Shot placement - Where did I go wrong?
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I would love your feedback and thoughts...OK, here is the scenario. I shot this elk at 35 yards uphill. I shoot a 410 grain arrow with a G5 Striker broadhead. The picture is of the entry wound, exit wound was about 2-3 inches higher on the body. It was a complete pass through. The elk took 5-6 steps and stood there bleeding heavily for 5-10 minutes (I know I got at least one lung, plenty of bubbles in the blood). At that point it turned and walked away. We followed the blood trail for over 2 MILES! She never bedded and we gave her 7 hours before got close to her.
My question is: based on this shot and scenario...how or where did I miss the heart and major vitals? Was a too low or too far back? Just trying to figure it out. Nonetheless, the elk meat is tasty! Thanks, JB
Looks pretty darn good to me. Should have fallen within sight.
Easiest way to find out is to look inside. When you gutted her, what organs were hit?
Could have grazed the outside of the heart muscle and got only part of the offside lung. I took BB's advice and went for the V... Fell in sight in 10 seconds.
Probably a bit low on the onside.
I hit this bull right through the heart blood every where and went down in sight. I thought this was a bit low and should have been higher but I got lucky.
From my experience, you are way too low and when you hit low like that, you are too far back.
Many years ago I watched a buddy hit a nice bull in about the same area. We watched the bull bed some 125 yards or so away, right out in the open sagebrush.
This happened about 3:30 in the afternoon and we watched him until it started to get dark. We did not want to leave him overnight, so my buddy snuck around and got ahead of the bull and waited in a finger of quakes, the route we thought the bull would take if he could get up. Once my buddy was there, I put a sneak on the bull and when I got about 50 yards from him, he got up and headed right for the quakey finger. My buddy put another arrow in him and he went down in less than 50 yards.
When gutting him we could see his arrow had doubled lung the bull right at the bottom of the lungs, but he lived for about 4 hours. We were lucky he did take off like yours did, but had he decided to do that, I am sure he could have made it that far.
If your arrows exit wound was back farther, you more than likely clipped the liver as it sits low and up front, low down and then angles back up as it gets higher.
I'm going to attach a photo. It's an antelope and not an elk, but the baisics are very similar. Take a close look and you can get an idea of why real low hits are very marginal.
The good thing is it looks like you found her. Next time aim straight up the front leg and about 1/3-1/2 way up the chest and you more than likely will watch the critter go down if you hit it there.
Have a great bowhunt BB
Hey jb, looks like a good hit, curious as well on the autopsy report. Obviously if she went two miles it's a single lung hit. But wow.
Were you not able to get another arrow into her when she walked off 5-6 steps and stood there? Hind sight is 20/20, but Im for more holes if given the opportunity, even if the first hit looks as solid as yours.
I think you were low and back as BB stated.
Here is the entrance hole on my bull from this year. The hit might have been a little high but he only went 120 yards.
It looks to me, after looking at your photo, that your arrow, going in hit just about where I marked the black dot on the photo above. Again that is an antelope, but it gives one a pretty idea as they are quite close anatomy wise, if not size wise.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
JB....I lost a nice 6 point one year in Wy. that I swear I hit in the same place you did. I thought I smoked him at 20yds...he bled like crazy for 100yds (serious blood) kept trailing him and bumped him. He took off down hill...tracked him to a river. Never found another drop of blood or any sign. Was in that drainage for 3 days looking for him as I knew he was dead......still don't know! Tough Critters they are! PaLongshank
That is a great cross section BB, very good reference
Autopsy revealed a low single lung shot. Thankfully I had a strong team of trackers so we did find her, but the lessons learned are: - aim a little higher and more towards the front. - get another arrow in them if possible. - don't push them and give them time to expire.
This has been very helpful. Thanks for the insight! JB
BB... I don't see your black dot.... Did I miss it?... Terry
az...If you don't see a black dot, I suggest you put "computer monitor" on your Christmas list...
I hit a nice bull a couple years ago in the exact same spot, never found him. He bled for half a mile, then bedded down, we let him sit overnight and spent the next 3 days looking.
I think a shot like that is at least 4" low. I didn't adjust for the extra 3 yards... used my 40 yard pin and he was 43 down hill slightly. Still makes me sick to think about it. Not only a lost bull, but he was a nice one too.
AZ, look Between the elbow and the liver.
Shot a cow this year broadside at 30 yds. Hit her 6 inches up from the brisket and 6 inches behind the leg. Red spot right where the arrow hit. Found a few drops of blood and my arrow was as clean as a whistle with just a tiny bit of fat on a vane. A little low and must have deflected down when it hit. It was a level shot too. The arrow was only 10 yds from her and just about five inches above the ground stuck in a log. Looked for hours anyways and found an 1/8 inch size blood drop and that was it. Any ideas there?
BB that is an awesome photo for anatomy. Do you have one for deer?
Here is my shot on my bull that I took this year. To me it looks a tad high, but this bull went down within 20 yards and about 40 seconds.
trust me from multiple experiences: if you would have hit that elk with a mechanical at that same spot, that elk would have went no further than 30 yards. The victory dance could have commenced no later than 20 seconds after the shot.
lessons I have learned: those elk are big and tough. You have to put the biggest hole in their vitals as you can, even more important when it is a marginal shot.
Cool thread...keep it going! I saw one hit right in the rear quarter this year that only went about 150 yards and died within 10 minutes! I sure would have rather had your shot!! :0)
I agree with some of the above posts about shooting straight up the leg. Most people shoot to far back. I shot my bull with a small two blade head and he only ran 46 yds and was dead in seconds. I actually hit him in front of the leg slightly quartering towards me.
BB's Supporting Link
Chad, I'm sorry, I don't have one for deer or elk. I have the antelope and moose and hopefully in not too long, I will have the chance to do a deer and elk. But be reminded, that anatomy wise, they are pretty close the same.
I know many of you don't visit the antelope forum, but I am going to copy and paste a post I just put on a thread there, along with the photo I posted, as it is so relative to this thread.
If any of you are interested in reading what discussions come from that post you can read it by clicking on the link above or by copy and pasting this address. http://forums.bowsite.com/TF/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=356910&messages=109&forum=8
Now for a little bowhunter education.
Many years ago, when Cody was still a pup kid, but getting close to the age he could hunt, I enrolled both of us in a bowhunter education class, taught by a guy named Fred Pola. Fred was/is a tireless worker and did as much for bowhunter education in the state of Utah, as has anybody. Thanks Fred for all your efforts.
I had bow hunted for many years and the main reason I took the class was for Cody. I felt it best for him, so I just went along for the ride. Little did I know the revelation that laid in store for us. I, like many of you had been taught to shoot a critter just behind the front leg.
That class, taught by Mr Pola really opened my eyes on how and where to shoot a critter. Besides the snuffer, it has done more for my bowhunting success than any other thing. Thanks Fred you helped me, and Cody, and consequently many other bow hunters, by opening our eyes to the true knowledge of how a critter is put together.
Since taking that class so many years ago, both Cody and I have been able to watch a good percentage of the critters we shoot go down in sight. And I owe all that to Fred for opening our eyes to the truth and not the myth of "shoot behind the shoulder" .
So with that background I post the picture above for those tuned into this thread. This is not an artist’s rendition, but the exact antelope I shot and the vitals that are overlaid upon his photo are the exact vitals that were breathing and sustaining his life when he stood for this very photo.
After I killed my buck, Jeff, Cody and I took the time, as we were boning him out, to take these photographs for this very purpose. I left everything attached, just like God put it together, to make sure everything was in its proper place. We just cut along the leg bones and cut back the ribs so those of you who don't understand can see why I advocate shooting straight up the front leg on a broadside shot like this.
Look it over very close and feel free to ask any questions. Once you really understand, I think you too will move your aiming point farther forward as both Cody and I did after Fred's class.
Thanks Mr. Pola!
Have a great bowhunt. BB
straight above the leg a few inches is ferfect...bb was right all along.
