Editors Blog

Whitetail Wisdom Blog: How to Drop a Deer in Its Tracks

A bullet to the brachial plexus will drop a deer in its tracks every time.

A bullet to the brachial plexus will drop a deer in its tracks every time.

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.

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.

Regardless of whether you are bowhunting or gun-hunting, if you see a deer go down 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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Pursuit Channel announced today that it will be expanding its market-leading distribution coverage in the United States with a long term carriage agreement with AT&T U-verse. Launching in mid-May 2017 or sooner, Pursuit Channel HD will be received by all HD U-verse customers in the superior picture quality of high definition.

“Adding Pursuit HD to AT&T U-verse coupled with DIRECTV, Fios by Verizon and Prism by CenturyLink positions Pursuit Channel as a new category leader in providing outdoor content in full 1080i, and greatly establishes Pursuit with the largest footprint when you bring Dish into the conversion,” said Rusty Faulk, CEO of Pursuit Channel. “Our independent television producers, some of whom have been with us since the inception of the network nine years ago, deserve all the credit for positioning this broadcasting business as the best buy in outdoor television,” he added.

Dennis Presley of MOOSE Media said: “This massive increase in high-quality households means Pursuit has accumulated more HD homes in recent memory than all of its top competitors combined. And the category’s most accurate and dependable viewership audit soon promises to paint that picture with the same bright, crispness as the Pursuit Channel HD signal.”

Pursuit Channel offers the best in whitetail hunting programming.

Pursuit Channel offers the best in whitetail hunting programming.

Pursuit showcases dozens and dozens of leading outdoor television series, including: Deer and Deer Hunting, Destination Whitetail, Land of Whitetails and Modern Shooter; The Given Right; Americana Outdoors, Deer Gear TV, Yamaha’s Whitetail Diaries, Cabela’s Fisherman’s Handbook and Ranger Boats’ IFA Redfish Tour, Collegiate Bass Series and Texas Team Trail; Ducks Unlimited Television; Remington Country; Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt., NWTF 365; Gamekeepers of Mossy Oak and Mossy Oak Country Roots; Wallhanger TV; Winchester and Drury’s Natural Born; American Airgunner; Doug Koenig’s Championship Season; Canadian Whitetail TV; The American Way; Love of the Hunt; Shoot Straight with Chad Shearer; Predator Quest; Open Season; The Best of the West; The Mudbum Boys; On the Water with Hank Parker; Primal Instinct; Ultimate Outdoors with Wayne Pearson; Sporting Dog Adventures; Majesty Outdoors; Jason Peterson into the Wild; The High Road with Keith Warren; The Bear Whisperer; Trigger Time; American Rebel; Where in the world is Colorado Buck; Silent Draw; The Grind Waterfowl TV; Blitz TV; and Blue Collar Adventure