Your Best Shot at Big Game


          Hunting has changed somewhat over the past 50 years, but much remains the same. After all, firearms, ammunition, and game are still basically what they were a hundred years ago. Even with modern developments in archery equipment, it is still simply a sharp blade that really does the job.

          Smart hunters still aim for the largest vital area they can see. For just about all animals, that is the heart-lung-liver area. Head and neck hits, of course can also be deadly, but there is a surprisingly large amount of space in the head and neck that may not produce a quick kill when hit with bullets or shotgun slugs. It's just the opposite with birds and birdshot, the head is the place to aim because birdshot does not penetrate well.

          When hunting with arrows, hitting the vital heart-lung-liver area behind the shoulder is even more crital because arrows don't have any shock or "knock-down" power.

          One key point bowhunters learn is that the real target is inside the animal, not on its hide. This means that hunters must compensate for the angle if the deer does not present a broadside shot. Aim farther back if the deer is quarting away, and aim higher if you are shooting from above. A good rule of thumb is to aim just above the elbow on the opposite side of the deer.

          With firearms, the target is the same, but with a bigger margin for error, because the shoulder, with large bones that can stop arrows, is another good place to hit. The shoulder bones make shots with arrows fruitless if the deer is quartering toward a bowhunter.

          Play the odds. Which target do you have a better chance of hitting? The softball bize brain area; the narrow baseball bat size neck vertebrae hidden somewhere in the neck; or the heart-lung area as big as a soccer ball? Whether you are a gambler or not, the biggest target is the best.