Shot Placement by Randy Rowley


I have been hunting deer and other medium-sized game, on and off, since I was sixteen years old.  Over the years I have taken many animals, most from heart/lung shots.

I’ve read extensively about shot placement and the consensus of the myriad of authors is that an animal that is shot in the neck will either collapse with a broken neck or quickly bleed to death from a severed jugular, or the bullet will miss (an all or nothing shot).  An animal that is shot in the lungs, heart, or liver may run 100 yards or more before dying, but if the hunter misses to one side the animal will probably die from a stomach wound and if he misses to the other side it will probably die from a neck wound.  If he is too high he will break the animals back.  All that reading caused me to switch to neck shots.

However, my neck-shot preference changed on the second to last day of hunting in 1989 at a deer lease near Blanco.  At dusk, a small doe came to the feeder, 70 yards away.  Feeling that nothing bigger would come out so close to the end of legal hunting hours, I lined my crosshairs on her neck and gently squeezed the trigger.  Although it looked to me that she had dropped on the spot, a prolonged search by my friends and I found nothing.  I had to admit that I’d missed my first deer.

A month before I missed neck shooting the first turkey that I’d ever seen.  Since that time, I missed another doe attempting a neck shot.  These failures caused me to do two things: trade-in for a better scope and switch shot placement.

Since switching back to the heart/lung shot I haven’t missed an animal.  My advice – buy a good rifle and scope and shoot it at least annually at a range, learn how to hit your target from standing, kneeling, and sitting, and shoot for the heart/lung.  It’s the best shot to ensure a kill.

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