"az...If you don't see a black dot, I suggest you put "computer monitor" on your Christmas list... "
LOl....or maybe a new set of reading glasses.... I swear that dot wasn't there yesterday..... Terry
Very good information, BB.
You certainly taught, this grasshopper, a lesson.
Geez that BB picture is enlightening, I would say most people aim to far back, me included, gonna have to adjust that.
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that elk have one lung (right, I think) that has two sections. A single-lung hit (mostly left lung) and they can sometimes live through it. They most often die with a hit like this, but they can travel quite a ways before that happens.
WOW, I have learned a bunch on this thread! Hopefully, I will be blessed with an opportunity to apply what I have learned this fall. Good luck everybody! JB
Another Grasshopper convert. This is one of the best threads yet, thanks!!!!!!
Here's one more photo, that to those that are starting to see the light, should have equal or greater impact on your way of thinking. I am going to copy and paste what I wrote on my antelope thread as I would just type the same thing anyway.
And any of you are welcome to post that photo and or comments on any hunting board you may choose or share with anyone. My whole purpose of posting this is trying to share with as many as I can, what Fred taught me in bowhunter ed so many years ago.
Here's what I wrote with this photo on the other thread.
"On this photo I have drawn a black line down in the area in which "many" refer to it as the crease. I have also outlined the vital area in front of the crease and that in back of the crease. Not only is the vital area in front of the crease larger, it is far more deadly in the terms of minutes or seconds it takes a critter to die.
Again thanks Mr Pola for that information. I will always be indebted to you from what I learned from your class and promise to always try to enlighten those that will listen. "
Have a great bowhunt BB
Ken@leisure's Supporting Link
The link goes to a good article with illustrations. It pretty much supports all that has been said above.
Ken@leisure's Supporting Link
This link takes you to an IBEP shot placement guide with anatomical overlays.
Good Stuff Bill....Thanks.
Good Stuff Bill....Thanks.
The concern I have is Ken's link shows the heart about 4-5 inches further behind the leg compared to BB's. If you use Ken's link and overlay that with my original picture, my shot should have center punched the heart. Unfortunatley, it didn't.
I am going aim a little further forward and a touch higher. Thanks to everyone, this has very helpful! JB
It is funny how we are taught this? Common misconception. They should revamped the Hunter ed courses for the children now. I was always taght to shoot behind the shoulder.
It is funny how we are taught this? Common misconception. They should revamped the Hunter ed courses for the children now. I was always taght to shoot behind the shoulder.
The IBEP anatomy does indeed show it further back than BB antelope.
OK, Somebody shoot an elk and call BB. We need this clarified!!
I hit my bull right behind the shoulder but a bit low this year. I watched him go 500 yards and lay down, I gave him 8 hours and got on him again still alive! He left good blood and by the way he was breathing and after further investigating I only had a one lung hit. Big elk are powerful animals better double lung them if you want a short tracking process. The other three bulls I have shot never made it over 100 yards before expiring. Tough animal. Your shot looks pretty good, I have just learned angle is everything, needs to be broadside or slightly quartering away for optimum kill shot. Im not saying you can't kill one with another type of shot but in my experience and through others that is the way to go. Good to see you put in the effort and patience to recover the bull. Many people don't wait long enough (push the animal) or don't remain patient enough to properly follow and recover the animal
Who knows how they can do what they do? It seems that one year you can make your shot and they bleed out in a few seconds and the next year you can make a shot in seemingly the same exact spot and they run aways. Tell me why this bull went 150 yards without leaving a single drop of blood. I walked straight down the hill and found him, but it puzzled me. I shot him where you see the hole and he was very slightly quartering to me. When I say slightly, I mean the shot exited 2 inches back from the entrance. Blades were brand new, shaving sharp, three blade Muzzie 100's, complete pass through with blood all over the arrow. I am just glad you recovered your animal. What sucks is making a great shot that you know killed the animal and no blood to follow, so you don't recover the animal.
jb, I think shots should be a little higher and forward than most people believe. The links I gave show only an artists illustration of anatomy. Please use them for reference only. A knowledgable IBEP instructor expanded on the normal shot placement teachings and actually showed me the two-part lung. A lot of what is written on elk anatomy needs to be rewritten.
jakeg brings up a good point about shots angling from the back of the ribs, as long as the angle isn't too steep.
Congrats on recovering your elk, BTW.
i always thought you really had to beware of the shoulder blade in elk, but it's higher than i had thought and i've actually shot and butchered elk. i would think about moving my aim point forward but if you misjudge distance and hit a little high, there's the shoulder blade. very informative thread.
Be patient, pass on bad angle shots, give the animal plenty of time, pay attention to where you saw him get hit and where he left your view so if there is no blood you can go to the furthest point of where he was last and start there, lastly don't be afraid to get some help!! But I can't stress be patient, mark your trail if you loose it go back to where you were last. Carry orange marking tape and a spray bottle of peroxide (it will bubble up blood) Sometimes the shot doesn't go well, sometimes it looks perfect and for whatever reason doesn't leave blood or die quickly, stay the course; I commend everyone for recovering an animal that either was hit bad or didn't do what you thought they should do. I think too many people don't give the animal enough time and or give up on the track to soon and begin to search aimlessly to find the animal.
I appreciate the kudo's for finding that elk. I have so much respect for these majestic animals. I was not about to let that one get away.
I will say I had the help of some of the best tracking guys in CO (at the time). I have learned a TON on this thread. Thanks to everybody again.
Hopefully, I can post another picture of a recovered animal this fall and we can go through that one. Good Luck! JB
As you can see I have been there. Shot this Elk last year. Watch it go 50 yards and stop. Stood there for 10 minutes, then bed down. 15 minutes later it got up, took two steps and bedded back down. We moved off out of site and waited for 4 hours. Walked back to the animal and it was still alive. Had to put another arrow in it from 45 yards. Biggest mistake I ever made was not to gut the animal. still wondering what I hit or didn't hit.
Bootwo, it's a good habit to always autopsy your critters and see what you hit. I try to look at where I hit, follow the path of the arrow in my mind, visualize mentally what was hit and then find out what really happened by looking inside. It TEACHES one some great lessons.
The photo posted above shows the heart of the antelope I took last Sunday. The yellow circle is the cut from my broadhead at the top of its heart. The lungs are marked and the black X is the descending aorta. I always like to hit the top of the heart or just over it. A critter will usually go down within sight if you can do that. The best way to insure that, is to shoot close shots!
Have a great bowhunt. BB
ElkNut1's Supporting Link
I had the same thought as Herdmanager upon reading your thread? Open the elk up & see what's hit & what's not! Simple as that.
BB should be on the bowsite payroll. He should write a book with lots of illustrations. I would definitely be on the waiting list. I do have one small problem with that shot though. You're only a couple inches away from a very large shoulder bone which can often stop an arrow short of the oven, or engine, boiler room, etc. I actually lost a bull a few year back that I did hit the shoulder bone on. He turned slightly quartering to me and brain had already told release finger to squeeze. Arrow penetration was less than six inches. I saw him feeding in a meadow a couple days later with a limp. Please don't beat me down. BB I'm sure knows more about shot placement and hunting in general than I probably every will. It's just my observation. I did make a bad shot on the bull. But it was only by a couple inches! I know, in the words of my dear wife "Two inches can mean all the difference."
BB did a thread a year ago about elk shot placement and I took the advice to heart. This year I hit a little forward of the V and center punched the shoulder. The exit wound came out low on the briscut but the bull did not go far. I was able to slip another arrow in him and he was through.
ElkNut is right on as well: When we gutted him the first shot was the killer- right through the heart. The second shot clipped the lower lung and the liver even though it was right behind the shoulder. I was lucky to slide two of them in him. Sometimes they don't know they have been hit with a good COC.
