5 Best Places To Shoot A Deer For Single Shot Kill

To shoot or not to shoot? That is the question that confronts us, hunters when we have a deer in our sights. Because let us be honest, we all desire of taking down a big game with a single shot.

So, where is the best place to shoot a deer without it scampering off with a serious injury?

Well, there are several answers to this question, and they all depend on several factors.

But in short, For firearm users, the head is the best place to target. and if you use deer hunting crossbow and want to know where to shoot a deer with a crossbow; simply aim at the lung area. Remember when shooting with your crossbow shot placement is more important compared to killing with firearms

We discussed more in-depth below and draw the illustrations about how you can easily target and secure kill shot perfectly in a humane way.

Also for starters, you must first consider the firearms or bows and additional pieces of equipment such as scopes or binoculars.

To consider Firearms, we will recommend you to choose either a .308 caliber rifle or from the top selections of our recommended best deer hunting rifles

If you prefer bow hunting, try a powerful crossbow and always mount a night vision scope, especially if you are hunting in the dark. Also, you can opt single pin bow rather than a fixed pin sight.

And if you prefer a 308 caliber rifle or other firearms, mount a high-quality 308 rifle scope or long-range deer hunting scopes to enhance your aim and secure the kill in a single shot.

crossbow with deer hunting

All these factors will influence your decision on where to shoot deer. When you are a professional hunter like me, you cannot afford a miss or a wounded deer. So how do you guarantee a deer kill shot? Well, below are the best places to shoot a deer.

Quick Tips: I am assuming you will learn which is the best place to shoot a deer humanely from the next part as it requires to explain in details. But if you want to know which are my top crossbow selections for hunting deer these are some given in below.

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Last update on 2020-10-27

Top 5 Best Places To Shoot A Deer

The High Shoulder

best place to shoot a deer

Probably the best kill shot for deer is the high shoulder shot. If executed properly a shoulder shot can kill a deer instantly. To achieve the best results a deer hunting rifle such or hunting gun is recommended to a bow. Don't try to shoot the deer with an air rifle even its .22 air rifle or more powerful.

A well placed shot to a deer’s shoulder blade will go through the chest cavity and to the other shoulder blade. The shock caused by such a shot will paralyze the animal’s nervous system. Furthermore, such a shot will break the spine. Also, a shot to an animal’s shoulder blades will disable the animal’s front legs, rendering it immobile.

The Upside

The upside to a shoulder shot is that the shoulder area is a high kill zone on a deer. The shoulder shot will render a deer immobile. Also, such a shot will ensure that the deer does not run away. Additionally, the shoulder shot will kill a deer almost instantly.

The Downside

The downside to a shoulder shot is that you cannot use a bow. Also, only heavy bullets will get the job done. The problem with using heavy bullets is that they cause massive meat loss. Considering that the meat around the shoulder meat is considered prime, the damage caused to the meat can be disheartening. Also, shoulder shot is not to achieve.

best-places-to-shoot-a-deer-6 (1)

Bottom line

With the right firearm and ammunition, the shoulder is one of the best shot placement for deer. But when a bow is your primary tool, I recommend sticking to the lungs. So the best place to shoot deer with bow is in the lung area. Since even with a bow with sufficient draw weight getting the job done is never guaranteed. In Addition you can try crossbow scope for better aiming and for killing it humanely and yet it is not guaranteed.

PRO Tips: Don't forget to take your rangefinder binoculars and rubber hunting boots before going to the field. Because the rangefinder binoculars can make the difference between night and day.

With precise glassing and ranging, you can locate your deer more accurately and can kill more humane way. Yes, rangefinder binos are pricier but If you can not afford rangefinder binoculars at least take some other budget binos or as the hunting binoculars under 200.

On the other hand, having a pair of rubber hunting boots will prevent your feet from foster bite so keep in mind about your feet. Always check your boots before going to the hunting.

Also If you are a professional deer hunter you must need to know which deer feeder will be ideal for your need. You scattering your deer attractant in the wide area will create the chance of wastage and eating the bait by the intruder such as raccoons and others, So I will advise you to choose a feeder rather than scattering your bait. 

The Brain

The brain is a vital organ, and a well-placed shot to a deer’s brain will disrupt all its essential functions. Also, a precise shot to the brain is one of the most humane ways to kill a deer.

