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Q:
any tips on leading a running deer? its something i'd like to learn how to do for good follow up shots on wounded deer. gun is 12 ga. w/ slugs

Question by TylerC. Uploaded on July 22, 2011

Answers (24)

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from machinegunner wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I would say do not shoot...whistle, grunt, yell, wait for the standing shot??????????????

Even if I was using a rifle I would wait for that kill shot, not the hail marry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Are you frequently just wounding deer? I would focus on making sure that your first shot is a kill shot, then you won't have to worry about trying to shoot running, wounded deer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Teodoro wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

He doesn't have to be doing it frequently to want to do it better.

That said, if the deer are hit well, you should just be able to let them settle down, then follow. If the deer is at all likely to stop, I'd say machinegunner's answer is better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from TylerC wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

just because the deer is still running doesnt mean its not a kill shot. some times deer hit in the heart or both lungs run a couple hundred yards and i cant control that. i can make a perfect shot and some deer will still run. my goal is to minimize the suffering of the deer and make sure that he is recovered. and many of the deer that do drop in one shot are hit high shoulder or spine, which frequently does not kill the deer, it just disables it.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If it is a heart or lung shot then they are running on adrenaline and a second shot is not necessary. It is not that hard to track a heavily bleeding animal a couple hundred yards. All a second shot does is destroy meat.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

there is no reason to shoot at running animals.

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from TylerC wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

dtbc, there is no way to tell exactly where you hit the animal at the time of the shot- you could have made a perfect shot or hit the gut, in either case, not knowing i think you should shoot again

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

The fact of the matter is, if you haven't hit your target and now it's moving, chances are you will not hit it!

The velocity of the slug vs speed of the target will be hard to compensate for.

Bottom line,

Make your shot,

WISELY!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I have a sharp knife.

Make sure you bring another shirt!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

It can be done. I've dropped my first deer while it was on the run and have killed pigs and other deer on the run. I've also missed a couple of deer. The closer the target the better of course. Being comfortable with your firearm and having a quick sighting system is a big help. A quick web search resulted in this Field & Stream article and some others which you may find more helpful than the posts from all of the above detractors. ;-)

The Science of Shooting Deer: Craig Boddington on How to Hit a Running Target
Article by Craig Boddington. Uploaded on July 31, 2004
http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/57138

Practice shooting for running deer
Uploaded on August 29, 2009
http://www.fieldandstream.com/forums/hunting/deer-hunting/practice-shoot...

The Ultimate Shooting Challenges - Long Shots and Movers
Part Two - Shooting Running Deer
By Ian McMurchy
http://www.longrangehunting.com/articles/ultimate-shooting-challenges-sh...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from patrickwood90 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

As other's have said the best option is to wait for a stationary animal, but I have taken shots at running deer myself. When hunting with dogs, as is common practice in Central, VA, it happens quite often. My theory is no lead at all. If you are close enough to use a slug then there should be enough time for the slug to hit it's mark. NEVER aim off the deer itself... you will miss.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

One shot, one kill. Those are words to live by and your quarry will appreciate your patience and restraint. (not to mention other hunters in the area)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Plus one on each of the above Clay! Sound advice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

if you know its a bad hit by all means keep shooting if you can still he him, put him down as fast as you can so you dont have to follow a wounded animal a couple miles...with a slug gun, anything over 100 yards moving is going to be extremely difficult, i wouldnt try it, probably make the situation worse...if hes within 50 yards and moving, hold on the front shoulder and swing through it like shooting a shotgun.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

When i was younger and dumber i took a few shots at running deer over the years. It is never the best option, but I admit to it anyhow. For some who practice more or who are better shot's than me, it's a viable option... Not for me. I've killed enough deer. That said, if i know i wounded a deer and can get a safe follow up, i'll take it every time. Safety is the key here. When your muzzle is swinging and your field of view is changing rapidly, it's very hard to ensure a safe shot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

ok, so while you're shooting at this running animal, keep in mind that you WILL NOT have time to check your back ground to know what is there. another hunter? is the round going to go over a hill and if it does, what is over that hill? the possibilities are endless so just fire away.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ethan_3 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

i wouldnt shoot at it running, wait for a stationary shot, and make sure your first shot hits where you want

