Something that confuses me

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by leaf and lightning, May 17, 2017.

  1. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    Had some time to think about stuff due to recent medical stuff going on. We are (mostly)taught not to take headshots on deer due to the small brain size and the fact that deer move their heads a lot. This is sensible, I guess, but we are also taught to (mostly) only take headshots on squirrels. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a squirrel's head about the same size as a deer's brain, and I know that squirrels move a lot more than a deer's head does. I am not advocating headshooting deer, and I understand the size difference between a squirrel and .22lr vs a deer and most deer cartridges, I am just arguing the logic of it. Shouldn't any avid squirrel hunter be able to hit a deer in the head at reasonable ranges?
     
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  2. Gii shi kan dug

    Gii shi kan dug Supporter Supporter

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    I have taken many deer with head shots. Sometimes that is all I could see
     
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  3. central joe

    central joe Guide

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    Could it be so that you don't mess up a mount? Also a deer skull is a lot thicker. Ya got me thinking young fellar, dangerous action! joe
     
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  4. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    That is why I added the "mostly". Conventional wisdom says that a headshot is "inhumane" due to people shooting off a deer's jaw supposedly
    Uh oh
     
  5. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter

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    Its kind of a "humanity" thing. Other than a perfect headshot on a deer and there is a good chance of wounding it and never seeing it again. If you are off a little bit on a squirrel there is still a good chance for a kill. Plus anything larger than a .22 on a squirrel wouldnt leave much to eat. Also consider ranges. The max distance that you would shoot a squirrel vs how close you can stalk to a deer (tree stand maybe). Now if it were legal and I felt I could get a good shot I would have no problem using a .22lr for deer but it wouldnt be my first choice. I could also see it as a limiting factor for those who are less ethical. Allowing 22lr during deer season opens the door for a lot more people to head out to the woods blasting away with their 10/22's. Who knows.
     
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  6. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    Not talking about using .22lr on deer, talking about making the shot on roughly the same size target.
     
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  7. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter

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    Yes
     
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  8. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter

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    Misread the intent of the OP, my mistake
     
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  9. isme

    isme Scout

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    See... now your trying to throw logic into the mix.....
    nope... can't do it.... can't have you trying to use reason here.... nope...not gonna happen..
    ..nope....
     
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  10. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    No problem
     
  11. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    Probably several reasons...the sight of a headshot deer is pretty rough looking so there's that for anyone who is new to seeing gore...reality I know but take a young kid along and show them that and that may be the last time they sleep well for a long time. Then there's the oops factor if you shoot it in the nose and it runs around missing a major piece of it's face but doesn't go down. With shotgun slugs some people can drive tacks with them and others are hitting within a pie plate area if they are lucky. Also, if you shoot at a deer standing head up your shot is about 60inches off the ground at target so if you miss the backstop down range has to catch it versus center of mass which is easier to hit and likely stops or slows down whatever round you are using.
     
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  12. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    I know, right. Like I said, had a lot of time on my hands, which is a bit dangerous.
     
  13. PERRO

    PERRO Supporter Supporter

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    Just my two cents:

    I think the major difference in both Head Shots : Deer & Squirrel.

    The hunter is normally taking shots of a squirrel shooting up ( Tree ), where it will be normally presenting a standing /sitting upright good target.

    [​IMG]
    A headshot, a little low, & you will still hit the " Body " ( Shoulders ) as an example.

    On the deer ... You hit high or low on a brain shot ?
    [​IMG]
    There isn't a lot of margin for errors ( Point of Impact ).
     
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  14. leaf and lightning

    leaf and lightning Guide

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    I thought I was the only one who saw squirrels like that :D
     
  15. RockinU

    RockinU Tracker

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    I run a tracking dog service, and unfortunately have quite a bit of experience with head shots on deer gone wrong.

    If you gut shoot a deer, my dogs can catch him. If you break a leg on a deer (specially a front leg) my dogs can most of the time catch him. You blow his jaw off, they can't catch him, you aren't going to recover him, and he's going to slowly die of dehydration because he no longer has the ability to drink. All of them that I have found after the fact I've found in water because that's where they die desperately thirsty.