This is because the deer will experience no pain and will lose consciousness immediately. Additionally, a brain shot guarantees minimal meat loss.

Where To Shoot A Deer With a Rifle From The Front?

For the Rifle or firearms user, the best point of a target is the head because only by this the maximum damage of the brain can be done.

Well, draw two lines one from the left eye to right ear, and another is from right eye to left ear. And then identify the intersection. That's the point you have to shoot from the front. This technique is only advisable when the deer is relaxing or immobile.

best places to shoot a deer 3

Problems With The Headshot

But before you pull your favorite remington 700 trigger, there are some few things you should know about the brain shot. For starter’s a deer’s brain is a relatively small target. Thus, you might have difficulties getting accurate brain shots if you are using heavy bullets. Personally, I recommend using small frangible bullets.

Another problem with the brain is that it is well protected by a thick bone. Therefore, never try this shot with a bow. The fact that a deer’s head is small does not make things any easier. Thus, a weak shot will only glance off the skull and do the deer no harm. Worst yet, the shot might miss and hit the deer’s jaw. This will not kill it but will leave the deer unable to feed and will eventually die of starvation, not the most humane way to kill a deer.


While the brain is one of the best places to shoot a deer, do not try this shot if you are an amateur or a bow hunter. Also, you can only take this shot if you are facing the deer.

If you are positioned behind your target accomplishing a brain shot is impossible. Also, if you want to target deer head, do it when the deer is resting or sleeping.

The last time I killed a deer with a headshot was a year ago. It was at night, and I was about 60 yards from the deer on a raised platform with a .223 Remington. I fired a 55-grain frangible projectile, and the deer fell motionless.

The Neck

What Part Of The Game Animals Is The Most Efficient Place To Shoot?

This is a question you are likely to encounter in many online hunters forums. And one of the most debatable answers given to this question is the neck area.

While some hunters feel that a neck shot on deer is unethical, others feel that it is the best spot to shoot a deer. Based on my experiences, a neck shot can be effective or can be disastrous.

best places to shoot a deer

Deer Neck Shot Benefits

A well-aimed shot to a deer’s neck area will cut off blood supply to the brain. Additionally, the shot will cut through the deer’s spinal cord rendering it immobile. Therefore, such a shot will cause the deer to go to shock and die immediately.

Similar to the head shot, the neck shot guarantees minimal to no meat loss. Also, a precise shot to the neck is painless as it causes the massive shock to the spinal cord.


Unfortunately, there is a good reason why some hunters are against neck shots. The neck area’s vital parts are small. Thus, you must be a very good shot to hit precisely the right area.

If you hit too low, the deer will be wounded. Additionally, this shot can paralyze a deer requiring you to take a second shot or to slit its throat to finish the job.

Before you become a pro at shooting deer in the neck, you will have to practice where to shoot a deer diagram with a rifle. For practicing with crossbow or archery I would recommend you to choose the best archery target for honing your skills. Shooting a deer in the neck with a bow is not recommended. It is important to note that a neck shot, though acceptable is not recommended for deer hunting.

best place to shoot a deer


If you insist on taking down a deer with a bow, it is important to ensure you have the right broadheads. Moreover, the bow you are using needs to have sufficient draw weight.

In summary,

The deer neck shot placement can be tricky since you have to aim precisely at the spinal cord. If you miss the spinal cord, the deer might scamper off to die a slow agonizing death. This is especially if you hit the lower neck area.

The Heart

The deer heart location is the low areas of the chest cavity. The heart is thus a small target to aim at. However, a precise shot to the heart will more often than not lead to instant death. Of worth noting is that this whitetail deer kill zone is covered by the upper leg.

best places to shoot a deer 5

Benefits Of A Heart Shot

One of the main advantages of a deer heart shot is that the heart is a vital part. Thus, a deer will most likely drop in its track when you hit its heart. Also, this is an area where vital blood vessels are found. Thus, a shot to the heart can lead to massive blood loss.

best places to shoot a deer

Downside Of  Heart Shot & Chances Of Lung Puncture

The downside to targeting a deer’s heart shot is that it is a small area. Thus, there is no margin for error when targeting a deer’s heart. Also, the chances of the deer escaping while bleeding are higher.

