Sun Outdoor Columnist
The most critical moments of a deer hunt are those right after releasing your arrow or pulling the trigger.
The location of your shot determines its fatality. While no hunter intentionally makes a poor shot, there are outside factors that can make the spot you aim for and the spot you hit be different.
Wind gusts, a twig that isn’t noticeable to the naked eye, or the animal moving in response to the shot all can change the course of your hunt. The most important thing is to be prepared for as many situations as possible.
Bring binoculars to your stand and use them to zoom in on shooting lanes to look for twigs or other small objects that can deflect arrows or bullets. If you do this early in the season you can have someone come with you and go trim them as you stay in the stand keeping the correct shooting lane in your vision. Practice shooting with varying wind speeds from different directions (crosswinds alter flight differently than headwinds). If you don’t feel comfortable shooting in a strong crosswind, don’t. Hunters have a responsibility to try to cause a quick, clean kill with their shot.
If a deer is walking or feeding, make a noise to get them to stop and stand still. Some hunters like to say, “MMAAPP” and others will give a little whistle. The key is to get the animal to sit still during the shot.
Even with all the preparations in the world, less than ideal shots still occur. The invention of the lighted nock for arrows has helped with tracking the arrow’s flight, especially with today’s fast shooting compound bows and crossbows.