Whitetail Killzone

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SlimBlundt's picture
SlimBlundt
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Whitetail Killzone

I finally got a deer with my bow about a week ago(!!!) After sticking two other deer I finally got one good and it only went about 50 or 60 yards. It's a pretty small doe but it was my last chance to fill my tag. Anyway, it was a frontside shot because an older doe had picked me off the two days previous and I wanted to get a shot off before she was within the vacinity. I put it into the little doe's chest from about ten yards. I thought I went thru the chest and the arrow came out the side. But when I skinned the deer I found that the arrow had gone through the shoulder and run along the outside of the ribs and when the animal started kicking around it pushed the broadhead into the rear of the chest cavity, causing further damage to an already broken rib. I believe that what actually killed the deer was that I put the arrow sort of where the neck and chest meet and took out a major artery, and maybe injurred the windpipe. There was a LOT of blood and the thing didn't go far. I pretty much just got lucky. Although small, the deer has been very tasty. Anyway, my question is, is it plausible to but an arrow into a deer's chest from the front? I shot a buck this way with my bow and never found him. I doubt it penetrated the chest cavity. If you've got a heavy and fast enough draw, can you ever reasonably stick a deer in the chest? An arrow has no problem ripping thru the ribs from the side, have I just been unlucky not being able to penetrate the body cavity from the front?

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Doesn't sound like a shot I would take but you would think it should penetrate right through to the vitals. I practice more on the 'Patience" for the broadside shot. Maybe I am wrong and should be taking some of these odd shots, I haven't got a deer with my bow yet, but have had chances on these frontal shots and decided to pass.

There's no bag limit on happiness.
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The frontal shot is not a good one with a bow. Stop wounding deer and wait for a good broadside or quartering away shot. We owe it to the animal to make a quick clean kill.

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AMEN HUNTNFISHND!!
There has been way too much talk of people taking marginal shots that they are obviously questioning the effectiveness of. Show some respect to the animal and take confident shots that have been practiced time and time again. It absolutely makes me sick to see a wounded deer or even worse a dead deer that has been left to lay. I know a lost deer happens once in a great while, but it's are duty as sportsman to do the best that we can to harvest the animal in a quick clean kill.

The kill is the satisfying, indeed essential, conclusion to a successful hunt. But, I take no pleasure in the act itself. One does not hunt in order to kill, but kills in order to have hunted. Then why do I hunt? I hunt for the same reason my well-fed cat hunts...because I must, because it is in the blood, because I am the decendent of a thousand generations of hunters. I hunt because I am a hunter.- Finn Aagard

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The only time I have ever taken a straight on shot was back in the 80's, and it was the 1st deer I ever tagged with a bow. I shot her at very close range - less than 5 yards - and the arrow went in the front and exited out the rear. A pass-through shot, and the hard way to boot! The doe ended up jumping over me (or it seemed like it - I think I shut me eyes) and piled up right behind me - dead! It was probably a lucky shot, but it definitely worked! I have had a few what I consider real good shots that weren't near as effective...

Pat

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I believe that as long as you have a clear shooting lane and you know where your bow hits that a frontal shot can be done and is effective. I don't recommend the shot but i'm not going to say that it can't be done. I know people who have done it and killed many deer. The last deer i shot this year was at ten yards facing me and i passed the shot up and waited for a slightly quartering shot. I should mention that i mainly think that for a frontal shot you should be on the ground or not very high up in a tree stand. I am pretty sure that my 70# buckmaster would send an arrow well into the kill zone on a frontal shot. This is just my opinion though.

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A chest shot isn't a good shot to take. In the chest there is alot of fatty area and loose skin. The deer will not bleed much or will not bleed at all if hit in that area. The deer will die but will bleed inside. The fat will plug the hole. These deer will travel long distances before they die.

