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shot placement
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 Posted: Sun Apr 17th, 2011 03:28 PM
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muley guy
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I have had the opportunity to harvest a fair amount of deer, and I say fair amount because in certain parts of the country the number of deer you can legally harvest per year vary. In some places it may be one and in other parts of the country a couple of dozen. With that said, I average about 5 per year myself and since I butcher or process my own meat and need to include the family hunting in this discussion, I actually process closer to 10 per year. Yes, we eat all our meat, no we don't buy much at the store except chicken for some variation throughout the year.

I teach my boys to shoot for the traditional and generally accepted best shot placement of just behind the shoulder and low. My goal is to try and get them and myself to place a bullet in the heart which on a deer is about the size of your fist, so it makes a small target. Add to that the heart is protected by some ribs, and if the deer has its leg positioned right, the leg bone can be in the way. As deer stand about 38 inches high at the shoulder, a hunter may be shooting through that chunk of bone as well.

So, it seems like a quartering away shot has a better chance of hitting the heart because the leg bone is less in the way. If a hunter is perched up above the deer then they are less likely to hit the scapula if the deer is quartering away as well. My idea is to get a bullet behind the major bones and through the heart without damaging meat and making a very efficient kill shot.

Drawbacks I see with this scenario include shooting a little far back and clipping the paunch. In terms of getting a very clean, humane, and quick kill, and minimizing damage to meat from shattering bone fragments and in turn bullet fragments, I think it is worth discussion.

muley guy



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 Posted: Mon Apr 18th, 2011 02:09 PM
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Paul B
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I'm thinking the problem would be from the angle of the shot. It would depend on just how sharp the angle for the shot. I would think that about 45 degrees or less shouldn't be too much of a problem in mising the paunch if one is careful bit a greater angle than 45 degrees could be a problem. I had about a 60 degree shsot at my antelope in 2009 and the bullet did nick the paunch, but thankfully, very little of the contents spilled out. The hit was high enough and the goat landed on the right (proper) side to keep the hole on top. :cool::thumbs: I can't quite say the same on my elk last December as the shot was at about  80 degrees and the bullet crossed from left to right. The barnes TSX did some serious damage but again I was lucky with little spillage. That's one of the reasons I don't use a 130 gr. bullet in my .270. I shot a large Mule Deer back in 1973 and that bullet at less tah 60 yards literally blew up like a mini-A-bomb splattering stomach contents all over the insides. :sad: As I recall, the bullet was the 130 gr. Sierra Pro-hunter. Soured me on the .270 for quite a few years. That was one hell of a mess to clean up. :sad: 

You're lucky that you can take a few der a year. If I can even draw a tag, I'm only allowed one and it's been three years since I drew a tag. It's been six years since I got an elk tag and I haven't been draw for antelope in my home state in the 32 years since I moved here. New Mexico has profited from Arizona's stingyness.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 18th, 2011 03:39 PM
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BEAR
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If you know the anatomy of the animal you are hunting you can easily take a quartering shot. Don't think of the angle; just keep visioning the heart as the animal goes through constantly changing angles.

Over the years I've taken any number of animals bigger than deer with quartering shots that actually hit the heart dead center. I never shoot at deer running broad side, lead is difficult to impossible. But I've shot bear and boar with quartering shots, as these animals sense your presence and take off, running AWAY. The angle relative to you is really changing very little.



 Posted: Tue Apr 19th, 2011 02:50 AM
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Rockydog



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Muley, If you can imagine the front shoulder of the side away from you and shoot through the animal to hit that shoulder, lower if you want to hit the heart, you should wipe out the boiler room. Keep in mind that the more straight away the shot the more likely you are to hit the Fuel containment vessel and even the sewer system. :wink: RD



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 Posted: Tue Apr 19th, 2011 03:12 AM
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muley guy
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RD,
therein lies the uncertainty. I am one who certainly does not shoot moving critters but as you know, they are always waffling about unless bedded. They are munching at the grass below, then poking their head up sudden like to look for danger, or they can mosey about in a start/stop shuffle, all the while turning a little this way and that, usually in a direction we don't want them to. How do they sense that anyway?:confused:. If the animal is mostly broadside then this bit of turning and grazing still leaves a good shot area but if as I suggest I am looking for a slightly quartering away shot to get behind the leg bone and low to hit the heart, then the window for bullet placement gets narrower.

I think that is still my first choice shot but only if the distance I am shooting at is one I am comfortable with and all other variables are favorable such as wind, shooting rest, etc.

muley guy



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 Posted: Wed Apr 20th, 2011 03:46 PM
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Texmex247
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I am a big fan of the double lung shot on a whitetail. I used to try to place em' right into the heart too. However, a lot of research(and real-world experience)has shown me that the double lung shot will stop them within a few yards with minimal damage to edible tissue. Last year I put one just under the heart and a doe got away from me. This last season, two bucks, both double lunged and both about 15yds before they expired. Same area just behind the shoulder. Supposedly if you put one just beneath the spine it will still hit both lungs, better to aim high than low IMO.



