Best Kill Zone Shot Placements for a Deer

Best Kill Zone Shot Placements for a Deer

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Even though deer, such as whitetail deer and mule deer, are relatively mid to small-sized animals, it can still be difficult to get a proper shot placement.

Deer are notoriously skittish and can run away at the first sound.  Firing off a shot that does not hit them in the vital regions not only means you could get a lost animal, it’s incredibly inhumane.

This is why knowing where to shoot a deer is essential, and equally as important is knowing when to shoot.  You should only shoot a deer when it is standing still, when you have taken careful aim, and when you have a clear shot.

Here are the top vital regions to shoot a deer, and the pros and the cons that exist with each:

The High Shoulder

By properly shooting your deer in the high shoulder, you have the potential to snap its spine, break some of its ribs, and even cut its nervous system.  A proper shot here should bring your deer down instantly.

The biggest cons to shooting a deer in the high shoulder are that you could potentially mess up a lot of good meat that you may want to eat later (such as the shoulder meat and upper back strap meat), and it’s easy to place your shot too high when you are aiming here.

Heart and Lung

Ask any hunter where you should shoot a deer, and most answer with the heart and lung region.  Even though shooting a deer in the heart or lung will not always bring down the deer immediately, it will leave a massive blood trail that will be easy for you to follow, and the deer will likely die eventually.

The con to shooting a deer in the heart or lung is that since it won’t always drop immediately, you may have to follow a blood trail, and whether you locate the fallen deer or not depends on your tracking skills.

The Brain

Shoot a deer directly in the brain, and it will be killed instantly.  You also won’t mess up the meat.  Unfortunately, the brain is a small target, and it’s not easy to reach.  You could possibly hit the deer in the jaw, which won’t kill it and will be extremely inhumane.  For this shot, you will need to be an expert and use the best AR scope available as some of the best are mentioned at HuntingMark (If you are using any AR rifle).

The Neck

The fourth and final vital region to hit a deer will be in the neck.  Shoot a deer in the neck and you could deal extensive damage to its vertebrae and spinal cord.  You could paralyze the deer instantly by shooting it here. On the other hand, if you aim too low, you’ll simply wound the deer and it will take off running, and you may not be able to locate it.


Overall, it’s hard work to track down and bring down deer a deer.  Getting close to a deer and having a good shooting position is the first step. Then the second step is making sure that your shot is on target, and the above vital regions that we have just discussed will be where you should aim.


Author Bio

Jessica Kelly is the founder of and the hunter. Jessica invites several subject matter experts to share their experience at HuntingMark. Most of their guides like this Glock sights guide are written by people who have years of experience in their field. HuntingMark focuses on hunting, shooting, and survival.


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