Elk anatomy overlays
"After the Shot" Bull Elk
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Figured I'd start a new one since the other one had grown stale.
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.
Oops sorry - you can sit up now
This one with the liver removed
Front shoulder and leg bone.
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
Multitasking is a bad thing
- "many found animals that might otherwise have been lost"
All help is much appreciated!
Good luck on your fall hunts!
good stuff Jaq!
Shari did AWESOME work! In order to get things right, she did multiple field necropsies to map each organ in it's EXACT location. Unfortunately she didn't have the sort of backing to get her stuff to everyone. I met her back in the late 70's and in the 80's when she put these charts out and was lucky enough to get the whole package of what she had done. Thanks for posting her work here, Jaquomo_feral!
Shari's whitetail and bear diagrams viewed from directly above are brilliant, and illustrate precisely why many animals are lost from shots on too steep of an angle.
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.
This is weird.
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!)
Thx guys now i'm confused. Been hearing stay behind that leg 4" or so. This seems to be on the tail edge of the good stuff.
I hate leg bones!
Bill in MI
Aim just in front of the crease. That shoulder angles forward! Short blood trails! Good luck guy's. Thanks for the diagrams.
The photos I post here might help some of you to understand the important leg make up and vitals in relation to the bone structure.
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!
Here's the same photo with the leg structure attached. Remember these are moose vitals and antelope bones, but they are reduced or enlarged to be about the same size as that of an elk. It gives one the basic idea of why one should aim farther forward that most bowhunter’s do. Study it close and you will understand why straight up the front leg is a much better shot with less chance of losing than animal, than behind the crease.
Have a great bowhunt BB
Its hard to believe that elk was still standing with half of him ripped off like that, now that is a tough elk, ha, ha, I know, I know, I just had to say it.
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....
If you right click on the pictures, you can "save as" to an "anatomy" folder on your pc for later study.
This one of BB's earlier pics. It seems to show the bones up and back just a little.
Sivart, you are correct in thinking the photo I posted is not exactly as it is on an elk. Like I said I used an antelope leg bone and the vitals are from a moose. I just wanted to illustrate the general make up of how elk are put together. So many people are so worried about shooting up the leg and hitting the bone, thinking it goes straight up and as the example shows that is not the case. I by no means think my example is exact, but it was meant to show more the general make up and not meant as a photo that is anatomically correct. I’m am sorry if I confused anyone and apologize for not noting that more carefully.
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
With these small photos its pretty hard to see the dark spot I mentioned. It would be near the center of the yellow dot in this photo.
Have a great bowhunt.
Thanks Red You can sure see the opening for a frontal shot. Not big by any means but there none the less.
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?
Bob, here’s a is a close up of the moose vitals. The white band you see is actually the descending aorta. That's the major vessel that takes blood to the major portion of the body behind the heart and below the neck. The ascending aorta leaves the heart and goes up the neck taking blood to that area.
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.
On both the pictures of the Elk and Moose here the area straight up the middle to back of the leg--the infamous "crease" would seem to be the center of the vitals ( related to a forward to backwards measurement). Yes the V that is formed by the scapula and the humerous(leg bone) does contain part of the cardio-vascualar organs, but the CENTER in the V area formed by the shoulder blade and the leg bone is not the center of the C-V area. It is more the front third of the CV region.
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.
That is exactly what I was thinking....
BB, thanks for posting and contributing your excellent anatomy photos, and Redneck, great virtual stuff to save and add to the collection!
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.
(That is a pic from BB that I saved on my pc last year)
Something else that hasn't been discussed here: on other threads we've read about broadheads that will "bust through the scapula and into the lungs". As you can see from the excellent material above, while this might be possible from a steep uphill angle on a quartering-toward animal, it's pretty rare, and virtually impossible on a broadside elk.
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.
jcastinado's Supporting Link
Another good link for elk shot placement.
What is the software used to produce the 3-d deer?
There's a few folks that hunt that I trade emails with throughout the year
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.
Not scientific But the plain photo is sent out I get the replies back Compile them
Send that out It looks something like this
Then I do the best I can on the overlay and develop the kill zone for the above shot.
This is carried over from the "Frontal Shot - Couldn't do it" thread. Any body have real, good picture of the bone structure of a bull from head on? How big is the target in a true frontal shot?
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!
These threads are always very educational. You get be refreshed enough on this subject.
Hit'em high - watch em' die
Hit'em low - watch em' go !
Take the air out of them ! forget the heart on an elk.
I've been looking at these threads for the last 2-3 years and just wanted to add a comment about frontal shots. I've seen several skeletal photos and real skeletons of several animals including deer, elk, horses, etc. and I feel that a lot of hunters underestimate how lethal this shot can be. The ribs are much finer bones up front vs the larger ribs behind shoulder, which makes it easier for an arrow to punch through especially with a steep quartering to you shot at close range. Also, as seen in many photos on bowsite the head on shot has a nice big opening above the sternum. I know this will raise the ire of a lot of you, but choose your own shots and don't condemn others for theirs.
study your animals before you hunt and no matter what shot if you are confident and at a close range you can make the shot. only shot i wont take is quartering to but in close quarter head on i would take it because i know where to aim. it creats a lot of stuff from others but what subject doesnt
The real deal! Better trust your broad head!