Shortest shot on a deer?


December 11, 2013, 08:16 PM
Over the years I've had a lot of really fun hunts. Some of the most fun are hunts where I got really close to deer...even if I didn't take a shot.

I shot a handful of deer with firearms at distances under 10 yards. And...believe it or not I once missed a deer entirely with my bow from 5 yards (arrow fell off the rest prior to the shot and went crazy to one side when I shot).

I've had deer walk past me so close when I was on the ground that I could've snatched hair off them.

What are your stories of close encounters? Whether you got a shot or not...lets hear it.

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December 11, 2013, 08:30 PM
Near point blank, couple feet - SxS 12ga coachgun 3" high velocity plated 00. Knocked her right off her feet onto her back. Basically DRT struggling for air from her now non-existent lungs. Fired the coach gun one handed off to the 4oclock after being surprised. All 12 pellets passed completely through.

December 11, 2013, 08:31 PM
Contact distance with a .357. Never doing that again.

December 11, 2013, 08:34 PM
I've shot 3 different ones at probably 15 or 20 feet.

Arkansas Paul
December 11, 2013, 08:36 PM
^ Same for me. Prolly 15 feet.

December 11, 2013, 08:38 PM
About 10feet with an old single shot 12ga with no4 buckshot.

Knocked the deer down but it promptly sprang back up and ran off to the bottom of the holler to become my hardest to recover deer to date. Very difficult to track due to almost no blood trail.

I haven't used buckshot since.

December 11, 2013, 08:39 PM
my nearest shot was about 50 yards give or take. the closest I've gotten without taking a shot had to have been within 10 yards easily. I was hiding in a bramble patch and she just walked right out in front of me and starting to eat. there was another one crashing around in the brush on the other side of the clearing and I was hoping it was a buck but it never came into the open and the doe eventually left.

all of this is if you don't count the spike that rammed the passenger door of my truck last month.

December 11, 2013, 09:42 PM
I've had 2 shots with my muzzle loader in the last several years under ten feet. One was drt and the other ran 60 yards. Go figure.

December 11, 2013, 09:50 PM
About 10 feet with my bow. He was behind the tree right next to the one my stand was in. My farthest was about 10 yards on a doe

December 11, 2013, 10:07 PM
Under ten yards

Was sitting and waiting for a deer to come when all of a sudden I heard something sounding like thunder. Being winter time I didn't know what to make of it as it kept getting louder. Finally I started hearing twigs and branching breaking. Here comes roughly 30-40 deer running and jumping from the neighbors property darting every way they could. Trying to get one in the crosshairs was pointless so I sat and enjoyed the show. One was closer to me and went to run into a brush pile when it doubled back and ran straight at me. At about ten yards it happened to look up stop and stare at me. I lifted the gun up shot, and it only ran 25 yards before dropping.

Decent sized doe that made me happy to get.

December 11, 2013, 10:22 PM
First year at Ft. Carson Colorado in the Army.

All the locals said I needed a long range sight-in to shoot across a canyon.

So opening day, I had a Weaver K-6 on my 30-06.
Sighted in for 300 yards with 165 grain Sierra handloads.

And at first light?
A big buck walked by my blind on the side of a mountain, at no more then 5 yards.

So close I could see nothing but hair through the 6X scope.
I found his neck, split the difference 1/4 down from the top, and broke his spine with the shot.
And he fell DRT with his nose almost touching my black GI army boots.

Ever since then, I laugh at the folks who put 4-12X, and 6-16x scopes on deer rifles.

They would kill more deer with a 2X or 3X scope I betcha!!


December 11, 2013, 10:38 PM
I spent a few weekends on a reduction hunt on a buddies game managed property 15 years or so ago. After taking a dozen or so undesirables and donating the meat, my reward, apart from the hunting, was to take home a nice Axis doe.

This was a mature, large doe. The owner knew the blind it frequented. It was the kiddieblind, literally on top of a feeder for bow hunting or an 8 year olds first rifle shot.

The doe walked up and towards me no more than 10 minutes after I got to that blind. I think she must have been hand fed, coming right towards me. I stopped her with my .270 at 15 yards right between her pretty peepers. I was afraid she would crawl in a snuggle with me if I let her get any more close.

Sure was tender meat, and a pretty pelt.

December 11, 2013, 11:27 PM
And at first light?
A big buck walked by my blind on the side of a mountain, at no more then 5 yards.

So close I could see nothing but hair through the 6X scope.

