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Post #1  Post subject: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:59 pm 
WHITETAIL ANATOMY AND SHOT PLACEMENT GUIDE

Courtesy of the International Bowhunter Education Program

Firearm hunters and bowhunters have a responsibility to make quick kills and recover all game. One complaint that members of the public who do not hunt have about hunters is "slow deaths, wounded and unrecovered animals." Accurate shot placement is the key to a quick kill and game recovery. Necessary ingredients of good shot placement are knowledge of how a hunting arm harvests game, shooting only within one's ability, and knowing the game animal's internal anatomy. The future of hunting and a hunter's self-respect depend on his ability to efficiently harvest game.

How an Arrow Works

Arrows tipped with razor sharp broadheads are designed to cut. Arrows harvest game by cutting arteries and veins resulting in blood loss. In addition to severe bleeding, arrows shot through both lungs cause the lungs to collapse, causing rapid death through suffocation. Arrows can cut through softer bones like ribs, but arrows shot from even a very heavy bow will rarely penetrate heavy bones found in the shoulder, hips, head and neck. Thus, both razor sham broadheads and careful shot placement are crucial to game recovery.

How a Bullet Works

Bullets harvest game by massive shock and tissue destruction. Bullets have more energy than arrows, and if fired from firearms adequate for the game being hunted, can smash even heavy bone and enter the vital organs.



Internal Anatomy of Common Game Animals

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The internal anatomy of other hooved big game animals (e.g. elk, moose, caribou, sheep, pronghorn and goat) are very similar to the deer except in size. A spot in the center of the lungs or slightly lower should be a bowhunter's target every time. An arrow in the lungs will bring down the largest game, and the advantage of this shot is that the lungs are relatively large and surrounded by other vital organs: the heart is below, the spine Internal Anatomy White-Tailed Deer and aorta (a major artery) are above, and the liver and the spleen are behind. Hunters using firearms have many more choices than bowhunters. A bullet striking either the heart, shoulder, head, spine or lungs is fatal to big game animals due to the massive shock and tissue destruction involved. Once again, the chest area offers the best lethal target.


Where to Aim - Broadside

Bow: Broadside game represents the best bow shot because it requires the least amount of penetration to reach the vital organs, which is especially important in large big game animals. The broadside shot is also the best single angle for accomplishing a double-lung hit, resulting in the collapse of both lungs. Find the best aiming point on a deer or other hooved big game by picking a spot halfway up the side of the animal and about a hand's width behind the hollow of the shoulder. Or, in your mind's eye, eliminate the head, neck and tail. Then, divide the animal equally both vertically and horizontally. Hold on the spot where these imaginary lines cross, then aim about six inches forward. This is called the "cross hairs" method of picking a spot. Both methods will help you put an arrow in the center of the vital area by enabling you to pick a spot rather than shooting at the whole animal. Remember, an arrow will penetrate the ribs, but be careful to avoid the shoulder bone. Wait until the near leg is forward and concentrate on a spot behind the shoulder. Avoid head and neck shots when bowhunting. The brain and spine are small targets protected by heavy bone. The only artery of any size in the neck is the carotid artery (which in a deer is only the size of your bowstring). Wait for the chest shot behind the shoulder!

Gun: The broadside position offers several excellent shots for a firearm hunter. The best target is the shoulder and chest area. A bullet of the correct weight and fired from a firearm adequate for the game being hunted will break the shoulder and enter the lungs or heart. A head or neck shot will drop an animal instantly with no meat damage, but should only be used if you are proficient enough with your firearm.


Where to Aim - Quartering Toward

Bow: This is one of the poorest bow shots and should not be taken. Picking a spot behind the shoulder will result in the arrow barely missing the vital organs and angling back into the stomach and intestines. Heavy shoulder bones shield the majority of the vital organs from penetration by arrow. An error of only on inch or two will result in a miss or a non-fatal hit in the shoulder. Another disadvantage of this angle is the possibility that the animal will sec the hunter drawing his bow. Wait for the animal to pass by and take a broadside or quartering-away shot.

Gun: The quartering-toward angle is fine for a firearm. Aim at the head, neck or front of the shoulder for an effective hit. A light bullet may deflect off the shoulder bones of large big game such as elk, moose or large bears. Be certain you use a firearm and ammunition adequate for the game you hunt and type of shot you select.


Where to Aim - Head-On Shots

Bow: This is a very poor shot for the bow. The vital area is the chest between the shoulders, which is an extremely small target. The animal must have its head up to expose this small target area, and it will almost surely see the archer draw his bow. An alert animal is capable of "jumping the string" of even the fastest bows and avoiding the passing arrow. Do not take this shot.

Gun: This is a good shot with an adequate firearm. The head, neck and center of the chest are vital areas that the hunter can use as aiming points.


