When archery season opens for white-tailed deer many bowhunters take to the woods in search of their trophy. At this point in the game most bowhunters understand that scent control is very important, so most hunters properly address—at least as much as they can—this issue. However, there is another common bowhunting mistake that many archers commit when deer hunting and it actually happens when taking a shot at a whitetail.
Most bowhunters know that a deer will drop as it hears a hunter shoot an arrow. Deer do this is because deer do not recognize the string noise as natural, and because their first instinct is to run. As they prepare to run, whitetail deer drop several inches as they prepare to launch their body forward and run away from the noise. You can avoid this mistake very easily next time you are out deer hunting with a bow.
The problem is that bowhunters do not aim low enough when taking their shot. At 10 yards or less, there is not much of a problem with deer “ducking” arrows. This is because there is very little time for deer to react. An arrow is moving very fast from 0 to 10 yards. However, when you get out to 20, 30, or 40 yards, deer have more time to react to any noise out of the ordinary.
Every bowhunter knows that an arrow begins decelerating the split second it leaves the string. The further your target, the slower your arrow will be flying when it—hopefully—hits the target. So as your target gets further out you have to adjust your aim accordingly.
Since the biggest shooting mistake that bowhunters make is not shooting low enough, the solution is to, yes, aim lower! At 20 yards, a bowhunter should aim directly at a deer’s heart. This is directly behind the front leg and only about 2.5 inches above the rib line. At this distance, if the deer drops you will still hit vitals. If the deer remains still, your arrow will drill the deer right in the pumping station.
At 30 yards, I would recommend that bowhunters aim about 1 inch above the rib line and at 40 yards right at the rib line, if not up to 1 inch low depending on the situation. Important note: Of course, all of this information goes out the window depending upon the situation. If their is a lot of noise in the environment, such as heavy wind or lots of bird noise, or a nearby tractor, then DO NOT aim low.
A deer will only react to a strange noise IF it hears it. If the sound of firing your bow will be masked by ambient noise, then the deer will be none the wiser. In this scenario, aim just as if you are shooting a target at the same distance in your backyard. If the deer is on alert, such as it smells you or is looking right at you or your deer decoy as your prepare to fire, then aim low. The deer knows something is up and is already ready to run. As soon as you shoot the deer will drop as it prepares to run.
To sum up, bowhunters make this simple mistake all too often when out deer hunting. Remember to adjust your aim point on the deer depending on the situation as you prepare to take your shot. The further out a deer is from you the more time it has to react.The next time your are out deer hunting, match your shot to the environment and the distance of the deer and your next shot should be killer!
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