Head Shot on deer, Good or Bad?????

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Nope.... We had this exact discussion at the local gun shop yesterday. Too much can go wrong. One of the guys told a story of a nice buck he had harvested some years ago. He shot the buck and it ran a short distance and wound up in a deep thick wash out. He was dreading dragging it out of that mess, but as he and his son began to pull it out they quickly realized it didn’t weigh nearly as much as it should. Upon inspection, they found that it had been shot in the head and it’s bottom jaw was broken. If I was hungry, needed the meat, and it was that shot or no shot, I would risk it.
 

planetwaves

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Went on an out of state deer hunt with a buddy of mine and we shot our buck deer in the first two days ( got pretty lucky). With lots of time left to hunt we each got a antler less tag and went back out. To make it more interesting we decided any shot less than 500 yards would be a head shot, of course conditions had to be ideal. We had great weather and no wind for the afternoon hunt. I shot mine at 350 yards, DRT. My buddy shot his at 400, DRT. With no meat loss and having such a great time I am thinking this was a great idea. So I thought I would see what you guys all think, just looking for honest opinions? Is there any reason this is just a bad idea?
Better to aim for middle of the neck. Much larger target than the brain. Still much less meat loss than a shoulder shot, and better chance of drt if the shot is a bit off.
 

memtb

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Nope.... We had this exact discussion at the local gun shop yesterday. Too much can go wrong. One of the guys told a story of a nice buck he had harvested some years ago. He shot the buck and it ran a short distance and wound up in a deep thick wash out. He was dreading dragging it out of that mess, but as he and his son began to pull it out they quickly realized it didn’t weigh nearly as much as it should. Upon inspection, they found that it had been shot in the head and it’s bottom jaw was broken. If I was hungry, needed the meat, and it was that shot or no shot, I would risk it.

This almost the exact scenario that caused my wife to stop “head shooting” game! memtb
 

freefloater59

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In all my decades of taking game, I'm guilty of taking a head shot on purpose and thankfully was successful. It's too risky, too small of a kill zone, too high probability of wound. I also had a aimed body shot that ended up hitting the deer through the neck at the first vertebra behind the head - a complete accident as the shot was down hill, 300 yds, trotting away. Over the years I have passed taking shots because seeing only the head shot was too risky. My opinion and practice is to respect the game, take the best DRT shot and minimize risk.
 

chilli42

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This is near the top of my never do list. It is too easy for things to go wrong and you end up with a hurt but mobile deer. Would not do that again.
 

piute

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Take a look
I have witnessed this rip up jaw result on a couple of deer trying to get through high fences on wine vineyards! :mad: I also seen others chasing gut / poorly shot animals for miles, that being said a lot could go wrong with head shot , just as a lot can go wrong shooting long range! Know your own limitations, and don't tell me what do do!
 
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Gater

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We where hunting speed goats in Wyoming had a antelope out about 400 yds looking straight at us was using a 7mm mag put the cross hairs down the center of his face and across the bas of the horns figured it would drop enough to be a chest shot wrong hit the corner of the left eye dropped like a sack of dirt. But don’t think I would make a habit of it also have found our share of gut shot animals also
 

TheLongRanger83702

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The prized shot ONLY if YOU have the marksmanship skills AND the equipment to pull it off. Years ago I was driving up to go hunting in Angeles National Forest out of Palmdale. I came around a curve on a fireroad and there @ 100yds just off the road stood a buck and doe. I slammed on the brakes and slid out of my truck with my .243 rifle. I put the crosshairs on his chest and waited for him to turn broadside. I waited and waited what seemd an eternity but he just froze there. Frankly I got tired of waiting. I raised the crosshairs to between his eyes and pulled the trigger. I've never seen an animal drop so fast in my life.
 

436

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Went on an out of state deer hunt with a buddy of mine and we shot our buck deer in the first two days ( got pretty lucky). With lots of time left to hunt we each got a antler less tag and went back out. To make it more interesting we decided any shot less than 500 yards would be a head shot, of course conditions had to be ideal. We had great weather and no wind for the afternoon hunt. I shot mine at 350 yards, DRT. My buddy shot his at 400, DRT. With no meat loss and having such a great time I am thinking this was a great idea. So I thought I would see what you guys all think, just looking for honest opinions? Is there any reason this is just a bad idea?