    I'm no part of a deer hugger, and I'm not a "if you don't do it like I do, you're doing it wrong" kind of guy. Having said that, head shooting deer is irresponsible hunting in my opinion, and I don't care how talented a marksman you are. I've tracked deer for an active SEAL sniper, and a big city SWAT sniper...anybody can tank an occasional shot.
     
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  16. Idabow

    Idabow Tracker

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    Take out the lungs, dead deer. How far can you run totally out of breath? The kill zone is roughly four times the size of a head shot, and doesn't bob and weave.
     
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  17. wingnuts

    wingnuts Guide

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    Head shots on squirrels has always been to not ruin what little meat there is (has been my reasoning)
    Not shooting deer in the head is because of all the reasons posted! Besides one is a game animal the other a tasty rodent!
     
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  18. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Can't speak for everyone, but will share my thoughts. I am a .22/headshot squirrel hunter, and a 7mm-08/chest-shot deer hunter.

    If I miss a squirrel, chances are it's a big miss. I'd say my average range is 20-40 yards, and I zero at 30. Death is instant if you hit. Probably a complete miss if you don't. I've never winged one in the head (but have missed a few 'too far' or 'moving' body shots that I am not proud of.) Squirrels also move a lot.

    If I miss a deer 'center mass' of the 8" circle of death, and am off by 3", I'm still going to hit him in the chest, still cause massive blood loss, and he's still pretty certainly dead. Most of the deer I've seen haven't been moving fast. If they are, I don't shoot. Several have seen me and STARTED moving, but a whistle and a second of patience usually got them to stop. A chest shot deer will bleed out as he's running his last 30-50 yards, saving me the trouble of doing it (better for the meat). A wounded deer's muscles fill with lactic acid and make it a bit gamey, though some claim that also tenderizes it from the inside. I personally don't like it.

    If I miss a deer headshot by an inch or two, I run the risk of wounding him, not killing him. I saw a doe 3 seasons back that made me sick... heard a shot from a neighboring lease, and then about 15 minutes spotted her frantic back-and-forth running from about 1/2 a mile (3 fields) away... as she came closer, into the 40 acre tract I was hunting over, she ran off to one side, down a trail, and I lost sight of her... a few minutes later, to my surprise, she was back, too close now to draw a bead on, and ran past me down another trail... that's when I saw her jaw flapping from a bad head shot. It was close to sunset, so I climbed down and tried to track her, knowing she'd starve to death... no blood trail, so I lost her... spent almost an hour looking up and down that trail for any sign. I'd like to have gotten hold of the idiot that tried the head shot, maybe with a big bat, and see how he liked a broken jaw.

    I owe brothers deer and squirrel the surest, fastest, most humane death I can provide. I do that with squirrel head shots and deer heart/lung shots.
     
  19. Offshore Angler

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    Crewheado5, I totally disagree with this statement, but let me tell you why !!

    First and for most we all share the resources we have, and by that I mean other outdoor enthusiast. Our trapping season overlaps with our deer seasons, and yes I need a .22 cal. rifle for dispatch. Why should I be restricted to using some other means, just because of what someone might do ?? That kind of mind set plays right into the hands of the anti hunting, gun, trapping, crowds, and in fact it's in their very play book. The whole divide and conquer technique is most common amongst those that hate us, and I have to say when I see one of our own ranks adopting this type of logic I wonder how much longer it will be before any of us will no longer be able to enjoy what we all love. I'm sure the regulations that are already in place have restrictions upon .22 cal. rifles to not be used to pursue whitetail deer, that is the case in most states that I'm aware of, so lets just enforce what's already upon the books, and not create anymore drama, or problems for ourselves. You can have all the regulations on the books you want, but if an idiot is going to be an idiot, then there is nothing you could do about it anyway, just look at the city of Chicago for living proof of that. We have to remember what may not effect ourselves directly very well could effect others in a very large way.

    Offshore Angler
     
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  20. adkwalker

    adkwalker Guide

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    What others have all ready said! Lungs for deer as my dad taught me to drop um ! Squirrel is 410 most times so ahh ! Also my conscience is ok with a squirrel getting away and not knowing if I hit it then not finding the deer.
    Kevin
     
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  21. crewhead05

    crewhead05 Supporter Supporter

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    Thats a fair statement with which i mostly agree. I was mearly trying to explore the possibilities of the limiting factors behind the rules not what i felt about it. I already misread the intent of the OP on the message and it looks like i didnt exlain well enough what i was trying to convey. Not my best work i guess.
     
