Shot placement is crucial to achieving a quick, clean harvest of game animals. Since hunters do not want to wound a game animal and have it run away and not be found, it is every hunter's responsibility to first practice at a range to ensure they can place a shot successfully. Consistency is key. Do not take a shot unless you are certain you can hit the vital area to achieve a quick, clean and humane harvest; if, however, the shot was slightly off-target and hit the animal in a non-vital area such as the abdomen, neck, or spine, it might take a little longer for the animal to expire. If you are unsure of your shot, don't take the shot.
Bullets cause hydrostatic shock to an animal's vital organs, which means that with a properly placed shot in the vital area (heart & lungs) the animal will expire very quickly. If, however, the shot was slightly off-target and hit the animal in the abdomen, neck, or spine, it might take a little longer for the animal to expire.
After taking a shot, it is important you take note of the direction the game animal went as this will assist in its retrieval. Wait for at least 30 minutes before looking for the game animal. Patience is a must at this point. Remember that if the game animal does not drop immediately after having been shot, it will try to hide in a safe place. It is every hunter's responsibility to find any game they shot. This can sometimes take hours if it was a poorly placed shot, but it is your duty not to give up. If the animal ran onto private property, contact the landowner and get permission to go find the animal.
REMEMBER! After taking your shot, observe the animals reaction and direction. This will help the recovery of your game animal.