Where do you aim?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Mike Ukrainetz 02-Feb-21
Woods Walker 02-Feb-21
12yards 02-Feb-21
x-man 02-Feb-21
x-man 02-Feb-21
GF 02-Feb-21
IdyllwildArcher 02-Feb-21
JLBSparks 02-Feb-21
milnrick 02-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 02-Feb-21
Two Feathers 02-Feb-21
DiRTY MiKE 02-Feb-21
Rgiesey 02-Feb-21
GF 02-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 02-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 02-Feb-21
JohnMC 02-Feb-21
milnrick 02-Feb-21
Sand man 02-Feb-21
Sand man 02-Feb-21
BUCKeye 02-Feb-21
LBshooter 03-Feb-21
Bou'bound 03-Feb-21
Wild Bill 03-Feb-21
x-man 03-Feb-21
x-man 03-Feb-21
Sawpilot75 03-Feb-21
Rocky D 03-Feb-21
Raiders 03-Feb-21
skipmaster1 03-Feb-21
Chuckster 03-Feb-21
GF 03-Feb-21
Mike Ukrainetz 03-Feb-21
x-man 04-Feb-21
greenmountain 06-Feb-21
t-roy 06-Feb-21
trophyhill 06-Feb-21
GF 06-Feb-21
trophyhill 07-Feb-21
Bou'bound 08-Feb-21
02-Feb-21

Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
Where do you aim? Middle of the blue circle or middle of the black one on the X mark? The big circles are for your margin of error. For all western big game especially at possibly longer ranges I aim for the blue circle EXCEPT maybe on a nervous whitetail at close range then I might move to the black X. What about you?!

From: Woods Walker
02-Feb-21
If it's a 90 degree (or very close to it) angle shot, I'd aim for the small blue circle, but I'd prefer that the inside front leg was forward. If the shot is quartering away then it'd be more like the right hand side of the crosshair...or even more depending on the angle.

From: 12yards
02-Feb-21
Yeah, I'm usually aiming in the area of those circles. But I've never in my life worried about whether the front leg was forward or not. No offense meant Woods Walker. Maybe I'm just a bad hunter, but I don't think it's ever caused me a bad hit on the deer or caused me to lose one.

From: x-man
02-Feb-21
Actually, when the leg is forward, that joint at the bottom of the circle moves away but, that joint to the left of that circle moves down and to the right covering more of the vitals area.

My aiming point on level ground there would be on the black horizontal line about two inches left of center. In line with the lower leg.

From: x-man
02-Feb-21

x-man's embedded Photo
x-man's embedded Photo
If he drops (jumps the string) at the release, his body will naturally go down and slightly forward.

From: GF
02-Feb-21
I guess the best bet would be the center of the overlapping areas... but if I have to choose one, I’d probably go with Blue.

02-Feb-21
No matter the angle, I'm trying to slide the arrow right over the top of the heart, which doesn't sit straight up and down. It's the most vascular area of the animal and the quickest way to drop an animal is to sever the aorta.

From: JLBSparks
02-Feb-21
About a hand's width above the "elbow", so, center of the blue circle.

-Joe

From: milnrick
02-Feb-21
My point of aim would be a bit different. Lower the blue circles to so the center of smaller circle has the black horizontal line running thru its middle.

Put the broadhead in that smaller circle and it will fall in sight.

02-Feb-21
But X man if the deer doesn’t move, your margin of error circle puts you right into bone

From: Two Feathers
02-Feb-21
Last time this question was asked the answer was a, b, c or d.

02-Feb-21
In the heart!

From: Rgiesey
02-Feb-21
Top rear edge of blue circle. The leg has drawn my pin lately causing my to either low or high not get good penetration. Would like to be in back lobe of the lung. The top of the heart has been the most effectively location

From: GF
02-Feb-21
“ No matter the angle, I'm trying to slide the arrow right over the top of the heart, which doesn't sit straight up and down. It's the most vascular area of the animal and the quickest way to drop an animal is to sever the aorta.”

Flexing a little Compound Privilege are we?

Yes, I’m ribbing you a little.

I’m not gonna argue, except that with KE in a whole ’nother bracket... I am OK holding off to the rear a touch. If I was sure that I could clip the aortic arch and get 2 holes every time, don’t know that I’d have a good reason to hold anywhere else, except that on a broadside there's just a lotta meat in the way....

On a quartering angle, though.... splitting the gap between the forelegs has proven highly effective...

02-Feb-21
I’m the opposite on whitetail. At very close ranges, like 15-18 yards or less, I’ll aim at the elevation of the blue circle. Unless I’m very high in a tree. Then I adjust for angle. At any range beyond that, I’m aiming lower. Like the bottom of the lungs in that pic. Tight in the pocket.

