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Vital organs of a deer

The most effective shots typically are delivered to an animal’s vital organs—heart and lungs. In large game animals, these organs lie in the forward body cavity behind the front shoulder. This area also contains major blood vessels and arteries. An animal shot in the vital organs will leave a blood trail when attempting to flee, making tracking easier.

Bird Hunting Exception: When hunting flying birds like quail, dove, ducks, or geese, swing in front of the bird. Try to hit the bird in the front half of its body—head, neck, or vital organs.

Turkey Hunting Exception: When hunting wild turkey with a shotgun, greater success is achieved when hunters shoot at the head and neck of the bird. Shot pellets might not penetrate the thick feathers, heavy wing bones, and thick breast protecting a turkey’s vital area.

Vital organs of a turkey
The most effective shotgun shot for a turkey is to the neck and head. However, bowhunters should aim broadside for the heart and lungs or at the butt of the wings.