Today’s blog comes from Mike Hanback of Big Deer TV. Mike has been writing about whitetails since the 1990′s and is considered by many as an expert on the subject. For more information about Mike, you can follow him on Twitter, find him on Facebook or visit his website at www.mikehanback.com
Some years ago biologists for the South Carolina DNR analyzed 493 rifle deer kills on a hunt club on the coastal plain. Here are three interesting results from the study, followed by three observations by me:
1) Hunters used more than 20 calibers, from .243 to .30-06 and larger. As to how quickly deer died or ran after the shot the researchers wrote: “There was no apparent relationship with increasing or decreasing caliber size, or the differences in velocity or energy.”
So you don’t need a moose cartridge to kill a deer!
2) Based on the study, the biologists recommended the shoulder shot. One hundred and seventy deer shot in and through the scapula ran an average of 3 yards versus an average of 50 yards for the 152 animals that were shot farther back though the lungs.
Hunters ask me all the time whether they ought to take the shoulder or lung shot. I advise that a well-executed shoulder shot will drop deer faster than a lung shot (as the South Carolina study confirms) but that a bullet through the vitals behind the shoulder is fine too. A deer so shot will run no more than 70 yards. It all depends on the situation and the exact positioning of the buck.
3) More than 350 deer shot with soft-point, fast-expanding bullets traveled an average of 27 yards; 58% of those animals dropped in their tracks. Conversely, 84 deer struck by harder, slower-expanding bullets went an average of 43 yards, with 40% going down on the spot.
While either type bullet will drop and kill a buck if you hit him right, you are just as well off buying a $20 box of standard ammo with good old soft-points rather than spending double the money for a premium loading that might work better on heavier game like elk and bears but not necessarily deer. I use the good old, time-tested Remington Core-Lokt PSP, a bullet that has felled as many a buck as any bullet ever designed.
So, with all this in mind, what is your deer caliber/load/bullet…where do you try to hit them…and how far do they usually run after the shot?