Shots To Avoidon Nov 26, 2012
Hard Quartering Toward
The tricky thing about a hard “quartering to” shot is being able to recognize when the degree of angle is too severe. Here is what I believe is the key point when considering this shot: Visualize the exit hole. If your arrow will exit no further than “behind the last rib” you will be fine. If the exit path will be beyond the last rib, you stand a pretty good chance of impacting the intestines, and perhaps the liver. A liver shot will indeed take down a whitetail. Although, in order to do so, your broadhead must sever the Venicava vein; a large, significant vein that runs through the liver and is located next to the diaphragm. Cut that vein in the process of striking the liver and the deer will quickly bleed out. Obviously, the liver should not be a primary target of choice though.
So far we have taken into consideration that the deer is standing close to the shooter. However, stretch the distance, and the potential for catastrophe only increases. Given the extended range, the margin of error that normally accompanies all shots on live game, and the fact that in order to get the desired exit hole you must aim tight behind the front shoulder, the odds of an arrow impacting the front leg are pretty substantial; particularly if your aim is just “a little off”. Also, if the animal is quartering to, there is a good chance it has spotted you already or most certainly will as you draw to anchor; especially if you are at ground level. Getting busted before the shot even happens only complicates matters and ultimately lowers your chances of a quick, humane kill. Practice this shot in the backyard in order to get a feel for the maximum degree in which the animal can be turned and still enable you to make a lethal shot. Remember, the key is the “exit hole”. Nothing should go beyond the last rib.
As you can see in the following photos, there is much to consider each time we loose an arrow at a whitetail deer. They may be thin skinned and small when compared to larger big-game like elk, but don’t underestimate their ability to survive; especially if the shot is sub-par.
It’s true, there is an artery (femoral) that runs deep inside the large thigh muscle of a whitetail, and if severed, will result in massive blood loss and eventual death. Nonetheless, trying to determine exactly where this artery is located, on an animal standing some distance away, and then attempting to accurately hit it, is both senseless efforts. Your odds of getting struck by lightening are probably higher than actually slicing the artery on purpose. A botched attempt will simply result in injuring the large ham muscles of the hind leg. A deer may actually have a good chance at surviving such a pointless attempt; that is, if infection doesn’t set in.
Texas Heart Shot
I am not sure who coined this phrase. What I do know, is that this shot most often doesn’t work as easily as many would have you believe, and in my humble opinion, should not be attempted. Basically, this shot calls on the archer to shoot at a deer that is standing straight away; aiming at the soft rump in an attempt to drive the arrow up through the intestines and into the vital area of the heart and lungs.
I was once called out in the late hours of the evening to aid in blood trailing a monster buck that had been shot using this method. Initially the blood trail was good, expectations ran high. But it didn’t take long before reality set in. Not far into the search we found part of the arrow and what was left of the broadhead. It was obvious that it had impacted something of substantial strength. The shank was somewhat twisted and one blade was almost completely sheared off. My guess was that the arrow had impacted the large and resilient pelvic bone and was stopped dead in its tracks. There wasn’t a great deal of blood on the section of arrow that we found; leading me to believe that penetration was also minimal. After several hours, the search was called off until daybreak. Unfortunately, the magnificent buck was never found.
Remember, it is a long way from the hind quarters to the heart and lungs of a whitetail deer. Even if you somehow do manage to miss the ominous pelvic bone, getting to the vital organs is still going to be a chore. Remember, if your arrow doesn’t make it to the boiler room….a gut shot animal will be the result. Forget about taking this shot; ever.