It feels good to aim at center mass, but lower is better.
Bow or gun, a big majority of deer misses go high. Gun hunters often jerk on the trigger, pulling the barrel up, while bowhunters fall victim to deer reacting to the sound of the bow. While this reaction is called jumping the string or ducking the string, it’s really just the deer bending its legs as it prepares to flee. Whatever you call it, the result is the same, as many bow shots sail just over the deer’s back.
Whatever the season, aim for the lower third of a deer’s vitals. Aiming lower gives you wiggle room for a higher point of impact. Some bowhunters recommend aiming even with the deer’s belly. We do not. Keep your pin, dot or crosshair in the vitals in case your shot hits exactly where you’re aiming.
Steep angles also create shot problems, although this is once again more common with bowhunters. Most rangefinders have angle compensation built in, so use its figure even if you think the shot is closer or farther away.
In the event of a high hit with a bow, do not push the deer. Leave the area as quietly as possible, and don’t even look for your arrow. Wait overnight if temperatures are cold enough, and as long as you can if they’re not. A deer hit in the upper back area (other than the spine) will not bleed much and might very well survive the shot. Your chances of finding a deer plummet if you push it from its first bed, so play it safe and wait if you can. Read Recent Tip of the Week:
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