Drop Deer Instantly With This Shot
Russ Chastain 01.08.21
(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.