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cmon guys, ever watch the outdoor channel???? I've seen 2 frontal shots that I can think of. One was on an elk and the other was on bear. So don't say that frontal shots shouldn't be taken.........it's not an ideal place to shoot them but if it's the only shot, sometimes you don't have a choice. I myself have taken 1 frontal shot...on a doe. It entered her windpipe and exited through her stomach. It ran about 10-15 yards and dropped. I'm surprised how many people are ripping on this guy for taking a shot like this, now I know it's not the 'ideal' shot to take, but it CAN be lethal. I guess I would peronally rather shoot in the chest. Just had to comment on all the guys saying it's a terrible shot and it will only wound deer. anyone else taken a shot like this, I'd love to hear about it ; )

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Congratulations on getting your deer! Man, I wonder what fish think when we foul hook them, or practice catch and release! OUCH, if fish could only talk. Good job on your kill.

 

Marines.mil  
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A head on chest shot is a bad shot, thats all there is to it. Sure, you can put a deer down with it; you can also put a deer down by shooting it in the butt, although you may have to chase it a while. :)

Tator, Just cause it

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ok, stevo, first of all, I didn't say that because I saw it on tv that it meant it was the best way to take a shot on an animal, I was merely pointing out that those kind of shots CAN be taken. and I've proven it, and I'm sure other people here have too, I'm not looking down on myself one bit for taking the shot that I did, I thought it was a great shot and had a helluva story for the guys when I got back. Now personally, I've never killed a deer with a bow by hitting it in the ass, and if anyone has, with a bow, share that story, cuz I'd love to hear that one. I've hit deer in the chest and never found em, thought I made good shots, just didn't pan out.

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I know of a guy who took a rear-end shot on his very first bow hunt. He hit left of the brown eye and stuck the arrow in the rump. The deer ran off and never to be tagged by the shooter. A few weeks later, the landowner saw the same deer grazing in his hay yard (arrow still hanging out!) and he felt to put the deer down to put it out of it's misery. Needless to say the landowner doesn't let bowhunters on his land anymore.
I too have seen the shows on TV where a few people took an elk or deer with a frontal shot. Pretty risky shot, but I guess anything placed in the right area would be deadly? I'll stick with broadside shooting...bigger area with better results!

Congrats on the deer tho!!!!!!

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Ok Tator Tot, Lets look at your post again, you say you have seen frontal chest shots on the Outdoor Channel, so don

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agreed, end of discussion with me and you.

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The truth is you can shoot a deer nearly anywhere with an arrow tipped with a sharp broadhead and kill it at least once in awhile. A neck shot will kill an occassional deer, but many more will only be injured. Same with a frontal shot, if the arrow hits precisely the right spot it might kill the deer, but most will only be injured. Anyone who has gutted a few deer knows that the ribs meet between it's front legs, it's called the sternum, and it is extremely difficult to cut through that even with a sharp knife. Besides that the target area between the front legs of a deer looking at you is minimal, and don't forget the "looking at you" part either, as in watching you, ready to jump the string when you release. Both of these shots are ignorant shots to take because they are very low percentage shots.

On the other hand, a broadside shot or quartering away shot won't kill every deer either. A little low, high, too far back, too far forward, and you're out of the "sweet spot" and in for a long tracking job, maybe with nothing to show for it at the end of the trail. But both those shots are high percentage shots and the only ones an ethical hunter would take.

And at the risk of offending anyone, I'll say it again, "The only ones an ethical bowhunter would take."

If you want to take head shots, neck shots, or hind quarter shots there's no law against that. Just don't wonder why you're hitting 3 or 4 deer every year before you finally find a dead one at the end of the blood trail.

And if you don't understand this post I'd suggest going back up to Fox Island Outfitters post and read his again.

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I think something we are forgetting on this topic is the difference in bow shooting skills and talent. Believe me I would never shoot a deer from the fron, because I dont trust myself to hit the perfect orange sized kill zone from the front. However with my skill level I can confidently take a broad side shot, or quartering shot and make a clean kill. I dont recommend EVER shooting a front shot, but if the guys skill level is consistantly good enough to cleanly kill the game from the front, we have no business ripping on him. However hearing of 3-4 deer lost a year does concern me to a certain extent. Congrats on your kill and happy new year to all!

A ba%

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So what is the lesser of two evils: a front shot at less than 5 yards, or a broadside shot at greater than 40 yards? Everybody keeps talking about front shots not being a good shot, broadside is the only way to go, etc. - but nobody is talking about the rest of the circumstances. You get far enough out on a broadside shot, and pretty soon you are better off taking a front shot at close range. I guess I would take my chances with a 5 yard chip shot from the front over a 50+ yard broadside shot. I am not saying I would shoot then, but if I had to rate my chances of a kill shot - I think I would rate the front shot higher. Just my two cents though...

Pat

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Cando Kid,
It should go without saying you never take a shot past your effective range be it 15 yards or 50 yards no matter what the angle. Or size of the rack, which by the way tempts some people to take risky shots also. I have the same regards for people lobbing arrows at 60 - 70 yards and beyond at antelope.

A frontal shot is a poor shot, no matter the archer, no matter the equipment, no matter the circumstances. Any bowhunter who has ever split the brisket of a dead deer should know better.

Sorry if some think I was "ripping" anyone, that wasn't really the intention. I just get tired of people taking a marginal shot on a deer with a bow and then coming on here looking for someone to tell them "Oh, don't worry about it, you did the best you could, you'll get another chance, there's lots of deer around."

walkswithwispers,
Congratulations on the deer. I don't agree with the shot you took, but glad you decided to take it on a fawn, their ribs aren't as big yet and you have a better chance of getting through them with a frontal shot than if it had been an adult deer. And you have every right to be proud of your deer, even if it's a small one. Any animal taken with archery equipment in a legal manner is a trophy in my books. Good job, just hope you learned something from the ones you lost earlier.

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Thanks for all the reply's guys. Even if you're being critical of the shot I took, I appreciate the input. Cando kid sort of hit the nail on the head. Earlier this season I was standing in the same spot and took a shot that was 25-30 yards at a doe and hit the shoulder blade and I never found her. The blood eventually ran out. I made a long post out of it. Anyway, when I was waiting for this little doe to turn, A bigger doe wandered in and was standing broadside in the exact same spot as the doe I'd stuck earlier. This doe had picked me off the 2 days previous and I had to make a quick decision - do I take a shot at this doe at 25-30 yards or the little one 8-10 yards in front of me (I'm also standing on the ground with no cover). It was the last day I would be able to get out so I figured my chances of that arrow blowing through the little doe's chest at 10 yards were better than my chances of getting a good still shot on the further doe before she picked me off again. I am new to bowhunting and haven't cleaned a lot of deer so I figured that I had a bigger target area in the chest than I actually did. Just to put this to rest, it was luck more than skill, and I won't take that kind of shot again. Once I skinned the deer I was able to see how it was very unplausable that I would penetrate the sternum on an average deer and I was lucky to have struck some major arteries on this one. However, with an animal this small I would not rule out penetrating the chest at that distance WITH ADEQUATE EQUIPMENT. From this experience, I would now advise others to NOT take a frontal shot. I stuck 2 other deer before this one. The firsdt was that doe, the secong a small buck that I took the same shot at in the same spot fron the same distance. I didn't find him but I was convinced that It was because of poor shooting. I did a lot of searching for that buck, but to no avail. I have to agree with the guys who've been "ripping" on me (no offense taken, it's constructive) because it is better to have no deer than to just go about flinging arrows at anything that moves.

The boys are back! www.nodakangler.com

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Walkswithwispers I forgot to say that I'm glad you got your deer. I hope you didn't think I was ripping you I just know a front chest shot isn't a good shot. Did that buck you hit in the chest ever bleed much. I have heard so many people say they hit deer in the chest like that and can never find them.

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walkswithwhispers,
Glad to hear you have learned something from your first year of bowhunting. When I started 25+ years ago, there was no one to learn from, so I made many of the same mistakes you have, and I learned from them as well.

