Shot Placement

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Patriot
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby Patriot » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:24 am

Some folks will argue for hours on end about the head shot (for gun).  Unless the animal is extremely close, I would not recommend that shot.
Paul K. "aim small, miss small"
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JPH
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby JPH » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:25 am

IMO:
 
When it comes to archery, the only legit shot a broadside or quarteing away angle, aiming for center mass of the heart/lungs/major vessles.
 
When it comes to firearms the degree of error and acceptable sot placement grows vastly. This is particularly true when shooting high quality ammo from a large bore, centerfire rifle. The shoulder blade shot will often drop a deer in it's tracks, but it is a little smaller target than the lungs. I have had great success with the shoulder blade but will aim for the lungs when in doubt. The head shot is a bad coice at any range because you need to hit a taget the size of a moving softball and any misses may well result in a horrible wound on a deer that you will never recover.

DeanoZ
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby DeanoZ » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:37 am

Agreed, for me personally I don't see myself taking any shot other than right behind the shoulder aiming for lungs heart..with a bow or a gun...I would never take a head shot, and i think once again the TV shows are doing a diservice when they show those spine shots!

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JPH
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby JPH » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:24 am

I think the true diservice is when they make those shots and tell the camera that it was "a great shot". I mean be honest! You made a bad shot and got lucky. I can live with that, it happens to all of us.
 
I guess they worry that we won't buy the crap they sell if we found out they were just regular guys who lucked into a great gig.

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Patriot
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby Patriot » Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:14 am

I never have and probably never will intentionally attempt a head, spine, or shoulder shot.
 
The "pump station" is by far the best option.
Paul K. "aim small, miss small"
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Bowtechian
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby Bowtechian » Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:45 pm

I have a lot more respect for hunters who will watch a deer walk away rather than take a marginal shot. There aren't many hunting shows on tv that have above average shooters, so I wouldn't put much stock in most shows as learning tools.
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby msbadger » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:38 pm

I don't concider myself as one to take marginal shots and every deer I've shot for a few years now ....with exception to bow hunting ...have been shoulder shots....one shot one kill....now I just started rifle hunting and use a rem. 243....shot my 6pt at 60-80 yrds and it went through both shoulders and the flatten bullet was in the hide on other side......it shattered the shoulder blade shredding the lungs and nerves...Now having inspected the shot ...On longer shots with the 243 I'd aim for the " boiler room" but on closer shots the shoulder is where I'll always aim...then again I don't shoot moving deer nor spooky deer...I carry my personal bow "ethics" to gun season. Practice practice practice...ALL YEAR...NOT...a few days before

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shaman
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby shaman » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:19 am

With these TV guys, there is the added element of theatrics.  If you shoot a deer in the ribs, he is likely to take off and run a bit and die off-camera.  The deer runs away and you cut to the reaction shot of the hunter pumping his fist and high-fiving the cameraman.  That is good for Sunday morning ESPN fare. It also lets them substitute the bigger buck for the scenes taken after dark.  For the DVD audience, you want the animal to expire right then and there. A DRT shoulder shot is very dramatic. It also helps emphasize the effectiveness of the sponsor's rifle.

There are problems with every shot placement.  With the head, you have a chance of blowing off the lower jaw.  Necks have too small of a target.  Heart/lung shots are too close to the paunch. Sometimes this discussion can get rather heated. Folks seem to have a lot of emotion wrapped up in their choice of target.

The problem with a shoulder shot is the thickness and shape of the bone.  A spot-on shot will drop the animal. However, a glancing shot off the bone can have unwanted consequences.  Usually, when we discuss bullet failure, the shoulder is involved.  This is true with all bullets, even premium bullets. If a bullet is going to do something strange, it will happen after contact with the shoulder.  Higher velocity and kinetic energy seem to exacerbate the problem.

I have made a habit of trying for the lungs and heart.  However, stuff does happen in the woods.  I had one odd encounter with a shoulder in 2001.  It was a brisket shot with a 30-06, a bit off center at fairly close range. However, the bullet glanced off the inside of the far-side shoulder blade and took off for the paunch. I found thumb-sized hole in the diaphragm, and it got lost somewhere in the innards. On the way through, it had jellied the heart and lungs. Mind you, this is only a guess.  It is the only shot that has left me scratching my head.

