White-tailed Deer Shot Placement [Video]

White-tailed Deer Shot PlacementQDMA’s Kip Adams explains the safest and most effective place to shoot a white-tailed deer whether you are hunting with a bow or a firearm.

Posted by The Quality Deer Management Association on Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Shot placement on a white-tailed deer is critical. Your ultimate goal as a hunter is to make shots that will kill deer as quickly and humanely as possible. This is not only out of respect for the animal but also to ensure you quickly recover the deer so the venison does not go to waste. Meeting this goal begins at home or at the range, when you practice with your bow or firearm. It ends with good decision-making when you are presented with a shot opportunity in the woods.

QDMA recommends only the heart/lung vital area as a target.

Guns and bows are not created equally in regard to shot placement. Bowhunters need to avoid heavy bone, especially the shoulder blade and leg bones that are adjacent to the heart/lung vital area, because these bones will stop most arrows from penetrating. With a high-powered rifle, the only reason to stay away from the shoulder is to preserve meat. However, with both a gun and bow, the ideal shot opportunity is when a deer is standing broadside or slightly quartering away from you. Avoid shots at deer that are facing toward or directly away from you.

QDMA recommends only the heart/lung vital area as a target. While a head or neck shot with a rifle can be extremely lethal as well, there is very little margin for error. If the bullet is off by even an inch or two, the result can be a serious wound in a non-vital area of the head that can cause a long, slow death, and you will not recover the deer. The heart/lung area presents a much wider area of lethal opportunity.

Your deer is in range, it’s broadside, it’s standing still, and you’ve got a good aim with your gun or bow. Now watch as QDMA’s Kip Adams explains the safest and most effective place to shoot a white-tailed deer whether you are hunting with a bow or a firearm.