Great Thread BB, I lost a nice buck two years ago because I used to shoot for behind the elbow area. The buck bled a ton for a few hundred yards, kicked him up and lost him. I agree with BB's shot placement for quick kills. One thing I do want to add though is I try to now aim about a full inch behind his spot. This gives me a good margin of error thats well over an inch on all sides....
"I do have one small problem with that shot though. You're only a couple inches away from a very large shoulder bone which can often stop an arrow short of the oven, or engine, boiler room, etc. I actually lost a bull a few year back that I did hit the shoulder bone on. He turned slightly quartering to me and brain had already told release finger to squeeze. Arrow penetration was less than six inches. I saw him feeding in a meadow a couple days later with a limp. Please don't beat me down."
My last intention is to beat anybody down. My main goal is to educate people so they don't have to make the same mistakes I made. If I can make a short cut for some of you and take some of the mystery of lost animals out of the equation, then this is all worth my time, as it serves you well, but more importantly, it serves bowhunting. And bowhunting deserves to be served!
I am always amazed when I hear people say they don’t like to shoot forward for fear of hitting the shoulder blade or the bigger bones of the front leg, and yet most don’t seem to fear hitting the guts, which results in more lost critters than all other bowhunting wounds put together.
Let’s do a little out loud thinking and let’s add a bit of common sense into this discussion.
If there is as much vital area (percentage wise) in front of the crease, as there is behind it, then doesn’t it make sense to shoot farther forward? If the vital area in the front of the crease results in better blood trails, faster kills, and fewer animals lost, would it not be better to aim for that area?
Thinking out loud again, I say many will say no, because of all the bone structure that frames that area. I can understand you’re concern, as that is exactly how I felt. But time has proven that to totally wrong! And here’s the reason I feel that way.
On most small critters, like antelope, and deer, modern day bows, and today’s broadheads, can usually break the bone and get the job done anyway. If they fail to do that, the animal will most likely live in all but a very small percentage of that type hit. On elk and moose size critters, most broadheads will be stopped by the large bones, and most of those wounds are superficial and the animal recovers quite quickly.
Now let’s play it safe and be sure we don’t hit any of the major bones. Let’s shoot behind the shoulder, or the area, to which many refer to as the crease. It’s a great area for a kill shot, if you are able to hit it. (It’s not as good as the area in front of it, from the standpoint of blood trails or quick deaths, but still a very, good, lethal, area).
Still thinking out loud, “What happens if we miss the crease, as far back as if we missed the forward shot and hit the scapula? What would we hit? Answer --- the GUTS!
Sadly, very, very, few animals recover from a gut shot wound. More animals are lost to that hit, than to all other hunting hits put together! So why then, do so many worry, so much about hitting major bone, from which most animals will most likely recover, and yet seem to close their eyes to the facts facing hunting’s worst hit, the gut shot?
That part of the equation just baffle’s me. It really does! I don’t want to shoot forward because I might hit the scapula, so I will aim at the crease and take my chances there. It just makes no sense to me!
So will someone please enlighten me on why you guys feel that way? And how its okay to chance a gut shot wound from which a critter most likely will not recover, and yet it’s not okay to shoot forward because you might hit the bone.
I am really confused on this thinking! Someone please help me out.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
Yeah, BB needs to be on the payroll. Now we just need a picture of a whitetail like that....
I'm waiting to hear how those that shoot the crease defend their position. I defended and explained my position. I would appreciate hearing from some of you hard core crease crackers philosophy:-)
Have a great bowhunt. BB
"I am always amazed when I hear people say they don’t like to shoot forward for fear of hitting the shoulder blade or the bigger bones of the front leg, and yet most don’t seem to fear hitting the guts, which results in more lost critters than all other bowhunting wounds put together."
It isn't gut shots that result in lost animals per se, it is the poor tracking/not waiting long enough after the shot results in gut-shot animals being lost.
To that end, I still maintain that shooting for the crease provides more margin for error by taking the big bones out of the equation.
So you don't count hitting guts as an "error"?
Would you rather wound an animal in the guts or hit the shoulder bone and the animal recovers? It's as simple as that.
Bad shots result in lost animals more than poor tracking skills.
"Would you rather wound an animal in the guts or hit the shoulder bone and the animal recovers? It's as simple as that."
First, we need to get one thing straight: gut shots "kill", not "wound" (with extremely rare exceptions). In that context, I would rather kill and recover animals that I hit poorly than wound them and hope they live. It has been my experience that if you hit the back of the lungs, liver, and/or guts, you should be able to recover the animal inside of 200 yards *if* you time your recovery properly.
With a shot in line with the back of the leg on deer sized game, 4" in each direction from the POI is a dead animal. That cannot be said shooting straight up the leg.
I think aiming for the heart (strait up the leg) is a good place. However I do agree with Matt that the shooting for the crease offers you a little room for error. We all try our best to make the best shot, but once in a while you shot is not perfect. The problem with aiming strait up the leg is if you make a bad shot you hit bone.
On our trip we had an experience where one of us hit a nice bull high in the shoulder blade. It didn't bleed until the animal travelled 100 +yds. It stopped bleeding after 200yds. Simply the we got 4 inches of penetration, aka, hit bone. no elk recoved.
Mine was hit low in the crease, elk travelled 2+ miles and almost the elk. Fortunatley, I had 5 hunters helping me track and recover (very easily could have lost it).
Lesson learned: I am going to aim 2 inches higher and 2 inches further forward. Plain and simple these are tough animals...the more holes the better.
This has been a very good thread for me, I have learned a lot. Thanks, JB
Matt say's "It isn't gut shots that result in lost animals per se, it is the poor tracking/not waiting long enough after the shot results in gut-shot animals being lost.
To that end, I still maintain that shooting for the crease provides more margin for error by taking the big bones out of the equation."
Matt, I could not agree more with the above statements you made.
The reason more critters are lost to gut shot wounds are due to some of the causes you explained, but are not limited to only those factors. Another reason and adding to the explanation of why gut shot critters are lost more than any other wound, are varied and diverse.
Here’s a short list, in addition to the ones you gave, that creates this dilemma. There are many good hunters that understand that a gut shot critter will die and are willing to give ample time to that end, providing they know it was a gut shot wound. There are a number of ways for the eye and the brain to interrupt a gut shot wound, and in those cases, knowledgeable hunters like yourself, know what to do, but those with much less experience make the costly mistake of not understanding how a gut shot critter USUALLY ACTS or REACTS and thus they end up losing a critter that should have been recovered.
Were the real crux lies is that all gut shot critters don’t react in the “usual manner” and even many good, experienced hunters can interrupt the hit wrong and end up with the same consequences, in those cases, as journeyman bowhunter. Once you have made the mistake of jumping a gut shot critter, the odds of your finding it decreases drastically.
Another big problem is that no matter whom you are, or how much experience you have, you’re eyes and you’re brain can play games on you. You think or interrupt the hit much different than what really happened. There’s a decent blood trail to confirm what you saw, so you take up the blood tail and for any number of reasons, it ends up being way different than you thought and another gut shot critter is lost
The main problem with losing gut shot critters is that so few survive, whereas most with a broadhead to the scapula will make it. That in itself makes me shoot forward of the crease. But there are many other good reasons as I explained above, for example, faster kills, and better blood trails.
Another good reason to aim in front of the crease is that most critters react to the shoot by going down and forward. If that happens, when you are shooting the crease, the odds of hitting the guts, even though the hunter’s arrow goes just where he shot it, are much greater. If you shoot forward of the crease, you’re arrow will probably hit very near the crease.
Another major reason I advocate shooting forward of the crease is the increased blood trails in most instances. Most of us understand that most gut shot critters will die. We also understand how difficult most trailing jobs on those hits can be once the critter is jumped and goes any distance at all.
Therefore I rest my case and hope those with open minds will think about this discussion and move their shots forward from the crease and discover what I and many others have expereicned and seen since making that change.