Where to Aim - Rear-end Shots

Bow: This is a shot all responsible bow hunters will pass up. The only major target in the rear quarters is the femoral artery, which is smaller than your little finger and extremely well protected by heavy leg and hip bones. Also, the hindquarters have very heavy muscle tissue which, together with the heavy bone structure and viscera, make it a long, questionable journey for an arrow to get up front to the vital organs of even a small deer.

Gun: The rear-end shot is a poor shot with a firearm. A shot to the body at this angle will probably not bring the animal down quickly and could ruin the best cuts of meat. A head or neck shot is possible if the animal has its head up. Wait for a better shot opportunity.


Where to Aim - Elevated Stands

Elevated stands, particularly tree stands, are commonly used by both firearms hunters and bowhunters. The change in the shot angle makes little difference to a hunter using firearms, but results in a smaller portion of the vital area being exposed to a bowhunter. Position of bones in relation to the vital organs changes more and more as you climb higher. The back bone and shoulder blade shield more and more of the chest cavity as the angle gets steeper. This causes the vital area to become narrower. To avoid the shoulder blade on a broadside animal when shooting from an elevated stand, aim farther behind the shoulder than you would from the ground. Many experienced bowhunters suggest that you wait for the animal to travel a few more feet and take a quartering-away shot. Complete penetration will result in a good blood trail, so avoid bones that could prevent the arrow from exiting low in the animal. Elevated stands also make it more difficult to make a double-lung hit. Consider the angle of the shot when deciding how high your stand should be. (See NBEF Tree Stand Guide.) Bowhunters should be sure to practice from elevated stands before hunting. Shooting down at narrower targets is very different than shooting horizontally at targets on the ground. Always wear a safety belt when practicing and hunting from elevated stands so that you can concentrate on making a good shot without fear of falling.


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Post #2  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:43 pm 
What about quartering away? I missed a monster last year because of an inaccurate detachable scope on a muzzleloader. I later found out it was shooting low and left. Had I not tried to make a perfect shot then I would have got the deer.

I should have aimed behind the last rib, hitting the liver, lungs and heart. Instead I aimed strictly for the heart, and I knicked his shoulder instead.

You live and learn.


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Post #3  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:54 pm 
Quartering away is one of the best shots you can shoot with a bow from a tree stand. The arrow should enter about the middle of the lung an exit just behind an low on the front shoulder on the other side in the white area. The only shot that I personally consider other than a broadside shot.



Good luck everyone this season! :thumbup:


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Post #4  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:34 pm 
As usual great post/ info WW. A very important key in shooting deer with bow or gun is to not think so much about where the bullet will enter and to concertrate more on where it will exit. With bow I only shoot quartering away and broad-side shots. On quartering away I am more concerned with the front leg on the opposite side of the deer as a reference exit area. I may shoot in front of or behind depending on the deers leg position. Too many shooters think of a deer as a flat object, think 3-D. Wouldn't personally start off a deer season without shooting a few shots at my small 3-D deer and analizing my angle of shot for exit points, and that is the best bow hunting tip I can offer.


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Post #5  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:22 pm 
I disagree with the head on shots. From ground level this is a very lethal shot with a bow. Will usually have good penetration with arrow lodgeing in the vitals cutting with every step. I do agree this is not a good shot while elevated or if you dont have confidence in this shot dont take it. This is just my opinion and I have confidence in it.


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Post #6  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:42 pm 
With total respect for a different opinion. The head on shot is lethal, this is true, tracking is often the difficult part. I cut my teeth on tracking for relatives and friends that took a whole miriage of shots. I became a much better tracker for it, but I also spent a lot of longer than neccessary hours looking for overturned rocks and disturbances in the leaves due to an arrow being lodged in the chest cavity and no exit holes, too. In my home town, I have had complete strangers seek me out to find their deer for them when the trail grows cold. I'm not 100%, but I have jumped up a lot of foul shot animals too. Take your best shot and try to make every first shot the only shot and draw good blood. Good luck to all.


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Post #7  Post subject: Deer anatomy
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Post #8  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:32 pm 
I'm still a little hung up on whether or not to try and bust through a shoulder to get to the heart or stick with lung shots. In the past I've aimed for lungs and have had quick kills, but the perfect broadside is certainly not always available. That debate will always live on because I've met strong defenders of both.


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Post #9  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:38 pm 
I almost always shoot through the lungs top third of the body right behind the shoulder blade. I dont mess up as much meat as a shoulder shot. The adult deer do run some with this shot but it has never failed me. Occasionally I'll shoot top of the shoulder or neck head to anchor them on the spot. I do this on public land so I don't have an arguement with another hunter.


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Post #10  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:49 pm 
Buck-Ridge wrote:
I almost always shoot through the lungs top third of the body right behind the shoulder blade. I dont mess up as much meat as a shoulder shot. The adult deer do run some with this shot but it has never failed me. .

