Drop Deer Instantly With This Shot


Drop Deer Instantly With This Shot

(Image: Screenshot from ‘drop deer instantly’ video)

When you’re hunting, you should strive for a clean kill — period. And like any hunter who has spent a lot of time out there killing whitetail deer, I have seen my share of tough recoveries as well as clean kills. I have shot deer in many different locations and situations, including head shots, neck shots, lung shots, heart shots, chest shots (deer facing me head-on), and numerous shoulder shots from high to low.

The one “drop deer instantly” shot that provides the best margin for error (because if you have never screwed up, you haven’t hunted much) is the high shoulder shot.

This past year, I had a stellar deer season, taking my two biggest bucks on consecutive mornings as well as two large mature does. All of them fell instantly; two from straight-on center-chest shots and two to broadside high shoulder shots.

I mentioned “margin for error” for a reason; if you aim for a medium-to-high shoulder shot, your bullet will penetrate the vitals and effectively harvest a deer even if it doesn’t hit the shoulder blade. There are many ways to screw up while hunting, and I’ve found many of them over the years. But by sticking with high-percentage shot placement, I have recovered 69 of the 71 deer I have hit. Neck and head shots are low-percentage shots (any small variation between point of aim and point of impact can mean a poor hit and a lost deer) and shouldn’t be relied upon.

For those who complain that shoulder shots waste meat, I simply reply I’d rather lose a couple pounds of meat than make an animal suffer and/or lose it entirely.

In the video below, Daniel E. Schmidt of Deer & Deer Hunting provides an anatomy lesson to explain just why the high shoulder shot works as well as it does. Early on, he states that a shot through the network of nerves known as the brachial plexus will instantly kill the deer:

“If you can disrupt that brachial plexus with the force of a bullet, that trauma basically will render that deer dead immediately.”

Yeah, nope. I mean, not always. A high shoulder shot will always drop deer instantly, but it will not always kill it instantly. I cite the 200-pound buck I clobbered broadside this past October, running a 165-grain Sierra GameKing bullet through his high shoulder at a range of 105 yards. He most certainly dropped instantly and was unable to go anywhere, but I did have to finish him off as he was still alive 20 minutes after the initial shot.

Back to the video: He says to think of the high shoulder as a “breaker box” where several major nerves come together; clobber that breaker box and you turn off the animal’s lights.

From my own observation I can attest that bits of shoulder bone add to the “shock wave” of the wound channel, and a bullet through the spine (which is right behind the shoulder blade) will always lay one down in its tracks.

And yeah, at 3:23 a gun’s barrel is shown being rested on the side of a stand before taking a shot; this is poor practice and I don’t recommend it. You should never rest a gun’s barrel while taking a shot; rest the stock instead. Aside from that, this video contains good info that any ethical deer hunter can appreciate.

It’s also nice and short; 4.5 minutes of informative video followed by 3 minutes of crossbow advertising.

Check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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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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