I can not guarantee anyone that at some point you won’t hit bone, but I can guarantee you that in the long haul you will kill more critters and loose less and the ones you end up hitting and losing have a much better chance of healing from that type of wound versus any wound to the guts.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
Ermine says....I think aiming for the heart (strait up the leg) is a good place. However I do agree with Matt that the shooting for the crease offers you a little room for error. We all try our best to make the best shot, but once in a while you shot is not perfect. The problem with aiming strait up the leg is if you make a bad shot you hit bone.
If you make a bad shot you hit bone? So what you're saying is when most guys make a bad shot, they end up shooting forward of their mark? If that were the case, then certainly MOST shots aimed at the crease would end up straight up the leg, thus, far fewer critters lost. Seems to me most guys end up hitting further back than they intended, therefore, the infamous gut shot that haunts every one of us from time to time. My experience with my last 3 critters was if I were not aiming up the leg, it would have ended in a bad shot placement. I'm not going to change any minds here, but I can vouch for the shot BB so highly preaches for. My first few animals with a bow were gut shot, due to circumstances after the shot, (animal would move), and they don't really run backwards. I gut pounded my first few critters, and I hated the feeling, long story short, BB is a great friend of mine and he taught me to go straight up the leg, and with my set up, the leg bone of deer, and antelope will break, and the critter will still die. I do not shoot a 60 lbs bow with a 350 grain arrow. This is one of the many reasons I shoot my very heavy set up. I would rather take the chance on letting an elk live, because of a broadhead stuck in his leg, rather than gut shooting him, and sealing his fate that way. And no, there is absolutly no gurantee in either, and I don't care how great of a hunter, or how great your patience is, a gut shot critter is a gut shot critter, they may live a few hours, and they may live many many hours. Just because a shot, be it gut shot, or lung shot is lethal, doesn't mean you're going to find him. My uncle gut pounds a lot of animals, and to this day, he will not listen to straight up the leg. And I don't want to hear "well hit where you aim" because there is not a bowhunter alive that can control the conditions, be it hitting a stick, or especially the animal moving which is ALWAYS a HIGH possibility.
Yea I used to shoot for the crease, but now shoot up the leg. You have some good points Apprentice and BB. I will continue to aim strait up the leg. I like shooting for the heart as I think a heart shot is the best shot.
BB, The front of the crease shot is making more and more sense to me now. Thanks for taking the time to educate us with those overlays. Now if I can just get my mind to pull my sights just a little forward when it is crunch time. Its hard to get yourself reprogrammed when you've shot behind the shoulder for so long.
I do have another question. From a treestand. Do you you still use the same aiming point? Aren't you more likely to hit the scapula on a high hit? I'd like to hear some other discussion on this.
Anytime you're elevated above the animal, one must keep in mind the angle does play a part in where you have to aim. The greater the angle the more adjustment one must make. And that holds true in the way the animal presents itself to you also. In other words if an animal is broadside, and on the level with you or very close to the level, you aim different than if you're above him and he's quartering away from you.
I try to imagine a line that will have my arrow pass right over top of the critters heart. There are very few shots that will take a critter out faster than an arrow passing over top of the heart. There are a bundle of major arteries and veins there that short circuit a critter. even much faster than does a heart shot. Once you take the blood and oxygen supply away from the brain, a critter is doomed in a matter of several seconds. That is the major reason you can watch most critters go down if you hit in that area. If you miss that area by several inches in any direction, there is still plenty to take it out fast and in short order.
From an elevated position, and especially when the animal begins to quarter towards the shooter, then you must use more caution and adjust your shot to miss the scapula.
The neat thing about most tree stand shots, is if they are set up correctly, is the fact that the shot will be close range and the angle will not be too severe. But one must always be very aware of the different angles caused from elevated positions or those created by the animal position in relation to that of theirs.
One of the major mistakes, made by many hunters, is not being able to comprehend, in their minds, during the window of opportunity, the accurate angle of the animal in relation to them. This mistake is compounded, in many instances, when one shoots the crease. How can that be? Take for example, if you observe a deer that you think is broadside and you shoot the crease, but in reality the deer is quartering towards you, then your arrow enters at the crease, but is angling back and you many end up with a one lung hit on a shot you felt like you double lunged. That happens a lot and in many cases is the reason some critters are not found, after what some hunters would say, “I hit him perfect!”
Here’s an example from a deer I took last season. I was sitting a stand when a mule deer came into water, but a moose that was already at the waterhole would not let it water. When it went to leave, it stopped on the hill across from me. (My shot was about 25 yards) I aimed up the front leg and released the arrow, but I either hit 4 inches farther back, or the deer moved forward about that distance. Anyway my arrow hit four inches behind my aiming point. The buck was actually quartering away from me more than I had realized and thus the arrow went forward, missed the heart but took out one lung as the arrow’s path took it forward.
Had I been shooting the crease, like many do, and had the buck been angling in the opposite direction, and I misread the angle, I would have ended up with a gut shot critter and probably wondering what the heck happened.
Instances like that have made me a disciple of shooting up the front leg and once many of you move your aiming point forward, you too will reap the positive rewards.
I truly believe one should be far more worried about hitting the guts than the shoulder bones, as the outcome to critter is far worse. And like I’ve said man times, you chance of hitting and losing a critter is much greater. That has been proven to me many times since I started shooting up the front leg. I shot the crease for many years so I have walked in those shoes and difference is night and day in the two shots.
Have a great bowhunt BB
"I do have another question. From a treestand. Do you you still use the same aiming point? Aren't you more likely to hit the scapula on a high hit? I'd like to hear some other discussion on this."
Any uphill or downhill angle decreases the window on BB's shot placement and makes hitting heavy bone even more likely, which is yet another reason this shot placement is less than optimal. For example, if you hunt from a 20 foot treestand, you would be forced to put the arrow through the scapula to achieve that shot placement on animals that are 5-10 yards from the base of your tree. Bringing the shot back 6" by and large takes the scapula out of play and provides for better penetration on a consistent basis.
I am still not certain that I buy into the notion that you have a lower chance of finding an animal you kill with a gut shot than one you cripple with a scapula shot.
It’s true that you're aiming point changes when hunting from an elevated stand and that the vital window decreases in size, but that is also is true on the "crease" shot. The fact of the matter is that is basically true, on any shot taken, on any steep angle, and one must keep that in mind at all times..
What is not true, is that you are not forced to put an arrow through the scapula, in order to get a critter on a steep angle from a treestand.
The photo posted shows plainly where the elk was hit on a shot that was about 10 yards out from a treestand about 20 feet tall. It is one of my main hunting partners, Shane, who many of you have heard me speak of through the years. The elk was hit, as shown in the photo, with the arrow passing across the top of the heart and this critter made it less than 15 yards before dying in less than 5 seconds. So you don't have to put it through the scapula in order to achieve that outcome. Matt might believe that to be true, but it isn’t. What you have to do, is be able to read the situation, know your angles and use those to your advantage. Shane did a great job of doing just that!
When a person is on the ground and the animal is broadside, there is not a better place to shoot it, than straight up the middle of the front leg, or up the front of the front leg, for a quick clean kill, but as the angles change, so must you're aiming point.
You don't shoot a quartering to you, or a quartering away from you shot, the same as you would shoot a broadside shot, wither you are shooting the crease or straight up the leg. You’re aiming point changes with the angle and the same is true from any steep angle, be it in a tree, on the ground, or shooting at a critter whose position angles to or from you.
Learning to read angles and knowing where to shoot is just as important as choosing the right pin for a certain distant! When one learns and understands that concept, they kill far more critters and loose far less.
When it comes to equipment and knowing his stuff, there are few on this site any better than Matt and I will tell you to listen to him when he speaks on that subject. I hope some of you will listen to me on this subject, as I really feel I know what I’m talking about.
