Whitetail Video: Dealing With Quartering-Toward Bow Shots

As bowhunters, we’re taught to take shots at broadside or slightly quartering-away big game animals only, but are there times when it’s okay to break this rule?

Whitetail Video: Dealing With Quartering-Toward Bow Shots

Would you take this shot, or wait for a better angle? The buck is close, 12 yards, and he's alert. You're at full draw, with your sight pin hovering on the buck's near shoulder. Shoot or pass? (Screen-shot image from The Hunting Public video.)

Regular visitors to this website know I’m a fan of the content produced by the team at The Hunting Public (THP). Not only are its YouTube hunting videos entertaining, but the five hosts do an outstanding job of passing along nuggets of valuable how-to information. Sometimes these tips are directed toward beginning hunters, which is great because one of THP’s primary goals with its YouTube channel is to boost the number of new deer and turkey hunters. The video below, however, speaks more to whitetail bowhunters who have been around the block a few times.

As stated in the tease above, bowhunters are taught to be very careful in shot selection. And in my opinion, the guys at THP are as careful as they come. You won’t see them taking long-range pokes at animals hoping to draw blood. They believe wholeheartedly that bowhunting is a game of “how close” not “how far.” That said, some viewers have reached out to THP about occasionally taking quartering-toward shots, which is the theme of the video below.

I agree 100 percent with the talking points detailed by Aaron Wharbritton and Greg Clements in the 21-minute video. They explain in great detail the reasons why members of their team have taken a handful of quartering-toward shots on whitetails during the last couple years. In addition — and this is vitally important — they explain the archery equipment and shooter requirements needed to pull off a quartering-toward shot.

For example, Aaron pulls 70 pounds and has a long draw length. When you combine these attributes with the fact he’s shooting a very heavy arrow with a tough, razor-sharp, cut-on-contact (fixed-blade) broadhead, his setup has the momentum needed to penetrate bone if needed.

Greg, on the other hand, has a much shorter draw length. The math simply doesn’t work in his favor to the extent it does for Aaron when it comes to achieving major momentum and therefore maximum arrow penetration.

Aaron is very clear that in almost every instance, he’s not aiming to intentionally hit a deer’s shoulder bone (scapula). However, his bow/arrow/broadhead combo is heavy and tough enough to deal with a marginal hit through bone to quickly kill a deer.

Regardless of what archery gear you choose, Aaron and Greg stress the importance of attempting shots at quartering-toward whitetails under very limited situations only. The most important of these is distance; it must be close. Every quartering-toward shot you’ll see in this video is less than 20 yards; in fact, almost all are within 15 yards, and many are inside 10 yards. The shot must also be clear; no matter what arrow/broadhead combo you choose, grass or twigs can and will deflect any arrow, which affects accuracy and greatly reduces arrow penetration.

Finally, Aaron explains his opinion regarding head-on bow shots, and why it’s best in almost every case to avoid them on whitetails. However, he shows two helpful video clips illustrating why they make sense under certain situations on elk that are coming to a call. The difference? Two words: body size.


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