You said you had to make a quick decision as to what to do when both the doe and fawn appeared, but you left one choice out, and that was not to shoot at all. My advice to you, if you are new to bowhunting, and want any advice, is this. When you are practicing next summer, stand 20 yards from your target and shoot an arrow. If you can hit a 4" circle on your target with YOUR FIRST SHOT OF THE DAY, you should have no problem shooting at a deer from that distance. If you miss the 4" circle then the next day take the shot from 15 yards. If you hit the target from 20 yards try 25 next. Whatever distance you can hit a 4" circle from should be your furthest distance that you'd attempt to take a deer from. And using the first shot of the day is very important because in a hunting situation you won't have the opportunity of a couple warm up shots before shooting at the deer.

The thing you will find out if you stick with bowhunting is that every deer that steps into range won't provide you with a shot. I've had many deer within 10' of me over the years that just never presented a clean shot so I let them walk for another day. I haven't lost a deer in probably 15 years or so by picking my shots carefully, but I'm not trying to sound high and mighty as I lost some when I first started bowhunting by rushing the shots and also by taking shots that I had no business taking in the first place.

The first deer I shot with a bow was a small buck that only presented a shot at the hind quarters, which I took. I was hunting in a swamp south of Karlstad MN, and although I finally found the deer and finished it off after midnight, I spent the remainder of the night lost in the woods.

Stick with bowhunting and it will provide you with many memories. I know it's hard to pass on a shot when you finally get a deer close but at the wrong angle, but that's what makes bowhunting such a great sport. Peer pressure also doesn't help, as everyone wants to see some success, and nobody wants to be the only one who doesn't tag a deer. Anyways, congratulations again on tagging a deer!

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Thanks alot guys. I finally got some pics of that deer. My buddy took them with his camera and we just went to walmart last night and I had an 8 x 10 made of me with the little deer. The funniest thing, none of my 3 bowhunting friends got their deer (not yet anyway, 2 are going today). My future father in law is on his second bow and has still never taken a deer. I called him last night to give him crap and asked if he'd like an 8 x 10 of my deer. He made fun of how small it was and I responded, "well why haven't you gotten your deer? haven't seen one with a big enough a$$? (let's just say he's made a few poor shots rifle hunting). Good thing he's got a good sense of humor like I do or I might not end up marrying his daughter. Actually, when she sees an 8 x 10 of a bloody deer hanging in my living room (soon to be OUR living room) she might not marry me after all. :-)

The boys are back! www.nodakangler.com

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I myself would not take a shot like that, found a nice buck this season that the coyotes had about finished but this deer had been shot from the front and had stayed alive long enough for gangerine to set in, Part of the arrow was in the deer so it was easy to know where it was hit, I spent hours waiting for nice buck that had on my trail cam, one of these just at day break boys, the one morning that he came in he would only give me a frontal shot so did not take it. Hope he is around for me next year.

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Congrats on the deer. I think I've hit deer in almost every spot possible. Luckily I've recovered most of them. The thing to remember about front shots is that its a very small kill zone. And maybe its just my bow making too much noise but the deer almost always jump at the sound of the bowstring. Which can move the deer several inches in any direction. Even if you can hit a 4" stationary target more than likley the kill zone for a frontal shot on a deer will have moved before your arrow gets there. Which just leaves you with luck to get your arrow through. Killing a deer shouldn't be up to luck. It should be done with skill that every hunter should attain before hunting. There will always be bad shots. Lord I know I've made them myself. Unseen sticks, deer jumping, string hitting your sleeve, etc. But the point I'm making is the you should wait for the best shot possible. Frontal shots are just too risky with the bow.