Reminds me of all the times I got busted bow hunting. I'd get bored and start watching the other side of the field 300 yards away through my bino's and a deer would spook right underneath me as I fidgeted with my gear. You never expect them to be that close.

December 11, 2013, 11:30 PM
Near point blank, couple feet - SxS 12ga coachgun 3" high velocity plated 00. Knocked her right off her feet onto her back. :what: WHOA!!! Show stopper right there.

December 11, 2013, 11:31 PM
Contact distance with a .357. Never doing that again.

I'm guessing that made a mess of both of you. :D

Kayaker 1960
December 11, 2013, 11:46 PM
I've had does and fawns walk within 8 feet of me while hunting but closest shot so far is about 10 yards. Furthest was about 350 yards. Both dropped where they stood.

December 11, 2013, 11:47 PM
Contact distance with a .357. Never doing that again.
Contact shots are discouraged. I put a wounded deer down with a shot behind the ear from a P3AT .380. Unfortunately, the pistol was too close at around a centimeter or so from the head thinking it would be alright as I am using an anemic cartridge - and the white shirt I was wearing along with my face and eyes were sprayed with blood and brain matter. I thought about stopping at a gas station to clean myself up, but didn't want to freak out the local patrons thinking I just massacred someone.

December 11, 2013, 11:52 PM
I thought about stopping at a gas station to clean myself up, but didn't want to freak out the local patrons thinking I just massacred someone.

:D I would pay money to see that. That could be a scene in a movie.

1911 guy
December 12, 2013, 02:20 AM
You want to hear about the one I shot or the one I missed? O.K., I'll tell you both.

First, the one I missed. Had a brand spanking new 12ga. rifled bore. Sighted it in at 75 yards and called it good. Never bothered to check it at other distances. First light, opening morning. Deer walked right past me, about 20 feet or less away. Waited until it's head was behind a tree so it couldn't see me move, raised my shotgun, put the front post just behind the shoulder and squeezed. Big boom, deer ran off. No blood. Waited a while, walked in direction deer had gone. Nothing. Clean miss. Probably shot right under it, not having doped for close range.

Now the not so embarrassing one. Hunting on a farm with the owner. He asks how far I'm good to. I say 300. He says "No, really". I say, alright you're on to me. Maybe 400 with a rest and a stationary deer. He now officially thinks I'm an idiot, but has to put somebody on the "long" stand. Point of woods offering cover and open field for several hundred yards in three directions. Guess which direction the deer came from? Not one of those three. Walked in from behind me, passed fifteen yards to my left on its way to the field. I may stink with a shotgun, but i know how to shoot a rifle. .308 bullet smacked into the middle of the lungs, deer reared up like the Colt logo and landed on its back. Did the funky chicken for about two seconds and that was it.

Wolfgang james
December 12, 2013, 08:51 AM
I had a doe almost stick her head in my blind. She popped out of the brush around15yds and picked out my blind immediately but continued to walk in front of me never taking her eyes off me. I never had a chance to lift my bow so i just watched her walk by. I done know why but I really wanted to say BOO when she was looking at me in the front window

December 12, 2013, 09:37 AM
Near contact shot, execution style. It looked like the deer was leaning on the ground blind I was in. I could've taken it with an axe had I wanted to...

December 12, 2013, 10:03 AM
My first deer of my life opening day in Maine this year was at about 10 yards. I guess I was 'still hunting' quiet enough as he was stalking me more than I was stalking him. He came from behind my right side, I just happened to glance back over my right shoulder. His head was behind a tree that allowed me to get my gun up and into the shooting sticks to stop the shaking. 150gr soft point .308 through one rib, both lungs, another rib and the off shoulder blade before making a quarter to half dollar exit hole. He still ran 120-140yards through the thickest woods with not a drop of blood or track to follow.

The Bushmaster
December 12, 2013, 10:06 AM
4 yard with a .30 WCF to the head.

Had been tracking him most of the morning. When I caught up with him he didn't know whether he wanted to fight, f... or run. He took too much time deciding.

December 12, 2013, 10:25 AM
About 10 ft or so on several stalk hunts regarding whitetail deer.

I smacked a squirrel right out of a tree once, as he came right up to me raising all sorts of racket. :D

December 12, 2013, 11:08 AM
Not a hunting situation, but I've had to put down a couple of deer that were hit by cars but weren't dead. On two of them, I was lucky enough to have a 22 rifle with me. That was simple and non-messy. Same as putting down cattle, but with a much smaller skull. The only messy one was when I only had a shotgun and bird shot as we were returning from pheasant walking (if any roosters existed, it would be called pheasant hunting. But the don't, so we walked around and reminisced about the old days when they did exist) and it was way before I had a CFP and carried all the time.

We called the police and the dispatcher said that since no one was injured when hitting the deer, it would be about an hour before anyone could get there because of some other things going on keeping the Sheriff's deputies busy. The lady that hit the deer was absolutely losing it watching the deer keep trying to stand up on 3 broken legs and a broken back and probably a broken pelvis. She wanted us to call a deer ambulance to help it. Seriously. (insert bambulance joke here.) She was city-folk (as my grandpa would say), nice enough, but very naive in many ways. I asked a couple of other guys that had stopped if any of them had a rifle or handgun, which none of them did. I ended up pulling out my shotgun, loading one round, and shooting it at the base of the skull from behind. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. The lady that hit it wasn't happy about it.

She was so upset that she got into her car and tried to drive off, but it wasn't going anywhere. It was trying to run, but couldn't go anywhere and looked so sad. So I shot the car to put it out of it's misery. Then she was _really_ upset. :)

I had thought about slitting the deer's throat, but that may have been even more graphic. That's one of the reasons that I started carrying a 22 rifle pretty much everywhere before I got my CFP.


Art Eatman
December 12, 2013, 12:16 PM
The last mulie I killed was at no more than 25 yards; maybe a bit less. I walk pretty quietly, and he didn't hear me until I was just starting up from a rocky creek bottom. He had been napping in a narrow telephone line pathway. When he first raised his head I didn't think he was really all that good. But, fair horns. Then he sorta stretched his neck for a better view (all he could see were my head and shoulders) and when I saw how big his neck was, Bang! But he only dressed out at 150 pounds. Ate good, though. :)

I had a doe lie down under the little tree stand I was sitting on, one time. Eight or ten feet below me. I just dropped pieces of bark on her, trying not to laugh at the way her hide wriggled at each hit.

Then there was my wet-day buck that I trailed and sneaked up to. From about ten feet, I hit him on the rump with a marble-sized rock. Highly entertaining rodeo ensued. :D

December 12, 2013, 02:45 PM
About 6 feet. It had been drizzling the night before and everything was frozen. My tree was solid ice and unsafe to climb. It was still spitting freezing rain and I just stood at the base of the tree, completely miserable. I'd have went back to the truck, but I was hunting with my dad and grandpa. Both of them were hardcore hunters and I'd have never heard the end of it.

I was there all of 10 minutes when a yearling doe wandered up. She stopped right in front of me and turned her head the other way. I held the trigger back on my Hawken .50 (no clicks), thumbed the hammer back as I raised the muzzle and let the hammer slip as it centered on her ribs. I literally shot from the hip. I'll always remember that some of the still burning powder hit her side. She dropped like a stone.

I remember my dad coming back to the truck half frozen to death about 10:30 am and saying "You didn't even go out there, did you?" I rolled over in the bed and lifted the tarp to reveal my prize, then grinned. There were some unpleasant words uttered at that point, because he hadn't scored yet. :D

December 12, 2013, 04:09 PM
I'm guessing that made a mess of both of you.

Loud too.

December 14, 2013, 12:11 PM
I shot a spike blacktail buck that was nibbling on my duck blind once. The 'blind' was a hole cut out of the huge blackberry vines common in western Washington. The Felton BlueSteak wad was stuck in his head. I suppose the statute of limitations has expired on that after 45 or so years.

December 14, 2013, 12:23 PM
6-8 yards with a bow.

I missed:)

December 14, 2013, 12:24 PM
The first time I ever hunted for deer was 5 years ago at a friend's property just north of San Francisco. I had no idea what I was doing. I'd heard how hard it was to hunt blacktails and that you had to be motionless or they'd bust you. After sitting around for a few hours all camo'd up with scent barrier, etc I got bored and started walking around, eventually heading down a hill thru some thick oaks and brush. This is in late August so it's bone dry and I'm making all sorts of noise, exactly what you're not supposed to do. I look up and there's a buck no more than 10 yards away just looking at me, must have figured that I was too stupid to be a hunter. Gave me plenty of time to chamber a round and drop him right there.

December 14, 2013, 12:47 PM
It was just after first light. I was in my tree stand about 6 feet up when it started to rain. I was mad because I wanted to hunt and turned to start packing up. A nice fork horn buck was running right at me. I coulden't get him in the scope because of the bobbing and weaving and so close on a full run. At the last second I lowered my .308 Woods Master Carbine pointed and fired at 3 feet. A 165 grain R.N. went threw it's chest and he skidded to a stop about 20 feet away. I was wet but a happy camper on the way home. hdbiker

December 14, 2013, 01:12 PM
This years mulie was trotting right at me and I had to wave my arm to get him to stop. He stopped and I shot him at about 12-15 yards.

December 14, 2013, 01:54 PM
I'm a city-boy and had never hunted deer before, in my late 20's. After wandering around for an hour or so I decided to eat a sandwich I had in my pocket. Lying under a pine tree next to the road, smoking a cigar after my sandwich, I noticed a fairly large doe walking toward me on the road.

In my excitement I lead a walking deer at about 6 or 7 feet, I didn't even see that tree run between us. She ran at the shot and never looked back. I figured it wasn't her day.

December 14, 2013, 03:25 PM
Eight (8) feet with a .44mag SBH.

December 14, 2013, 03:35 PM
I shot a mule deer back in the early 90's from about 10'. He was so close that I couldn't see anything through the scope, so I just looked down the barrel and nailed him right through the pump station.

As for close encounters, I have had so many, not just deer either. I've had turkey that were strutting a foot or two from me, deer in my face, elk, bear, coyotes, fox. As close encounters go, I've been in the danger zone more than once.

I almost got trampled by elk twice while hunting spring turkey. One of those incidents was an entire herd that were jumping over the top of me, and the huge downed tree I was laying next to. They jumped into the watering hole that was a few yards away, and then played for about 15 - 20 minutes. When they finished, they came right back over the same big downed tree, and me, this time however, I didn't have the protection of being on the opposite side of their approach and was getting nicked by their hooves. Scary stuff!


December 14, 2013, 04:32 PM
I shot a deer this year from about 50 feet. I sat in my blind for 2 hours and didn't see a thing. I was walking to a different spot and ran up on two.
A few years ago I missed one at 10 feet. I didn't miss the shot, I opened the front door and he was eating the flowers. When I went for my rifle, he took off right as I got back. After that, I put in hooks and keep a rifle handy.

December 14, 2013, 04:41 PM
Missed a nice buck directly under me--well shot holes in his ears--looked funny with light shining through them. The most unusual shot was as I was walking to a stand in an open field. Started over a slight rise and spotted two does about 150' away in the edge of the woods. Squatted down to chamber a round and saw some massive antlers coming toward me. Still squatted I raised the rifle and centered his chest. He completely filled the scope before realizing his mistake and I squeezed the trigger. He was about 25 feet from me and the round took out all his vitals. Guess he thought I was an intruder on his harem. Deer do funny things when rutting.

December 14, 2013, 11:23 PM
I am very unlucky under 10yards I have missed every deer I've shot at! 1st with a longbow and the second with .308 3-9x44 crunk up to 9 power!

It's almost like a football team that can't score in the red zone.

December 15, 2013, 07:43 AM
Many years ago I was leaning against a large tree with a deer trail running
left/right in front of me.
A doe came along & stopped right in front of me. I shot it in the neck at about 1".
Never got that close to a deer ever again.

December 15, 2013, 03:47 PM
I was easing down a (STEEP) trail with my brand new rifle, met a doe walking up it less than 10 yds away. I missed her nose and hit between the front legs taking out the heart ... she didn't know she was dead and came charging straight up the trail, I jumped up off the trail and let a round off from the hip as she went past maybe 2-3 feet away. I don't think she ever knew I was there but it sure got MY heart rate up! Then she got the message and died.... 'though the second shot was a miss....

That was ~~ 35-40 years ago but I can stil replay it in my mind.

Loyalist Dave
December 17, 2013, 08:32 AM
Got one two years ago at 12 feet. Had to wait a long time and move really slow to bring up the rifle. All the while I figured he'd hear or smell me (especially the sound of my heart beating - sounded loud to my ears at the time) and scamper off.


December 17, 2013, 04:42 PM
Once on a Winter trapline I encountered a large Whitetail doe at about 8 yds.
I dispatched her cleanly with a shot from my K-.22 as at the time, I desperatly needed the meat.

December 18, 2013, 02:12 PM
Closest I have been was probably neigh 5 yards from a spike buck. Didn't harvest the deer as to let him grow up and I was a little scared that the deer would be startled and possibly use it's little antlers!

