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Where do I aim?

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Unread 07-13-2010, 04:03 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 11
Re: Where do I aim?

A lifetime of reading Field & Stream, Outdoor Sports, etc, combined with an avalanch of images and advice on the web from bow and rifle hunting sites has engrained this aiming point into my head:


But I know better from my own actual hunting experiences shooting other game. That big ol' yellow aiming area is not ideal at all. I can only guess that since a large portion of deer hunters can barely hit the broad side of a barn, that's what they should "aim" for. That's why they say anywhere in that 10" vital area is sufficient, because who can't hit a 10" target at typical deer hunting distances?

There are others who narrow it down a little and say to aim for the crease behind the leg. That's probably a much better shot. Like this:

But isn't there an even better shot? I'm an experienced predator hunter and I take pride in marksmanship and dropping animals dead on the spot. There is definately a magic death zone that drops them like rocks. I draw a line up the front leg and down the neck and shoot at the intersection like this:

So I would assume that would also work for deer? Seems this is not a very popular shot. 90% of the "advice" you hear on the internet is to take a safe shot and shoot behind the shoulder for a double lung shot. But the way I read anatomy, that's barely even a lung shot, closer to the diaphram and liver in reality.

I think this would be a more effective shot on a simple broadside target:
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Unread 07-13-2010, 04:38 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: england
Posts: 178
Re: Where do I aim?

most of the advice here is correct , if i was you i'd go 1/3 up the chest just behind the front leg the beast will then drop maybe not on the spot but it will drop then get your knife out and have a look inside and see just what you hit and how the animal reacted ? this info will help you build up a knowledge of where you hit the animal by it's reaction ? i find that if you take off the top of the heart where all the vessels enter then the animal will drop on the spot .

please everyone don't get yourselfs all self rightous about this but i like to use the head or neck inside 200m being accurate is what we practice for so why not ? of course head is no good if you are after trophys !

remember this though , all animals react differently to being shot depending on how alert,pumped with adrenaline , what time of year etc so the only real solution is to get some experience of your own so start simple?

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Unread 07-13-2010, 04:47 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,084
Re: Where do I aim?

Here is a spine shot at 225 yards with a 308. You can see the entrance hole . If you move that shot about three inches forward so you get both the shoulder and the spine you will be in good shape. The spin is only a couple of inches in diameter so try to actually hit it is not the best idea unless you are really comfortable. The rifle in question is an F-class 1000 yard competition 40X so 225 yards into the spine was not a hard shot with that gun.

The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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Unread 07-18-2010, 02:42 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 158
Re: Where do I aim?

I have shot alot of deer in the neck with everything from arrows to bullets. Most of them dropped, one however ran about 150 yards crossed a creek and went another 50 yards before bleeding out, that particular buck was shot in the jugular with a 100gr 3 bladed Muzzy broadhead.

I shot this one exactly in the heart, he ran a total of 45 yards and I saw him drop. There was blood spray on both sides and very easy to track. From the shot to sticking my knife in him was about 5 minutes and he was done kicking 30 seconds after the shot.

My dad shot this one with his 30-06 at about 95 yards only part he saw was the neck and he needed meat in the freezer. He lost the deer through recoil, went out and looked and found it dead right where it was standing the snow wasnt messed up where it would have been kicking. It just dropped like someone pulled a rug from out under it.

The furthest I have had a deer run with a heart lung shot was about 75 yards, the furthest I have had a neck shot run before dropping was around 200 yards.

Take it for what its worth. I like neck shots and take them when conditions are right...if not I let the air out of there lungs, either way tracking isnt a big deal.
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Unread 07-18-2010, 07:08 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 9,760
Re: Where do I aim?

Here's a couple more visual reference. I like the heart/lung shots.

Good luck!


I voted for my "FREEDOM", "GUNS", and "MONEY" - keep the change - UNK.

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Unread 07-18-2010, 09:40 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 479
Re: Where do I aim?

Originally Posted by DiRTY DOG View Post
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.
The only way to ensure they don't run is a CNS shot. I have blown off a piece of the heart and had the rest hanging out of the exit and it still went 70 yards, a second deer shot seconds later in the same spot dropped to the shot. No two are guarenteed to react the same. A deer hit in the traditional aiming area will die but there is no way of telling if instant or after a short run. When LRH I take a high shoulder shot and most of the time they drop to the shot.

I also kill deer on crop damage permits and often times this means neck or head shots. If I am looking to kill multiple deer at one time the first has to be a DRT head or neck. I like the head neck junction but will shoot other areas of the neck, you just need to know your animal and your limits. I use a 6br with 107s. Accuracy is not an issue, a good reading with the LRF and its all over.

The Perfect Shot North America
Shot placement for north american big game is a good book to get to know vitals and see why and where the bullet is going.
"Fast is fine accurate is final"
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