If you want to drop a deer in its tracks with one shot, you need to first learn your deer anatomy. Study the deer’s skeletal system, and it will be much easier to drop a deer right then and there. But there’s a little more to it than that. Let me explain.
How to Drop a Deer in Its Tracks
In this week’s Whitetail Wisdom blog: Perfect shot placement of a shot is what all hunters should seek. If you want to know how drop a deer in its tracks, you should familiarize yourself with the physiological term brachial plexus. Once you know what this is, you might look at deer and deer hunting (and shot placement) in a completely different fashion.
To drop that deer in its tracks, know that brachial plexus is the scientific name for the network of veins, nerves, tendons and muscles that encompass the shoulder and scapula (or “shoulder blade”). Seasoned deer hunters know that a bullet that’s shot through the scapula damages the brachial plexus, which is part of the central nervous system, and renders the animal almost instantaneously immobile.
That is why the high-shoulder shot has always been a recommended aiming target among gun-hunters. The shoulder blade, at its widest section, is about a 3-inch circle — a large target for a gun-hunter — that offers a wide room for error. Bullets kill deer via trauma. A shot that misses high will hit the spinal column; a shot that misses low will take out the heart; and a rearward shot will take out the lungs.
The Shot That Will Drop a Deer
What about bowhunting? Is the brachial plexus shot an option for compound or crossbow hunters? No. Not intentionally, anyway. I urge all hunters to never purposefully aim for the shoulder blade on a deer while doing any type of bowhunting. The margin of error, in this case, is too high that something could go wrong. Even with high-performance bows and crossbows, deflections can and will happen if the broadhead does not encounter the “soft” (relative term here) portion of the scapula. When I say soft, I mean the thinner outer rim of the scapula. The scapula’s inner construction consists of a very thick bone ridge that will stop almost any broadhead.
Of course, there are always exceptions, as seen in the bowhunting video shown here:
In this case, the bowhunter’s arrow hits the scapula’s outer rim and also severes enough of the nerve bundle within the brachial plexus to drop this deer in its tracks. Congratulations to this hunter on a quick, clean kill. The shot did not go completely as planned, but he certainly go the job done. However, in my opinion, the hunter and his buddy shouldn’t have been celebrating so quickly. But I know how that goes — the mere sight of that deer going down in its tracks is almost relief (“I got him!”). It has happened to me, too.
It’s Not Over When You Drop a Deer in Its Tracks
Regardless of whether you are bowhunting or gun-hunting, if you drop a deer in its tracks, the immediate course of action should be to put another arrow or bullet into the animal — or, at very least, be immediately ready to do so. If the deer drops in its tracks, train yourself to err on the side of caution almost to the point of panic. Over the years I have seen deer regain their footing and flee — never to be found by the hunter. It’s not common, but it happens.
— For more of Dan Schmidt’s Whitetail Wisdom, be sure to tune into Deer & Deer Hunting’s Saturday Night Deer Camp this year on Pursuit Channel. Deer Camp will be anchored by the 13th season of D&DH-TV, and will feature two hours of nonstop whitetail action.
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