TECHNIQUE Hit List Six areas to place your shot on big game. By Pat Hoglund S ITTING ON A LARGE ROCK about 1,000 feet below the summit, I waited for my hunting partner to get above me. The plan was to side-hill the face of the mountain until we reached the top of the Steens Mountains in Oregon. Scott would start ahead of me and I’d trail him with the idea that if I jumped something I’d push it in his direction, and vice versa. It was a good opportunity to take a drink from my water bottle and eat an energy bar. I set my rifle aside and marveled in the splendor of the snow-capped mountains in Southeast Oregon. I had no more swallowed my first bite when I heard shale rock crash- ing down above me. Scott had spooked a mule deer and it was running across the hill- 66 WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL side above me. I grabbed my rifle and took two shots at the running buck. The shale rock exploded behind him twice as both shots missed. In the confusion, the deer stopped to see where the bullets were com- ing from. At that point, the buck was facing me. I placed the crosshairs on his chest and squeezed the trigger. The bullet penetrated and took out both lungs. The four-point buck dropped instantly. Had I hit him while he was running the results could’ve proved disastrous. But I got lucky and a better shot presented itself. That night we feasted on heart steaks cooked over an open fire. A clean, humane shot is critical when hunting big game. No hunter wants to wound an animal, let alone lose it in the woods. While rudimentary to most hunt- ers, revisiting shot placement is always a good idea. Knowing where to place your shot begins with a basic understanding of an animal’s anatomy. For example, you should know where the heart and lungs are located. Understandably, these two vital ar- eas are where most hunters place their shot. The shoulder is also a popular aim point as is the neck. And a well-placed shot that hits the spine drops them instantly. What follows is a hit list of shot placement when hunting big game, in particular deer and elk. There are pros and cons of each shot and this arti- cle should give you clear picture of where to place your bullet or arrow depending on the position of the animal.