Understand Where To Shoot A Deer For Satisfying Results


Undoubtedly, killing an animal in one shot is what almost all hunters desire, regardless of their skill levels. But even an experienced hunter may not be aware of where to shoot a deer to end its life in one shot.

According to experienced sharpshooters having to kill deers quickly, your bullet placement depends on various other factors. Such as your bullet type, shoot distance, shooting ability, and also meat retention.

Most people are taught to target the “boiler room” including its heart and lungs, but you can aim for other positions and still get a good result. Below is how to hit a deer in the most humane ways possible.

What To Shoot

Besides choosing the best place to shoot a deer, you want to pick the right weapon to get the work done. You can throw broadheads with a crossbow or compound or shoot the wild animal with a suitable rifle and scope.

The broadhead on a bolt or arrow would slice through the deer’s vital tissue. There are 2 ways that broadheads cause death, either making holes in the lungs and resulting in organ deflation or severe bleeding.

Keep in mind that you need to sharpen a modern broadhead before hunting, even if the weapon comes out of a factory package. This is because a broadhead has to be surgically sharp to do most damages.

Instead of tissue slicing like arrows, bullets and similar projectiles kill a deer by delivering a hydro-static shock throughout its body. Most feature bullets will expand to further push the wound to grow larger.

Where To Shoot

The mentioned positions below let you know where to shoot a deer with a rifle or other weapons as desired. You can totally drop a deer with a quick and clean shot without aiming only for its “boiler room.”

The High Shoulder Shot

high shoulder


The high shoulder is one of the most effective shots with spectacular results. The fast bullet from your rifle is planned to go through a shoulder blade, then pass the chest cavity to hit the inside of the opposite shoulder.

If you succeed in shooting the high shoulder, the bullet will break its spine and ribs, paralyze the deer’s central nervous system, and finish this target fast. You can easily anchor it with authority via this shoot.

Your rifle has to have enough power and heavy bullets to complete the shoulder shot. They will blow through its bone before expanding. We do not recommend light rifles and low weight bullets in this case.


There is a high possibility of missing when you aim for this area of a deer. Moreover, the volatile bullets suitable for the job can damage a large amount of prime meat, from its shoulder, neck to the backstrap.

The Heart – Lung Shot



The heart and lungs target is popular among ethical hunters since you can shoot a deer in their heart and make some lung damages at the same time. Consequently, this “boiler room” area is highly lethal.

Whether you use a broadhead or bullet to hit the deer, this massive damage inside will take it down in seconds. Any injury in this part will also leave behind a blood trail, so you can follow and take more shots.

The deer’s chest cavity is much larger than its brain, spine, or neck; thus, hitting the animal on this part ensures higher success. You can even miss the shot by a few inches but still do enough fatal damages.


If you load your rifle with lightweight bullets, you may still miss this shot. A light projectile is not reliable and powerful enough as it can glance off its shoulder blade/rib, redirecting the shot to a safer area.

Remember that the deer might survive and recover if you only clip a part of its single lung. Also, deers do not always go down right away with a heart-lung shot, so you will need to follow their blood trails.

The Brain (Head) Shot



It is common sense that you can drop a deer instantly when properly execute a shot on its head. This direct brain hit shuts down all of its body function, causing unconsciousness for the deer to feel no pain.

Moreover, you will be pleased to know that a headshot damages very little to no meat in the process. However, you ought to understand that this brain shot is both highly effective and simultaneously risky.


The brain is a small target that cannot be easily approached as other visible targets. A slight inch off, and the deer may escape. Since thick bones surround its brain, things may get hard even when using rifles.

It is likely that your bullet can glance off after making contact with its skull, even for a nice shot. The worst scenario is probably glancing jaw shots, not instantly fatal and lead to a long and miserable death.

That is why an attentive hunter would agree that the high risk of its dreadful injury is not worth your possible reward in the end. You may miss the deer’s vital brain area and leave behind a wounded creature.

The Neck Shot



Hitting a deer in the neck is similar to a money shot since it causes the least amount of meat loss. This massive shock into its neck will affect the vertebrae and spinal cord to result in immediate paralysis.


The bad news is experienced hunters find it hard to take a neck shot. The vital zone on its neck is narrow, so aiming low wounds the deer with little chances of recovery, while hitting high may risk losing it.

Another downside of this shot is how it tends to paralyze the animal and cannot end its life immediately, resulting in extended pain. The neck shot often needs a follow-up shot or a sharp slice on its throat.

Our advice is to exclude this shooting option for bowhunters. This is because arrows will fly much slower than bullets, while deers have an amazing rate of reflexes. They will jump off quickly from this danger.

The Key Is Accuracy

Accuracy is everything in terms of deer hunting. Even when you know the most effective areas to hit a deer, that does not mean you could easily shoot a projectile through that target and take it down.

We recommend having regular practice sessions with your selected weapon. After putting repeated arrows or rounds through targets in the backyard, we know you can get more confidence and better skill.

Make sure you have carefully placed your first shot before executing it. There may not be a second chance for another one. You can train with diverse shooting angles: walking away, straight on, or broadside.

Straight On

Hunting is like a complicated math problem that you constantly have to adapt to get the best results. There are loads of other external factors in the woods waiting to mess with your possibly good shots.

Tree branches and other vegetation deflect the way your projectile moves. Other problems include the wind and the deer’s movement, muscle, and bone definition that cause an unwanted trajectory of the bullet/arrow.

If you manage to adapt to the situation in the woods quickly, you can totally increase the chance of success. And if you are not certain of any aspect of your upcoming shot, it is best to wait for a better time.

You should also be patient because it is not a daily chance to spot a trophy buck. An uninjured deer walks away can be hunted another day, but a wounded animal that dies alone does not do you any good.


Have you learned where to shoot a deer aside from the “boiler room” area? It is advisable to focus on its high shoulder, brain (head), neck, and heart – lung, prepare yourself, and execute a nice and clean shot.

There are various types of weapons to hunt down a deer in the woods, but you should understand which projectile is effective in different situations. Bolts and arrows are alright, but bullets are the best thing.

This article has explained both pros and cons of each shooting point, hoping to bring you practical knowledge on deer shooting. Consider your target carefully before making any decision on taking it down.

We hope you can collect some useful information from this article. Good luck in your deer hunting session, and thank you for reading.

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