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from cooper2010 on 07.29.11
Hit a vital. If your idea of perfect is a heart shot then a close to perfect lung shot is just as good if not better than a heart shot. A person did the science on this and you bleed out faster with 2 holes through the lung with the heart still pumping. With a heart shot they can run for about 10 seconds. For a deer in thick brush that can be a good ways. As many have said pass up a bad shot. With an arrow if you want to drop immediately you have to do a spine or brain shot and neither are ideal for aiming unless you are a superb shot.
It's all about being ethical. The quickest, most efficient and above all most humane shot is what any bow hunter should always strive for. An that will mean passing deer sometimes. If the animal presents you a shot that you do not feel comfortable taking, then PASS. There is never a need for an animal to unnecessarily suffer because we would not wait for a better shot.
Pineywoods is right on the money, you should never take a shot unless your arrow has a clear path to an easy to hit vital area. That means no shots when the deer is straight on or straight away. I know that some might not agree with this, but I personally don't have any problem with taking a straight-down shot, as long as you know where your arrow hits at that angle. An arrow to the spine from one of today's bows is as quickly lethal as anywhere else.
It's been my experience that the best shot is actually high in the lungs, the deer seem to die faster and run shorter when hit there than anywhere else, even the heart.
I will say that while you should never, ever try to hit the guts, we (my family and I) have never lost a deer hit in the guts. You just have to be patient and wait at least 6-8 hours, and preferably 12 until following the trail. In our experience gut shot deer never run more than 200 yards before bedding down, if they're not pushed, and they'll usually be laying right there when when you come looking if you wait long enough.
deer that have taken a well placed shot can often travel some distance before expiring,allowing plenty of time before tracking is adviseable,early season tracking can be hard to see blood trails,get some help if your new at this.
I usually aim for a 3 inch circle right at the crease behind the shoulder. My younger brother hit a small doe in the guts last season and we ended up finding it the next day after running the grid pattern and jumping it.
The perfect shot is not always going to be there, but a good shot will present itself if you are patient, you should practice from many different shooting positions, sitting standing, kneeling, and one I find usefull to see if you are trying to shoot to much draw weight sitting on your but with your legs out in front of you. Making a quick kill is the main objective (vitals) and if you practice you will do it, but things go wrong some times, and when they do, pass the shot or make every effort to recover the animal, like the other guys said.
Coop, you will have to show patience and allow the deer to present the ethical shot, or pass, it's not always perfect. As Piney says the vitals are your main target, and when a deer is quartering to you is near impossible to hit, quarter away and your chances improve greatly. Imagine the path of the arrow as you ready, for most always it's coming out the other side. When you've shot, & blood, and/or "gut" (you'll know by the smell) is on the arrow, exhaust every effort to recover. It's just ethical.
pineywoods, could not have said it better. +1
Not perfect, but the arrow has to hit a vital organ for a quick, ethical kill. An arrow through the guts will eventually kill a deer, but the chances are that you won't find the animal and it will die a painful, lingering death. Even a shot through a major muscle mass, such as a ham, can eventually bleed one to death or kill it from infection, but it's unlikely that you'll recover the deer. You want to hit the deer in the heart or lungs for a quick kill, and a shot through the liver will kill, but not as rapidly. If you happen to hit a major blood vessel you will get a quick kill, but that's not a realistic target. The vital area is slightly larger than an eight inch paper plate.
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