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

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jcbjr

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Dec 16, 2012
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north Georgia
Hi, Jeff. Oldster here with 51 years in the deer woods from NC to Texas, back to GA,most shots within 150 yards, many under 100, a few 300+, just recently started shooting long range. I've taken a few high neck firearm shots at very short range, with open sights, under absolutely perfect conditions, with good results, ie, drt. Regardless of ability, things can and do go wrong at longer ranges. Bullet flight time, wind, brush you can't see, etc. Bullets that are fine for conventional heart/lung shots can blow up on thick bone, or deflect away from the brain.
I laude you for asking this question out of honest concern, and also for deciding not to engage in head shooting going forward.
As members of a dwindling population of outdoorsmen, we have to ask where the line between hunter/sportsman and showoff/killer lies. Our future existence depends on it. To take iffy shots at long range, in my opinion, crosses the line in the wrong direction. I know that many of you practice tirelessly, and know your rifles/ballistics well, under actual shooting condotions. Your extended range capabilities are amazing and, due to hard work, still within the pale of sportsmanship, but a head shot at range just has too many variables to qualify.
No self defense gun trainer worth a **** recommends going for the head first if there is any other viable choice, and for the same reasons; lotta bone, lotta movement, even at across the room distances. Market shooting of game to sell is not, in my mind, hunting, and perhaps has its own rules of engagement, or none. My 2 cents.
 

LongProng

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Sep 15, 2018
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Twin Falls, Idaho
You are correct, I did make assumptions. And, you may assume..... correctly, I’ll not make a head shot, on a game animal. In self defense.....a different topic and scenario! memtb
Self defense is probably the worst time to take a head shot. In that situation you will likely miss. Always center mass. With that being said, I’m not a huge fan of head shots. I’ve seen a head shot miss by 2 inches and pencil thru the cheek. Had it not been dropped on a follow up shot to the vitals, that animal would have suffered for a week or more.
 

Mustang72

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Feb 9, 2019
Messages
335
Location
Texas
I shoot most of mine in the throat patch. Will take a shot where neck joins the back or side of head. I don't aim for the brain because it is a little smaller. It is my favorite shot when then conditions are right. Shot my widest whitetail (19 3/4 inside) this way. That was only after I missed a boiler room shot with my 7 mag--scope had gotten knocked Way off and I didn't realize it. Picked up my 223 and drt. Range 300 yards. That is no less irresponsible to me than someone taking a 1000+ yard shoulder shot. 300 is my personal limit for that kind of shot. I actually loose a touch more meat with that shot than a behind the shoulder shot. I had shot countless hogs in the eye or ear with my 223 before ever before ever doing it with deer. Until I have eye surgery I can't shoot any of my bigger guns more than once or twice. To add to that a couple of the places I hunt are right next to a neighbor that will not allow anyone to retrieve a deer off his property. So is it more responsible to take a shot that will drop them drt with a gun that I shoot regularly or shoot behind the shoulder with a gun i shoot a couple a rounds a year and take a chance that they run into his property? As far as making it a competition --I don't agree with that.Makes you more likely to take a shot that you don't have complete confidence in.
 

palerider3

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Jul 15, 2014
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158
Location
idaho
Wow, lot of people here deciding what's ok for others to do. The only issue I might have with the original post has nothing to do with the headshots. In my opinion, if you know you can make the shot and have the equipment and experience to make it happen, do whatever cleanly kills the animal. My issue, is more with hunters taking shot when hunting "out of state", that they wouldn't do at home. To be clear, I'm not saying this is the case here, but it might be. As a resident of a state that sees a ton of people coming from other states to hunt, I constantly see behavior that is completely disrespectful of our forests and animals. I feel like it's pretty common for people who drive out west to feel like they are owed a chance at an animal and take shots they would have no business taking because they have nothing to lose, they don't live here. I watched a pair of guys with Missouri plates shoot at a herd of elk 900 yards away and send at least 12 rounds at them. Every shot landed so low you could tell they had no idea what they were doing. Do they shoot like that at their whitetails at home? I personally don't care where you shoot your deer, as long as your *Rule 1 Violation*s don't change just because you're a thousand miles from home.
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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1,047
Location
Winchester, Wy.
Self defense is probably the worst time to take a head shot. In that situation you will likely miss. Always center mass. With that being said, I’m not a huge fan of head shots. I’ve seen a head shot miss by 2 inches and pencil thru the cheek. Had it not been dropped on a follow up shot to the vitals, that animal would have suffered for a week or more.

I was thinking self defense from a bear (we hunt grizzly country), not a human! A CNS shot is needed to instantly incapacitate the bear or attacking animal. Attack by a human....Center Mass, several times. Generally, a human is affected by a gunshot wound more so than is an animal. Our brain tells us....you’re in deep “stuff”! An animal doesn’t maintain that thought process!

Sorry.....you were supposed to be able to read my mind! :) memtb
 

Tiny Tim

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Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
136
This is indeed a hot topic. Myself, I typically refrain from this shot, but that is both a personal choice and the opportunity doesn't often present itself in the type of hunting I do. I have my reasons, conditions required, and the self control to enforce them on myself. My self imposed reasons are well thought out. What bothers me most is those who don't put any thought into their choice.
 

memtb

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Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
1,047
Location
Winchester, Wy.
Wow, lot of people here deciding what's ok for others to do. The only issue I might have with the original post has nothing to do with the headshots. In my opinion, if you know you can make the shot and have the equipment and experience to make it happen, do whatever cleanly kills the animal. My issue, is more with hunters taking shot when hunting "out of state", that they wouldn't do at home. To be clear, I'm not saying this is the case here, but it might be. As a resident of a state that sees a ton of people coming from other states to hunt, I constantly see behavior that is completely disrespectful of our forests and animals. I feel like it's pretty common for people who drive out west to feel like they are owed a chance at an animal and take shots they would have no business taking because they have nothing to lose, they don't live here. I watched a pair of guys with Missouri plates shoot at a herd of elk 900 yards away and send at least 12 rounds at them. Every shot landed so low you could tell they had no idea what they were doing. Do they shoot like that at their whitetails at home? I personally don't care where you shoot your deer, as long as your *Rule 1 Violation*s don't change just because you're a thousand miles from home.


No just the “out of staters”! We have far too many residents that will “flock shoot” game animals ! My neighbor just witnessed this recently....a group of elk, two cows dragging legs! Irresponsibility knows no boundaries! :mad: memtb
 

RYEWSKY25284

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LRH Team Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
174
Location
Salinas,Ca
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?
If you are VERY confident & competent in yourself and your weapon and you assert that the shooting conditions are a go. send it
 
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