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Head Shots - Are you for or against them?

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 28,069 Senior Member
Well, let's conjure up some debate.

Simple question: Vote yes or no

Are you favorable in taking a head shot if the conditions are right for you as a shooter?

Are you against head shots PERIOD and view them as unethical?

After you vote, you are welcome to politely argue your stance if you like.
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

Yes or No on head shots. 55 votes

Yes - Under the right conditions.
89%
[Deleted User]bullsi1911LinefinderknitepoetNNblkbird305BigDanStennmikeEliDiver43Six-GunMileHighShooterbisleyJerryBobCoJermanatorsnake284orchidmanMichakavcpjBigslug 49 votes
No - It is unethical.
10%
justin10mmOldReliableojrCheetoh734ddrillerEturn 6 votes
«134

Replies

  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    I'll never take them. I'm assuming you mean for deer. Large margin of error, it's gross, and unnecessary.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Fine with me under the conditions you laid out.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Eastern NebraskaPosts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I have no problem with them. It's almost always an all or nothing affair, and when it hits true, it's a boon the meatlocker.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    I don't think they are unethical. Forgot to answer that part.

    Probably stupid, though... For 99% of hunters.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Relating to poor field shooting skills from the majority of hunters?
    Buffco wrote: »
    Probably stupid, though... For 99% of hunters.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Olsburg KansasPosts: 1,650 Senior Member
    I've seen two deer shot in the head. One by me, one by the FIL on a buck that busted out of a draw and ran right at him. He shot it and it was only stunned, the bullet plowed through the nasal cavity and was not fatal. I had to cut its throat to finish it. The second was a deer that was shot the chest but did not collapse , to keep it from running off I shot it in the head. It was a deliberate shot, taken because it wasn't moving head or otherwise. Really don't like them but never say never.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,069 Senior Member
    I obviously don't have a problem with head shots and sometimes prefer them when given the chance.

    If I am strictly meat hunting, I will actually wait until I can take a head/upper neck shot. Other times, when using a particular cartridge or bullet that is questionable for body shots, I'll again wait for the head to present itself. Such as some .223 loads or when using Matchkings.

    There is no question that a head shot is dramatic. I have never missed or fouled up a head shot. But, I wait till I am 100% on the shot.

    I do not advocate them in general principle. But, I use them and see no reason why one comfortable and able enough to do so, cannot.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Relating to poor field shooting skills from the majority of hunters?

    Yeah, although the more I think about it, the less I like it. Small, very small target compared to the chest cavity. And it's a target that is constantly moving, at least more so than centermass. Also, although center mass may move, it can do so a good distance and still take a lethal shot. The head? The slightest movement in any direction and you either miss, or worse, blow off a jaw.

    I don't know if EVERYone who takes a head shot does so to prove something to themselves or others, but I think some do. And I don't know how to justify the 1% that I allowed for, so I maintain that they are stupid, period, for anyone.. If you had no other choice? Sure. If deer wore kevlar vests, yes. Dan Chamberlain wrote once that he had never lost a deer. He had done so by passing up even the slightest of marginal shots. A head shot is a marginal shot, always. Skill non-withstanding.

    EDIT: Still don't think they are unethical, per say, so I can't vote.
  • timctimc Senior Member TexasPosts: 6,684 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I shoot head shots almost all the time on pigs no matter what the range. Deer when the opportunity presents itself.

    After several years of experience I rarely misplace the shot.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,289 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I will take them when they are offered....it's ugly but it puts meat in the freezer...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,069 Senior Member
    Buffco,

    Curious. If you think they are 'stupid period, for anyone'...........why the hesitation to consider them unethical.

    How you feel doesn't bother me. You are welcome to your opinion. I'm just trying to understand what your opinion is.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Well.... I dunno. Good question.

    We are talking about killing something, after all. And I was trying to be sensitive because I know some here take head shots. Hell, I know YOU did on that last deer you showed us. And it was a fine shot.

    I guess I don't consider too much unethical when it comes to taking game. I've watched YouTube videos of people dropping Cold Steel spears on deer, elk and bear. I think that's pretty stupid, too, considering the pain, potential for losing the game... But we are still talking about putting holes in a living thing. I just prefer to do it with a bullet through the large vital area, (mostly) ensuring a (relatively) quick, painless death. Hard for me to call someone that can and does hit deer in the head, unethical.

    I dunno. My mind's all over the place. I guess it becomes unethical the moment you blow off it's lower jaw. Up until that point, it's just not very....prudent. I shouldn't have said "stupid" earlier.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I voted okay sometimes because if a hunter like Z or Ernie takes the perfect shot then okay. But it is such a low percentage shot that i worry about lurkers reading this stuff. So, for the absolutely expert rifleman at shorter ranges then okay. IF you can live with yourself in case of mistake then okay.
    But I must say I'd prefer you guys went for the neck.
    I've used the head shot, but they were finishers, and i mean from 50 yards or so, not first choice. I've taken the neck shot 'cause that's all I had. They worked perfectly, clean, humane, DRT kills.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • JayJay Senior Member New Mexico/TexasPosts: 4,550 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    IMHO, it IS the most ethical shot, when it is done 100% correctly and with full confidence. There is no more ethical way to kill any living creature than to take out it's computer. It does not ruin meat and it does not cause the animal to drown to death in it's own blood. But, I figure most hunters don't have the skill and/or confidence to make the shot properly.

