Scenario: Mule deer quartering toward stalking bowhunter, with second, bedded buck in sight

Bow: Mathews Halon bow

Range: 35 yards

Conditions: Sunny; 75 degrees; 15-mph wind, right to left

It’s the opener in Montana, and you spotted these bucks at daybreak. Eventually the duo bedded and you slipped into a Nikon-confirmed range of 35 yards. Easing up, you draw back your bow and $$##!!! The back buck heard something and is now on his feet and alert. You’re at full draw and seconds count! Which aiming spot is best . . . or do you wait for a better opportunity?

A. It’s tempting. The rear ham holds a maze of blood vessels, including the femoral that if whacked perfectly can bleed out a deer in short order. Move on. It’s a riskier gamble than a night in Vegas.

B. This one is doable. You simply have to hold steady and slide the arrow past the rear hip and into the boiler room. You still have a gamble. Will the buck jump the string?

C. Do the math. Your odds of hitting the jugular vein and dispatching this muley quickly is also a gamble. Pass on the neck shot because it could lead to a total miss or worse, a wounded deer.

After a quick assessment, it appears as if only a stray starling startled the buck. Settle your nerves and drop the string on your Mathews with option B.

Image by Mark Kayser

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