I HIT NO MAN'S LAND
I’d lay odds that a hit high in the chest results in more lost deer with a bow than all other marginal hits combined. Contrary to the popular “no man’s land” myth, there is no gap between a whitetail’s lungs and its spine, but the spine does sit lower in a deer’s chest than many hunters realize. That’s why at first, this hit can look pretty good. But the arrow zips either through the backstraps or the upper edges of the scapulae (which are surprisingly easy to penetrate). The telltale sign of a high hit will be bits of sticky meat on the arrow and a bright-red blood trail that fades quickly. Deer usually survive this type of hit. Most high hits are the result of nervous, string-jumping whitetails and steep shot angles taken from a high treestand. So, remember this: Bad as a high hit is, a low hit usually means a dead deer. As long as your broadhead penetrates just above the white fur line, it will find vitals, and the shot is usually fatal. I like to aim at whitetails as if they were 5 yards closer than the actual range. Some bowhunters call that “cheating low,” but it helps me put more venison in the freezer, and I don’t consider it cheating at all. —W.B.