Editors Blog

Best Shot for Bowhunting Depends on Game

The best shot for bowhunting deer is not the same as the best shot for bowhunting hogs. That might seem like simple advice, but it’s something every bowhunter should keep in mind, especially when going on an out-of-state bowhunt during the so-called off season.

I just returned home from a brief 2-day trip to east-central Florida and Hoppy Kempfer’s Osceola Outfitters near St. Cloud. The weather was hot and rainy, but we managed to sneak in a few brief hog hunts while testing new archery products for 2018. The hog hunts (I was successful on back-to-back trips to the swamp) reminded me of the near perfect shot placement that is required on wild hogs.

And let me tell you, the best shot for bowhunting on any hog is not that ideal quartering-away position that we have preached for decades to the legions of faithful whitetail fanatics of Deer & Deer Hunting.

Shooting schools, hunter education programs and backyard practice sessions have taught us the broadside shot is acceptable for bowhunting, but the quartering-away shot is preferred. This needs major prefacing: FOR WHITETAILS. When it comes to hogs, the opposite is true, especially if you’re like me and you’ve reduced your draw weight. I’ve taken my compound bows down to 54 pounds of draw weight these past few years, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in accuracy. The penetration isn’t the same, obviously, as when I was shooting 70 pounds, but I’ve helped make up for that reduction by shooting heavier skinny arrows (I was using the Easton 5 mm FMJs in Deep Six configuration for this hunt). The result is a projectile that is delivering about 70.23 foot-pounds of kinetic energy and 0.496 SLUGS of momentum. That’s plenty enough penetration on average-sized deer and medium-sized meat hogs.

Best Shot for Bowhunting

Although the angling-away shot provides more room for error for the deer hunter, the best shot for bowhunting hogs is one that smack the soft meaty portion of the front leg — just in front of the normal shoulder crease that we all aim for when bowhunting deer. All hogs (they don’t need to be big) die hard, and they usually don’t leave much for bloodtrails. Well, that is unless you’re shooting one of today’s insanely lethal large-cutting-diameter broadheads.

It is also obvious that bowhunters should only use razor-sharp broadheads. The days of fixed vs. expandable are no longer relevant. As long as you’re pushing enough energy, you can put deer or hogs (or anything else that’s in season) down fast and hard with blood-thirsty blades.

An arrow through the lungs is always the best option, but when it comes to hogs, it’s not always that easy. Wild pigs have a plate that extends from the scapula and nearly covers the entire lung region. Furthermore, a pig’s vitals are farther forward than what we typically experience with deer. In this case, a broadside shot at the heart region is the best option.

The author took his first hog while shooting the new Mathews Triax with Easton 5 mm FMJs.

The author’s second hog was taken down with the new TenPoint Nitro X and Beman White Out shafts.


Deer & Deer Hunting invites you to our new Saturday Night Deer Camp, only on Pursuit Channel.

Saturday Night Deer Camp is a primetime block of shows kicked off each week with the award-winning Deer & Deer Hunting TV. Hosted by Dan Schmidt, Gordy Krahn, Mark Kayser and Steve Bartylla, the show is in its 14th season and covers everything related to deer hunting, from tactics and strategy to gear, biology, great hunts and more.

Following DDH TV, you can watch Destination Whitetail, The Given Right with Kenneth Lancaster and then Land of Whitetail. These four shows make Saturday Night Deer Camp your must-watch viewing this year.

Check your local listings for Pursuit Channel. It’s also available now on AT&T U-Verse, Channel 1644, among other networks.