How a bullet kills

Hunting bullets are designed to transfer the energy they contain to the animal they hit and cause trauma by shock. Hunting bullets are designed to expand, or “mushroom,” to enhance the trauma and enlarge the wound channel.

There is a confusing array of available bullet designs for most popular calibers. Some knowledge about bullet design is appropriate, but because this is a highly technical field, any in-depth discussion may only serve to confuse novice hunters.  However, numerous resources are available for participant to use if they are interested in delving deeper into this subject.

In programs that supply firearms and ammunition, the choices are made for the participants. In programs where participants supply their own ammunition, a brief discussion about bullet weight, velocity, energy and lethality is recommended. A review of popular deer hunting calibers and the various combinations of bullet weight, velocity, energy should be included in the discussion.

Some states have minimum energy requirements and/or minimum caliber requirements for firearms used for deer (or other big game) hunting.


How Arrows and Bullets Differ

To understand the importance of proper shot placement and recovery techniques in bowhunting, it's helpful to know how arrows and bullets differ in the way they impact and kill an animal. Bullets kill by high-energy impact that crushes tissue and bone. Bullets may knock down an animal or incapacitate it by breaking major bones, which reduces its chance of running away.