It's a bad idea to my way of thinking unless you're very close and can put that bullet at the base of the neck and head of the animal at least 99 % of the time because you need an instantaneous kill shot, and your only other shot is a bad quartering Texas heart shot. A hunter can shoot-up a Deer'..., along with most other aminals head area pretty badly and not kill them if it's not in the brain or neck brain connection point it's a bad shot hand's down. If a hunter tries headshots at, long-range, he needs to sell his rifle and buy a skateboard and vaping pipe, sorry if anyone is offended, but it's just not fair to the animals.
 

Bigo

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Went on an out of state deer hunt with a buddy of mine and we shot our buck deer in the first two days ( got pretty lucky). With lots of time left to hunt we each got a antler less tag and went back out. To make it more interesting we decided any shot less than 500 yards would be a head shot, of course conditions had to be ideal. We had great weather and no wind for the afternoon hunt. I shot mine at 350 yards, DRT. My buddy shot his at 400, DRT. With no meat loss and having such a great time I am thinking this was a great idea. So I thought I would see what you guys all think, just looking for honest opinions? Is there any reason this is just a bad idea?
I lived in Texas in an area where there are many many fairly small white tail deer. I hunt on a friends ranch and they and the division of wildlife recommends that they kill approximately 60 does and 30 bucks off of their property each year. We have to shoot a lot of deer! A couple of my friends always take head or neck shots and their response is that oh if I miss they’ll run outA couple of my friends always take head or neck shots and their response is that oh if I miss they’ll run off and be OK. That is nonsense. I have seen them shoot a deer that ran off and I know that they hit the deer somewhere in the head or jar and the deer will go die eventually a painful death. You young hunters probably don’t even know who Jack O’Connor is, But he is my hero. A fabulous writer and very experienced hunter. He always said to shoot them in the lungs with the proper bullet they will die quickly without much suffering. I love to shoot and I love to shoot long range. Hey Rifles Hunter, no matter what distance he kills his deer at is no big deal to me. as far as I’m concerned the only real hunters are the ones using archery equipment and getting very close to the animals were there outside and smell comes into play. I restrict my animal shots to 200 yards or less and I always make sure I have a rest. I make sure that there are no animals behind the one that I’m going to shoot and I also make sure that I’m not shooting to the skyline or it anything possibly standing behind the animal I want to harvest. There are lots of cattle out here in West Texas
 

19elkhunter51

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Almost forty years ago, when I was shooting every day and my eyes and body were much stronger, I was hunting on a local mountain where my family owned property. We knew the distance to all of our shooting lanes because we actually took a three hundred foot tape to the area and measured the distance. I was shooting my hunting rifle, which at a hundred yards would shoot into less than .375 for five shots, two to three times a week and was literally shooting other rifles every day.
I started shooting the deer in the head. I shot from the sitting position with a rest and the shots were usually less than one hundred yards. The deer were not spooked or running and I always "whistled" them up. If they were looking at me I would aim for the spot just under the chin. If they were looking away from me, I aimed for the base of the skull where the neck joins the head. If it was more broadside, I aimed for the base of the ear. If the animal was moving at all I didn't pull the trigger. My wife loved the meat from these deer! Never took a head shot past one hundred yards. Too much a chance of movement, wind or a bad shot on my part.
I won't call long distance head shots on a game animal childish, but I do have more respect for the game animal than to make a game of it at a distance where too many conditions are beyond the control of the shooter.
As an aside, I have found two elk with missing jaws in my years in the field. Don't know the story behind the shot so can't say it was a head shot that went wrong but I have to say I really wondered if it was a poorly placed head shot.
 

Toolhand

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To each their own. I personally think it’s a bad idea bc of how much a deer or any animal tend to move their heads. I was with a buddy of mine hunting when we were younger and he decided to shoot a doe in the head. She ran off and we tracked her a little ways. Found her bedded down shot right behind the jaw and was making terrible noises. Had to finish her off up close... to both of us felt more like murder than a clean harvest and could have been avoided. Neither of us Have ever taken that shot again.
 
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