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I've been watching this thread and way too many people are defending this type of shot. I'm extremely disgusted by it like any responsible bowhunter should be. We are limited as bowhunters to what kind of high percentage shots we have available. Just because occasionally a low percentage shot has been taken and the deer was recovered it does not justify the majority that will be lost by taking a shot like this. Those of you who are justifying that should put your bows down immediately and never pick them back up unless to shoot at a target in my opinion and in the opinion of all ethical bowhunters I associate with. Those of you who are actually taking these shots should quit hunting altogether because you don't respect the game you hunt or your fellow hunters near enough to be carrying any weapon.
A bowhunter can shoot a deer and kill it as efficiently as any rifle hunter but the margin of error is much less. Even the best placed arrow is not always going to pass completely through a deer and that will result in enough difficulty trailing and recovering the way it is. To purposely pick an arrow path that will have to punch through extra bone immediately and greatly decreases the chance of recovering the animal is nothing but irresponsible. I am a very avid bowhunter and I do occasionally hunt deer with a rifle. Well placed shots with either weapon are equally deadly. Low percentage shots are unacceptable with both weapons, but recovery after these poor shots greatly weighs in favor of the rifle hunter. Bullets shatter bone and shrapnel itself can be deadly. Arrows don't shatter bone and broadheads don't explode. Broadside shots and slightly quartering shots are the only shots that should be taken with a bow WITHOUT EXCEPTION and bowhunters should never shoot outside their effective range. We all know our effective range too, so there are no excuses for shooting outside of it. With the equipment we have today, that may certainly be 70 yards for some, but I know others who shouldn't be shooting outside of 10 yards.
There are no counter arguments to what I have said here and those of you who try certainly know in your minds you're trying to justify something only to make yourself feel better for your own irresponsibility. This post is directed to all bowhunters, young and old, new or veteran who feel the possible end justifies any means necessary to reach it. You make me sick and should never step foot into the woods until you learn to overcome your reckless behavior. I don't care who takes offense to this post. If you do take offense to it, you're exactly who I'm talking about. If you don't you feel the same way I do and most of you should. I won't name names, but there are a lot of you on this thread who just lost all of my respect because of this one topic. Go ahead and respond. I'm done with this topic. We as hunters should never even have to discuss anything like this.

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at ten yards I'd take that shot, probably not at thirty though.

I say to hell with that pot o' gold.

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I wouldn't take that shot. I am not putting anyone down who would but I wouldn't do it myself.

JaySee

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I worked with a guy who had a deer right underneath him and shot the buck straight down. The arrow went in the top of his head and dropped him where he stood. He European mounted the deer with the arrow sticking straight up between the antlers. Pretty cool mount. It is my belief that if you study and know the vital shots and practice and practice with your bow you'll know what good shots are. The better shot you are the more options you have on different shots. I think in this case however a little more patience could have gotten a broadside shot. Congrats on the deer and keep practicing. Should have him check out the online site someone posted on here where you make shots and it scores you. Anyone still have that web address?

Gregg H. Kathol

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Whitetailmaster,

I appreciate your feedback. Before I respond I want to restate the exact sentence I used in my previous post:

"Broadside shots and slightly quartering shots are the only shots that should be taken with a bow WITHOUT EXCEPTION"

