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Thread: Head shot deer ? is it becoming the norm !

  1. #1

    Head shot deer ? is it becoming the norm !

    In my own opinion i think it is a totally unacceptable shot and in every course and book i have ever read and done that is the same answer across the board on wild deer not park deer ! and i have been stalking for over 20 years .
    However in quite a few publications and programs of late it seems to be ok !
    i give an example ; in the excelent fieldsports britain programe roy lupton shoots a roe buck in the head from a fair distance ,but then tells the viewer why it is not a good idea to take head shots and gives a text book answer to the reasons against it ! even though he just did it quite remarkable .
    in the back of a new publication i got for free modern gamekeeping ,there is an advert by vicars game for head shot deer . fallow ,roe and muntjac at 30p to 50p more a kilo for head shot .
    maybe some stalkers need to see some deer with bottom jaws missing when they think about making an extra 30p a kilo when they take that shot .
    i just seem to think these programmes ,magazines etc should be a good example of best practice in deer stalking or am i being old fashioned in my views on head shooting ?
    someone once said to me can you hit a tennis ball at 100yrds or even 50 yrds every time and every kind of shot every time because that is the size of a brain on some deer it is even smaller ?
    makes you think !
    atb Tom

  2. #2
    Side on head shot - no - if you are slightly off then broken jaw etc, but with a facing a bullet just above the nose between the eyes / or in back of head not an issue- if it goes slightly high then takes out top of brain, low then back of the mouth/ top of spinal cord, slightly to one side then still take out the brain. Otherwise a clean miss. Used to stalk on an estate up north where all hinds were head shot to get best quality carcasses as they butchered and sold their own meat.

    Saying that we were shooting on the open hill, and generally in pairs so easy and time to do a follow up shot if required. Also we were shooting off solid prone / bipod position with very accurate 25-06 Sakos or custom 243s, with plastic tip bullets, which made a mess of the head. Very humane as lights go out instantly.

    Would I take a head shot on Roe in the woods off sticks - probably not, but if close and head shot was only One that presented then would take it.
    Last edited by Heym SR20; 13-05-2011 at 10:13.

  3. #3
    Tom you are not alone, i too saw that broadcast yesterday and was amazed at Roy Lupton saying in effect 'don't try this at home children'!
    I am sure no stalker would make a shot thinking it may go wrong, but sometimes they just do, and when its at a head there are three outcomes. Clean kill, clean miss or very bad injury and a running deer. There is no need for it on wild deer. This topic has been done to death on this site and everyone has their own view. However, a novice seeing what Roy did and thinking he is a great shot also may think that the health warning given does not apply to them, and thats a very poor message to send out.

  4. #4
    totally agree we should not be teaching newcommers that it is at all acceptable I have been shooting with rifles for 40+years and was tought that the head of any animal is the first thing to move by the time you have thought then reacted and the bullit getting there the head can have moved a long way.I know optics and other equipment have improved immensley but a couple of mistakes getting into the media will do no end of harm to rifle shooting generally suddenly no one will have been near to have taken the shot

  5. #5
    I personaly don't like head shots. I was taught that if you take off the lower jaw you will have no blood trail to follow, so wounded deer with no way to recover.

    The comment about shooting deer head on can also be dangerous, I have neck shot deer and shot high straight onto the nose taking off upper and lower aw but no mortal wounding incurred.

    I have head shot and high neck shot roe but only at 80 yards or less and only when I have my very fast pointer x with me, if i'm taking a risky shot I send him split second after the shot, by the time the deer knows whats just happened theres 35kg of dog on its neck whether its alive or not. I have never lost a hit deer with this method and only one or two foxes out of 800+(not that i ever headshoot foxes just in regards to humane dispatch or everything i shot). I still do not like headshots but sometimes they are neccessary.

    In park deer headshots are quite often required but at least with a wounding it can't belost for more than a couple of hours, not ideal but at least they do not starve.

  6. #6
    Have done it once, prone, deer looking away from me with a 6mm BR Nosler ballistic tip. Instant lights out and a mess of the head. Have watched several head shot, in all cases shooter was prone and with same highly accurate 6mm BR. It is very clinical.

    BT in these situations I think mandatory as for neck shots.

    I realise it is some what of a contrevershal topic, but each to their own, but you need to be confident in the rifle and bullet and have a very stable shooting position. Also helps if the quarry is unaware of your presence.

    Just my experience and thoughts


  7. #7
    I think you have to be the person taking the shot to decide if it is right or not. It would be easy to say that such shots are 'unacceptable' but if you are 40m for a red hind that is lying down facing away from you with no head movement, it's raining and cold.... is there a need to wait for her to stand broadside if there's a safe shot on offer already?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by paul at barony View Post
    I think you have to be the person taking the shot to decide if it is right or not. It would be easy to say that such shots are 'unacceptable' but if you are 40m for a red hind that is lying down facing away from you with no head movement, it's raining and cold.... is there a need to wait for her to stand broadside if there's a safe shot on offer already?

    I have had this discussion with one of our more illustrious site members when i had mounted my anti-headshot high horse, he gently brought me back to reality. While not a shot I would recommend, there is a place for it in the stalkers armoury. But anyone who watches deer regularly will know how much their heads are on the move, which is nearly all the time! It needs to be a very selective circumstance to use a head-shot on a deer as far as i am concerned.

    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

  9. #9
    yes i agree with most of the points made here ,i think my point was tv programmes ,magazines etc should be encouraging best practice and iam sure best practice is not head shooting ,complete novices will watch these things and think it is the norm ,i dont think it is the norm but maybe i am wrong .
    i know this subject has been done to death but i think it is good to point out to novices that this is not the norm maybe ,as i had it pointed out to me a while ago .
    all the best

  10. #10
    I shot my buck the other day between the eyes and only because i was 100% confident on the placement and the damage was not as bad as some may have thought, just a tiny hole in and a 2p sized exit.. very happy with the carcass and i may in the future use the HS again if all is right for that. I use Federal 100g Power Shok and in .243 and was amazed at the clean job.

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