Bullet path and damage
The point at which the bullet enters the body and the subsequent path taken by the bullet through the body may affect the degree to which an animal suffers and the degree of carcass contamination caused by bullet damage.
|Angles of Bullet Path||Minimising Suffering||Minimising Carcass Contamination|
|Broadside||The recommended shot as it presents the largest target area involving the heart and other vital structures in the chest.||The recommended shot as the bullet path through the body is unlikely to burst the stomach.|
|Frontal and frontal oblique||The diagrams overleaf illustrate that the target area decreases as the deer moves away from the broadside position. In addition, practitioners should be aware that target area appears smaller with distance and will require a greater degree of accuracy to position the shot.||The diagrams show that as shots become more angled from the broadside position the possibility of the bullet bursting the stomach and causing contamination and/or damaging the haunches or shoulder is significantly increased. There is no substantial difference in right or left fronal oblique shots.|
|Left / right rear oblique shots||Left and right posterior oblique shots are not identical. Right rear oblique shots may pass through the liver before entering the chest. This causes substantial liver damage and extensive haemorrhage.||Left and right posterior oblique shots are not identical. The rumen occupies a large area on the left side of the abdomen and this influences the angle at which the target area in the chest can be approached. It is likely that the bullet will burst the stomach as shots become more angled from the rear, particularly with left rear oblique shots. In addition, the greater the angle of the shot, the greater the risk of bullet damage to the haunches.|
|Shots uphill or downhill||Shooting deer from above or below will have an effect on the direction of the bullet path through the body. Consideration must be given to the point of aim on the deer to ensure that the angled bullet path causes fatal damage to the main organs in the target area (see illustration to above).||
The bullet path of a broadside shot from above or below is unlikely to burst the stomach. Shots taken from above or
below but at an oblique angle, however,
will be subject to the same considerations as above for horizontal oblique shots.