Tuesday’s Take Your Best Shot: Rutting Whitetail


Everything you’ve read online IS true! A few tending grunts, one or two doe bleats, and suddenly this rutting whitetail buck walks out of the shadows straight towards your ground blind. He’s looking for love or a fight. You don’t want either, but is now the time to stop this testosterone-charged love machine? Check out the possible aiming points A, B or C shown below, then take your best shot.

Scenario: Rutting whitetail walking in timber toward still-hunter

Rifle: Bergara B-14 in 6.5 Creedmoor

Range: 80 yards

Conditions: Sunny; 17 degrees; 8-mph wind, left to right


A. It’s time to go back to what your read online. The Hornady ELD-X bullet you’re about to launch received outstanding reviews for long-range performance, but you might be sending it on an in-your-face mission. This shot is doable, and the opening you have will create a wound channel to save you from deer abuse. And yes, you remember the bullet works equally well at close-range. Keep this option open.

B. Your father always advised to take the best shot to save the tastiest chunks of venison. A high shoulder shot will do the trick. You’ll break down this buck, save a steak, but you might need a backup shot.

C. Are you having second thoughts on shot option A? Moving the aiming point a bit further back could alleviate worries. Or, could it create even more anxiety? This shot will likely miss the majority of the vital zone. Yes, it likely will end in the death of the buck, but will it be later than sooner?

The choice here is clear: aiming point A. You may encounter a bit of bone, but modern bullets have the reliability to break bone and keep chugging along to get the job done.

After this shot you’ll have one more job. Field dressing a deer!

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