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deer shot

jason243
by jason243
last edited on
Laughing Boy
#1
by Laughing Boy
I try to go about a 1/3 up the chest just behind the shoulder. Hopefully to hit the top of the heart and the bottom of the lungs.

I dislike head shots for a number of reasons, the second photo is only one of them.
jason243
#2
by jason243
I try to go about a 1/3 up the chest just behind the shoulder. Hopefully to hit the top of the heart and the bottom of the lungs.

I dislike head shots for a number of reasons, the second photo is only one of them.
but there is no waste if you kill something you should get no loss off meat i shoot for the table . there is nowt left for scrap iam sorry if the bottom pic offends but it was a CLEAN KILL
Laughing Boy
#3
by Laughing Boy
There is very little loss of edible meat with a decent quality bullet through the ribs - I use a 270win exclusively with 140gr hornady BTSP handloads.

I just don't want to burst a deers' head like a mellon. There is too much potential for a cock up with a head shot.

It is a matter for your own conscience, I am not condemning head shots out of hand, but I won't be at it myself.
Deerstalker
#4
by Deerstalker
As a professional stalker, I have to agree with Laughing boy. When stalking the primary consideration is the humane dispatch of the quarry and not the preservation of meat. If you were to decide that the best shot placement was the head or neck you would even fail the DSC level one. The main problem with head and neck shots is it is risky in the extreme. Because the fatal shot placement area is so small, and because deer are so likely to move their heads and necks at the last critical moment, the risk of horribly maiming your quarry is very high. I personally have seen far too many deer with their lower jaws blown off from attempted head shots or their their trachea and oesophagus blown away by neck shots that have gone wrong. These animals die slow and horrific deaths.

There is not much valuable meat in the chest area of a deer and what may be damaged is eaily used in sausages or burgers.

I really cannot see any convincing argument for risking head or neck shots over the far more reliable heart/lung shot.




What I think, after years of involvement with deer and with one very distressing memory of a neck shot that went wrong, is that, in the wild, head or neck shots usually pose unacceptable risks.

The position of the cervical column within the neck changes as the deer turns its head making accurate shot placement problematic.

If your aim is for the brain or top couple of inches of the cervical column, the head itself is very mobile so a sudden slight movement may cause a wayward shot. Such a shot may miss altogether but may equally crease the deer across the head, blow off part of the jaw or damage the oesophagus or windpipe.

Any one of these can lead to a slow and painful death and so will be avoided by responsible stalkers unless circumstances allow the shot to be placed with absolute certainty AND, as in Parks for example, an injured deer can be quickly followed up and dispatched.

When those conditions can be met, my own preference is for a brain shot from the side. The point of aim is through the base of the ear, not below the ear which will cause the brain to be missed.

If the animal is facing away, place the bullet through the atlas / axis joint into the brain.

From in front the brain is protected by heavy bone which can cause the bullet to ricochet and just below that is the mouth full of very hard teeth which can also cause a bullet to behave unpredictably.

Just under the chin is the best spot when the deer is looking straight at you. But you must then take care that the bullet does not go on to damage valuable meat.

In summary, you really cannot beat the good old heart / lung shot for a humane and certain kill without unnecessary meat damage.
jason243
#5
by jason243
if iam confident of a clean kill i will take the shot dont get me wrong i have taken H/L shots on several deer but i dont feel happy about doing them i took a lad out last season he took a heart shot at around 80yds max...
we then spent 2hrs finding the beast as it run into thick cover. if that was a headshot it wuld have droped on the spot..
i always load my own ammo for the .243 and 270..ballistic tip in 243 does the job cleanly i have only just had the 270 but i dont think i will be keeping it to much gun for fallow
Deerstalker
#6
by Deerstalker
if iam confident of a clean kill i will take the shot

That is the problem, you never can be confident of a clean kill. A good analogy is the thinking distance and stopping distance in the highway code. Deer are very nervous and flighty animals. Once you have the reticule set on what is a very small target and decided to take the shot, the deer can hear a sound or react to a scent on the wind in microseconds. It can react far faster than you can can decide not to take the shot whilst you are in the process of squeezing the trigger. Because the target areas are so small, it only takes the smallest of movements on behalf of the quarry to inflict the most horrific of non fatal injuries.

dont get me wrong i have taken H/L shots on several deer but i dont feel happy about doing them i took a lad out last season he took a heart shot at around 80yds max...
we then spent 2hrs finding the beast as it run into thick cover. if that was a headshot it wuld have droped on the spot..

This can occur but it is most unsual for a well shot deer to run more than 50 yards. Every stalker should be familiar with chambering a second round without his eye leaving the scope. The tracking, locating and humane dispatch of a wounded deer is something every stalker should be familiar with long before he ever shoots at a live target.

i always load my own ammo for the .243 and 270..ballistic tip in 243 does the job cleanly i have only just had the 270 but i dont think i will be keeping it to much gun for fallow

The concept behind modern expanding ammunition is to transfer the maximum of energy to the target. The purpose for this is to provide maximum "knock down" effect and to disrupt and damage major organs and blood vessels causing a massive drop in blood pressure. Head and neck shots do not make best use of the characteristics of this type of ammunition.

Personally I use lead nosler ballistic partitions as I find they mushroom in a very controlled manner providing excellent bone penetration and energy transfer without the "expolosive" meat damaging effects of polycarbonate ballistic tips.

From personal experience I find the .243 a roe rifle par excellance and good as a long range fox rifle (it is after all a necked down .308). For fallow, sika and red I will always stick with my .270 as it has a super-flat trajectory and awesome knock down power.

But this is all basic DMQ DSC level one stuff.
Laughing Boy
#7
by Laughing Boy
Jason, head shots are obviously very efficient killers - so long as they are delivered perfectly. The problems occur when a head shot is off just a little 1-2 inchs, then you can inflict some very unpleasant non-fatal wounds. Anybody who claims a head shot is always a perfect kill or a clean miss hasn't taken too many of them.

A guy I know, who is a very good shot, took the jaw off a fallow buck one evening attempting the "atlas" shot, a shot I have seen him take succesfully dozens of times. I finally finished the deer off at 8.30am the following morning after a 2 hour tracking job with a GSP.
jason243
#8
by jason243
L/B i take your point you can cock up with both types of shot s i agree with you.
but i do feel happy taken head shots and have had no miss hap's[touch wood]
but i have seen so many bad H/L shots it has put me off a bit.iam lucky i do a lot of practice at different ranges so i know my limitations
this is 5 shot at 120yds 1/2 high
:wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:
Deerstalker
#9
by Deerstalker
Jason, I take your point. There is no substitute for practice on the range to truly understand the ballistics of your ammunition. The fact remains, however, the the head shot is statistcally much more risky in terms of sub lethal injury than the heart / lung shot for the reasons I've already explained. A heart / lung shot at worst will always prove fatal within a couple of minutes.

The major problem with the head shot is there are so many factors beyond the control of the stalker once he has squeezed the trigger. The boiler room shot requires the round to strike within a four inch circle to ensure a pretty much intant kill. Just outside that area, say eight to to ten inches will also cause sufficient trauma to cause death in less than five minutes. The same cannot be said of the head or neck shots. Statistically, far more animals are left horrifically wounded by attempted head and neck shots (even by very experienced stalkers) than by shots aimed at the boiler room.

It's worth mentioning here that there is a growing trend among game dealers to push stalkers into going for head and neck shots, purely for reasons of profit and public appeal.
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