Here are three diagrams of elk anatomy, courtesy of Shari Fraker. Print them, take them to Kinkos and have clear transparencies made. Keep them in you elk camp to use when discussing how to follow up on a shot.
They have helped us recover a number of elk in our camp by making the right decision on how/when to follow up the shot.
Shari used to teach shot placement with these disgrams, and similar ones for deer and bear. Besides being an excellent bowhunter in her own right, she undoubtedly contributed to may found animals that might otherwise have been lsot due to bad shots or incorrect follow-up
- "many found animals that might otherwise have been lost"
Good luck on your fall hunts!
I've used the transparencies in seminars, with an opaque elk to start. When asking people where they would shoot to hit the lungs (before peeling back the layers) it was alarming how many people picked a point in the guts.
Just yesterday, I just started re-reading Dwight Schuh's "Bugling Bull Elk" and Shari Fraker is mentioned prominently in the book as well as several photos of her with dead bulls. (I haven't had this book out since 1998!)
I hate leg bones!
Bill in MI
Last fall when I killed my moose I took some photos of its vitals as it lay on the ground for bowhunter educational purposes. Hopefully this will help some of you who are confused. I want to state that although this is pretty accurate its actually moose vitals and antelope leg bones cloned onto an elk. I tried to make everything as close as I possibly could. It is meant to just give those who really don't understand the anatomy make up a pretty close replica of how an elk is put together.
Here' the first of two photos I will post. This just shows how the vitals lay in a standing elk that is close to broadside.
I hope Lou doesn’t mind me posting this, as I only hope to add to his idea.
that last elk better not bed down on this side, he could puncture his lungs!
Have a great bowhunt BB
Those pics are excellent. But, are you sure that the bone structure is correct? The reason that I ask, a few years ago I hit a bull about 4" forward of the "crease", and the arrow sounded like I hit a brick wall. I got about 2" of penetration, and as far as I know, the elk is still alive today. No blood, and I had tracks for a long while.
Which bone did I hit? Because your leg joint is showing way more forward from where I hit the bull. From you picture, I would have heart shot that bull? I think the shoulder joint should set a little further back? I'm asking....
It sounds to me that you might have hit the joint at the bottom of the scapula. On an elk, its a big joint and few broadheads would have the power to break it if hit squarely.
Again, I am sorry for the confusion.
The photo with this post shows very close to the real makeup of a moose. It's probably as close as any artist rendering. Notice the little dark spot straight up from the front leg. That is where my broadhead hit the moose. It lived about 8 seconds and I watched it go down. That area is the sweet spot.
Have a great bowhunt BB
Have a great bowhunt.
Thanks BB, I sure do like going over these pics in elk camp.
BB, what is the white band running horizontal above the liver and lungs? Also, is that just muscle above that white band?
The descending aorta comes out of the heart raises and it attached to bottom of the back bone and runs almost its whole length before it splits into the femoral arteries and takes blood to the back legs and even to the back hooves.
The bottom tip of the heart can be seen straight up the back of the front leg, at the bottom of the cavity.
Also, note how the back bone runs down and how low it is as it nears the neck. On a moose and buffalo, above that area is their hump, which can be seen plainly in this picture.
So it seems to me a shot in the area just up from the back of the leg would be the center of the C-V area. This of course assumes the animal is standing broadside and the near leg is in line with the far leg--like that always happens.
BB - one thing - I'm wondering if the liver "relaxed" when the moose was necropsied while lying on its side, because from everything I've ever seen on real animals (and on humans as well) is that when standing, the liver is actually almost parallel to the diaphragm, not perpendicular. On your moose, the liver appears to be almost as large of a target as the lungs, which is not the case on a live critter.
Not a big deal, but may lead some to think the liver is a much larger relative target than it actually is.
I've shot ten or more in the heart, and have been in on many other heart shots from partners. The heart and all of the critical "plumbing" is straight up from the front leg. On close broadside shots I aim for the bunched muscle bulge about 1/3 of the way up and watch them fall.
I agree with BB that you likely hit a little higher and more forward than you thought, because 4" in front of the crease would have been a definite heart shot - as you can see from Shari's and BB's profiles. Things happen very quickly at the moment of impact, as you well know. It's not unusual to misjudge the exact point of impact, and in fact, is more common than most hunters realize, IMHO.
I've done it once, with a 4 blade Muzzy out of a treestand on a bull that turned toward me as I shot. But for every one of those exceptions I'll bet there are a hundred where the hunter thought "double-lung, lost elk" when in fact the bull lived on.
Based on BB's threads I started sending out emails to this small group with shot placement scenarios.
Basically a pic. The recipient has to save the pic, then open it in paint, mark their aiming point, then send it back.
I compile the shots, then do my best to build basic kill zone and bone structure.
there's obviously artisit's interpretation there as I can't see the actual bone structure and kill zone, but I know for us it has prompted some excellent discussion.
Basically, the back of the lung, the front of the leg bones bottom of the spine, top of the sternum
From there you put a circle inside that basically touches 2-3 of these points without ging into non vital area, then at the center of the circle you have the tru center of the kill zone or what should be the aiming point.
From there you get to determine who had the 'best shot'
Lot of fun and very educational.
Send that out It looks something like this
I know there have been other treads, and I'm not debating if it's ethical or not... just want to SEE what the target realy is from dead on front.
Thanks in advance!
Hit'em high - watch em' die
Hit'em low - watch em' go !
Take the air out of them ! forget the heart on an elk.