HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 10 - WILDLIFE


Game animals must be killed quickly in order to minimize their suffering. This priority will govern your choice of firearm and the type of ammunition you use.

Practice shooting before you go, know the game you’re hunting and know the likely distances over which you’ll be shooting. Without this information, you may not be able to make an effective shot for a quick and clean kill.

State resource agencies typically classify wildlife species into several categories including:

  • Big Game
  • Small Game
  • Upland Game
  • Migratory game birds
  • Furbearers
  • Non-game and Endangered species

The following target areas are considered vital zones or ‘kill shots’ for game animals:

  • Big game = The heart, lung and liver.
  • Turkeys = The head and neck.
  • Birds in flight =  The head, spine, heart and lungs.

Additionally, hunters must be able to adjust their shots for:

  • Varying angles in relation to the game.
  • The location of large bones in big game.

Remember, never take the shot if you think you may only wound the animal.

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