    Edit - To clarify, I don't have a problem with vital zone hits and lung hits. That is generally the target area size that my skill level dictates for most shots. Killing an animal is just not as simple as pointing a projectile at it and pulling the trigger.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,235 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Yes as long as it is within the ability of the shooter. Experiance has shown me that most hunters opinion of their shooting ability does not meet their actual real world ability, and even if it does, it isnt often enough.

    So, that said, it is a, yes to being doable for a small segment and ethical for a smaller segment that will wait for the right shot. Maybe 3% of deer hunters. I have seen way to many no jaw deer and ones with extra holes behind the nose to say that it is blanketly ethical.

    As for myself, I have taken one (1) deer with a headshot. I go out of my way not to, however a doe stood up in front of me 2 days before the season end and just stood there at 40 yards head on. I am not the best shooter but I am ok, I had a 2 in target at 40 yards and a rifle that I had been shooting pretty well for over 15 years, so I took the shot.
    I have NEVER had a deer hit in the boiler room run very far, so there is no recovery advantage to taking a low percentage shot. A boiler room shot placed correctly will ruin the top of the heart, and no other meat, so there is no meat loss advantage unless the animal presents itself at a bad angle, and most of the time, the angle will get good if you are calm and wait a bit. The downsides of the head shot are if ANYTHING goes wrong. One chicadee poops when you are taking pressure on the trigger and the angle of the head will be different and you will have a bad shot. If you are aiming 2/3 of the way down with the sight up against the rear of the front leg, you have 5 inches in any direction for error and a 6 in circle where it is a real good hit and if you are dead on, the heart will be disconnected.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I've thought more on this. I think as ethical hunters we've all had the shoot or don't shoot moments. Where our mental computers said one or the other. Once I shot a running buck at 85 paces with an iron sighted Ruger Bisley in .45LC. May have been low percentage but in those days I was hunting more hours than i worked. My mental computer said shoot. He was DRT. But I swung ahead of the boiler room.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I would under the right conditions. That said, it would be an extremely rare thing for where and how I hunt. I really don't get much time to set up for a shot (5 seconds tops), and opposed to taking any marginal shot, I have let quite a few walk. I almost always see deer when I am out hunting, but then I almost always come back empty handed.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • JayJay Senior Member New Mexico/TexasPosts: 4,550 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Funny! The little advertisement I'm seeing on the main page shows a video game like thing blasting one deer, the zooming in on the second and head shooting it......:jester:
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,069 Senior Member
    Buffco,

    What about head shots on squirrels, p-dogs, hogs, or coyotes?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I'll do a head shot on anything I hunt if it is doable.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    Buffco,

    What about head shots on squirrels, p-dogs, hogs, or coyotes?

    Stop asking hard stuff! :tooth:

    Squirrels? No problem. You are close to them anyway. Any hit in the head is a killer. The other three? Vermin, so I'm less concerned...

    I don't know. Maybe it's because I hunt similar situations to Jerm. I go sometimes years in between of even SEEING a deer, and when I do, you better shoot in about 5 seconds or it's gone. Maybe if I had different circumstances I'd feel different. It certainly does bear questioning why I'd have a problem with shooting deer in the head, but not other game.

    You're making me think... That's good.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,235 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Had to happen.


    Skirrls, ground hogs, Different deal. You are not trying to kill them with a pin, it is more like taking a man sized critter with a 155mm, odds are good that anything is a kill.
    If I hit a groundgog in the head with a Nos bt for the 22-250 there is not a chance of a wound. Read the handle.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Central MNPosts: 14,663 Senior Member
    I have taken exactly one head shot on a deer and hit it in the neck, so I will take one if I am set up and comfortable and that is the best shot to not ruin meat, otherwise I wait for the boiler room shot.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,069 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    Stop asking hard stuff! :tooth:

    Squirrels? No problem. You are close to them anyway. Any hit in the head is a killer. The other three? Vermin, so I'm less concerned...

    I don't know. Maybe it's because I hunt similar situations to Jerm. I go sometimes years in between of even SEEING a deer, and when I do, you better shoot in about 5 seconds or it's gone. Maybe if I had different circumstances I'd feel different. It certainly does bear questioning why I'd have a problem with shooting deer in the head, but not other game.

    You're making me think... That's good.

    Believe me, I'm not trying to talk anyone into head shots. That's not my intent. We are just discussing.

