Ask The Biologist

Shoulder vs. Lungs

Shoulder vs. Lungs

By Bob Humphrey

Is one shot better than the other for firearms hunters?

QUESTION: I was taught to always aim for the heart-lung area on a deer, but I recently went on a trip down South, and some of the guys in camp talked about shooting deer in the shoulder. Which is the better shot to ensure you recover the deer.

ANSWER: I’ll assume you’re asking about shots with a firearm, in which case it’s kind of a matter of personal preference, what you’re taught and what you’re familiar with.

Neither shot is better or worse than the other, provided your shot placement is correct. A shot to the vitals will damage one or both lungs and possibly the heart or major arteries. It will kill a deer, but the animal may travel some distance before expiring, which means more tracking and possibly dragging.

If properly placed, the shoulder shot should drop the deer on the spot as it’s intended to hit not just the shoulder but the spine. The downside is there’s less margin for error. A few inches off, and your shot could do damage but not be fatal.

Much the same applies to neck shots. If you’re a practiced and proficient shooter, they can be very effective, but it’s a smaller target.

— Recent Ask the Biologist Question:

Not a Flat Tire: If you hear this sound in the woods, get ready! Find Out The Answer!

Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd