Where to Hit a Deer and Other Tips for a First-Time Hunter

Going hunting for the first time is an exciting experience for everyone involved (well, maybe not for the deer). From choosing your gear to practicing with your firearm or actually getting into the field, there are a lot of details to consider. Here’s our advice for those of you taking aim at big game for the first time.

Choose Your Gear Carefully

What you pack will have a direct impact on how successful your hunt is. Your gear will vary widely depending on your area and the game you’re hunting, so do your research before you even start to worry about where to hit a deer.

For example, if you’re going active hunting, you’ll need vastly different equipment than, say, bait hunting or hunting from a blind. Active hunting requires solid, broken-in boots, and your clothes need to be light enough to let you move while remaining breathable. Bait hunting, on the other hand, means heavier clothes to keep your body heat in, while not making a ton of noise if you need to shift or move.

So your first-time hunter needs to take into account the exact type of game they’re hunting and how they’re going to stalk it, and purchase gear accordingly.

Make Sure Your Documents are in Order

The next essential step before learning where to hit a deer is to make sure you’re legally allowed to shoot that deer in the first place. Laws can change from year to year, so be sure to check your local ones before the season begins.

If you need permits (and you most likely will), file that paperwork early and keep copies of everything you submit. One of the fastest ways to ruin your hunt is getting to the field only to have the fish and game warden forbid your entry because you missed a signature or didn’t file the right permit.

Use Target and 3D Practice Time

Okay, you’ve got your gear and your permits. Now it’s time to learn where to hit a deer for a clean kill. Your best bet is to begin practicing with 
your hunting rifle on a good old fashioned circular target.

Why? Because if you can ensure solid groupings at 200 yards when you’re aiming at a bullseye the size of a quarter, you’ll be that much more accurate when you take aim at the side of a deer, which is much larger.

Once you’re well-practiced on a target, move to a field with 3D deer targets. This practice will help you get used to taking aim at something that looks more lifelike, hopefully helping to reduce the likelihood you’ll experience the dreaded “buck fever.”

Where to Aim

There’s a bit of a debate in the hunting community in terms of exactly where to hit a deer that’s best for a quick kill. The two biggest options are what’s called the heart-lung or broadside shot and a headshot.

The broadside is best for a first-time hunter, as it’s a much larger area to target. Aim just behind the shoulder joint, slightly below the middle body line. With luck, you hit both lungs and/or the heart and the deer drops quickly. Sometimes, however, the deer will run off and you’ll have to track it until it dies.

If you’re very, very skilled or have a strong laser sight on 
your rifle, you can attempt a headshot. When done right, these are immediate kills that don’t lose any meat. However, when learning where to hit a deer, it’s best to save this shot for once you’ve become a highly proficient shooter.

Start Your Hunt with a Rifle from JSD Supply

Building your own hunting rifle is a milestone step in any first-time hunter’s journey. Shop our collection of 
rifle parts and kits to find the perfect firearm to take with you into the field. If you have questions about which gun is right for you, we’re here to help.