  22. Danno

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    I'll second Seekers thoughts. Another thing to note is that you want that squirrel dead NOW. Otherwise it's going to head for cover in a tree and you'll never retrieve it. Sometimes body shots aren't enough.
     
  23. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Here is a video about British game wardens taking headshots on deer with small caliber suppressed rifles.

    Warning! Graphic content!

     
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  24. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    I can see the squirrel head. Although the same size, the deer brain is out of direct sight inside that bony skull, and you need to be pretty expert on anatomy to estimate exactly where the brain is. Most of us do better shooting AT the intended target, rather than at where we guess it ought to be.

    That said, I learned from some old country boys who consider the neck shot the absolute best on deer. Too high you either hit the spine and stun, or miss completely, too low you hit the trachae and large arteries, or miss entirely. It is also considered the best way to keep from ruining large amounts of meat.

    No matter what you choose, the decision to shoot AT a particular spot, rather than at "fur" in general will make you much more likely to get a good kill shot.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017 at 4:01 PM
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  25. ozarkhunter

    ozarkhunter Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    May I throw something else into the mix? I love to hunt/shoot feral hogs. My setup is an opening with very thick cover in every direction. I need to be able to drop the hogs where they stand. Not unlike shooting a squirrel... you hit and wound, you likely won't recover the animal. My shot of choice on feral hogs is just behind the ear on a broadside shot. I have lost 1 hog taking that shot because my scope had been bumped out of whack. All others have dropped in their tracks with a shot behind the ear. This shot, like a squirrel, does not damage any usable meat.
    Have I tried it on a deer? No. I have given it some thought, but the perfect opportunity has not presented itself. I'm not certain I could make myself take the shot if it did. I guess my results with shooting vitals on a deer have been good enough that I can't seem to push past the "ethical dilemma" in my own mind. I can't make that call for anyone else.
     
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  26. Terasec

    Terasec Scout

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    you dont take body shots on squirrels as you will most likely contaminate the meat
     
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  27. RockinU

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    .

    Hog and deer physiology are so very different, the shot you are talking about on a hog isn't even somewhat comparable in risk to a similar shot on a deer. There's much much more room for error. Behind the ear on a hog is probably closer to a neck shot on a deer.
     
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  28. ozarkhunter

    ozarkhunter Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    My intent was not to infer that the anatomy/physiology of a hog is like that of a deer. If that is the way my post was interpreted, my apologies for unclear communication. That said, I suspect that under the same conditions - animal calm - eating undisturbed in a place it had frequented without incident - shooting position 25 yards away at an elevation of 10' - animal broadside or slightly quartering away - steady firearm resting on treestand shooting rail - 1 oz slug in 12 gauge - shot placement just below the base of the ear - the results would likely be much the same as the hog. While I cannot state this from experience, I suspect the deer would collapse in a heap, much like a hog does. I am not recommending or encouraging this shot. As I initially stated, there is something within me that does not allow me to take such a shot. I also do not recommend a shot at the base of the neck of a deer... after having to trail poor blood for approximately 1/2 mile and retrieve a deer that my dad neck shot several years ago. That's just me, though. Your mileage may vary.
     
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  29. j_d

    j_d Scout

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    Deer are cute and hogs are not. For example, no one ever calls a hog their brother. It comes down to what you can hit. Given the right set up I would not hesitate to shoot a deer in the head but to date I have always gone for the chest because it was a better target at the time and these days I am mostly using a cross bow. If you have the skill there is no reason not to take the faster killing nervous system shot. It would actually be more humane than a chest shot.
     
  30. RockinU

    RockinU Tracker

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    Sure, if you make the shot, the reason not to take it is if you pull it just a little, you've made a mess. If your skill were the only factor then it wouldn't be a big deal, but deer hunting doesn't happen on a known distance range with controllable factors on a set stationary target. And I don't think deer are cute, or my brother, but I will admit that I appreciate them much more than hogs. Hogs are an invasive, destructive pest, deer are a game animal.
     
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  31. Robert Highhawk

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    I use to shoot them right behind the ear with my .270. I was young, steady as a rock out of a tree stand. Longest was 40 yards. I think it all depends on the situation and your skill with the rifle.
     
