Bowhunting’s Big Blunder: Aiming Too Far Back

Archery seasons are getting rolling across North America, and millions of bowhunters are taking to the field in hopes of filling their freezers with the ultimate organic meat—wild game.

Sadly, however, some of these archers will come home empty-handed because they made bowhunting’s biggest blunder: aiming too far back. Let me explain.

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As the Rinehart 3-D Anatomy Deer target below shows, if you aim a few inches behind the front leg, and low on a deer’s body, you stand a good chance of hitting the deer’s diaphragm, intestines or stomach. Not good.

Forget about aiming behind a broadside deer’s front leg; instead, aim directly over its front leg.

“But I’ll hit the leg bone!” you say.

Wrong. Again, check out Rinehart’s anatomically correct target. Just above the bellyline, a deer’s front leg bone turns at almost a right angle toward the deer’s neck, where it then joins the scapula (shoulder bone). Note: To impact the shoulder, your arrow would have to hit very high.

On a broadside deer from ground level, aim right over the front leg, about one-third of the way up from the bellyline. Adjust accordingly when aiming at a quartering-away deer, or at a broadside or quartering-away deer from a treestand. Your goal is to send an arrow through both lungs.

What about quartering-toward shots? Avoid them, because even if you miss the leg bone, your arrow will probably penetrate only one lung, and while the deer will probably die, it can live for several hours, which can make recovering it extremely difficult.

Good luck this deer season. Shoot straight, and just as importantly ... aim correctly!

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