I’ve walked in both pair of shoes on this subject and bowhunting will be far better off when we realize the positives of moving our aiming point forward of the crease,
If you are confused on this subject, just do me a favor. The next time you have a good close, broadside shot, one you know you can make, move your aiming point forward to at least the middle of the front leg, or better yet, to the front edge of the front leg and release the arrow. If you do that, I think you will discover, in fast order, that you not only did me a favor, but more importantly you did yourself, the critter you just shot, and bowhunting a service. And after seeing what happens, it won’t be long until you are a disciple of this shot too. That’s how big of difference there is in those two hits!
Have a great bowhunt BB
"So you don't have to put it through the scapula in order to achieve that outcome."
That shot doesn't appear to be straight up the leg but rather above the crease. Are my eyes deceiving me? Presuming that bull was broadside and the arrow placement was moved 6" forward to achieve the "straight up the leg" shot placement, would that shot not have to go through the scapula to reach the heart?
Matt I know on this subject you have pretty much set your mind in stone. I try never to do that, as I have found out it doesn't serve ME well over the long run. It might work for YOU.
Here’s another photo of Shane’s bull. I purposely tilted the angle of the photo for illustrative purposes. I tried to get it (the crease) in a position that would have the line I drew in with BLACK, pretty much straight up and down. This way you and others will more accurately be able to see where Shane’s arrow entered the bull. From this photo you can tell it is still pretty much straight up the middle of the front leg. Knowing the anatomy of a critter and being able to read the proper angles is paramount. Shane did a great job. He didn’t let the scapula scare him, as he knew and understood the bulls anatomy.
If you will re-read my post, you will see I said that your aiming point changes as the angles of the critter change. My point being, by doing that, Shane was still able to put his arrow over the top of the heart, without hitting the scapula by getting the angles right. Had he been shooting behind the crease, like many crease shooters would have done, it could have ended up much different. He was wise enough to keep his arrow forward and its path in a line that took it over the heart without hitting the scapula. Many hunters would have aimed much farther back and much lower on the critter. What would you have done?
Like I said in my previous post, it is as important to be able to read the angles and know where you're arrow has to go in order to kill the critter quickly. If you see it has to go through the scapula, then there is no shot. And the flip side of that is that if there's a good chance your arrow will go back in the guts, then you don't shoot it. It's all pretty simple with basic reasoning.
What you and many don't realize, is how deadly the forward hit is compared to the crease hit. The fear of hitting big bones cloud your vision, just as guts shots cloud mine.
I'm not trying to change people’s minds like yours, who have their thinking on this subject set in stone. I am trying to influence those who don't understand and are willing to learn a better way.
On equipment you know way more than I do, and I will always acknowledge that fact, but on this subject, I happen to be ahead of you by a lap or two.
I'm sorry about that, but its kind of like in the old western, where Walter Brennan played Will Sonnet, and he would say, once in each episode, "no brag, just fact!" When I hold a winning hand, I will play it, but when I don’t, most times I will fold! I hold the winning hand on this subject!
Matt, I consider you my friend and respect you a lot on many subjects. I just think you are UNDERSTANDABLY off base on this one.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
"Here’s another photo of Shane’s bull. I purposely tilted the angle of the photo for illustrative purposes. I tried to get it (the crease) in a position that would have the line I drew in with BLACK, pretty much straight up and down."
Apparently we have a very different idea of what "the crease" is. I define it as the hollow at the back side of the shoulder muscle. In that picture, the crease is quite evident, running from tuft of dark hair on the back of the leg and basically straight up toward the entrance hole. Either way, the black line doesn't represent what anyone I know would call the crease.
I do agree that aiming on the mid 1/3 of the animal on that line is too far back.
"Apparently we have a very different idea of what "the crease" is. I define it as the hollow at the back side of the shoulder muscle. In that picture, the creases is quite evident, running from tuft of dark hair on the back of the leg and basically straight up toward the entrance hole. Either way, the black line doesn't represent what anyone I know would call the crease."
Sometimes it is better to remain silent, than to speak and make a fool of oneself. Perhaps I'm making a fool of myself, but will you please draw a line on this photo showing what you and others think the crease represents?
I looked at the hollow on this photo and I placed a red dot on what you described, at least in my mind to be the crease. If in fact that is the crease you are talking about, I owe you and others a big apology, as that is the exact place I would like to see you and others hit, as that is straight up the middle of he front leg. If that be the case, then I need to go back to the basics and learn not to use the word crease, but instead the phrase "behind the shoulder".
I'm very interested to see your drawing and depiction of the crease on this photo, as I realize I have a lot to learn! Draw the crease line please!
Have a great bowhunt. BB
You are smarter than I thought, and I am a lot dumber than you think. ;-) You because it appears we were saying the roughly the same thing, and me because there is NO WAY I am clever enough to figure out how to put a line on a picture like you can.
Relative to your dot, I would aim 1 dot below and 1/2 dot back (just below the left edge of your dot). I have always read your shot plamcement as stright up the leg and going through the shoulder muscle, whereas I generally try to hit the depression immediately behind the shoulder muscle, perhaps a more subtle distinction than is worth debating - but it is a long time between seasons. ;-)
Matt I am surprised that you aim that far forward, after going back and reading a few of your posts from sometime back. I hate to say this on public forum, but I think you are fudging forward a bit as time passes, and for that I am grateful! It hurts me to say this, but I think you are learning. HaHa
For those of you tuned into this thread I will post this photo. Notice closely what it did to this bull. He is pissed! Oh no, I guess he is just urinating as they say in the dictionary?.
I've drawn a black line that separates what most hunters believe to be the crease or behind the shoulder. On the elk I have drawn three dots which represent different areas. The red dot is where many of “the behind the shoulder shooters” or “crease crowd” want to hit and would refer to as "poofing the animal".
The blue-green dot is where I would hope to hit and where many think I am hitting bone, and the yellow dot, if I have it right, is where Matt says he aims and hopes to hit.
I can assure all of you who are shooting in the area of the red dot, that you are pushing the limits far more than I am with my dot.
I would be totally happy if most of you guys moved to Matt's dot, if in fact, that is where he aims.
Have a great bowunt. BB
The two pictures are a bit decieving, in that the pic of shanes bull is quartering more and it is more decieving. In the pic of the bull in thw wallow, In the past I always used to aim for right along the black line. Recently I have aimed more for where you (BB) are saying to aim.
There is some confusion based on the varying animal angles and front leg positions. I would be on the front edge of the black line (and in horizontal line with the red dot), but not as far forward as the yellow dot. That is more into the shoulder muscle than I prefer.
I don't think the red dot is bad shot placement, but I full acknowledge the cost of avoiding that shoulder is to have very little margin for error on a hit back.
I just think you have more margin for error behind my spot than you have in front of yours (or above or below for that matter), and the margin for error in front of my shot IS yours.
The 5-6" difference may very well be splitting hairs.
Happy hunting to you.
BB I wish we could have had this discussion a month ago. I shot a huge bull right where I wanted and he got away from me. Im still sick about it. Next year I will be aiming up the leg and a touch higher. Thanks for the great pictures. Shanes bull is awesome. Shark
That is exactly where I shot my bull this year. He went 10 yards and bedded.... WE watched him for 5 minutes and backed out. Returned an hour later and he was stiff... Don't know how long it took but I sure thought I would have watched him die but he was alive for at least 6 minutes...
Way to stick to your guns BB this is an important subject...and thanks to you.....i held 4 inches back on my bear and 5 inches forward on an antelope from where i have aimed in the past...both top of the heart and recoveries less than 40 yards....just wish we'd met 25 years ago!!!!!! Thanks again!!! Rob
Great thread guy's. I am attaching a pic from my bull last year. I have not shot one this year yet. Hopefully soon! This bull was shot from a tree stand at a distance of about 12-13 yards. The bull made it about 35 yards and died in seconds.
I will shoot in front of the crease from now on. I have killed my fair share of deer and elk, and have never had one go down as quick as this bull. It was amazing. Good luck to each of you on your hunts!
