Heart-Shot-Deer

How Far Will a Heart Shot Deer Run?

Hunting is more than just a kill. Accuracy, assessing the scenario, and a quick adaptation is the key in hunting.


A heart shot deer will typically run from 15 yards to more than 100 yards. I still remember the hunt in the last few weeks of October in the North Dakota. As the 2015 white tail season came close, I prepared for a hunt with my grandfather for the last time. My grandfather and I brought our AR-15 rifle with us. While waiting for our game in a tree stand, he would recall his past expeditions. He would often mention about a Japanese Russian master piece, Dersu Uzala (1975) in which a hunter was followed by a Siberian tiger. I always watched him prepare for that deer target in an early archery season. I still find his stories enjoyable and worth learning. One of the lessons I learned from him is to respect every prey as worthy and beautiful creatures. At the time I enjoy my hunt and try to experience the feelings I have never been able to experience before.

On October 27th, the sun was shining bright that day. My grandfather and I sat in the ground blind as we watched a white tail 50 yards away. All of a sudden we saw other two of white tail deer coming this way. I desperately wanted this opportunity to harvest the deer as a reminder of this memorable hunt to my grandfather. One of them appeared from behind the bush. I knew this was the moment. Hence, I pulled the trigger while taking the aim. I aimed for the heart which was successful. After the heart shot, the deer did a “mule kick” and could rarely find a trail to use. It proceeded to dart off with a blazing speed in any direction it could possibly go. The bright red and thick blood sprayed out a nice pattern. It took roughly 30 minutes for the deer to go down before blood trailing. The deer ran about 67 yards away from the shot site. It would have run less than 50 yards if there was close area. But the deer covered 67 yards because of the open fields.

How Far Will a Deer Run With a Liver Shot?

Because of the reason we had been chasing down these three deer for a year, nothing could convert this excitement into anxiety faster. Soon after my shot, my grandfather released a bullet from his rifle fearing to lose the other two. He was fooled by the deer’s front foot placement and thus, the shot hit one of the other two in the liver. A liver shot is just like a gut shot. After laboring away, it travelled a quarter mile (further than 200 yards) before bedding down. The blood trail was pretty much decent initially. But, as a result of this shot, it declined to a few droplets that disappeared after about 10 to 20 yards. While, a heart shot deer recovers faster, hitting the liver means the deer will die faster. So, we still needed to wait about one and a half hour before tracking down this one. The shot can be effective depending on the penetration.

Will a Deer Die If Shot High?

I am always questioned about the lethality of a high shot. I believe hunting is more than just a kill, so every hunter should better do a little research before going out in the field. A deer shot in the high chest is not lethal. The shot is in the so-called “dead zone” that is between the lungs and the spine. Thus, the deer will most likely run and act uninjured. There is not enough blood loss to kill the deer. Most high shots in the forward region are not fatal. Pulling a shot a few inches high will hit the deer in “no man’s land”. I believe it is because of string jumping as the deer bounds off at the sound of shot. Shooting from a tree stand 18 to 20 feet above the ground might also be another reason for a shot high in the chest. The blood trail of this deer will most likely be less than 100 yards. Obviously you have to follow it up until you are certain about the death of the deer. But, honestly speaking, the deer is not probably going to die. The best way to recover this shot is take a chance with a second arrow and be careful while making the hit.

Will a Shoulder Shot With a Bow Kill a Deer?

deer-bow-shot

A shoulder shot is the most common occurrence in hunting. It is also easy to miss. The success depends entirely on the penetration. The blood on the broken shaft will tell about the penetration. My daughter once killed a white tail deer that had been shoulder shot with a Hybrid Cam Compound Bow. The penetration was only 3 to 4 inches and there was a short blood trail. The deer recovered the shot and survived. Although, we did take him down later. It is pretty surreal looking back at that day. Because I felt extremely proud as my daughter joined me in this endeavour. A shot with this kind of penetration can cause an infection which would eventually result in the death of the animal later. An injured hunt animal died in this way will benefit no one. The best way to recover is to make sure the penetration is at least 7 to 8 inches. This deep penetration will get at least one lung. Spotting a hunt worthy deer does not happen every day, so it is better to wait and maybe waste a shot if that’s what it costs. No venison will go to waste, if you know where to make a shot and what to do. The first shot in any hunt is crucial. So, evaluate your shot and make sure to practice with your weapon.

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