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to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

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Unread 09-11-2009, 10:11 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 37
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

Are we forgetting that shots aimed at the heart or lungs can also go awry? Surely we have a smaller target when we aim at the head but some of us are more proficient at shot placment. I like the base of the neck myself. Just as affective as the head in my opinion.

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Unread 09-11-2009, 11:26 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

If you're confident you can make a good head shot, then do it. I personally will opt for the boiler room. I've read severl threads on this subject in different forums and one point that was raised is that a headshot that instantaneously kills an animal will leave blood in the meat. A boiler room shot will usually bleed the animal out fairly well.

I know of a guy who married a native Alaskan gal in one of the villages in NW AK. He takes nothing but headshots and kills 60+ caribou a year. Head shooting is the way all those guys do it, and they very rarely miss.

If a headshot is my only option, I would take it if I was confident about it. Remember, the size of a deer's brain is about the same as a tennis ball.

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Unread 09-11-2009, 11:29 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

I've shot a bunch in the head and even more at the base of the head (just behind the ear). Less meat damage etc. Don't knock ANYBODY that can make whatever shot THEY can make. Hunters harvest animals, every shot we take is taken with forethought and concern (whether it's a head, cns, or boiler room shot). My furthest 'behind the ear' shot was 300yds with a 7mm Rem Mag. The buck dropped straight down! Some of the 'easterners' that saw me make the shot, thought it was lucky. I didn't think anything of it, that rifle puts it where you point it and thats that. If I had shot him in the boiler room, he would likely have run straight downhill and rolled to the bottom of a VERY deep/steep canyon.

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
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Unread 09-11-2009, 07:59 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Superior, WI
Posts: 118
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

I shoot head shots all the time. Deer are plentiful up here and we can get tags for about as many as we want. I always take two or three from the backyard bench,

This deer is standing at 150 yards. My 6BR will shoot under one inch groups at that range. I'm using a rest, the deer is standing. With a head shot, he will never know what hit him. Now if I was sitting in a tree stand and a deer comes running by, I'll take a lung shot. Just depends on the situation.
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Unread 09-11-2009, 08:53 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,080
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

I think we shouldnt criticize if someone takes head shoots on deer or not. I think it depends on the situation. All of my bucks have been shot to the boiler room, just because I wanted to mount them before I knew I was shooting at them, and because I like my meat bloodless. But as AJ Peacock explained the situation of having a buck drop right there or having a buck run straight downhill and rolled to the bottom of a VERY deep/steep canyon, may change the decision of where to shoot it at. If someone is capable of precisely shooting at the head at any given distance it is not our problem if they do. A lot of people is against hunting at long range distances, and we love it. No everybody has to agree with us.
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Unread 09-12-2009, 10:18 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Ogden, Utah
Posts: 249
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

Depends on the situation for me. I wont knock a person that does it when he knows he can do it. I think that he decision is up to them and everyone should respect that. I dont tell you how to shoot, only how i would shoot. I have made the shot before. Bottom line is I can only controll how i shoot, why argue or hate on someone else for the way they shoot.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 08:28 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: mathias wv
Posts: 987
Re: to take or not to take a head shot on a deer?

As the father of the young lady in pink trousers that roy was refering to, I'm not a major advocate of head shooting deer, but it does work and there are times when it becomes advantagious to put the smack down on them, you know those instances when it'll be alot harder job getting the deer to the vehicle if you let them take a 50-60 yard death sprint, cause its always downhill.

Its probably happened a dozen times or so in the past when I intensionaly targeted the head to keep a game animal from getting into a rough place for retrieval. almost always the shot was less than 100 yards. There has been 2 instances of head shooting at longer ranges. I'll describe them

1) spotted 4 bedded does at 375 yards all but one were mostly obscured by brush, I set the rifle up, did my dope and was preparing for the shot. The targeted doe layed her head right along her side, perfectly in line with the onside shoulder. I placed the crosshair just under her eye and squeezed, at the report her head bobed a bit and she lay still, the other bedded does didn't even get up till they smelled blood. The .284 160 accubond entered exactly at POA, exited the head, entered the onside shoulder at about .30 caliber, and exited the offside shoulder into the ground. read it as "graveyard dead"

2) set up in a big field at first light, ranged a doe at 611 yards, the deer appeared to be slightly quartering away, but she was in fact broadside, first shot was a liver hit, she took 3 steps, layed down, to end her suffering as quickly as possible, I put another accubond through her head at 615 yards.

If a headshot is within your abilities, who are we to question anothers prowess with a rifle.

Just as when my daughter head shot the doe, we talked about it and she said the shot felt good, and when she was aiming she felt the feeling of confidance that we all feel when we know the outcome even before the trigger is pulled. so I told her "good job"
Born to Hunt, Forced to Work!
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