Can You Shoot a Deer in the Head?

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can you shoot a deer in the head

Have you ever wondered whether you can shoot a deer in the head?

This question comes up a lot among hunters, and it is a good question.

Well, today’s post will help you answer that question.

Let’s get started.

Can You Shoot a Deer in the Head?

First, lets talk about why you might want to attempt a head shot.

A well placed shot to the head can result in an instant kill.

There are rare situations when it can be considered.

But in almost all cases, you probably shouldn’t.

Let’s discuss why…

Why Don’t You Shoot a Deer in the Head?

Forget about getting a nice clean, boiled skull…

Going for head shots while hunting is a matter of hunting ethics.

All of us hunters should strive for a humane, clean kill.

A deer’s head is constantly moving. One quick move as you take your shot could spell disaster.

Also, the head is a much smaller target than the area of the body where the vitals are.

Let’s say a buck turns his head right as you shoot…

There are a few potential risks here:

  1. You could miss completely.
  2. You might hit the deer in a way that isn’t lethal, say in the jaw.

If the second happens, the buck could run off leaving it badly wounded.

And, you may never see it again.

The deer will be in pain and can no longer eat, so you have left the deer to experience a slow, agonizing death.

The same holds true for neck shots.

correct place to shoot a deer

Aiming for the buck’s vital organs (heart, lungs etc.) leaves a lot more room for error.

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You can think of this as the kill zone.

This part of the deer is much less likely to move rapidly, and even if your shot isn’t perfect, it is still much more likely to result in a lethal blow.

Where to Shoot a Deer Head On

Eventually the time will come…

When you see a nice buck but it is facing you head on and you can’t aim where you typically would if it was broadside.

In this situation you might ask, should I aim for the head?

My answer…

Is still no.

Just because a deer is facing you head on doesn’t mean you should aim for the head.

correct spot to shoot a deer head on

In fact:

Nothing really changes from when the deer is broadside.

The correct shot placement is to still aim for the heart and lungs like shown in the image above.

This location is still a much larger target that is less prone to sudden movements than the head.

If the deer’s head is blocking this area, you should wait for a better shot.

Is it Illegal to Shoot a Deer in the Head?

While it may not be the most ethical or humane thing to do, as far as I am aware, it is not illegal to shoot a deer in the head.

Unlike hunting deer with a .22 or hunting deer at night a head shot is typically legal.

deer headshot illegal Can You Shoot a Deer in the Head?

But just because something is legal doesn’t mean you should do it.

As we have discussed in this article, in nearly every case, it is better to aim for a deer’s vitals.

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There is a reason why a .22 is considered one of the worst calibers for hunting deer.

If you still are questioning the legality of head shots, it is best to contact your states fish and game department and ask.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>