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Although it is obviously always better to shoot at a stationary deer, you can accurately hit them running. If you want to hit them running, you need to practice a lot before you go hunting. Get a couple of hundred slugs and have someone tow a deer sized target a couple of hundred feet behind the truck. That is how I learned. You will find that a deer's vital area is a LOT bigger than a goose's vital area and they only run at about half the speed. You will have to lead them a fair distance with a slug. Just like shooting geese, I follow the deer, move the sight past the rump, middle of the chest and then in front of the nose (depending on distance); squeezing off the shot as the sight passes their nose a couple of feet. Witin 60-80 yards, you will only need a couple feet of lead as long as you keep swinging the gun as you squeeze the trigger. You get a lot of reinforcement for that practice if you goose hunt. Once you get to knocking ducks and geese out of the sky consistenly, a deer's chest will look mighty big. If shooting running deer, you have to be prepared in advance to understand what is in the backdrop of the area you will be shooting. You may even have to pull ahead of the deer to a safe and clear spot to take your shot. Shotguns are terribly slow though and the lead is tricky if you shoot beyond about 40 yards. That is why I long ago moved to a very fast rifle for running deer and antelope... you don't need much lead with them. As others have said though, please don't shoot at running deer unless you know you can hit them just as well as if they were posing for you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you are positive that the deer has been hit (falls down, regains its feet), a follow-up running shot may be justified, esp. if there is a good chance the animal may escape and die without being recovered.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Best tip I can offer is to hit it well with the first ounce of lead so it doesn't run. If you cannot put down a standing deer with a chunk of lead that big, why anticipate success when the target is running. Understand the limitations of the slug gun by lots of practice thereby reducing any limitations you may have in accurately firing the slug gun. "Aim small, miss small"

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

jamesti...i feel like you should know whats in the surrounding area before you shoot at any animal, running or not, and know where you can and cannot shoot. just because the animal is moving does not mean its unsafe.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

One the latest's copies of American Hunter has an article about how to shoot at running deer. IMO, you don't want to make it a habit, but its a good skill to have especially if your tracking wounded game and may need a follow up shot. I've killed a few deer that were running, I just fill my scope with the deers chest and pull the trigger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I had rather hunt where it is not a common practice to shoot at running game.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Awsome David 2 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

SPRAY AND PRAY

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from patrickwood90 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

As other's have said the best option is to wait for a stationary animal, but I have taken shots at running deer myself. When hunting with dogs, as is common practice in Central, VA, it happens quite often. My theory is no lead at all. If you are close enough to use a slug then there should be enough time for the slug to hit it's mark. NEVER aim off the deer itself... you will miss.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

It can be done. I've dropped my first deer while it was on the run and have killed pigs and other deer on the run. I've also missed a couple of deer. The closer the target the better of course. Being comfortable with your firearm and having a quick sighting system is a big help. A quick web search resulted in this Field & Stream article and some others which you may find more helpful than the posts from all of the above detractors. ;-)

The Science of Shooting Deer: Craig Boddington on How to Hit a Running Target
Article by Craig Boddington. Uploaded on July 31, 2004
http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/57138

Practice shooting for running deer
Uploaded on August 29, 2009
http://www.fieldandstream.com/forums/hunting/deer-hunting/practice-shoot...

The Ultimate Shooting Challenges - Long Shots and Movers
Part Two - Shooting Running Deer
By Ian McMurchy
http://www.longrangehunting.com/articles/ultimate-shooting-challenges-sh...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Teodoro wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

He doesn't have to be doing it frequently to want to do it better.

That said, if the deer are hit well, you should just be able to let them settle down, then follow. If the deer is at all likely to stop, I'd say machinegunner's answer is better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from TylerC wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

dtbc, there is no way to tell exactly where you hit the animal at the time of the shot- you could have made a perfect shot or hit the gut, in either case, not knowing i think you should shoot again

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

The fact of the matter is, if you haven't hit your target and now it's moving, chances are you will not hit it!

The velocity of the slug vs speed of the target will be hard to compensate for.

