Mike: I hunted 30 days last year and saw one shooter that I figured would go in the low 150s. That’s a heck of a buck where I hunt. He was standing in a thicket and all I could see was his head and rack. Not much neck. I planted my scope behind his ear and clicked off the safety. He was about 100 yards away and I had a good rest. But I couldn’t do it. Now I’m second-guessing because I’ll probably never see a buck that big again around here. Should I have pulled the trigger? Doug, AL
Doug: Hell no, you did good! I cannot think of single instance when you should shoot a buck or a doe in the head. It just doesn’t feel right to me; it does not show a beautiful deer the respect it deserves. For that matter I don’t like the neck shot either.
Something the great hunting and shooting expert Jack O’Connor wrote long ago has stuck with me:
“Once I found the carcass of a fine buck with the nose and mouth shot away; it had starved to death… (And) even if you hit the brain and kill the animal in its tracks, the resulting sight is likely to turn your stomach. I once pulled down on the head of a buck about 60 yards away and killed him. The light, high-velocity bullet blew up the animal’s skull. One look at the pulpy, shapeless head, the bulging eyes, the antlers askew—well, I was almost ready to quit hunting deer.”