can look at the various positions and identify the best place to aim for a lethal and quick shot.

Broadside shots

The broadside shot occurs when the deer is perpendicular to the hunter. This means that the deer is facing the hunter’s right or left side, and the body’s side is fully exposed. This angle exposes the vital organs fully, and a perfect shot is possible.

All the shot angles covered here can work on the broadside as hunters get the best view and the entire length and expanse of the deer’s body are available for aiming.

When on ground level, hunters can ensure a good shot by dividing the deer’s body into three horizontal segments. You can aim at the deer’s shoulder crease, which forms the intersection of the first and second sections.

Three or four inches behind the shoulder crease and the same distance below the back curve is the spot you must have in mind. On the coat, you can identify this area curving downwards and is just above the belly.

Quartering Away Shot

When the deer turn opposite the hunter but faces an angle between the left or right, this position is called quartering. The view of the vitals is not 100% out in front, but this angle is still preferred for numerous reasons. A slight to moderate angle provides a ‘wider canvas’ for hunters to aim.

However, precision is key as a wrong shot can puncture just one lung, challenging to recover. Imagine aiming the arrow to the exit point of the deer’s far side, then visualize the near side in line with the exit point and shoot. This shot will be closer to the middle torso than to the shoulder crease.

Quartering Towards Angle Shot

By now, hunters may have a vivid idea of the region they have to aim. However, if the deer is turning to the right or left side of the hunter and is looking away at an angle with the front and side of the torso exposed, we call it quartering towards.

The slight angle offered here makes a humane shot possible. You will aim at the area below the shoulder crease but keep it inward towards the deer rather than the end. The more critical the angle, the less exposure of the vital angles you get.

Beginners or amateur hunters should try a more precise angle, but seasoned hunters will love the challenging position, and their aim will most probably hit the right spot too!

Head on, or Head away

If the deer is facing the hunter head-on or is looking in another direction, but the body is facing the hunter, there is ample space to land a shot.

However, these shots are not recommended as they will cause penetration of the hide but will not reach the organs to kill. The vital organs of the deer are almost a foot deep when viewed from the front.

A clean shot is the best shot.

When aiming for deer, the best shot is from the side as a front, and rear aiming can only cause injuries. Once you know where the organs are located, you can set your target according to the angle of the deer.

It is best to aim from ground level, but if you are on a tree stand or are aiming from a higher point, the probability of a good shot is equally good.

Practicing on targets can be an excellent way to improve your chances of bringing home deer, so begin now to enjoy the hunting season ahead.

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