Bottom line,

Make your shot,

WISELY!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

if you know its a bad hit by all means keep shooting if you can still he him, put him down as fast as you can so you dont have to follow a wounded animal a couple miles...with a slug gun, anything over 100 yards moving is going to be extremely difficult, i wouldnt try it, probably make the situation worse...if hes within 50 yards and moving, hold on the front shoulder and swing through it like shooting a shotgun.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

ok, so while you're shooting at this running animal, keep in mind that you WILL NOT have time to check your back ground to know what is there. another hunter? is the round going to go over a hill and if it does, what is over that hill? the possibilities are endless so just fire away.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If you are positive that the deer has been hit (falls down, regains its feet), a follow-up running shot may be justified, esp. if there is a good chance the animal may escape and die without being recovered.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Best tip I can offer is to hit it well with the first ounce of lead so it doesn't run. If you cannot put down a standing deer with a chunk of lead that big, why anticipate success when the target is running. Understand the limitations of the slug gun by lots of practice thereby reducing any limitations you may have in accurately firing the slug gun. "Aim small, miss small"

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I had rather hunt where it is not a common practice to shoot at running game.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from TylerC wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

just because the deer is still running doesnt mean its not a kill shot. some times deer hit in the heart or both lungs run a couple hundred yards and i cant control that. i can make a perfect shot and some deer will still run. my goal is to minimize the suffering of the deer and make sure that he is recovered. and many of the deer that do drop in one shot are hit high shoulder or spine, which frequently does not kill the deer, it just disables it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

If it is a heart or lung shot then they are running on adrenaline and a second shot is not necessary. It is not that hard to track a heavily bleeding animal a couple hundred yards. All a second shot does is destroy meat.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

there is no reason to shoot at running animals.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I have a sharp knife.

Make sure you bring another shirt!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

When i was younger and dumber i took a few shots at running deer over the years. It is never the best option, but I admit to it anyhow. For some who practice more or who are better shot's than me, it's a viable option... Not for me. I've killed enough deer. That said, if i know i wounded a deer and can get a safe follow up, i'll take it every time. Safety is the key here. When your muzzle is swinging and your field of view is changing rapidly, it's very hard to ensure a safe shot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ethan_3 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

i wouldnt shoot at it running, wait for a stationary shot, and make sure your first shot hits where you want

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Although it is obviously always better to shoot at a stationary deer, you can accurately hit them running. If you want to hit them running, you need to practice a lot before you go hunting. Get a couple of hundred slugs and have someone tow a deer sized target a couple of hundred feet behind the truck. That is how I learned. You will find that a deer's vital area is a LOT bigger than a goose's vital area and they only run at about half the speed. You will have to lead them a fair distance with a slug. Just like shooting geese, I follow the deer, move the sight past the rump, middle of the chest and then in front of the nose (depending on distance); squeezing off the shot as the sight passes their nose a couple of feet. Witin 60-80 yards, you will only need a couple feet of lead as long as you keep swinging the gun as you squeeze the trigger. You get a lot of reinforcement for that practice if you goose hunt. Once you get to knocking ducks and geese out of the sky consistenly, a deer's chest will look mighty big. If shooting running deer, you have to be prepared in advance to understand what is in the backdrop of the area you will be shooting. You may even have to pull ahead of the deer to a safe and clear spot to take your shot. Shotguns are terribly slow though and the lead is tricky if you shoot beyond about 40 yards. That is why I long ago moved to a very fast rifle for running deer and antelope... you don't need much lead with them. As others have said though, please don't shoot at running deer unless you know you can hit them just as well as if they were posing for you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

jamesti...i feel like you should know whats in the surrounding area before you shoot at any animal, running or not, and know where you can and cannot shoot. just because the animal is moving does not mean its unsafe.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Are you frequently just wounding deer? I would focus on making sure that your first shot is a kill shot, then you won't have to worry about trying to shoot running, wounded deer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

One shot, one kill. Those are words to live by and your quarry will appreciate your patience and restraint. (not to mention other hunters in the area)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

One the latest's copies of American Hunter has an article about how to shoot at running deer. IMO, you don't want to make it a habit, but its a good skill to have especially if your tracking wounded game and may need a follow up shot. I've killed a few deer that were running, I just fill my scope with the deers chest and pull the trigger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from machinegunner wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I would say do not shoot...whistle, grunt, yell, wait for the standing shot??????????????

Even if I was using a rifle I would wait for that kill shot, not the hail marry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Plus one on each of the above Clay! Sound advice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from The Awsome David 2 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

SPRAY AND PRAY

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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