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Where do I aim?

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Unread 07-13-2010, 08:29 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Where do I aim?

Long time shooter and predator hunter, looking for my first deer this season. A 9"-10" vital zone is rediculously large and I need a more exact aiming point... Assuming my first shot will be 200 yards or less, EXACTLY where do I aim on a typical shot? I'm not impressed with critters that run off like on TV, I'd prefer to have them drop instantly or close to it.

Rifle is certainly capable of great accuracy, I'm not bad myself from field positions. Bullet will be 180gr Sierra soft point at 2650fps. I'm zero'd at 200 and have my dope to 500, but in the local terrain my shot will most likely be 100-200 yards.

Any good diagrams for neck shots or the perfect vitals shot etc? I want your experience in a picture please. What part of the neck is best for a neck shot if I choose that? High shoulder? Where in the vitals exactly, should I try to almost clip the shoulder on a broadside shot? Etc. Thanks.
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Unread 07-13-2010, 10:11 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Millbrook ,NY.
Posts: 361
Re: Where do I aim?

Do a google search on animals vitails or check with your state DNR or fish and game dept. for charts.

Personaly I like a good center lung hit, it bleeds well , kills clean,does not damage a lot of meat and leaves the most margin for error.

Having trailed a number of deer with Deer Search Inc. that "dropped at the shot" then after a minute they getup and run, usually are not recovered because the wound is a high back or neck hit that just stuns briefly, does not bleed enough/fast enough to cause death quickly ,the animal can"t clean it so infection sets in for a slow death. Crows have lead me to a few of these animals later on. A nice buck should not end up as coyote bait.
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Unread 07-13-2010, 10:40 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: AB, Canada
Posts: 556
Re: Where do I aim?

For drop on spot at less then 200yrs I used neck shot, behind the ear.
If you are using boiler room on vitals choose behind the front leg 2-3inch midle of the vitals (hart shot) and you will have a dead animal in less then 20yrds.
you can choose high shoulder shot but you will loose to much meat (no sense for close shots 200yrs)
Another nice shot is spineshot.- DIRT.

You will see the reaction of the animal and you will know rightaway where you hit.
High jump on all 4 legs is heart shot
stumble the front legs and run a little is boiler room
droped down like a potato bag - spine shot (head, neck) WATCH THE TAIL MOVEMENT - IF YOU HAVE TAKE ANOTHER SHOT - you just paralize the deer
back legs kiking - gut shot

One year my partner shot a buck downhhill on the head- he was looking straight to us.
Bullet entered right eye, exit behing the skull (no brain damage) and entered on boiler room.
He back one step, and droped down on his back legs. no movement at all - but the trail - wen we got closer - he was alive. - so another shot was taken to end the slowdeath.
My 338Edge
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Unread 07-13-2010, 12:31 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Re: Where do I aim?

If I decide on a neck shot, where? Is the spine really directly up and down the exact centerof the neck or is it off set a little? Is it better to hit the neck closer to the head, or down by the body, or right in the middle? These are the types of details I'd like to hear about that I've not seen after several searches and lots of reading. Pics?
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Unread 07-13-2010, 01:10 PM
Miller Outdoors
Posts: n/a
Re: Where do I aim?

Anywhere along the center line of the neck will drop them like a rock. They also won't run anywhere when hit on the front shoulder. To get them to drop in their tracks you've got to hit them in the head or break bone.
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Unread 07-13-2010, 01:26 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 103
Re: Where do I aim?

Deer have a large muscle running up the 'top' of the neck. To be assured of an accurate neck shot you should aim approx half way up and half way 'through'. However a deer's head and neck is always moving and for the inexperienced is likely to result in wounding.
It is also for this reason that i would not recommend a head shot. I have trailed many dear which have been shot by the inexperienced trying head shots and resulted in blowing off lower jaws or removing ears, etc.

Until you gain more experience, i strongly recommend you reserve your shots for the 'boiler house'; the heart. Access the following link:

culling: shot placement (1)

The benefits are that even an averaged shot will result in terminal destruction of the heart and/or lungs as the target area is larger and the body moves less than the head or neck.

Take the shot, keep your eye on the scope and observe the deers reaction to the shot whilst you cycle the bolt and reload. Remain there for some minutes to ensure that the deer does not rise again.

If you shoot the heart, the deer should either lunge forward or jump before dropping. A deer that hunches up like a cat when scared is bad news - you've missed the vital and shot the stomach (rumen).
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Unread 07-13-2010, 02:46 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Re: Where do I aim?

The heart will be my primary objective. However, depending on the circumstances, I'd prefer to take a neck shot.

Most of the (cartoon drawing) deer anatomy images I've seen show the spinal column in the exact center of the neck. Really? I don't know, I'm asking. I would guess it's 2/3rds up the neck rather than dead center.

I'm an accomplished marksman, I just need to figure out where I'm supposed to place the bullet, exactly.
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