Tips & Tactics

A Different Angle

A Different Angle

By Ken Piper

Intense practice led to a big mistake for this bowhunter.

Last week we talked about habits, including how we repeat what we do in practice. That's usually a good thing, unless you're practicing bad habits. It also can work against you if you don't adapt practiced habits to the situation.

What I'm talking about is exemplified by something that happened at a deer camp attended by Buckmasters designer Ryan Noffsinger last week. He returned from a successful trip to Ohio, where several others also shot nice bucks. The bad news was an unfortunate hunter wounded a 170s bruiser.

The buck was within normal archery range at under 30 yards but was quartering away quite a bit. That can be an excellent shot, but you have to aim farther back – sometimes just in front of the ham – to get an arrow through to the vitals.

In this case, the hunter had practiced diligently at deer targets, always aiming for the heart shot just an inch or so behind the front leg. And that's where he aimed at the giant buck. With a strongly quartering angle, that point of aim would create a nasty wound between the shoulder and body cavity but won't hit vital organs.

Bowhunters are so programmed to avoid a gut shot that it's no surprise when someone can't bring themselves to shoot through the guts to get to the heart and lungs – but that's what this hunter should have done.

It's easy to second-guess someone after a mistake, so the real takeaway here is to remember your aim point needs to change based on the angle of the deer. Yes, practice with a 3-D target and try to hit those 12 rings, but always keep the arrow's path in mind and not necessarily the point of impact.

Calculate where your arrow will hit the deer and where it will exit the deer. If there are vital organs in between those two points, take the shot. If not, adjust your point of aim accordingly.

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Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd