How Many ft lbs to Kill a Deer

As a rule of thumb, aim for a cartridge capable of producing at least 1,000 foot pounds of energy when shooting at deer-size targets.

Attaining vital organs of deer will quickly bring death. Any gun with sufficient ammunition should do just that.

As part of your tracking effort, use a Coleman lantern to illuminate the area as this makes blood glow like neon.


Deer are one of the largest animals within the Cervidae genus and typically stand with shoulders spanning 3 to 3.5 feet, measuring head-to-body lengths from 3’1″-7’2. An adult male deer can weigh up to 250 pounds; their antlers shed and regrow annually and they communicate through scent, body language and vocalizations.

Whitetail deer are one of the most frequently hunted deer species in North America, typically weighing 80 to 250 pounds and typically found between 80-250 yards from hunters. Their size depends on both environment and genetics – though there can be correlation between geographic location and body size; animals further away from equator tend to have larger bodies as these energy efficient bodies retain heat in cold climates better.


Deer are large animals that require considerable strength to hunt. Understanding their weight can help hunters or anyone curious about deer to determine what kind of gun and effort is necessary in taking one down.

Deer weigh different depending on their age and gender; male deer are known as bucks; they typically have heavier antlers than their female counterparts and therefore weigh more overall. Young deer known as fawns tend to be lighter because they do not yet possess antlers.

Deer weight can vary significantly based on their blood supply; an average buck typically weighs 160 pounds while doe typically weight around 100. These figures don’t account for hide and bone weight either. To get an accurate estimation of a deer’s weight it is wise to field dress it immediately – this involves taking steps such as extracting its head, legs, innards from its carcass as well as tying off its rectum so body fluids don’t leak out and spoil its meat.

Once a deer is field dressed, its final weight can be determined by multiplying its field dressing weight by 1.26 and subtracting 7. To find its realistic venison weight.

An accurate understanding of deer weight can be useful for hunters in many ways, from selecting an ideal hunting rifle or bow, to determining how long an animal needs to be stalked before calling it in. Knowing its weight also assists hunters with using blood trail methods when tracking injured animals; blood trails can be traced by dividing up land into grids, walking each square until either deer signs appear or blood trails have formed; this method works particularly well when tracking deer at night as their blood will glow like neon!


Curt Stager likens deer’s movement to that of ballerinas. This can be partly attributed to their anatomy; their front legs feature two “fingers” ending in cloven hooves while what looks like forearm or foreleg has an additional joint, creating what amounts to an extra “digit”. This allows deers to step sideways without losing balance and avoid collision.

An energy bullet with sufficient velocity (speed) can take down deer with relatively minimal energy expenditure. To be effective at killing deer, however, its penetration must penetrate deeply into vital tissues like the heart and lung – for which sufficient velocity (speed) must exist.

Deer movement and hunting success is determined by many different factors, including food availability and rut activity; weather and moon phase can have more of a localized influence and depend on specific circumstances.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms tend to reduce deer movement, while light rainfall and fog increase it. Wind can be an equally powerful force that drives deer toward or away from your hunt area while dispersing scent and diminishing their sense of smell.

As many believe, the moon also plays a large role in deer behavior and movement – though perhaps not to as great an extent as people imagine. Deer are most motivated to move when its position at dawn or dusk is directly overhead or below their feet – making this an optimal time to hunt, provided all other conditions are conducive for hunting success as well.

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy of an arrow on impact refers to the force exerted upon impact; this figure can be determined by multiplying its mass (grains) times its velocity (fps). A 400 grain arrow traveling at 170 fps would have sufficient kinetic energy for shooting down a deer.

Practice makes perfect, however. In terms of energy loss upon impacting a target, it’s essential to take note. In general, an arrow loses five feet of its kinetic energy per 10 yards after impact. So for a 40 lb bow firing out a 300 grain arrow at 230 fps for 50 yards shot from this same bow will only have 28 feet-lbs left upon impact at impact.

As such, less kinetic energy is required than many hunters believe to kill a deer. A well-placed broadside shot into the heart/lung area should cause sufficient tissue destruction that causes respiratory failure and shock, thus killing it instantly.

A great hunting bullet will have high initial energy transfer and should expand rapidly upon contact with an animal’s lungs, taking in as much energy as possible from its impact. A bullet that expands quickly will create more impact than one that takes its time in penetrating the lung tissue before only destabilizing small portions on either side.

At its core, how much kinetic energy a deer needs to die depends on multiple factors including shot placement. A well-placed shot in the heart/lung region should bring swift and humane death using any reasonably adequate bow.

To locate deer, search for blood trails. Heavy trails atop dense bushes could indicate arterial spurting and could indicate their proximity. If no blood trails can be found, divide up your land into grids and walk each square until you locate deer or signs of them; if unsuccessful move to another spot and repeat this process.

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