The bull that I mentioned loosing earlier looked to me to be hit within an inch either way of the blue green dot. I definitely hit hard bone with 6 inches or less penetration. I was shooting a Mathews max'd out at around 73 pounds with an arrow weighing just under 500 grains at around 20 yards. I don't wish to mislead anybody into aiming farther back. That's just how it played out for me. I would definitely not aim for the red dot as I do feel it's too far back. I like an inch forward of the black line myself about 3 inches back from BB. If it's not asking too much, I'd really like to see how close the blue green dot is to the scapula.
Through experience I have been moving more and more forward, now I know why! The buck I shot this year was above the leg and went down in 7 seconds and 60 yards. I have way quicker kills and better blood trails the further forward I hit.
Great thread. i wanted to say thanks to BB for his info. i never realized how far forward i "should" be shooting for. i always assumed that i would be hitting the animal's shoulder bone, and that scared me. thanks again BB and others as well.
ElkNut1's Supporting Link
BB, excellent info & rationalization!
Hey Paul, I don't know in what context you are using the word rationalization, but I hope its not this definition-----Rationalization----(in psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism whereby people attempt to hide their true motivations and emotions by providing reasonable or self-justifying explanations for irrational or unacceptable behavior).(grin)
Here’s a photo I took while hunting on the San Juan a few years back. I picked this one out as it pretty well shows how a bull's front shoulder is put together.
It’s not some artist’s rendering, or some guy like my self’s rationalization, but instead, a true view of how an elk, and most members of the deer family, are put together, as far as the front leg bone makeup. It’s pretty easy in this photo to see the bones of the front leg and those making up the shoulder. Rememember the bones are covered with muscle, so they take up less space than actually shows.
Here's another photo of the same spike, but this time I drew in the bone structure approximately like it is on the spike. From this you can see the open area and the area where one will hit bones.
For those of you who wonder why you hit and loose critters, that you seemed to have "poofed", I say move your aiming point forward and I think you will see most of those times disappear. For those satisfied with the thought that they can find a high enough percentage of guts shot critters I wish you well, as I think you will need far more often than will those that choose to shoot up the front leg.
I've addressed this several times, but it's well worth mentioning again. It is very important to read the angles right, be you in a tree or on the ground. If one does that, his shot selection changes as the angles change and thus you will reduce the chance of hitting bone, or for that matter of hitting the guts.
You often hear people say, when an animal is quartering away from you, to shoot so your arrow hits the oft leg. Again I disagree with this, as I have found that you want your arrow to pass in front of the oft side leg as it does far more damage to the major vessels and kills the critter far more quickly and leaves a far better blood trail.
One of the major problems with quartering animals, is the fact that many critters do not leave a good blood trail when shot and hit in the oft leg. If you aim, so your arrow will exit in front of the oft side leg, you will see a marked improvement, in not only blood trails, but also in their short length.
Many years ago I shot a bull elk in Colorado on a quartering shot, just like I was taught. My buddy bugled him in to a very close distance. But he realized, at the last moment, things weren't right and he turned to leave. As he walked away, I shot a well placed arrow for his oft side leg.
I watched the bull run about 60 yards and he then disappeared. It was very close to dark, so we took up the trail immediately. We never found one drop of blood on the ground, as my arrow entered mid body through the paunch and stopped in the far side leg bone.
We found the bull just before dark, by seeing his antlers laying above the ground's vegetation, but we could have very easily missed finding him that night, and not found him until the next morning, if that hadn't have happened.
Since those days I always aim so my arrow passes in front of the leg bone on the far side, thus going over the heart area and giving it much better chance of a pass thru and far better blood trails,
So as your angle change, read them right, and change your aiming point. In doing so you will kill far more critters, and loose far less and have better and shorter blood trails.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
BB, I meant that the info you have shared is well structured & beneficial for all !!! Keep up the good work!
I love this thread... there is an awful lot of vital zone on an elk, but I sure want to hit more forward and get into that pump station moreso than back. This doe stood around and let me get three pass throughs on her last Saturday... even though I've been taking BB's advice for a long time...I still could get these dam arrows to go forward!
As brutally far back as they are...every single one was in the liver and she only lived about 5-6 minutes... LOTS of bleeding when 3 broadheads go through the liver! I'd sure rather have had a heart shot...but this one did work!
That should have said, "couldn't get these dam arrows"...
Best picture i've seen yet, and definitely the best shot to take.
Jb@work. A one lung hit elk can send you into the depths of hell in a really nasty place...a mile away.
I agree with the picture above by sebianshark. I normally go about 6" behind the leg.
The only sure hit is double lung. I am usually a mile in at the least as the crow flies. If he runs a mile like a friend of mine's did it is an experience from hell.
BB, is it safe to assume deer and other critters should have the same aiming point as elk? This has been very helpful and now I understand where I will be aiming next time! JB
The basic makeup of all the deer family members is very similar. Moose and elk are of course much larger, but the bone structure is the same configuration. That area in front of the crease produces by far the fastest kills with the best blood trails. Like I have often said, when a critter moves upon release of the arrow, (and that happens many times to one extent or another) if is forward and down (the initial movement). If that happens, then you hit the crease, which in and of itself, is a very good hit. The problem of shooting the crease is when this happens there's a better chance that you will hit the guts than the lungs.
One of the main reasons most critters, hit by either a rifle or a bow, that die and are never found is the fact that there is an inadequate blood trail leading to the downed critter.
That is very common on many gut shot critters. It seldom happens with the more forward shot, and in many cases you will watch the critter go down.
Since my son started shooting critters in that forward position, he has yet not to see the critter he shot go down. I know in time, even with that hit, it will happen. But that shows how quickly that shot kills.
I see most of my critters die too and that never happened before I moved forward.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
In the two cases that I have noticed where an elk has stepped forward is when the shooter takes too long to shoot.
Once the elk is stopped or you have squeeked him to stop that's your shot.
Apply an axiom here: "The longer something is motionless the sooner its going to move."
Take the damn shot or he IS going to move. There is nothing to think about really. Stay out of your head and shoot.
So... Your tellin me the GLENDELL FULL RUT has all the vitals WROOOOOONG!!!!!
Thats only heart and lung vitals... I`m so disappointed :-(
"I normally go about 6" behind the leg.
The only sure hit is double lung. I am usually a mile in at the least as the crow flies. If he runs a mile like a friend of mine's did it is an experience from hell. "
CJ I find those statements to be similar to an oxymoron!
You say you aim 6” behind the shoulder and the only kind of hit is a double lung. In my reasoning and experience those two won’t equal a double lung near as often you might think or hope. In fact I suggest that is an order for disaster.
I think many of you should forget worrying about the bones so much and start worrying a lot more about the guts and one lung hits! Those are the hits that will loose more critters by far than will the bones hits. And incidentally the bones hits will occur far less than will those two hits.
Just so those tuned in understand, the photo above has a vertical line drawn roughly six inches behind the front leg. Look what lies ahead of that line and look what lies behind it. If you really want a double lung, please don't aim 6" behind the shoulder. Please. Please. Please.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
I wish it were that clear in the woods!
Call me old fashion,, call me stupid,,, but i always go for the lungs,bigger target and lays em'down!, trying running without breathing! just my 2 cents!
Thanks BB, I'm convinced!! This is a 3 blade muzzy 125gr. on a whitetale doe.
Best set of shot placement pictures I have ever seen. BB ... thanks for the hours it took to remove the skin, bones, and meat in such a manner. I hope people take advantage of them.
This should be kept active for the un-learned masses
Bill great diagrams. Sent you an email
I have no experience with elk (yet), but their a "Cervid" species, and most all of them be it an elk, caribou, pronghorn, whitetail, and muley have a "sweet spot" that will result in a quick kill 4-7" above the "elbow" of their front leg. (Moose is a little different however.) In nearly all of them, that is where the HEART will be located. And usually if you hit the heart you hit the TWO balloons inside the chest we call LUNGS!!! The OP's shot looks like it hit nothing but BRISKET and off side lung, and he's lucky he had a good group to work on finding that animal.