Regardless of what many say here, an eastern whitetail deer will react to the noise the arrow makes. Modern compounds simply aren’t loud enough to startle all but the most wired up game animals by bow noise alone. On longer shots it will have them reacting quicker. But, it’s not what causes you problems most often. It’s the arrow screaming in at it.

You get a whitetail deer at 15 plus yards here, you better be aiming lower then any dot in that picture. Or, you are going to shoot right over their back.

Out west, I’ve always aimed at the upper heart/lower lung area. Elk move too. Just not fast enough to cause many problems at typical shooting distances. They are just too big to cause the same degree of problems by movement.

These are my experiences.

02-Feb-21

Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
The greatest margin of error is the small X
Mike Ukrainetz's embedded Photo
The greatest margin of error is the small X
The small X is the greatest margin of error with a still 100% killing lung shot. Not in the lower third, tight to the shoulder like we are often told by “experts”.

This is on an animal that you don’t think is going to move, a nervous Texas whitetail over a feeder may be a whole different matter? I’m focused on Western Big Game.

From: JohnMC
02-Feb-21
The heart in your pic seems to far forward.

From: milnrick
02-Feb-21

milnrick's embedded Photo
milnrick's embedded Photo
This photo is of the NBEF's Deer Anatomy mannequin.

Maybe this will help with this discussion.

From: Sand man
02-Feb-21

Sand man's embedded Photo
Sand man's embedded Photo
I typically let a deer get about 10 foot past directly broadside. I have my stands set where there is brush or trees located just past broadside so I can draw undetected. A well placed mock scrape and they will stop at it. The aiming point is generally inline with the opposite leg. Very lethal with a “jump of the string” generally right close to the heart and both lungs.

Mind you, this is from a stand and the point of aim will be higher or lower depending on the angle. Under 10 yards, I aim at the elevation I want the arrow to exit the other side..beyond 10 yards I aim where I want the arrow to enter on the “target side”

From: Sand man
02-Feb-21

Sand man's embedded Photo
Sand man's embedded Photo

From: BUCKeye
02-Feb-21
^ bottom of blue circle

From: LBshooter
03-Feb-21
Just behind front leg bottom third of the lungs.double lung shot and they don't go far.

From: Bou'bound
03-Feb-21
I think it is a distinction without a practical difference.

From: Wild Bill
03-Feb-21
I wouldn't shoot the deer in the picture, because he will clearly hear the shot and see the arrow and dodge it. I would shoot the Milnrick(NBEF) deer, because that position offers a better chance of a great hit.

Remember when the deer in the picture drops, it rotates that shoulderblade where the center of both circles are. Been there and done that, don't want to do it again.

From: x-man
03-Feb-21
"I’m focused on Western Big Game."

Says the guy who posted a picture of a whitetail...

From: x-man
03-Feb-21
WE have all been brainwashed by the vitals locations on 3D targets for years. This kind of thinking is what leads to the phrase " I hit it a little high and back". Do you guys remember the first 20 or so Bloodtrail Challenges on this site? Back when Pat would always aim at the 3D 10 ring. Lots of long difficult trailing jobs on whitetails and one unrecovered elk. All because his aiming point was too high and too far back. The back third and top third of the lungs just don't bleed very much or very fast.

From: Sawpilot75
03-Feb-21

Sawpilot75's embedded Photo
Sawpilot75's embedded Photo
Right here..

From: Rocky D
03-Feb-21
“ On a quartering angle, though.... splitting the gap between the forelegs has proven highly effective...”

I have found that the the best aiming point for angle shots to be the opposite leg.

As far as aiming in the vicinity of the heart I always consider that the heart is to low and too far forward of the majority of of kill zone.

Most of my shots would be focused at the lower left quadrant of the blue circle and with shots past forty yards I aim a little lower around the 6 o’clock position.

Mike, for some reason when I hunted with you every shot I took at a target or animal was a little low. Thx, again for a great hunt!

From: Raiders
03-Feb-21
Any of the 2 shoots will kill the deer in seconds

From: skipmaster1
03-Feb-21
Black circle but an inch lower and maybe just an inch or 2 back on a real jumpy deer.

From: Chuckster
03-Feb-21
I think Sawpilot pin wheeled the blue circle.

From: GF
03-Feb-21
I’m not too keen on that NBEF mode. Looks like it’s at the bottom of a forced exhalation. And at the other end of the spectrum there is that guy who builds the “perfect“ anatomical targets which are based on what he sees when he inflates the lungs of a deer under artificially high pressure.

You wouldn’t go wrong with the NBEF model, but I think it crowds the front a bit.

“ I think Sawpilot pin wheeled the blue circle.”

Maybeso, maybeso not... Really depends on whether the animal was broadside or quartering away.

I think the main thing about 3-Ds that screws people up is that they get used to shooting for the scoring rings on the surface instead of thinking in terms of finding a sphere which is floating somewhere in the middle.

