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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
Where do I shoot the thing?

I am starting to question whether I am shooting at the right spot on a deer. The last two bucks I've shot with my bow I've lost. and the sad part is that I thought i hit them good. I let them go several hours before looking but the the blood trail just stopped.

I always aim behind the shoulder right in the middle of the deer but maybe I'm too high or low. Is the heart right in the middle (vertically speaking) of the deer or is it a little lower than center? Also, is the heart right behind the shoulder at broadside (legs at 90 degrees to the body) or is part of it between the shoulders at this angle? Is there a good diagram or video tutorial on the spot to shoot a deer?

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Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1691
Where do I shoot the thing?

Here's a link and pics of the "innards", of a deer, the pic changes automatically to show you all the vatals.

http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.whitetails.com/deer_inf...

A shot lower on the lungs generates faster bleeding and a heart shot speaks for itself. A gut shot is what you don't want. A deer with a blown out heart could possibly run for 20 seconds or so if the lungs are full of oxygen, but technically dead.
Do a Google>Images for "deer anatomy" for more pics

Not so applicable with an arrow but notice how the deer is standing(which is most common), you could easily make a perfect heart shot, and still hit and ruin the opposite shoulder. Seen it happen hundreds of times

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1585
Where do I shoot the thing?

First Welcome to BGH.
Secondly quit with the "Heart" shot and concentrate on the Lung shot. A Deer will typically "duck" the shot at the sound of the bow string. Aiming slightly low from center will help you.
Another common mistake is during the excitement, pulling up on the Bow as you release the arrow. This is almost like a "flinch" that some rifle shooters have at the shot. Take your time and breathe as you shoot, DO NOT hold your breath as you shoot.
Good Luck.......Take comfort that you are at least getting shots at deer!!!

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
Where do I shoot the thing?

So behind the shoulder and slightly below center. That is what I got from some guys on another forum as well.

Is if possible to hit to high on a deer. I mean the lungs go all the way up to the back bone so if you hit right under the backbone then you should get the lungs, right?

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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
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Where do I shoot the thing?

I hit a buck last year high behind the shoulder 1/4 away from a 20ft. treestand, trailed for about 3/4 mile and couldn't find. Buddy of mine shot the deer during rifle season 1 1/2 Months later, deer appeared fine and he discovered my arrow still in him when field dressing. Some how it missed all vitals, don't know how but it did. Soooo........................Yes you can hit to high.

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Where do I shoot the thing?

Nope...The Pictures sometimes show that the lungs go all the way up but not true at all....There is whats called a "no mans land" on a deer...Its about an inch and a half space between the back bone and the lungs...Another missconception is if you miss on entry the onside lung and hit the offside lung on exit that you will recover the deer...Very unlikely...Ive seen deer many times with just one lung,,,,If it was hit high in the offside lung then it will either run FOREVER then lay down or it will live...Bout the Best shot that can be hit on a deer is from the ground with a level shot right through both lungs with a Bow...Most are under the missconception that a Heart shot is best. What they fail to realise is YES it is with a gun, but a Gun kills with a different process than a Bow. A Bow Kills through Hemmoraging while a gun typicly kills from Initial shock to the system. With a bow you arent creating that devistating shock when you hit them in the heart, you are simply cutting through it. Another thing is, a deer (like said earlier) can run for a great distance with no heart at all and unless you exited out of the lower portion of the deer you wont get a blood trail without the heart pumping. BUT...You smack them lungs and it will not only leave a blood trail but it will cause the deer to go into shock MUCH quicker and lay down. A really good shot from a tree stand is a 25 to 40 degree quartering away shot. Aim for that 3rd rib back and let it fly...The arrow (if your like 12-20 feet up) will get the onside lung and the upper part of the heart...The heart will still beat and will be spewing blood out its nose and mouth as well as the lung spew out the side...This is one of the most devistating shots on a deer with a bow and will USUALLY result in quick recovery. But even on a perfectly placed shot and even if you saw the deer go down, WAIT FOR AT LEAST HALF AN HOUR before you even leave your treestand. Them deer are tricky...They may look dead but Ive seen SEVERAL boys get a shock when they reached down to get thier dead deer and they got a gut fulla horns!!! Not only that but its also a show of respect to that animal as well..Let it lay down and die in peace

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Joined: 12/03/2005
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Where do I shoot the thing?

One thing I'd like to mention. Never approach a downed deer from the rear. Those back legs are powerful and a kick can seriously injure you. Although I have not experienced it ,stories of broken legs and severe gashes may not be exageration when you consider the power they have.

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
Where do I shoot the thing?

Both of these deer were shot out of a treestand. One was 5 yards from the base of my tree and the other was about ten. both were quartered away. Is it possible to get a double lung at these close distances or should you go for a heart. That is where my confusion is. Where do you shoot it from the tree stand. I try to guestimate at the angle that will take it through the heart but I fear I'm only getting one lung.

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Where do I shoot the thing?

The heart is positioned directly in between both shoulders and 3/4 down to chest wall. At 5 yards yes its hard to get both lungs at such a steep angle and a quarter away is your best shot. At ten yards you should be able to get both lungs (entrance high lung exit mid to low lung) and is a good shot.

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Joined: 12/16/2006
Posts: 57
Where do I shoot the thing?

So if a deer is standing broadside with legs perpendicular to his body then the heart is totally hidden by the shoulder, right? The only way to get a shot at it is if he is quarter away, his leg is forward, or you shoot down between the blades, right?

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Location: St. Louis County
Joined: 01/10/2006
Posts: 339
Where do I shoot the thing?

I too, have lost a buck at very close range. My shot was (like yours) about 5 yards from the base of the tree. The arrow passed through the deer and there was a significant blood trail. I waited for about 30 minutes, then began to track.

I jumped him up out of a thick draw several minutes later. There was a pool of dark blood where he had been laying. I went and got help after that and we tracked that deer for a good mile before the blood trail dried up again. Regretably, I never found the deer.

My theory is that the buck was so close, I shot just a bit high due to the fact that my shooting pin was set at 20 yards. I probably failed to compensate for the extemely close-range shot. I suspect my arrow went through the space between the top of the lungs and the backbone.

One more note of interest. My brother got a big buck some years ago, and while skinning it, we found a broadhead imbedded in its spinal column. It had healed over...and the deer suffered no visible long-term effects.

This wasn't the deer I had shot, but somebody out there is lamenting about the deer he thought he hit good, too....

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