Video: 220-inch Kansas Buck Provides Lesson in Deer Anatomy

It’s critical for deer hunters – especially archers ­– to understand deer anatomy. It’s a fine line between a quick kill and a marginal hit.

Video: 220-inch Kansas Buck Provides Lesson in Deer Anatomy

In this YouTube video from Whitetail365, Ryan Haworth is bowhunting on October 24, 2020, in central Kansas for a massive non-typical whitetail he’s named Flyer. Haworth is self-filming and isn’t able to capture much video of Flier before it arrives to a corn pile (legal in Kansas) as darkness approaches.

The low light provides one benefit: it’s easy to see Hayworth’s lighted nock as the arrow impacts the buck. Notice how the buck doesn’t jump the string. You can rewind and start and stop the video to see for yourself. As I’ve explained in previous articles about shooting deer over bait, especially in a field situation, whitetails often will crouch at the sound of the bow firing. Best I can tell in this instance, the buck doesn’t react to the bow. Flier crouches and mule-kicks as the broadhead hits and passes through, but not before.

The screen-shot above from the video shows the green lighted nock the moment the broadhead strikes Flier. The arrow doesn’t kick wildly or anything upon impact; it passes straight through the buck and then hits the dirt beyond the buck. In other words, the lighted nock is in line with the broadhead, which means it’s giving a strong clue as to arrow impact.

After looking at the pic above, which vital organs do you think the broadhead sliced as it passed through Flier, which was standing broadside or perhaps slightly quartering away?

At the time of this writing, I’ve read through the 120-plus comments on YouTube about this video, and several viewers made statement such as “perfect shot.” With all due respect, those deer hunters need to brush up on deer anatomy. As shown by the lighted nock, Haworth’s arrow hits Flier several inches behind the near front leg, and low in the chest; let’s call it one-fourth of the way up from the deer’s belly line. At best, this is a one-lung plus liver hit, and perhaps liver only.

I was surprised as I watched the video that Haworth isn’t concerned in the treestand about a marginal hit. But I guess he immediately thought it was a double-lung hit. Even afterward, however, when he’s with a buddy in the truck heading back to blood-trail Flier, he doesn’t say anything about reviewing the video and being worried about his shot being too far back and too low. Which brings me to the theme of this commentary: Too many bowhunters think that a shot placed exactly like the one in the screen-shot above is “perfect.” It’s NOT!

Check out the illustrations below. To centerpunch the lungs of a broadside deer, your arrow should strike directly over the front leg, not 4 or 6 inches behind it. In addition, notice which part of the lungs extend the furthest rearward on a deer; you’re better off hitting a deer about one-third of the way up from the belly line.

Commit to memory the position of a deer’s leg bone and shoulder (above); they don’t cover the lungs. Don’t aim 4 to 6 inches behind the front leg and low in the chest (below, red dots) because it typically results in a liver hit, or at best liver plus one lung. Instead, aim directly over the front leg, about one-third up from the belly line (green dots).
Commit to memory the position of a deer’s leg bone and shoulder (above); they don’t cover the lungs. Don’t aim 4 to 6 inches behind the front leg and low in the chest (below, red dots) because it typically results in a liver hit, or at best liver plus one lung. Instead, aim directly over the front leg, about one-third up from the belly line (green dots).

Thankfully, Haworth and his friends find the buck the following morning. As Haworth explains in the comments section, they jumped Flier in the dark while blood trailing, and upon inspection during field dressing, the broadhead hit one lung and liver. Haworth also states in the comments section that they waited 3 hours before beginning to blood trail, so perhaps he suspected his shot was too far back and too low.

Lessons to be learned: Aim over a broadside deer’s front leg, about one-third of the way up from the belly line. And if you miss and your arrow strikes as shown in the top photo, don’t blood trail that deer for at least 6 hours.

If you’re concerned about the meat spoiling in warm temps, then you can push it by waiting only 4 hours, but keep in mind the less time you wait, the greater the chance of jumping the buck. Fact: It’s a lot easier to conduct a grid search to find a dead buck (assuming a difficult or non-existent blood trail) in an area within 150 yards of the stand site than an area expanded to 500 yards or more because you jumped the bedded buck.

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