 Posted: Wed Apr 20th, 2011 04:16 PM
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BEAR
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I like to shoot for the heart using the backup margin of error; as a double lung shot. I do a pretty good autopsy on all my game ( one hunting partner is a dr the other a biologist). actually I aim for the large blood vessels just about 1" above the heart. and that give about a 3-5 second run after the hit. Some deer go 30 yards, some 85 yards.

But I had an interesting, and un explained kill this year. Hunting with archery, I take all my shots under 15 yards, usually 5-10 yards. I really hunt crowded areas and I want the deer DOA. I took a double lung shot from 8 yards. I try to time my shot to when the deer is breathing out, limiting it o2. this 11 pointer took off, and I watched it clear a 100 yard point. It died 410 yards from my stand, and took almost 1 hour. Gutting it revealed, both lungs having triangular arrow cuts (1 1/2"). after having killed well over 100 whitetail and helped on others kills; I'd have swore that deer would have been dear.

The only thing I think I learned is: not all double lung shots are the same. there must be areas where there is less blood loss than usual???????



 Posted: Wed Apr 20th, 2011 04:20 PM
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The quartering shots can and have stopped many animals, especially if bullet selection is correct. The problem being the guy at the trigger. As the incident angle drecreases, shot placement gets more critical. From either front to back or reverse, a little misplacement each way gets a crippled animal.


I can't see a reason to take such shots ,especially if one is processing ten deer a year or so.Obviously the opportunity is there to take selective shots by the very fact that so many deer are killed.


Although I hunt mostly  elk, and can sometimes get two tags a year. Shot opportunity is such that I may only get one-two chances to kill and elk. Yet I do pass on those angle shots every time.

You end up sooner or later either cleaning a lot of guts off meat or discardingg entire front shoulders which as a mass of jellied flesh. Some folks say you can clean it up, but I am not one of them.

Only my opinion,but just because the bullet you selected or the gun you fire has the horse power,does not  mean you should take the shot.

Last edited on Wed Apr 20th, 2011 04:21 PM by saddlesore



 Posted: Thu Apr 21st, 2011 03:45 AM
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muley guy
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SS, I am in agreement when it comes to elk and would not look at any kind of marginal shot. IMO a good shot on an elk is a heavy bullet that can break shoulder bone and pin the animal on its way into the boiler room.

muley guy



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 Posted: Wed Apr 27th, 2011 08:08 PM
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TMan51
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Interesting thread Robin.

Here in NJ, the limit is a deer a day for each permit you purchase, from Mid September to the end of February, bow, firearms.  I hunt out of state most years with a gun or bow, often out west.  Every 2-3 years I get drafted for control shooting by the farmers I hunt with.  Random shooting is a major no-no, and heavily frowned upon.  Last year I shot 28 with 20ga 870.  Shots were  from 15 to 75yds ,using Remington Buck Hammer 3" slugs.  Most were down within 20ft, a couple made 20yds.

In the 80's I stopped counting bow kills at 100, quite a few shotgun seasons I pile up a dz or more.  It's been several archery seasons now where every deer shot has been down in sight of the stand, often as close as 12-15 yds.  No doubt, if you can catch the heart, it shortens the distance they will travel, but a solid double lung, mid body height, will have them on the ground within 20-40 yds most of the time.

I also cut and process all of my own, couldn't even afford a service at NJ prices.  Both of my girls are top athletes, and they can chew their way through a dz deer a year without even getting indigestion.  Good shots reduce the number I need to mess with, and shoulder shots I pass on even with a decent set of horns.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 27th, 2011 09:05 PM
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muley guy
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You my friend, live in hunting mecca. To be able to hunt that much would probably make me quit teaching and find a summer job :cool:. There are only a hundred questions I would like to ask given that much experience actually harvesting that many animals. I would probably not want to get off topic too much though. Speaking to rifle hunting, do you have a specific bullet choice for deer that doesn't fragment much so as to minimize meat damage?

muley guy



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 Posted: Thu Apr 28th, 2011 12:23 AM
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Robin, I don't consider myself a pro or anything even close.

Be glad to call, though.  I'm in my office tomorrow, better I can call Saturday if you want to chat, just for fun.

It is trout season :-)  Love troutin'



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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2012 10:03 PM
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Pecos
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Jest thoutht I would put in my two cents worth. I have been hunting for almost 60 yrs and changed my shot placement about 40 yrs ago from behind the should to center of the should after I lost a nice Elk. I had an old timer tell me if ya hit them in the shoulder and break them down, the can't run or breath, so far that has worked for me.

