Where To Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?

by | Sep 28, 2018

You might have heard about people hunting deer with guns. What about using a crossbow instead? With a crossbow, you can ensure the safety of yourself as well as no nhttps://itishooting.com/egative impact on the environment. On the other hand, with a gun, many harmful gases are produced which can harm the components of the environment. A gun can kill the deer easily with a single shot without wasting any time. But, when you shoot a deer with a crossbow, it is less likely that the deer will die immediately. It’s not even the bolt that kills the deer; it just gets inside its body and the hemorrhage kills the deer. So, it is really crucial for you to know where to shoot a deer with a crossbow.

However, hunting a deer with a crossbow isn’t that simple. There are many different factors you need to consider such as the anatomy of the deer, the distance between the crossbow and the target as well as the velocity and the power of the bolt. We will be letting you know about all the things required to hunt a deer with a crossbow when you go further in this article.

Where To Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?!!

There are several body parts in the deer’s anatomy where you can shoot to drop it down. However, to create a perfect shot while deer hunting, there are certain parts of the deer where you might want to aim with your crossbow. Here are some of the best body parts of a deer where you can aim at to result in a perfect shot and drop the deer down.

deer anatomy
Anatomy of a Deer


Heart and Lungs

Shooting the deer by aiming at its heart or lung area can result in a perfect shot since the area around these organs is large. Even though your aim may not be totally accurate, it will still kill the deer without a proper precision. There exist the largest concentration of every blood vessels working to keep the deer alive around these organs which can easily result in hemorrhage and kill the deer.

When you can shoot at the deer’s heart, all the blood vessels which help in delivering oxygen to major parts of the deer’s body such as brain would be affected and it can result in an instantaneous death of the deer. If you can do so, the odds of deer getting up and recovering completely would be very low. Since the area of these organs in the deer’s body is huge, this place in the deer’s body is the perfect place to aim at for someone who is new to deer hunting. However, if you shoot at its lungs first and then try to aim at its heart, there are few chances of the deer getting up and running away after a total recovery.



Deer have a small head and their brain is just around 3 inches long. However, if a perfect shot occurs at its brain, it is sure about the death of the deer. It can be a very difficult task to aim exactly at the top of the head for the brain to be hit.

When you hit other parts of the body, the meat might turn out to be bad. But, while shooting directly to the head, there will be no harm to other parts of the body and the deer will easily die instantly since the brain is the main organ for the overall functioning of its body.

You need to have enough practice to result in a perfect shot at the brain since the brain is very small and even though you aim exactly at the brain, the deer can move a little which can result in a miss or the bolts being struck in other parts.


High Shoulder

The spine working for the nervous system is located very near to the deer’s high shoulder, which is why shooting to the high shoulder can result in the deer to drop down quickly. If the shot is at the exact position, the spine gets destroyed which can paralyze the deer right away and hence the deer will automatically die due to trauma.

However, the high shoulder of a deer which contains the spine is of small area and hence it can be difficult for you to shoot at the perfect position. You really need to aim and shoot at the deer quickly so that it won’t have any time to change its position. However, one negative impact about a high shoulder shot is that the meat in its shoulder can be totally useless after the bolts strike on it.



The neck is also one of the best parts of a deer’s body where you can shoot to drop it down with a crossbow. It is similar to shooting at the exact part of the top of the head to strike on the brain. Shooting exactly on the neck can result in the immediate death of the deer.

The neck consists of the spinal cord, vertebrae, and blood vessels which are major components of a deer’s anatomy and they are very essential for the existence of the deer’s soul. If you can shoot at the right place in the deer’s neck which can easily hit the vertebrae, the deer will have no chances of staying alive. However, this part of the deer’s anatomy is very small which can make the task tougher for you.

If you can hit the other parts of the deer’s neck, the deer will still die, but the process would be very slow. You may even need to hit the deer again to drop it down to death. Not shooting at the exact part to cut the vertebrae is totally similar to missing a shot at its brain since the vertebrae play a vital role in keeping the deer alive.

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Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow Package W/2 Bolts, Adult
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How Effective Is A Crossbow For Deer Hunting?

Generally, guns and rifles are used for hunting deer. These weapons can turn out the deer to be dead immediately after getting shot. The deer will never wake up again since it dies right after getting struck by the bullet. You can shoot at the deer almost at any part of its body when you are using these firearms to kill the deer. However, the scenario is totally different in case of a crossbow. If a bolt from a crossbow strikes on the deer, the deer doesn’t die immediately. There needs to be a hemorrhage inside the deer for it to be dead. If you are too far from the deer, a perfect shot mightn’t even affect the deer at all.

Crossbow Deer Hunting

A crossbow can be highly effective for deer hunting if you are shooting from the right distance with a proper velocity so as to cause a hemorrhage inside the deer. When your perfect shot drops down the deer, you need to dress the deer without wasting any further time. You can either perform a field dressing or carry the deer to your car or a building. Both of these methods may not be fruitful if you don’t own the right tools. You really need to consider performing research while purchasing a knife for hunting since it can cause a large difference while hunting with a crossbow.


Thinking about how to shoot?