Can't beat taking out the lungs with any weapon. :twocents: I hear folks talk about blowing out lungs and heart on a Deer with a high powered rifle that run some times 2 miles. :roll: I say hog wash, most seldom travel much more than 50 yards if they don't just drop. :yep:


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Post #11  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:09 pm 
I have to agree with fish, if you hit BOTH lungs the trail will be short. A single high lung shot on adult deer may make for a long trail or worse. It does not matter if it is with rifle or bow the exit is more important than the entrance. :twocents:


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Post #12  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:10 pm 
Both lungs 75 yards or less. Shoot for the exit.


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Post #13  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:44 am 
Agreed the lung shot is the ticket the buck i shot from 30yds 12ga heart shot still ran 30yds thenyear before had a ground blind shot lungs with a broadhead 8yds n ran the same personally lung is the way to go its the greatest chance of a pass through n leaves the best blood for trailin :twocents:


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Post #14  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:24 am 
I just knock 'em in the head with a stump.


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Post #15  Post subject: Re: Anatomy and Shot Placement Guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:41 am 
bow from a ground blind, I like the broad side shot, or 1/4ing away. Treestand, broadside , 1/4ing way, or 1/4ing at you.
gun I'm a neck shot. I've killed the majority of the deer breaking the neck. Aim for the bottom of the white throat patch, and let the lead do the rest.
Most bad shots are from improper scope install. You wouldn't believe how many rifles, scoped handguns, muzzleloader & X-bows with the scopes canted to one side. Proper leveling of the scope to the rifle is a must for accuracy. Proper tighten is another. Proper rings to scope size is another for proper siting in adjustments is a must. Most tighten their rings to the scope too tight. Which will cause damage to the tube. I see this alot. Improper size of ring height is another, medium high rings on a scope that is 32mm in objective lens size is wrong. Heres another factor that is over looked, proper ring screws tightening. their are torque settings for bases rings whether alum. or steel.
There are quite a few different mounting systems out there and most of them, if properly executed, are equally suitable for most applications. One exception to that is the so-called "universal" or "standard" system that has a dove-tailed front ring and windage-adjustable rear ring. In this set-up, the brunt of the recoil is absorbed by the front ring alone, so I would not recommend this system for hard-kicking magnum rifles.
Solid steel mounts are the strongest, but in many cases, aluminum will serve perfectly well. See through rings are notoriously weak, and points of impact change from bumps or carrying are common. Make sure the rings are aligned and the scope will seat properly in the rings before they are tightened. Rings may also require lapping to ensure proper alignment, ring to scope contact and to remove any imperfections in the rings that may cause damage to the scopes tube. For me shims are a big NO_NO!, I see this in some of the customer sent guns to us.
The Redfield / Leupold style of bases and rings are a standard that non-weaver mounting systems are measured by. They can be one or two pieces, and are steel, sleek, and strong. They are reliable and trouble free. The front ring is kind of a press fit, with a protruding, beveled rectangle of metal under the ring, turned tightly into a corresponding dovetail slot in the front base. Normally, the two halves of the ring are loosely assembled, and a scope ring tool or a one inch wooden dowel or a screwdriver handle is inserted between the pieces to gain leverage to turn the ring into the base. This can not be done by hand.
Picatinny rails are similar to Weaver rails (bases), and have a standardization & my favorite of all. Picatinny bases have wider slots. The recoil lugs under picatinny rings are thicker to correspond to the wider slots in picatinny bases. Therefore, Weaver rings will fit on picatinny bases, but picatinny rings won't fit on Weaver bases either. The instances of an actual picatinny specification ring not fitting on any Weaver style or picatinny rail are few, and not something to be overly concerned about unless we're talking about the very best mil-spec equipment. Some Picatinny rings are tightened with a torque wrench to a certain number of inch-pounds for repeatability.
he most common scope mounting system is called a Weaver style & my less personal favorite of all. These utilize the flat rails with crosswise slots in them that you see on everything from rifles to shotguns to handguns. The Weaver style bases are 7/8 inch wide and accept Weaver style rings. Most manufacturers make Weaver style rings. There are crosswise protruding rails, a type of recoil lug, running underneath the rings that fit into the corresponding crosswise slots in the Weaver bases. This prevents movement fore and aft under recoil and abuse. The bases may be one or two pieces and be made of steel or aluminum. Weaver rings are detachable from their bases with the scope still in them, and can be reattached without a major loss of zero. The scope can be reinstalled on a different gun, or removed for gun maintenance or travel. Swapping scopes for different purposes is also facilitated.
Bottom line is that if you plan to mount your scope yourself, pay attention to little details; it can save you all sorts of headache later on.


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