You misread it as "Broadside shots and slightly quatering AWAY..." I too like quatering towards me shots as long as I have I nice open area to shoot into the vitals. This is a high-percentage shot offering areas for arrow placement in front of and behind the shoulder. I was including this angle in the "slightly quartering shots" that I referenced. One thing a lot of shooters need to remember as well is not just to aim where you want your arrow to go in, but where you want it to come out. As long as the vitals are somewhere in between those to points it is a high percentage shot. You definitely read what I was saying perfectly: Don't take bad shots, period. Most bowhunters know this and practice this and thank God they do or we could have a lot of negative energy hanging over archery in general. My other point is clear too: There is never a reason, circumstance, excuse, or right time to take a bad shot, period. That means a low-percentage shot, period. Any shot that leaves any doubt what-so-ever in the shooters mind about whether it will kill the animal is a bad shot to take. No one shoots a neck shot, rear end shot, or head-on shot with certainty they will kill the animal. NO ONE. For some people a 30 yard broadside shot is a bad shot because they are only effective and confident out to 15-20 yards. That 30 yard shot should not be taken. It is a low-percentage shot.
Don't get me wrong, a high-percentage shot is never 100% sure thing. Deer jump, duck, turn, and react all kinds of ways that can cause a mis or a nonvital hit or a tough tracking job. Those accidents happen not because of poor judgement by the hunter but because of the nature of the animal. Bowstrings can hit sleeves, arrows can hit seemingly invisible twigs, etc. as well, changing the arrow flight. That is not the same as shooting through a pile of brush at a deer and hoping it hits somewhere vital or shooting at an antelope at 60 yards when you are only effective to 40. You get my point. Accidents happen, but we need to ALL do everything under our power to ensure we are taking not only the best shot available but a high-percentage shot at that. Those bowhunters who don't practice that SHOULD NOT BE HUNTING. It does illustrate a lack of respect for the animal and gives hunters and in particular bowhunters a bad reputation.
someone above told a story where the only shot available to them was a hind quarter shot so they took it. They found it hours and hours later. I'm sorry if I appear to be narrow-minded to that person, but taking a shot like that because you don't want to be the one who doesn't tag a deer or you've never killed a deer is very poor ethics. A hind quarter shot can be quickly lethal if luckily the femoral artery is severed. If not, you have just ensured a slow painful death or a permanently crippling injury to that animal. To be a humane predator we must avoid the needless drawn-out suffering that the deer in that situation surely endured. It sounds like this guy learned from that situation and that is a relief, but a low-percentage shot like that is still always inexcusable.
I have lost a few deer that I have hit with an arrow and I am always sick to my stomach afterwards. I hit a nice buck in the shoulder a few years back. Even though I got 6 inches of penetration there was no blood trail and the deer was never found. I still replay that incident and wonder if I took a bad shot, but the fact of the matter is the deer jumped the string and turned as I released and turned a perfect opportunity into a broadhead into the shoulder blade. I also had an arrow hit a twig last year that I didn't see and it turned a perfect quartering forward shot into a gut shot. I found the deer about 12 hours later after letting it sit and searching all night, but it again made me nauseated knowing that deer suffered for hours before finally dying. I again was taking what I felt was a very-high percentage shot and an unforseen circumstance screwed it up. Bottom-line...I made a mistake and I still feel bad about it. Mistakes do happen to the best archers and hunters out there (I'm not saying I'm the best hunter by the way), but a mistake or an accident is different that recklessness.
I feel very strongly about this subject and I don't mind talking about it so keep responding. Hopefully all my ranting and raving will at least plant a seed in someone's brain the next time they have a questionable shot opportunity.

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dirty

your quote "Arrows don't shatter bone" is probably true, but if you tip it with a sharp broadhead - it definitely will! So if you were implying a broadhead tipped arrow won't shatter bone - you are dead wrong! And if you are implying that you hunt with an arrow without a broadhead, well - you would be wrong again!!

Pat

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Dirty,
I agree with your thoughts on taking ethical shots. I believe that you did a good job in explaining why some people should not shoot at 15 yards, while others can have a good ethical shot at much longer yards. Each situation presented needs to be weighed by the individual pulling the string or trigger as to whether it is a good shot or not (killing shot that is in the hunters effective range, NOT the weapons effective range). What many have a problem with is making the right decision each time. When a bad decision is made to take a shot out of the hunters effective range, there is much too big of chance to wound the deer versus harvest the deer.

I responded on a similar thread with similar thoughts and someone (won't name names) said "when in doubt, I let the lead out"...meaning if he THINKS he has a chance to kill the animal, he will take the shot. To be respectful of the game and the sport, we should KNOW, not think, we can kill the animal, because it is within our effective range, not within the effective range of our weapon.

I believe Dirty is right with his thoughts on this post.

For the Walkswithwhispers, I am glad you got the deer even though the shot selection was not good. Glad to know you were willing to learn from your mistakes, and I am even happier to know that you are someone who is willing to take advice without getting your feathers ruffled. You sound very level headed and like someone good to hunt with. Hope you harvest many more deer in the future.

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