Shot Distance On Deer

Shot Distance On Deer

Here's a hot-button topic among bowhunters. Some archers flatly condemn shots beyond 20 or 30 yards, yet official statistics from Pope and Young and other record clubs support a more practical view of shot distance on deer.

For whitetail deer entered into the P&Y record book, average shot distance is about 19 yards. Less than five percent of record book whitetails are shot beyond 40 yards.


But the story differs somewhat for the other four varieties of North American deer. For mule deer entered into the P&Y record book, average shot distance is about 35 yards, and more than one-third of record-book muleys are taken beyond 40 yards. Shot statistics for Columbia blacktail deer are almost identical. If you go after either of these species with expectations of a shot under 30 yards, you are setting yourself up for severe disappointment.


Average shot distance on P&Y Coues whitetail deer is about 25 yards, but about one-quarter of record-book bucks are shot beyond 40 yards. Average shot distance on Sitka blacktail deer is about the same as on Coues deer, but nearly half are taken between 30 and 60 yards.

The lessons here are clear -- tailor your archery tackle to the varieties of deer you plan to hunt, and keep an open mind about distance. If you can practice hard and extend your sure-kill distance on an average deer's nine-inch vital chest zone, so much the better. Every shooting situation is unique, and longer-range proficiency often bags the buck.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells has a friendly bowfishing competition with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team on Kentucky Lake.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 12: Deer Slam!

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 12: Deer Slam!

Bowhunter Magazine Editor Curt Wells lives his life-long dream of taking all five species of North American deer.

Daytime Bighead Carp Bowfishing

Daytime Bighead Carp Bowfishing

Curt Wells is with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team as they set their sights on bighead carp during the day in Kentucky.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 6: Great Start!

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 6: Great Start!

Guest hunter Christian Berg visits Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky and gets his deer-hunting season off to a great start with an amazing velvet buck.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant. Other Game

Massive Alaskan Brown Bear is the New World Record

Lynn Burkhead - October 18, 2018

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant.

Follow this advice before embarking on your first hunt! Big Game

Beginner's Guide to Bowhunting Mule Deer

Ron Niziolek

Follow this advice before embarking on your first hunt!

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pâté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting. How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

See More Trending Articles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.