Deer Hunting Shot Placement: The Vital V


Deer Hunting Shot Placement: The Vital V

(Image: Screenshot from video)

This may be the best video presentation I have seen on shot placement with large animals, especially for bowhunters. Most hunters aim too far back, and this shows exactly why that is a terrible idea.

This YouTuber, who calls himself Ranch Fairy (???), talks about “the vital V,” which is a sideways V (like a “less than” or “greater than” sign) in which all big game animals may be efficiently shot to be dispatched — essentially shooting them “in the shoulder” without actually shooting them through any shoulder bones, even if they “jump the string.”

But why not aim farther back? Because your margin of error is already getting into the liver or guts. And when the deer “jumps the string,” meaning it reacts to the sound of the shot before the arrow can get there, it will hunker down (they don’t actually “jump” at the sound of the shot). That hunker will put your likely hit spot way too high, as shown on the right side of the image above.

The preferred aiming point towards the bottom of the Vital V places your point of impact in the heart and lung area, and when the deer hunkers at the sound of the bow string, the arrow will still hit where the lungs are nice and big.

Another great point he makes is that blood vessels and airways are all larger towards the front of the lungs, which means a much more efficient kill than any hit towards the rear of the lung.

“You whistle it through there, and they don’t go anywhere.”

Yeah the guy is a bit full of himself, but when you’re right you’re right — and on this subject he is definitely right. Take it from a hunter who has shot 67 deer and recovered 65 of them, and yes, some of my shots sucked.

The same advice does of course apply to rifle hunting: Shoot ’em in the Vital V.

Anyhow, you’ll find lots of good info in this video. Good luck and happy hunting!

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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