Outdoor Life - - NO EXCUSES -

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.

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