December 18, 2013, 03:29 PM
I've spit tobacco on two different deer out of my climber stand above their favored food source; both does, once in the woods w acorns late in the season, once at the edge of a bean field.
Closest kill was when i settled into a log jam at the edge of same field wearing a ghillie to kill coyotes, rabbit decoy in the field, mouth call, etc. One coyote came into field, and got shot. So i hung out in the same spot for about half an hour and a coyote came into the log jam with me! Just on my right side, about ten feet away. Couldn't turn to shoot w/ rifle cuz he would've spooked, and i killed him w/ my .22mag handgun! No kidding- i know it's a tough story to believe, but it happened just like that!!

December 18, 2013, 03:29 PM
About 60 to 80 yds. Deer was at a full gallup. It was running straight at me than veered. My brother was about have a mile away when he spooked it towards me. I knelt to the ground started tracking it with my scope for about 800 yds. I was shooting a 30-06 with 125 gr remington core-lokt. I waited till I had a brought side view and gave it approximately a two second lead or about 6 moa. Bullet hit just behind the front rt should and stopped the deer on it tracks. Not really the momentum carried it forward a few feet turning my 12 pointer into 10.5 points, antler broke when striking the rocks. This was around Terlingua area. Biggest deer I ever shot about 230 lbs.

December 19, 2013, 01:58 PM
With a bow, an almost straight down shot from my tree stand. So close it only hit one lung. I had to finish it off when I found it. Next time, I will let them walk on out about 15 or 20 yards so the angle isn't so steep. With my .270, I shot a buck that field dressed 129 pounds. It was only about 15 yards, and and looking at me, about to run away, so I took what he gave me. A high shoulder shot at a steep downward angle. The bullet was a 130 grain Sierra Pro Hunter, and it didn't exit. There was almost no blood, and my black and tan hound Jessie found him for me. (Love that dog). Upon skinning the buck, the left shoulder was obliterated. The third was a car struck buck, I walked up to him about 10 feet. He was standing there drooling blood. I shot him through the front shoulders with a 30-06, he reared up on his hind legs, and then collapsed straight down.

December 19, 2013, 05:23 PM
About 12 feet almost straight down from my tree stand with a bow. It was just a fawn and the twin wouldn't leave. I yelled at it from the stand and it still didn't go more than about 30 yards away from the dead deer. It didn't run off until I actually got down from the tree. It was the only time I kind of felt bad after I shot a deer. If I'd of had another tag I would have put it out of its misery. I hope it got over the loss quickly...

December 19, 2013, 05:58 PM
My first deer was just 15 paces from me. I was setting on top of a ridge in between the knees of a massive Cypress Tree.

December 19, 2013, 09:30 PM
I missed a buck from 7 yards woth a crossbow.

December 19, 2013, 10:18 PM
I shot a elk cow at about 10 ft with my bow and a little fawn/yearling at about 6 ft (maybe 4 ft from my muzzle) with my (loaded for elk) black powder gun (target fixation; what a mess!)
I've missed others as close.

December 24, 2013, 06:50 AM
About 12 feet almost straight down from my tree stand with a bow. It was just a fawn and the twin wouldn't leave. I yelled at it from the stand and it still didn't go more than about 30 yards away from the dead deer. It didn't run off until I actually got down from the tree. It was the only time I kind of felt bad after I shot a deer. If I'd of had another tag I would have put it out of its misery. I hope it got over the loss quickly...

While I am sure they feel some sense of loss, I would not attribute too much emotion to the animal. I've taken does with their twin's nearby, only to have the twins return after the shot, along with all the other deer, to get right back on the corn. I was, like you, shocked to see them nudging their downed mama, until I put the glass on them. They were eating the corn she was laying on.

December 27, 2013, 01:06 AM
I was deer hunting on a friends farm. A coyote trotted by at maybe 30". I was on him but didn't shoot...because...I was deer hunting!
My friend wished I'd taken the coyote. Seems there had been a few calves killed.
Didn't get a deer either.


December 27, 2013, 09:17 AM
My first deer I was hunting with my brother. He loaned me his 270 with a 3x9x40 scope to use and took my Marlin 32. I was sitting down leaning up against a tree near a thicket watching three different deer trails. I was on a hill and expecting them to use the bottom trail, but they has other plans in mind. They used the trail closest to me and I shot the largest doe at 20 feet. She flew up and back 15 feet just like the cartoon used to watch 23 years ago.

I also had many deer walk under my 10 foot ladder stand another season. I let one walk about 20 yards out before I shot. She was so kind that she fell right next to the trail. I thought that was mighty nice of her.

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