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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 the least effective—shots is an important part of making a clean and quick kill.

Broadside: Because of their mass, the broadside-shot angle is one of the preferred shot angles with both firearm and bow for big game animals such as antelope, deer, elk, and bear.

Vital organs of an elk
Broadside Shot Angle

Quartering-Away: Using a firearm, crossbow, or bow, hunters should aim just behind the front shoulder for penetration of the vital organs. This is the other preferred shot angle on big game animals such as deer, antelope, sheep, and goats. It is the preferred shot angle on small game animals. If you are hunting with a bow or crossbow, it is not a good shot angle on larger big game animals, such as bear or elk, because their massive stomach and intestines might block or hamper a clean shot to the vital organs.

Shot angle quartering-away
Quartering-Away Shot Angle

Straight-On, Quartering-Forward, and Straight-Away: These marginal shot angles can ruin large amounts of edible meat and increase the risk of failing to make a clean and quick kill. If you do not have a clear shot to the vital organs, wait until the animal presents the best possible shot.

Shot angle head-on
Straight-On Shot Angle
Shot angle: quartering-toward
Quartering-Forward Shot Angle
Shot angle rear
Straight-Away Shot Angle