The way you shoot at the deer with a gun is totally different from how you need to shoot with a crossbow. Since the bolts will be moving through the path of an upward trajectory, you really need to target lower with a crossbow for deer hunting. If you are looking to make a perfect shot, you need to target the middle parts of the deer while it is around 28 meters away from you. When it is a little far from you, you need to shoot at a higher level than the targeted part of its body to drop it down. If everything works fine, hunting a deer with a crossbow can really be highly effective.



Things To Know Before Crossbow Deer Hunting

There are a lot of different things that you need to consider while shooting a deer with a crossbow. You need to know about the suitable position to target towards the deer, the distance, draw weight of the crossbow, velocity of bolts and many other things.



Suitable Angle for Shooting the Deer

Since crossbows use bolts and quarrels instead of bullets, they travel through an upward trajectory. The angle at which you aim towards the deer really makes a big difference while making the perfect shot. If the deer is just around 18 meters away from you, it is highly recommended for you to target at a lower level of the deer’s body to easily drop down the deer. When you are around 28 meters away, aiming at the middle part of the deer’s body could result in a perfect shot. However, aiming higher to result in a downward trajectory would be the best choice if the deer is around 36 meters away from you.

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Barnett TS390 Crossbow | 390 Feet Per Second Compound Crossbow | 4x32 Scope | Equipped with Rope Cocker, Two 20 Inch Arrows, and Side Mount Quiver
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Feet-per-second Speed

The feet-per-second speed along with the kinetic energy really matters a lot for hunting. To hunt an elk, having the speed of over 300 FPS up to the distance of 45 meters would be perfect. But, in case of a whitetail deer, you don’t need to have a crossbow that can reach to that level of speed. If you own a crossbow with the speed of over 245 FPS or above, you will easily be able to hunt a whitetail deer with the perfect shot.


Crossbow Broadheads

Crossbow broadheads are one of the most essential factors involved in hunting a deer with a crossbow. There are several types of broadheads available in the market and all of them have their own advantages for deer hunting. If you are hunting in areas with a lot of woods where you might have to shoot from a brush, getting a fixed style crossbow broadhead would be the perfect choice since hitting small trees and woods might result in a mechanical broadhead to get off the crossbow early without getting time to aim at the deer. A chisel tip broadhead can be your best choice if you are looking to hunt from a tree stand. You need to remember that the deer have thicker ribs located near the spine. This is why shooting at the lower level can help in resulting in the perfect shot.

Where to shoot a deer with a crossbow


Here are several things you need to consider while preferring a crossbow broadhead for deer hunting:

  • Using a two-blade broadhead would be the best thing you can do while hunting a deer.
  • Using a heavier broadhead can strike the deer with a larger force. However, it gets slower quickly and doesn’t ensure about resulting in a deeper wound.
  • If you use large cutting blade broadheads, they can get stuck inside the deer’s bone. Getting small bleeding blade broadheads can help you to create a larger penetration depth.
  • The penetration depth is one of the major aspects you need to look for to find out the cause of blood loss.
  • The broadhead profile can help you to ensure the penetration depth.
  • It is better to prefer the broadhead which is designed in such a way that balances both the strength as well as the velocity of a crossbow effectively.
  • Broadheads having small cutting blades can result in crosscuts in the deer’s body, leading to a higher amount of bleeding.
  • You also need to look for the weight of a broadhead suitable for your crossbow. It is always recommended to look for a lightweight broadhead.


Crossbow Draw Weight

The draw weight of a crossbow is also a major factor that determines the perfect shot the deer for deer hunting. Getting a crossbow with a draw weight of around 40 pounds is the recommended choice to aim at a whitetail deer for a perfect shot. If you are thinking about aiming at an elk, 50 pounds of draw weight would be a better option.


Tips for Deer Hunting with a Crossbow

  • You need to purchase a crossbow that can fit your strength. It is better to get a lightweight crossbow which can be easier to use.
  • You need to consider purchasing a crossbow that produces less amount of noise or consists of noise suppression systems.
  • It is better to get a crossbow package which includes suitable cocking materials.
  • The bolts need to be consistent in terms of their weight for better firing.
  • You also need to look at the user manual to find out the perfect broadheads for your crossbow.
  • Getting a crossbow from a top brand can be the perfect option to ensure its durability and the quality of materials used. It is recommended for you to get crossbows from manufacturers such as TenPoint, Barnett, CenterPoint, etc.
  • Getting crossbows having less recoils can be better to handle the crossbow properly and shoot with higher accuracy.
  • You need to look for a crossbow that can shoot with an FPS speed of over 300. However, getting one with 250 or above can also help you in deer hunting.
  • You need to look for the most suitable bolts for your crossbow. Getting bolts made for your crossbow is always given the top priority.
  • You need to learn to use the crossbow carefully so that you won’t be harming yourself while hunting.



Now that you have known about where to shoot a deer with a crossbow, it is time for you to prepare the perfect combination of equipment to get started with deer hunting. You have also known about the major parts of a deer’s anatomy where you can aim at to take the deer down quickly.

Since the bolts travel through an upward trajectory, you really need to maintain a proper angle while aiming at the deer. Shooting at its heart or lungs can be very helpful as well as easy for you to drop the deer down quickly. However, if you can shoot at its brain or neck, it would be nearly impossible for the deer to recover completely.

Deer hunting needs a lot of training and hard work which is why you need to practice a lot before shooting the first deer. You can feel free to write down about any problem that you face in the comments below. We will try to respond to you right back away.

  Last update on 2022-09-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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