Meat loss is the other reason I stay away from shoulder shots.  I hunt exclusively with .308 and .358 bullets in rifles like 30-06 and 35 Whelen.  When one connects on a rib on the way in. . .  well, let's just say I've gotten used to not getting any ribs back from the processor.  When you move to the shoulder area, there is a lot more meat in the way, and the shoulder itself can get pretty energetic once it is hit. If you are not careful you can also involve both the near and far shoulder area and double the amount of meat lost. I cannot say I really miss venison ribs. I last fixed them for myself in 1991.  However, a shoulder roast, thrown in the crockpot with a bottle of russian dressing is one of the family favorites.

I am a strong proponent of the heart and lungs being the primary target. With my arsenal at the ranges I normally hunt I know that I can reach that from about any angle, and the trail will be short. To me, shoulders just get in the way.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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JPH
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby JPH » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:48 am

Some good points Shaman, but I think there is growing value to the shoulder blade shots.

To begin with, we have better ammunition available to us than ever before.

Secondly today's hunting landscape is changing. Properties are growing more fragmented. While there are fewer hunters overall, deer season is more crowded. More landowners are becoming stingy about fence crossing. To me a deer that drops in it's tracks is worth it's weight in gold.

Because I am a mediocre marksman, I will only attempt this shot at close range, with a solid rest, but I'll give up the shoulder meat in order to guarantee a recovery. 

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shaman
 
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RE: Shot Placement

Postby shaman » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:00 am

You've got a point there.  I have yet to lose one over the fence here in Kentucky, but it's 200 acres.  In fact, I haven't had one stray onto a neighbor's parcel since Indiana in 1988. That was with a bow.  All the heart/lung shots I've taken with a rifle or shotgun have been either DRT or a no-brainer tracking job where the deer fell over dead within earshot.  I will have to admit that apart from my apparent inability to age deer on the hoof, my second biggest failing as a deer hunter is that I am a lousy tracker.  I simply do not have much experience-- all mine seem to fall over dead long before they become a challenge to track.

The rule of thumb I've heard is that the longest a deer will run with a heart/long shot is about 2 minutes.  That's with an excited deer and taking out just the heart. One lung? It's probably fatal, but they can travel for miles.  Assuming  1 lung and the heart, on crowded public land, two minutes  can take you through a lot of territory.  So there is a good reason to want to anchor the critter.

The one thing I disagree on is the idea that newer premium bullets will insure a clean shoulder shot.  Yes, it does improve your chances, but I'm always seeing these online post-mortem discussions. They always seem to involve the shoulder and something went wrong with a premium bullet that should not have caused a problem. The more expensive the bullet, the bigger the issue. Shoulders are risky-- or at least riskier.

A recent thread on a forum I was on was discussing this topic.  It was on elk, and it was . . .one of the fancy ones (a TSX or an Interbond or one of those ).  The point was that this guy was complaining that he'd fired a super-dooper magnum at an elk's shoulder and the bullet had disintegrated.  He wanted suggestions for a tougher bullet that would hold together with his rig  so he could shoot shoulders at whatever yardage he pleased.  Then answer was:  Good luck. Next time you have an elk that close, stay away from the shoulder.

The moral I drew from this thread is that if you have a lot of velocity and KE at the muzzle and you graze a big  bone in the shoulder close in, you risk having any bullet come apart on you. If not, if you use a bullet that is guaranteed to hold together in those situations, then you risk not having proper expansion further out as the KE and velocity start to drop.

I don't mean to be disagreeing with you too much though.  I think the best path is somewhere in the middle.  I seldom shoot deer much beyond 50 yards. I always shoot deer with a 30-cal cup and core bullet. I am using moderate loads. My deer usually crumple up.  Further out?  Yeah, I can believe a deer might run on me, and if I was on a small parcel or public land, I'd be worried.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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