Jake's Outdoors » Blog Archive » Thoughts on Shooting Running Deer…

Thoughts on Shooting Running Deer…

August 25th, 2009

I know, many of you will be shocked to find this update.  I have been extremely busy, but I keep hoping to show my outdoor blog the attention that it deserves eventually…

I received an email through one of my email lists today, asking for opinions on shooting moving deer.  I thought that was an interesting question, and one that certainly has caused a lot of controversy in the hunting community.  I thought I’d post my own response, and I hope you all will add your thoughts (even if you disagree with me).

I know that with some, this is quite the touchy subject.  I watch a lot of the hunting shows on TV, and love them.  But, one of the “unrealistic” points that they emphasize is the need for a deer to be standing still.  I watched one a few days ago, where the hunter didn’t shoot because the deer was walking, and never stopped.  Realistically, where we hunt, you’d rarely kill a deer if it had to stop to shoot.  Once the shooting starts on opening day, the deer are on the move.  Sure, some of them stop, but some will be on the move trying to get to that next piece of cover.

Many other game animals are shot on the move, without ever even thinking about it.  We shoot rabbits, and birds on the move almost exclusively.  We learn how to do it, and do it effectively.  I know there is a difference in using a rifle, but the truth is that with practice, you can learn to hit deer on the move too.  A person needs to know their own limitations, and know the type of shot that they can make.  We as hunters certainly need to make every effort to make safe and humane kill shots.  If you are going to be maiming animals because you can’t make a running shot, then don’t shoot.  But, I know many people who can kill an animal on the run more often than not.

My bottom line is that I don’t think anyone can make a hard and fast rule on this.  What one person is capable of doing may be impossible for another.  The same type of question could be asked about long distance shooting.  What is too far to shoot a deer?  I watched a show a few days ago where a guy shot a bear at 925 yards.  Impressive?  You better believe it!  Would I take that shot?  Not with my current equipment/skill set.  But, I have shot many deer on the run.  Under the right circumstances, I have a lot of confidence in my ability to hit them, and hit them soundly.  Other circumstances might cause me to pass on the shot.

That is my opinion, and I look forward to reading other responses!


So, what do you all think?

6 Responses to “Thoughts on Shooting Running Deer…”

  1. Good to see you posting again Kris!

    I think you hit the nail right on the head; it all depends on skill level and being comfortable with the shot. I personally would shoot a walking deer with a bow if the right factors existed. And I have no qualms about shooting a moving deer with a gun, provided they are within my own comfortable shooting distance.

    Great topic.

  2. I don’t think I would shoot at a moving deer unless it was walking at a very slow pace. Shot placement is so critical and there is nothing worse than a gut shot that you end up chasing the animal for days and HOPE you find it. But if you have the skills then more power to you!

  3. Chief StillLaughing Says:
    August 29th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I’d say … if you are unwilling to take the time and develop the skill to shoot at moving targets and/or long distance, then take only standing under 100 yard shots… or 50 yard shots. It takes practice to develop the reflexes for confident quick moving shots. Skill development will allow for some amazing shots … lack of confidence and practice will make you “still” waiting shooter.

  4. Chief StillLaughing Says:
    August 29th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I meant … a “still” waiting shooter. But while I’m back … I’ve seen video where Jackie Bushman says … “that [shot] is just a little too difficult for Jackie Bushman … and I’m shouting … give me that shot and I’ll show you how it’s done 🙂

  5. My first deer was an 8 pointer with a 19 inch inside spread. I shot him on a dead run with my .50 cal black powder rifle at about 50 yards. That was back in 1986. I didn’t have much time to think about it. He came out of nowhere. All I could do was lead him out and shoot. I was aiming for the sweet spot, but I hit him just above and in front his right shoulder, right in the neck. He went another 30 yards and dropped right in front of me. Lucky shot? You bet. It depends how you feel when a running shot situation unfolds in front of you. I have let a lot of deer go by without taking a shot because it did not feel right. And then,there’s that time when it does. Happy Hunting from Ohio,Land of the Monster Bucks.

  6. While rifle hunting Hubby shoots running deer – and usually they drop over in their tracks right there. Archery is a bit different and he usually won’t take a shot on a running deer but will shoot a walking deer – even one that’s walking quickly.

    Me? I only shoot standing deer. I’ve got a lot of practice to do before I’m confident enough to even try to shoot a moving deer.

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