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Shooting a Deer – Remembering What Happened Next

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Learning When to Take a Bow Shot at a Deer

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John’s Note: One of the most-critical ingredients in recovering an arrowed deer is to know exactly what’s happened prior to, during and after the shot is taken.

Learning When to Take a Bow Shot at a Deer 2“My hunts always seem to happen this way,” my friend Kevin thought as he stood on his tree stand, watching a fat buck feed 50-yards downwind of him. The deer was meandering up the trail that Kevin had chosen as a likely spot to take a deer. In a few short minutes, the buck would be within 25 yards of his tree stand and well within killing distance. So, the range and the shot were of little concern for Kevin. The real problem was the fading light. The sun already had gone down behind the hills and was just beginning to pull the cover of darkness over its head as Kevin watched the buck. The whitetail took his time coming up the trail.

“I could take a long shot and chance it,” Kevin debated with himself. “If I get a good hit, I should recover the animal before nightfall and be able to get him back to camp. But if I wait on the shot and have to do any trailing, I’ll probably lose the deer in the darkness.” However, taking a longer shot than he had to wasn’t the decision Kevin made. “A close shot and a well-placed arrow either should down the deer or make a good hit, so that the task will be shortened if I do have to trail the animal,” Kevin told himself.

Finally when the 6-point buck moved into the opening where Kevin had waited to take his shot, Kevin drew his bow and aimed just behind the front shoulder of the deer. The release was clean. The arrow flew straight. Then as Kevin held his breath for what seemed an eternity, he finally heard the “whop” of the arrow striking the deer. The deer wheeled and fled into the bushes. As Kevin listened, he heard the crashing sounds of his trophy in flight. Finally there was nothing but the eerie silence of the rapidly-darkening woods. Kevin leaned back against the tree he had climbed to gather his thoughts to relive the events just before, during and after the shot.

Learning When to Take a Bow Shot at a Deer 3To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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