How to avoid ever wounding a deer

Reduce the risk of wounding by practising shooting from a variety of positions

Reduce the risk of wounding by practising shooting from a variety of positions - Credit: Archant

Advice from Jelen Deer Services to help avoid wounding a deer while stalking

Q: I want to minimise my chances of ever wounding a deer when taking a shot. What advice can you give me?

JELEN DEER SERVICES replies: It doesn’t matter how long someone has been shooting deer, or how many deer one has shot, sooner or later something will go wrong.

This can happen for a number of reasons, ranging from an unseen twig or other obstruction in the bullet’s path, to an overambitious shot on the part of the shooter. Or from an unstable shooting position to a malfunction of equipment... but is it excusable? I think, in most cases, the answer has to be no!

Throughout our time as professional deer managers, and having guided thousands of clients, the excuses for missing or wounding have been many and varied. But the fact remains that in almost all cases, wounding deer is not excusable. If you do everything right, then the chances of wounding deer can be almost eliminated. Most incidences of wounding can be avoided through self-discipline. Long shots attempted by supposedly experienced shooters is probably the single most likely reason for deer getting wounded instead of being killed humanely.

Here are some simple tips to help you avoid wounding deer through careful choice of equipment, disciplined shooting, and common sense:

n Check all scope-mounting screws and stock bolts regularly. Ensure trigger pressures are not excessive.

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n Ensure you buy the best possible equipment you can afford.

n Clean barrels periodically to prevent excessive fouling and consequent loss of accuracy.

n Practise your shooting technique regularly, from varying positions and in different weather conditions.

n Use every possible rest for your rifle to ensure a precise shot.

n Avoid long-range shooting unless it is absolutely necessary.

n Know the surface anatomy of the animal/s you are going to shoot.

n Always attempt to shoot the percentage shot in the circumstances, i.e. the largest fatal target area (usually a chest shot – a point just behind the front leg and halfway up the body).