Actually, a heart shot will result in severe blood loss. Thus, most hunters will use the blood trail to track a dying deer. Also, light bullets will deflect off the rib cage and cause the minimal deer harm.

If you hit too forward the deer will be able to escape with a non-fatal injury. On the other hand, if you hit too low you will hit the deer’s leg resulting in broken muscles. However, if you shoot high, you might miss the heart but puncture the lungs, which will still result in death.


If you are aiming at a deer’s heart you better be sure of hitting the heart. In summary, if you want to take down a deer by aiming at the heart use a heavy bullet. Personally, I use .308 caliber rifles whenever I want to kill an animal through the heart. The heavy .308 bullet penetrates the ribcage and punctures both lungs and the heart. The only thing that makes me not opt for the heart shot is the meat loss. A heavy bullet will be destructive and take a huge chunk of meat, which is sometimes not desirable.

Best Deer Targets : Which Are the Best Deer Archery Targets For Practice

These are some of the best deer targets in the market and we believe you will find the best deer targets from these lists.

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Last update on 2020-10-27

The Lung Area : Best Place To Shoot Deer With Bow

If you are a bow hunter, the one area that you should always aim is the lung area. Unlike a bullet which can exit an animal, a bow gets lodged in the lung making it difficult for a deer to breathe. This is one of the quickest ways to kill a deer or any other big game. The deer will be incapable of breathing and thus will be unable to escape.

best places to shoot a deer 6

The Upside

A shot to the lung is a guaranteed kill shot on a deer for bow hunters. This is because the lung area is large and is easy to target with a bow. Also, it is very unlikely that a deer will escape with a bow lodged in its lung. Therefore, you save time.

Additionally, a shot to the lung is efficient and guarantees similar results as a heart shot. As such, if you are wondering where to aim on a deer as a bow hunter, consider the lung and heart area.

The Downside

The only downside to this shot is that it is effective with a bow. If you are using a rifle, the bullet might exit the animal causing a wound but not killing it instantly. Additionally, when using a gun, you will need heavy bullets that will penetrate the lungs. Light bullets will only hit the rib cage and will not do the deer any life-threatening harm.


To achieve the desired results aim for the middle of the lungs. The center of the lungs is a good kill spot on a deer. A well placed shot to this area causes a deer to suffocate to death. Also, the shot will be clear of the heart. Thus, there will be less meat and blood loss compared to a heart shot.

Summing Up : Where To Hit A Deer ?

Where to hit a deer depends on a number of variables that include how far the deer is from you, the kind of firearm you are using, and whether the deer is calm.

Selection Of  Weapons

If you use a bow, the traditional whitetail deer shot placement areas of the lung and chest cavity are recommended. On the other hand, if you are using a rifle, I recommend using a .308 caliber rifles. Avoid using small caliber rifles such as .22 caliber rifles.

Practice Practice & Practice

To know where to aim when shooting a deer practice will be invaluable. Hitting the gun range can improve your shooting skills remarkably. Also, practicing will help you know where to shoot a deer from the front.

Essentially, if you are in front a shot to the head will get the job done. Alternatively, a shot to the lungs can also be ideal.

However, when you are aiming at a deer’s chest or lung area frontal shots might not do. This is especially if you are using a bow. The chest area is protected by the rib cage, which is hard. Thus, arrows and some bullets might not penetrate a deer’s front end. On the other hand, if you are in a broadside position a shot the rib cage will be effective.

You may wodering and wants to know : how can you avoid hitting the shoulder blade with a broadside shot?

The best answer is WAIT and WATCH. When the front leg is forwarded you are good to go and can avoid hitting the shoulder blade.

Distance of the Deer

To know where is the best place to shoot a deer, consider how far it is from you. In my opinion, if a deer is not far away from me and I am in a nice comfy position a neck shot will be ideal. A brain shot can also be perfect if the deer is resting.

However, if the deer is far away from me or is moving, the shoulder, chest or lung area will be a better target. I am less likely to miss an animal’s lung area than I am likely to miss its neck.

Thus, the answer to the question where is the best spot to shoot a deer will depend on how far the animal is from me. In conclusion, if you want to know where do you shoot a deer, consider its position.


  1. Odell Irias
    • Outdoorever


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