While shot placement is like everything else, everybody has their own opinion, the above has worked for me for a long time.

There are some shots I will not even attempt, facing straight away or toward me. If the amimal I am hunting is for eating, deer, elk, etc, if they are moving faster that a walk, the get a pass for that day.

Jest my opinion.

Pecos



 Posted: Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 01:25 PM
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Shoot'em in the head :thumbs:

All kidding aside, I've done this twice before. And it's amazing how they fall, twitch a little and then the gutting is really nice and neat. I'd never do this outside of 100 yards and on a trophy animal.

I usually shoot behind the shoulder myself, although I'm considering low neck shots close to the body. As my buddy's dad shoots there and his always drop in their tracks.

Last edited on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 01:28 PM by SavageShooter



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 Posted: Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 02:09 PM
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BEAR
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Just a thought on this old thread.
Obviously we all want to get a clean kil, and lose little meat, ec.
But over the 50+ year I've hunted with hanguns, archery and rifle I have to say I've seen about 4 deer with arrows sticking into the shoulder. thee deer were still running around fine; but probably died from infection a week or two later.

I can shoot unlimited does, so I take only perfect shoots as another will present itself over the next few months of the seasons.

Taking out a leg or a shoulder doesn't really put a whitetail down. they run pretty fast on 3 legs, and I've seen themdo a very fast walk with the lower shooulder blown off.
Just like a double lung shot is much more effective on a whitetail, a double shooulder shot WILL put it on the ground where a single shooulder may or may not put is down (It will certainly kill it, but you might have a trackiing issue).

good thread, glad to see it come back up for more comments.



 Posted: Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 07:28 PM
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BEAR wrote: Obviously we all want to get a clean kill, and lose little meat, etc.
Sounds about right.

I'm surprised at how many people have their ego dead wired to getting a deer though.  They shoot sons, brothers, and friends turning them into deer so they can shoot them.  They take every shot that goes by, they shoot does without a permit in hand, and the same people often never even eat the meat, if there's any left after they empty their gun, a couple times.

Myself, I never shoot through a shoulder, gun, or bow, deer, elk, antelope.  Waste of meat.  I shot my hundredth deer with a bow, back in the 80's.  On close shots, I hold low for a heart shot.  On longer shots, or walking deer, I hold for a double lung.  24 of the last 25 deer I've taken with a bow (six years), have been dead in sight of the stand, including a 204lb 10 pointer that went about 40yds.  Two summers ago, I culled 28 deer for farm damage, most with a 20ga and slugs.  Every one was dead within 20 feet.  Just pick a spot and aim.




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 Posted: Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 11:00 PM
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BEAR
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My health and age make dragging a deer difficult. I shoot 2-6 deer and we eat them all. This year I got a black bear so I just ook 2 whittails.

Any longer my arrow shots are well under 10 yards. I shoot for the top of the heart hitting the large blood vessels out of the top. Most shots are under 7 yards and I only take perfect broadside shots with the leg in the perfect position. Lately I've been watching the deer breathing and try to shoot when he exhales. with no lung full of air they stop about 5-10 yards, and stand then fall stone dead. Just my technique. I pass on over 100 good shots that most guys would take. but we really can only eat 4 deer a year since the kids moved out.



 Posted: Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 01:57 AM
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Neck shots are quick droppers but I try and avoid those for fear of hitting the throat and blowing food particles into the meat. As a former archery hunter, I learned how to do quartering away shots. I'll take those, if available at a comfortable range. With a rifle, it has a tenancy to damage meat on the far shoulder. My prefered shot would be broad side and through & through. Heart or lungs, either is very effective in downing deer. I might have to do some tracking but I don't mind.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 9th, 2012 07:55 PM
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I have to side with Pecos. There's not much meat on a deers shoulder anyway. I'd rather lose 2 pounds of hamburger meat than the whole deer. Hit properly through the middle of the shoulders they fall in their tracks, never take a single step.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 10th, 2012 08:54 PM
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I like to shoot them just behind the shoulder. Slightly quartering away. Take the lungs or heart out and  break the off side shoulder. Or a neck shot usually drops them. I shot a buck last year 120 yds with muzzle loader.  110gr blackhorn209 300gr scorpion pt gold bullet. Shot him in the left shoulder and broke both shoulders bullet never exited. He went down then used his back legs to plow himself down hill towards the road. Reloaded the smokepole  and put another shot  in him. In my braver years i would have jumped on him and slit his throat.Now  I  don't want one of those back leg hooves in the head. In the heart- lung area brake the off side shoulder. They usually don't go to far. Just my thought.:thumbs:

Last edited on Tue Apr 10th, 2012 08:56 PM by deadeye209



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