03-Feb-21
You’re right X man on me not using a whitetail for the illustration. I only mentioned it in the original text.

My whole point was just that it seems to make sense to me to aim in the spot with the greatest margin of error that gives a 100% kill. Maybe not important when you are certain you don’t need a big margin of error, close shot, you and the animal aren’t nervous. Or for a super wired, string jumping animal then it’s heart shots all the way! The opinions are all great to read though.

From: x-man
04-Feb-21
You're right Mike. Two schools of thought here. I don't think on it as most likely to kill. I think on it as most likely to recover the animal. I'd rather either have a short massive blood trail, or bounce one off the leg bone and the animal survives. So far, that's only happened once to me. I am fortunate enough that I don't miss left or right due to shooter error. Up and down can vary with yardage estimation. I can never control if or how much the deer drops so, the top-back of the heart is for my ethics, the least margin for error. Your ethics may differ. (not saying they're wrong, just different)

06-Feb-21
One thing these posts illustrate is we all have our own mental image of a perfect hit. Much of our perceptions are based on targets and much is based on our own experiences. I know myself enough to shoot for the center of the heart and lungs while I think perfect is a bit farther forward.

From: t-roy
06-Feb-21
About 9 o’clock on the outside edge of the smaller blue circle, or 11-12 o’clock if I’m elevated above the critter.

06-Feb-21
I used to aim center of the > but after a couple experiences with an elk scap, I have since retrained myself on my 3D target to aim a touch back more in line with the little blue circle. Since then I haven’t had that broadside shot opportunity yet but can say without doubt based on my first couple elk that the double lung is a quick death falling within site or earshot.

From: GF
06-Feb-21
“ I don't think on it as most likely to kill. I think on it as most likely to recover the animal. I'd rather either have a short massive blood trail, or bounce one off the leg bone and the animal survives. ”

I guess that would depend on your equipment to some extent.

But “bouncing off a leg”??

If you’re shooting a big mechanical, aren’t you looking at a large wound, possibly severing important muscles and ruining that leg? Around here, that’s just feeding the coyotes.

And if you’re shooting a fairly solid, heavy head out of a compound, aren’t you pretty likely to break that leg? More Coyote Chow.

I guess that’s what concerns me most about noticing a tendency to line up my shot on a fore-leg; if you hold 2” back off of that leg and you miss low, it’s no blood, no foul. Only a couple inches there at most where you’d hit just brisket. Or you miss high and at least you’re clear of the scapula. Then you’re into backstrap (which is probably as survivable as it gets) or you cut the cord for a permanent knockdown, or possibly hit the body of the spinal column hard enough for a temporary knockdown... or you’re into double-lung territory.

And a double-lung is a damn good hit. Not Murphy-proof, but good odds.

I guess it comes down to whether a spectacular blood trail - or the lack thereof - is a deal-breaker for you.

And FWIW, if I can center-punch the ventricles and drop a deer inside of 80 yards or so without a drop of blood on the ground, then so can anybody else.

Modest Proposal: Next time you get a deer.... see if you can trail it without the blood. Yes (we hope!) there will be blood to follow, but discipline yourself to not move forward until you have found that hoof-print or overturned leaf or snapped twig or hair on the side of a tree or whatever else happened between blood spots. They aren’t ghosts, and a deer on a death run leaves an awful lot of sign if you are willing to slow down, look for it, and train your eye to notice it. Most of us aren’t very good at it because we don’t practice it, but there is no greater opportunity than when you’re on a trail laced with helpful hints. The trick is to not go from one easy answer to the next, like skimming the highlighted lines in a used textbook. It’s the dumbed-down version. You can get a C that way. Lotta people do. OR, you can slow down, digest the information in detail, think it through for yourself... and go ace that next test.

I haven’t learned much at all from easy blood trails. But those were (my fault) missed opportunities; it was only the hard ones where I learned much..... because then, I HAD TO.

So JMO....

Lethality is Job One; leaving wounded animals gimping around is (IMO) entirely Unacceptable. Especially if you hunt where wounded animals are likely to be noticed. Also, the dead ones are a lot easier to catch up with and a lot harder to bump off into areas where you can’t (or don’t want to) follow. In a lot of places (and from an ethical standpoint) a short (distance) difficult trailing job is a better outcome than a longer, “easier” one.

Besides... Just because you didn’t find it doesn’t mean it’s not Dead.

07-Feb-21
Great tip GF! While very stressful if you aren’t seeing any or much blood, I think all hunters should be doing this for when it does happen that there is little or no blood. It’s not if it will happen but when. I’m sure many animals have been left because guys just give up too fast. I know guys do their diligence and still lose animals but at least they gave it every effort despite not seeing blood or only seeing very little blood. And guess what? On occasion you will find the animal.

From: Bou'bound
08-Feb-21
I think it is a distinction without a practical difference.

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