Heart shot


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Hi Thomas,
I think its just one of those things isn't it. Some run some just drop on the spot. I've tired all sorts of calibres and ammo on three species of deer and that's the conclusion I have made. :???:


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I'm with you on that one Mr B. there seems to be very little pattern ( if any) in my experience as to how an animal will react after a heart lung shot.

It's also part of the rush, excitement and a respect for the animal in not knowing what is going to happen after you have pulled the trigger!


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High heart drops them on the spot, low heart and you have a possible runner.

I was told that when shot high in the heart a high velocity bullet sends a shock wave up the main thoracic artery to the brain turning the lights out in an instance. Whether this theory is correct or not I don’t know, but I do find that even rutting Sika stags shot with a 243 in the high heart drop on the spot. ;)

Best rgds



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I am sure there must be some truth in that explaination Thar, I would imagine some amount of pressure is produced as the heart is hit forcing blood / shockwaves along the various arteries?


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last buck season I shot a scabby little buck (23lbs head and feet off) I was 15 m away and shot him straight through the heart. He ran 70m; on inspection what was left of his obliterated heart wis sticking out of the exit wound!

Thats the little fellow there.



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Thar said:
High heart drops them on the spot, low heart and you have a possible runner.
l always go for a high heart shot and 9 out of 10 will drop on the spot as apposed to actual heart shots most if not all will run, only this evening l shot a roe doe to a high heart shot at about 90 m and she went down on the spot, would of had a chance at another only the dam thing was feeding behind a bush not 25 m away from her not concerned about the collapse of the first doe if they don't run and make to much fuss they will invariably not alarm other nearby deer to much in my experience.


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Blimey Dave, you would think at that size he would of just dropped dead! Its amazing how much punishment these little fellas can take!


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I'm in total agreement with Pete E on this one. But all so think that a bullet hitting to top of the heart is naturally going to push the deer off balance and tip the deer over. Not a scientific answer but one I come to after years on the rugby pitch. Roe are all legs with a high centre of gravity. A bullet high in the chest next to the front legs will crumple the deer, take it off its legs then dump it on its side. IMHO add to that Pete's observations and wow!

That's why I think muntjac are so tough. Dense body mass, low slung on short stabble legs and their stocky back legs propel them forward at the slightest hint of trouble. I think it also has something to do with what the deer was doing at the time. If it was just standing out in a field browsing/ grazing, and it hasn't seen you well its got a strong chance of dropping on the spot. If its crossing a ride and has stopped to look at something alarming or unknown it is in half a mind to flee and the other half is still taking it to where it was going. I shot a muntjac top heart shot and it ran 150 metres in a straight line along a deer path. It didn't see me but it was aware that something wasn't right. I think that its last thoughts pushed it forward.
Another I shot saw me at the moment before I shot and it ran away and took a twisty turny route towards deep cover, just to drop dead at its edge as it ran out of steam. This is just an observation though, I think there are many reasons why deer act differently to a shot.


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Beo and Pete E, I'm with you two.
The guide in Poland answered the question quite well I think:-

Ven die heart is empty den ze veins are full of blood mit oxygen unt den it can run avay. But just before die heart is pumping out die veins unt muscles need dat blood mit oxygen, so if you shoot it zen it vil drop liken loggen! Gans klar!

I tell it like I heard it, unfortunately German was a second language for both of us.

It would seem to me the best moment to pull the trigger is just before the lungs fill with new air, and just before the heart pumps all that newley oxygenated air around the system.
All we need now is to know how to tell that exact moment, easy.


Great photo thomas thank you. Or should a say sehr gut. We have expended alot of energy on this site about calibre choice and was begining to wonder, if I ever go fallow stalking, whether I should take the .243. That photo would seem to answer that.


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Glad you liked the picture Grantoliver. Personally I have no issues with using a .243 on fallow; that 100gr bullet practically destroyed the heart and left a long slither of lung hanging from the exit wound. Most of my stalking is in and around woodland and most shots are taken between 60 - 120 yards.

Very interesting to read the various comments and I have to agree with the Pete E theory. That doe certainly new I was there and another split second or so she would have been gone so the adrenalin must have been pumping.