I think a big factor that gets quite a few people confused to "good" shot placement is these DAMNED 3D targets that have a 10-spot right about where the edge the LIVER is. While shooting with a couple "HUNTERS" we modified our 3D and scored HEART as 10 and lungs as 8, based on true anatomy, and it made the shooting more fun, and REALISTIC!!!
I FIRMLY believe 3D targets misguide hunters into making POOR shots. : (
since i taken BBs advice on placing my arrows more foward the results are devasting it seems when i place the arrow more foward they die a lot quicker, blood trails are way better, thanks BB
BB said something about the bundle of arteries and veins at the top of the heart. I've hit two whitetails there, one with a rifle, one with a bow, and both tipped over just like shooting gallery targets. Just fell in mid-step, and never so much as twitched when they hit the ground. Wish I could do that every time. I'm going to consciously try to aim farther forward, lately I've been the master of the liver hit, which works well on whitetails so long as your broadheads are razor sharp and you're patient after the shot, and can track without a blood trail. That's a lot of "so long as's". Seems like it would be a lot easier if all my shots were in that central sweet spot at the top of the heart.
Dead center of the heart. Very sightly quartering away and a little below me. He went 76 yards and keeled over dead.
One of the best posts I have read. I agree 100% with you on the fwd shot placement. Years ago I lost a few deer and thought I made good shots.
One that still haunts me is a 140 class IL brute that I thought I had smoked. We couldn't find him until the next morning and he was still alive. Just laying there, too hurt to move. just nicked liver and got guts. Had to finish the deal but the thought of that animal in the woods like that all night still upsets me.
True, you can find most all gut shot deer but lets not forget the agony that those shots hand out before the animal dies. It does happen and will to me again but I will take a fwd shot versus back any day for more than one reason. Woody and you are doing a great job of educating all of us...keep it up!
I have always tried to shoot just behind the crease to minimize damage to meat in the shoulder, but I guess on whitetails, which I hunt, there is really a minimal amount of meat loss if I shoot a little farther forward. Also as a predominant treestand hunter I would be shooting down into the scapula, where I have never had much luck with penetration. I assume quartering away is always best, but not always available in my situation. I have learned a lot from this thread, and will seriously reconsider how I determine shot angles.
Great thread. Hunt in Africa once, and you will learn to shoot for the triangle. Antelope tend to have a larger paunch, and correspondingly shorter diaphram area. just a couple inches behind the crease will result in a gut hit. Hit in the triangle, and 9 times out of ten you'll have shorter than 100yrds tracking job.
great thread ttt
Great info thankyou BB!
Im new here to bowsite. Thanks for posting on this thread and updating it for us newcomers. Im changing my shot placement forever! Ive been hunting and shooting elk with that "old wives tale" of where to aim for twenty years and Im not too narrow minded for change. Proof is in the pudding, thanks so much for the enlightenment BB.
Another supporter of this great thread - thanks for the TTT! Would not have seen it otherwise.
I too am moving the the target spot a bit forward as I have been lucky in retrieving some elk with the 'poofing'
Thanks a bunch!
There was a thread just yesterday or the day before and posted this photo to show what a person should be shooting on a broadside shot out of a treestand. It shows the bone make up and how the lungs and heart sit in the chest cavity. It's good to understand this as in the long run you will kill more critters, loose less and represent bowhunting in a more postive fashion.
Happy Easter to all. BB
The last muley I shot I aimed up the leg and was utterly amazed at the blood smear that led to the animal about 50 yards away. The only reason he made it 50 yards was because it was straight down hill. There was more blood than a horror movie as blood was spraying from both sides. It looked as though the creature from the predator movies had dragged a bloodied animal through the trees as the blood was sprayed on the sides of the aspen trees he ran through at shot height. Autopsy revealed that I had hit the aorta and pulmonary veins right above the heart and those pressurized hoses emptied the blood from that animal.
The year before learning from BB's threads of shooting up the leg I had an unfortunate experience with shooting the crease. I had what I thought was an easy shot with an unalarmed animal at close distance. I put my pin just behind the crease (what I had been taught) as the animal was ever so slightly quartering away. I saw my arrow hit exactly where I wanted and was excited about just having executed what I thought was a perfect shot. I gave the animal some time because I wanted to go get help to get him packed out(premature celebration I know but I saw that I had hit him perfectly). Upon returning and starting the tracking job I located my arrow which had pink frothy blood on it (indicating a lung hit) and a slight amount of darker blood/ tissue. There was good blood to track and I followed it to the first place the buck bedded down to find a basketball size pool of blood that was darker (liver looking blood). throughout the next mile or so I found several more spots where the buck had either bedded down or stood and bled. I was surprised at how this buck was continuing on. Sadly it ended up that the blood trail dried up and even after 3 days and 5 people to help with the tracking I did not find the buck. I was extremely saddened by the loss of this fine animal and I attribute it to my lack of knowledge on the anatomy of deer and elk.
I for one am greatful for those willing to put forth the effort to educate people on the subject. BB's pictures and autopsies helped me to really visualize the anatomy of the animals I chase. Whether you choose to shoot up the leg at the sweet spot or leave your self extra margin for error and shoot further back, make sure you know what you are shooting at and the potential consequences of those shots.
I for one am a believer in BB's teachings as I know that a hit to the heart and the group of high pressured vessels above the heart will cause an animal to bleed out much faster than a tissue hit to the lungs or liver.
BB, in two words...THANK YOU! Keep educating! We sincerely appreciate your expertise!
hey guys, here is a buck i shot last year(yeah i know he is small) but you can see the exit hole in the pic. hit about an inch farther back on the other side. he ran about 80 yards and watched him pile up. double lungs and when i gutted him i pretty much hit the center of the lungs maybe an inch or two toward the back. i do not want to argue because i do think BB is correct in his anatomy for the most part but i think you get away with a little farther back from the crease in the shoulder and still get lungs than what shows here. i have killed a few bucks basically in the same spot both double lungs ran under 90 yards and dead. good huntin everyone and this is one of the best and informative threads i seen in a long time.
Is it your experience that the vitals on a bear are a little further back than on a deer, elk, antelope? Any photos?
Jake, My brother in law is a bear guide and he states that bear are much like humans in regards to how low/back the lungs sit. Imagine in a human if you were standing up and you ran a straight line through both shoulders you would miss our lungs. he says split the bear directly in half and aim a few inches (4-6) towards the front of the animal from that spot. Bob
Just goes to show you how tough these animals are. If she stood there for 5-10 minutes bleeding you should have put another one in her.
Jake, yes that is the case on bear. On a bear you should aim behind the shoulder (crease). The vitals sit back farther on a bear than most of the other big game animals we hunt.
joehunter, I understand if you hit close behind the shoulder that you will hit double lung on a broadside shot and that will usually kill an animal faster than a heart shot. But if your arrow hit the same line, but 3 inches lower you might never recover that buck. And a good thing to keep in mind is if the animal moves forward, which is most lilely if they move upon release, you might end up behind the lungs.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
you are very true BB. i appreciate your knowledge and passion to help share it with all of us. keep up the good work bud. every bowhunter should read this thread
Woody Sanford had recently posted a photo (and a second one of his pictures that was posted previously was posted again by a fellow Bowsiter), and in both photos the heart looked to be further back than that of most ungulates. I just wanted to see if your observations were much the same as Woody's.
Jake, many, many moons ago, when I first began to bear hunt, I did an autopsy on a bear my buddy killed. When I saw where he hit him, I told him he was lucky to get that bear and that I wanted to see what killed the bear. He was way far back and his arrow had still hit both lungs.
On another occasion, I was hunting alone in Idaho and had a nice bear come in and I made what I thought was the most perfect hit, but the next day I found out real quick the bear had gone a lot farther than I thought it had. When I finally found him, my arrow had passed in front of his heart and was too low to get the bundle of ateries and veins that I always like to hit. My arrow ended up taking out an artery in the front of the neck of the bear as it passed from behind its leg going forward on a petty hard quarter.
