Editor’s Note: Will Primos, the creator of Primos Hunting (www.primos.com) and well-known turkey and deer hunter has been hunting white-tailed deer for about six decades. He’s made 100 videos on hunting and has produced about 500 TV show episodes – all named “The Truth.”
Another question I’ve often been asked is, “What’s the longest shot you’ve taken at a whitetail with your bow?” The answer to that question is 40 yards. To make that shot, I practice shooting out to 100 yards. Distance shooting amplifies any mistake that you may make in your shooting.
I encourage bowhunters to look at YouTube videos from professional archers like Levi Morgan and watch them shoot. You don’t have to use the same release he does, but look at his follow-through, the way he squeezes the release instead of punching it, and how he lets his sight pin float as he squeezes off the shot. Always remember that you don’t know if a deer will move from the time you squeeze that mechanical release, and the arrow flies, until the arrow gets to the deer. At 40 yards, if a buck hears a bow fire, he typically will drop down to get his weight low, lean over and then push off and jump and run back the same way he’s come.
The deer knows that he’s been safe in the direction he has come from, until he reaches the spot where he’s heard the sound. So, if he goes back in the direction he’s come from, he’ll be safe. If the deer reacts to the sound of the bow, he easily can drop down 12 inches or more, before the arrow reaches him.
I always try to aim for the heart. This way if the deer drops down before the arrow reaches him, you’ll still hit him in the top of the lungs. If the deer doesn’t react to the sound of the bow, you’ll hit him in the heart. However, if you aim in the middle of his body, and he drops down, your arrow will crease the top of his back. Or, if you will shoot high, you’ll completely miss him. You’ve got to train yourself to shoot for the heart. I’ve had some deer that I just knew were going to drop down at the sound of the bow. But they didn’t move one inch, and I got heart shots. Other deer might come in really nervous, and I would have bet you anything that they would drop down, but they didn’t. Other deer I was pretty sure wouldn’t move, went absolutely berserk at the sound of the bow.
I had a friend who was hunting a big buck feeding under a white oak tree. When the buck came in, he was at 27 yards, and my friend took the shot right behind his front shoulder, where most archers would aim. Once my friend looked at the video, he saw that the buck dropped down, and the arrow hit him high in the back. My friend never recovered that deer. Now if he had shot for the heart, his broadhead would have passed through the top of the lungs, and the deer probably wouldn’t have gone very far. Having said all that, I’ve had deer react to the sound of the bow in every state I’ve ever hunted whitetails, and I’ve had bucks not react to the sound of the bow in every state I’ve hunted.
I’m often asked, “How do you know where the deer’s heart is located?” If the deer’s leg is going straight down to the ground, the heart’s about 3 inches behind the leg and about 3 inches from the bottom of the deer’s chest. But if his leg’s back, the heart will be behind his knee. The best way to learn how to make the heart shot is to google, “How to Make a Heart Shot on a Deer.”
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ brand-new Audible book, available August 2, 2022, and now in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows” at https://www.amazon.com/. Also John ‘s book, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” is available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at (http://amzn.to/1vIcj4m). You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser. (When you click on the books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of these books for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Tomorrow: Understand about Will Primos’ Toughest Deer