Today's Muzzleloader Alaska Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Hello, hunter! Alaska's online muzzleloader hunter course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Muzzleloader Hunter in Alaska course—the official muzzleloader safety course of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Alaska Muzzleloader certification.

Choosing the Proper Shot Angle

The shot angle is the angle at which the animal is standing in relation to the hunter. Knowing which angles offer the most effective—and least effective—shots is essential to being a responsible hunter.


This angle is preferred for both conventional and muzzleloader firearm hunters for larger game animals such as elk, deer, moose, and bear.

  • The broadside position offers several excellent shots for a firearm hunter. The best target is the shoulder and chest area.
  • Projectiles of the correct weight, fired from a firearm adequate for the game, will penetrate the lungs or heart.


The target is facing away from you, but at an angle. This shot is preferred by many hunters for deer and similarly sized game.

  • The quartering-away position offers several aiming spots on all big game.
  • The area just behind the shoulder is the best aiming spot for direct penetration of the vital organs. Focus on hitting the chest area above the opposite front leg.


The target faces you at an angle. Since the animal is typically looking your way, it likely will spot your movements.

  • The quartering-toward position presents a clean shot to the vital organs.
  • A shot can be taken at this angle if the gun is already trained on the animal. For an effective hit, aim at the front of the shoulder of the near front leg.


The animal will detect your movements with this shot angle.

  • A head-on shot can be effective if you have an adequate firearm that is already positioned for the shot. However, head-on shots rarely result in a clean kill and ruin a lot of meat.
  • Aiming at the center of the chest provides the best opportunity to hit the vital organs.


This shot should never be taken by hunters using conventional or muzzleloading firearms.


Caution: A light bullet may deflect off the shoulder bones of large game such as elk, deer, moose, or large bears. Be certain to use a firearm and load that are adequate for the game you hunt and the angle of shot you might select.

Alaska Department of
Fish & Game
White-tailed deer tracks
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Official hunting safety course for Alaskan hunters last modified: September 11, 2012
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