I learned a lot on those two bear, they are very different than deer, elk, moose, etc.
One year my son shot a bear in Idaho and a mutual friend sat with him that night and videoed his shot. I was hunting a different bait and when I came back to camp they showed me the video. I told them he had poofed the bear, but they both said the bear was still alive when it got dark. Long story short we went back the next morning to get his bear and it was still alive. It had been hit double lung in what i thought would have been a great hit, so strange things do happen at times.
Here's photo of that bear.
Have a great bowhunt. BB
according to this photo and im not sure how accurate this is, there is plenty to hit further forward than i previously thought
and 1 more
This Bull was shot in the middle of the body right on the crease at 35 yards., 100 grain rocky iron head.He went 40 yards.
This is a picture of whitetail lunge. I shot this buck last year with a two blade rage.I hit perfect double lung shot.The deer went about 300 yards spewing blood every where then quit.after another 100 yards or so I found him. Dont ask me what kept him on his feet.If you notice the lungs still had air in them ???
This is a picture of whitetail lunge. I shot this buck last year with a two blade rage.I hit perfect double lung shot.The deer went about 300 yards spewing blood every where then quit.after another 100 yards or so I found him. Dont ask me what kept him on his feet.If you notice the lungs still had air in them ??? Truth is you just never know.
BB is spot on with his shot placement. I remember several rifle killed animals where I shot behind the back leg, down low as I was taught. They all ran a fair ways.
When I first saw Bill's advice, I moved forward and up to the "v".
I shot a cow elk with the anemic .243, and she didn't go five steps before she tipped over and never got up again. I have had the same results with other cows, it is incredible how FAST they will die if you shoot them there. I shot a cow one year and she didn't even take ONE step. Just stood there until she tipped over (about five seconds) and never got up again.
I shot a deer a couple of years ago, and hit high over the "v". It was about 20 yards, and penetrated both scapulas. It was a high lung shot, and I had to shoot her again, but the penetration was there. Snuffers of course, Bill.
I cut up hundreds of elk and deer every year and BB is right on the money. The bone above the elbow goes forward then the scapula goes back. Nice little triangle pocket right there.
Hit 'em high (in the lungs) watch 'em die...hit 'em low, watch 'em go
I'd much sooner have a shot that hits in the bottom 3rd of the longs than a high lug hit. The term "Hit 'em high watch 'em die, hit 'em low watch 'em go" refers to turkeys(I believe). An animal has a much better chance of surviving a high lung hit than a low lug hit. Hit low in the lungs, they will fill up with blood, due to the anatomy of the organs. Hit high in the lungs, the hole is, or may be, above the line of the blood. If not, the blood won't fill up the lungs like it will with a low lung hit because once the blood starts filling into the lungs, the line of the blood obviously drops, and that puts it below the hole in the lungs, and the blood can't fill into the lungs if the hole is above the blood line.
Just my 2 cents.
I think the "shoot behind the front leg" instruction I learned from my father...a GUN hunter. He wants to avoid ruining meat. As an archery hunter following BB's advice I aim for the V.
After reading this post I've realized that the 3-D targets get us in the habit of shooting at the wrong spot. I never have liked the "sweet spot" that they have us shooting at, so I have aimed further forward. It looks like I need to move my shot placement even further forward on the shoulder. Thanks for the post.
i have a couple of elk archery kills under my belt and i will tell you this...an elk can go one heck of a long way on one lung.
When I was 16, I shot my first Elk. I was taught to shoot behind the shoulder (the crease). Well I missed. I watched in horror as the arrow sailed right into what I thought was the leg. The bulls head flipped back, he jumped forward and died. I hit exactly where BB is telling you to hit.
When we cut him up, I had taken the top of his heart clean off. The arrow (an old Bear two blade)severed just about all the major vessels!!!
Not to shabby for a "miss" My father and I have been shooting forward of the crease ever since.
Must agree with many of the posts above, best thread i've read in a long long time.
I was also tought to shoot just behind the shoulder. Several years ago, i shot a nice mule deer, in what i thought was the perfect shot (2-3 inches behind the fron leg/shoulder, 3 or so inches above the bottom of her chest). She walked 40 yds, stood there, and walked off. I waited an hour before starting to track her. Blood was good at first, then slowed down. I looked up, and there she was, standng up looking at me, about 70 yds from where i shot. I backed out, and came back the next morning. Found her another 200 yds down the trail. Only found a few drops after that. Luckily, backing out had done the job. Autopsy reveled i knicked the bottom of the lunds. I thought it was a fluke...but...
This past nover, i did the same thing again on an Iowa buck. Again, i thought i smoked him with my shot. He ran about 50 yds into the brush. I was waiting my mandatory 30 minutes, when all of a suden he comes walking back my way on the same trail, obviously hurt. I was like what the heck...knocked another arrow, and pounded another arrow 1 inch in front of my first shot, just a tad higher. He went another 40yds and laid down. I backed out, and came back 3 hours later. Autopsy revealed the first shot clipped the back of the liver, second, middle of the liver. Everyone there, including the guide, couldnt quite figure it out. Luckily, i waited long enough for the 1.5 hole to do its work.
From now on, its up the front leg...Interestingly enough, i shot a deer "too far forward", slightly infront of center of the front leg, 5 inches up. I was like oh no upon impact, at the doe stumbled. Then, as she ran off, i heard her fall with a giant crash. 30 min later, i was standing over my deer, with the top of her hear shaved clean off. Why i didnt learn from that, god only knows. But, given the photos i've now seen above, it all makes sense to me. Better late than never!!!
Looking forward to the season opener in less than two weeks :)
Safe hunting to all this season!
Outstanding thread!! Thank you BB!
BB ~ thank you SO MUCH for the thread and for the information! I am changing my shot placement for the better thanks to you. I had always been a "crease" shooter and have taken a lot of animals, but I think that my kills would have been quicker had I shot where you suggest. And, I have had a few "no recover" and "long recover" animals that I could have performed better on if I had received your teachings 20 years ago.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I think that shooting a 3d animals for scoring may contribute to some of these aiming mishaps. look at the 10 ring on the pict below. Muscle memory and shooting habits come into play more than we know when the moment of truth come our way on a big game animal...there is my 2cents...
here is a real good example...
"I'm waiting to hear how those that shoot the crease defend their position. I defended and explained my position. I would appreciate hearing from some of you hard core crease crackers philosophy:-) "
BB, I choose the grease because it is larger.. choosing the grease behind the shoulders can still go wrong and maybe 1 out of 10 animals will be lost to that shot,however shooting the front of the shoulder will make you lose 9 out of 10 animals especially Elk or moose!
After reading this thread and seeing the pics above I understand why Bigdan and a few others are so adiment about shooting such a heavy arrow.I have always aimed for the crease or a few inches behind. Thank god it has never cost me an animal by aiming there, but this gives me a better understanding about shot placement. It just shows that you never to old to learn something new. I've got 2 weeks untill season, time to try aiming a little more safely. And go get some new arrows today so I have time to re-tune and get sighted in. The place the pics show to shoot has always been the place I was trying to avoid so that I wouldn't hit bone. This is why I enjoy Bowsite! Always something to learn. Brandon
Headingwest, We never keep score at 3d shoots because I always aim where I want to hit which as you know isn't where the 10 ring is located. MO
HotmOOn ".... however shooting the front of the shoulder will make you lose 9 out of 10 animals especially Elk or moose! "
Horse feathers. I challenge you to support that preposterous statement
Good to see this is still being viewed. 'V' in my future.
In BB's picture of the bull with the red, green and yellow dots, if shooting at the green dot, how much room for error is there, up, down, right, and left assuming a perfect broadside shot.
I have learned a ton from this, thank you all so much>
Definitely helpful BB! Thank you
Thanks to everyone for taking the time.
BB Excellent info here. I'm going on my first bear hunt next week and I'm look for some examples for aiming points on black bear as you did on the elk. Thanks Tim