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.


Recommended for You

How-To

Summer Scouting from Scratch

Tony J. Peterson

New year, new look at your whitetail ground

ATA Show

New Bow Stabilizers for 2019

Colton Bailey - January 10, 2019

Stabilization can be a crucial factor in that moment of truth while bowhunting. Here are the...

ATA Show

Best New Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

From fixed to hybrid to mechanical, we've rounded up the best new broadheads from the 2019 ATA...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

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.

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Elk Bulls Abound in Colorado

Bowhunter team member Rudy Bachraty gets his chance to take an elk with Cross Mountain Outfitters of Colorado.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Scouting Tools

Advancements in Rangefinder Technology Through the Years

Chuck Adams

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely.

Arrows & Broadheads

What Are the Best Vanes For Hunting?

Joe Bell

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory.

Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

See More Stories

More How-To

How-To

Late-Season Realities of Whitetail Hunting

Tony J. Peterson

The worst deer hunting of the year is upon us, but that doesn't mean it's time to stay inside.

How-To

Small Fixes for Your Traditional Archery Setup

Fred Eichler - September 26, 2018

Try these small tweaks to improve your recurve or longbow shooting performance!

How-To

How To Increase Your Bowhunting Success Rate

Joe Bell

If you want to improve your success rate and notch more tags, avoid these common errors.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×