    I guess I'm sort of an odd duck. I don't distinguish between game and vermin. They all get the same chance in my book. Hence, it erks me when I hear people talk of shooting what "they" consider vermin with any less intent or consideration. I don't. But, that's me.

    Unethical to shoot deer at 600 yards but fine to sling lead at a yote that far. Ok to shoot a squirrel or bobcat in the head but not a "game" animal.

    Just seems weird to me. And, somewhat shallow. Especially when they try to talk to ME about my bad "ethics".

    Anyway, continue the discussion. This is good.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Colorado SpringsPosts: 7,823 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    The last head shot I made was on a 796 yard pdog.

    So, I had to vote "yes, under the right conditions".

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    Believe me, I'm not trying to talk anyone into head shots. That's not my intent. We are just discussing.

    Oh, I understand. I think Varmintmist explained my position a little better than I, on the question of game other than deer.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    Zee wrote: »
    Believe me, I'm not trying to talk anyone into head shots. That's not my intent. We are just discussing.

    I guess I'm sort of an odd duck. I don't distinguish between game and vermin. They all get the same chance in my book. Hence, it erks me when I hear people talk of shooting what "they" consider vermin with any less intent or consideration. I don't. But, that's me.

    Unethical to shoot deer at 600 yards but fine to sling lead at a yote that far. Ok to shoot a squirrel or bobcat in the head but not a "game" animal.

    Just seems weird to me. And, somewhat shallow. Especially when they try to talk to ME about my bad "ethics".

    Anyway, continue the discussion. This is good.

    I'm totally with you on the , they all deserve respect thing.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,235 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    head shot on a deer and hit it in the neck,
    THIS is why I dont like headshots. The bullet was 3 in aft and hit the neck, 3 in fwd and it would have passed through the nasal cavity, or taken the jaw off. The impact area of a DRT head shot is about 1.5 in high and 2.5 wide in the main skull. Low the deer starves, fwd, it will have a hard time breathing and smelling if it lives, high you get a miss or hole ears. Catching the spine is luck, if the bullet would have tracked to the other 55% of deer in a 6 in circle it would have just been an ugly wounding. There is just so little room for error that you HAVE to be as right as rain when the trigger breaks.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,235 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I'm totally with you on the , they all deserve respect thing.

    Do you respect mice? Or do you use a spine breaking device to kill them. They live for a bit, ever hear one squeal? Poison that dehydrates them? or a glue trap that they chew their feet off to get out of. Groundhogs, coyotes, and Pdogs are the same. The most efficient and cheap way to deal with them is hunting.

    I have never seen a squirrel or groundhog running through the woods with its jaw hanging. The size thing does make a differance. A connection with a 22lr of a squirrels skull is a dead squirrel. There just isnt enough head to deal with the size of the bullet.

    Tree rats, that live in the woods, (ones in the house are vermin) are shot for food so yes they get the consideration.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member A true 'Southerner'. NZPosts: 8,403 Senior Member
    Yes - Under the right conditions.
    I would say that most of the deer I have shot when hunting have been head or upper neck shots so you can guess how I voted. Most of the deer I have shot have also been at less than 100yds because I try to stalk in as close as I can as to me, thats the best part of hunting. Its only been the last couple of years that I have started to 'stretch' the range. ( and in stretching the range I normally take a 'vitals' shot)

    I will take 'vitals' shots if the opprtunity for a head/neck shot doesnt present itself but I prefer the upper neck/head area. I have never 'blown a jaw off' or have injured an animal with that choice of shot. Bloodhound is also a proponent of the 'head/neck area.

    One thing Buffy about taking head shots. You say you only have 5 seconds in which to take the shot. With the kind of hunting/stalking I do, when the deer is unaware of your presence, you have all the time in the world to take your shot. Watch the following video.....I stalked to within about 80-90 metres of this spiker, it continued to move away from me at first, then started heading back in my direction. ( It had no idea that danger was stalking him)

    I set up in a place where I knew he had to walk past, when he came into view I whistled, he stopped, looked in my direction, I squeezed the trigger and nothing happened. ( had automatically put the safety back on when I moved to ambush him) he moved again, I whistled again, he stopped and looked slightly to my right and I shot him through his left eye at a range of about 20yds. DRT. No meat loss and no suffering. Bullet passed through his eye into his brain and it was lights out.

    th_FILE0015.jpg


    I am aware of what can go wrong and if there is any doubt I dont take the shot. But to me, if you spend enough time at the range and can make MOA holes in paper at 100yds from a cold bore, and do it consistently then it stands to reason that you should have the confidence to do it in the field. If you dont have that confidence then dont take a head shot.

    One other thing......As a hunter, I try to practice not only from a bench but from a variety of positions that resemble what I will encounter in the field. Sitting, kneeling, standing, using trees or logs for rests, if you dont practice under field conditions then you are not preparing yourself properly.......and if you prepare yourself properly then you will know whether you are confident to take any shot, be it head or shoulder.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
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