Shots To Avoid

Posted by: Steve Flores on Nov 26, 2012
Page 3 of 3

Moving Shot
I have watched several television hosts pull this shot off at very close range.  And that is the key.  Shot range and pace.  I believe distance and speed are the two major factors that contribute to either a successful harvest or a botched attempt at a moving target. As long as the animal (deer) is walking within close proximity, say 15 yards (maybe less), I don’t have a problem loosing an arrow; but only if the angle is good.  The speed of the deer mustn’t be more than a normal stride for me to even consider taking a moving shot.  Any quicker and the odds of an ethical outcome start to plummet. When faced with a similar situation, take the moving shot if the deer is in close range and walking at a normal pace.  If it is too far away to attempt a walking shot, take a chance and try to stop it with a quick “uurrrpp” from your mouth before launching your arrow.    

High Winds
For the guy who routinely hunts in the open prairies of the west, high wind is just another fact of life that must be dealt with.  Unlike Eastern treestand hunters who usually only consider the direction the wind is blowing and how it will affect their stand location, the Western guys must also factor wind direction and speed into their shot execution. 
High winds that gust without warning, changing velocity and direction at the drop of a dime, make it nearly impossible to pull off a praiseworthy shot.  No matter how much practice you’ve had, it makes no sense to release the string when your sight pin is jumping around like a fish out of water.  On the other hand, a steady, constant wind can sometimes be a different matter; especially if you’ve put in the time at the range under similar conditions and know exactly how your arrow is going to react. 


When taking shots from a treestand there are many points to consider.  Perhaps the most important is shot angle.  Not just the angle of the deer, but the angle from the shooter to the deer must also be pondered.  Experiment with different shooting scenarios during the off-season to weed out the ethical from the unethical.  It is time well spent.

Entry and Exit Paths
Much time and consideration is given to the entry location when discussing bow shots on whitetails; and rightfully so.  Nothing tells you better about what is going to happen than knowing where your arrow is heading.  However, perhaps even more important than that…. is knowing where your arrow has been.  Ideally, you want to not only strive for a great entry path, but a great exit path as well; equally considering both.  Doing so will insure that your arrow has a better chance of passing through vital organs; instead of intestines or less critical muscle tissue. 
The only way to familiarize yourself with exit holes and how to achieve a desirable one is by carefully observing your practice shots at home; noting the entire path of the arrow.  Eventually, over time, you will start to see the exit location in your mind before you even dump the bow string; which will ultimately result in proper arrow placement.  Consider the entrance hole carefully, but more importantly, strive for a good exit as well.

The longer the search goes, the higher the odds are that you will not find your animal; it’s as simple as that.  You’ve got to hit a major organ or artery in order to “bleed the deer out”.  Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle”. 
Given all of the resources available to today’s bowhunter, there really is no excuse for ignorance when it comes to deer anatomy and proper shot placement.  Countless volumes of information covering either subject can easily be attained either by contacting the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF), or by searching quality websites such as  All you have to do is be eager and willing to learn more about the game you pursue in order to make each shot the absolute best it can be.  After all, we owe our quarry that much.  Don’t we?

Authors Note
For a complete guide to whitetail anatomy and shot placement, contact the NBEF at or PO Box 180757, Fort Smith, AR 72908.  Marilyn Bentz, Executive Director, is very friendly and most eager to help in any way possible.

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4 Comments on "Shots To Avoid"

Re: Shots To Avoid #
Great article, thank you.
Posted by Danny J Albers on 11/26/2012 7:02:46 PM
Re: Shots To Avoid #
Pretty common sense here if you ask me. Who out there is seriously going to aim for a spine shot??? I can see discussing head on shots and int hat case a neck shot is more feasible than trying to burry a broadhead in a bucks chest.
Posted by Billy Bob on 11/27/2012 4:15:28 PM
Re: Shots To Avoid #
"Billy Bob" - you would be amazed at the shots that people think are okay to take with a bow. Keep in mind that not all bowhunters had someone around to mentor and teach them right from wrong. Some people truly don't know any better, while others just don't care.
Posted by Justin Zarr on 11/27/2012 7:48:32 PM
Re: Shots To Avoid #
i made the mistake of taking a quarting tword me shot with my bow and made a terrible shot on a nice buck and lost him
Posted by Branden on 11/30/2012 10:21:52 AM

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