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  32. Offshore Angler

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    Your good with me crewhead055, and I smell what your stepping in mister. :dblthumb:
     
  33. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I don't boast my self to do any thing more than center mass on deer , however I have heard of those that choose the spinal column, and get an instant drop.
    Any one else heard of this ?
     
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  34. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Tracker

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    Easy, if you miss a squirrel's head you most likely miss the whole animal, no Carnage. You miss the deer brain still likely to hit face, jaw, nose, eye, ect and waste a perfectly delicious animal. I have only taken one headshot it was from behind, my options were Texas heart shot through the rump, which is not an option, or head. I hit him as he was running away and on an upward jump. I was aiming at the base of the neck shot a little that high as I corrected for his jump and nailed him square in the back of the skull. 30-06 at 90 yards, he never felt a thing. All other shots I've taken have been through the lungs or heart. The headshot was when I was 16 or 17 now I would have more patience and probably pass on that shot. I got a bit lucky. Also my eyes and reflexes aren't as good as they were then.
     
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  35. Idabow

    Idabow Tracker

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    Spine shots may drop them in their tracks, but they're still not dead. I don't want my animal suffering or calling attention to other predators (Yotes). The spine shot may or may not paralyze the animal. This means a follow up shot.
    My ammo is exspensive. My arrows are 20 bucks a piece, broadheads are another 15 bucks. I try to get the most results for my money with a quick clean kill.
     
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  36. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    Now I don't hunt. But I never see a squirrel when I'm on a hike anywhere. I always see deer though. Every time I see deer, they see me. In fact they see me "act" like I am taking a rifle off my back, like I'm going to a tree for support, like I'm aiming down the site, and like I'm firing. Now each time I do that, I aim for the head. They never move. They are always so focused on me and aren't moving a inch. I don't know where people are getting this "Deer Move Around A lot" crap.
     
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  37. akbound

    akbound Guide

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    I've seen plenty of deer being realatively still; but during Pennsylvania gun season on public lands I've seen plenty of them being anything but still! And not being slow about it either.:3::4:

    I nearly always go for the best "percentage shot", which is through or just behind the front shoulder (depending upon the angle of the shot).
     
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  38. RockinU

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    I can't speak for anyone else, but I get that crap from nearly 40 years of watching a lot of deer, often when they aren't aware of my presence and just doing normal deer things, like eating, drinking, interacting with each other and their environment. Things like that usually contain some element of movement. I guess other's experiences might differ from mine though, so I won't generalize...
     
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  39. Joshua1six

    Joshua1six Supporter Supporter

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    I believe it is up to you how you choose to dispatch your meat source as long as one has trained and is confident their rounds point of aim is point of impact. A safe headshot placement guage is broadside on a deer, between the ear canal and eye socket or high on the snout between the eyes. Each has a trajectory that does the job immediately and well as long as the shooter is capable of making that shot consistently and accurately.

    I have seen inaccurate headshots in deer I have found dead, they died from dehydration because they were hit in the face/jaw/nose and were found near water sources.

    I have never had to track deer myself that I hit in the lungs and or heart. It always works. I have never had to track deer I have hit in the head. It is immediate.

    I have been blessed with the training and ability to know my .308, from the round up both functionally and ballistically and trust it as an extension of myself.

    If you carry that blessing, then make your choice, make your shot. If you second guess yourself for even a moment, it isnt the time to press the trigger.

    What I know is a deer can see and duck an arrow sometimes, they cannot duck a round where all shot variables are considered and factored.

    Take yer time, take yer shot, and know the hit before the click.

    Thanks and good luck and safe hunting!
     
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  40. Grigg

    Grigg Scout Bushclass I

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    I've been thinking about this question too since hunting season last year, wondering if the conventional wisdom is...er.. on target. My first deer a a young hunter was taken with a headshot and he dropped like a rock. However, thanks to the OP for posting the topic and for the well thought out responses. It seems that the ethical shot is the one with the highest percentage chance of a retrievable kill. In most cases a vital organ area shot is the one to take.
     
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  41. tomme boy

    tomme boy Scout

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    I used to bark squirrels with my .50cal muzzleloader when I did hunt them.
     
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