If you bowhunt long enough, you’re bound to experience some really interesting reactions by deer. Such was the case with this Florida buck I shot last month.
After watching this buck’s reaction, one would think it was hit in the spine or, better yet, the brachial plexus (high shoulder). As you can see from the still frames, neither was the case. This deer was center-punched through the heart. The NAP KillZone broadhead, propelled by an Easton FMJ, buried in the the opposite side of the deer (we examined the deer while processing it later).
By Daniel E. Schmidt
I’ve shot more than 250 whitetails in my lifetime — more than 125 of those with bow and arrow. This is not to boast, just bring up a point. Out of all of those bow-kills, I can only recall two that dropped in their tracks from brachial plexus shots; never from a heart shot. Yes, I’ve spined other deer (spine and/or neck vertebrae), but those are completely different impact points.
In fact, while gun-hunting, I often shoot for the brachial plexus. That is the scientific name for the network of veins, nerves, tendons and muscles that encompass the shoulder and scapula. In a mature white-tailed deer, the scapula resembles an inverted triangle that is perhaps 4 inches wide at the top, gradually tapering to just over an inch at its connection with the humerus bone.
Hitting the shoulder bone squarely with a bullet isn’t difficult for a practiced firearms shooter, but it does require intimate knowledge of the scapula’s location and how it is repositioned in a deer’s skeleton at various leg positions.
For example, the scapula/humerus joint points toward a 7 o’clock angle when the foreleg extends forward (example: when a deer steps forward from a broadside position). The joint points to a 4 o’clock angle when the leg completes the step.
It’s not a shot you want to take while bowhunting, because a broadhead will oftentimes just bury itself in the bone and not severe enough of the veins and nerves to cause instant death.
But instant death from a heart shot? That’s something new for me. Not complaining one bit — it was quick, almost instanteous death and resulted in no tracking job.
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