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So I have spent time just looking at the vitals of an elk this off season and with season quickly approaching I've been wondering. Is it better on an elk to shoot center body in the vitals or try and suck it up right behind the shoulder?
Search is your friend. Tons of posts and pics on this one.
Mid body isn't the center of the vitals, go 1/3 up.
If you don't hit the heart, you risk losing the bull. They can go a loooooooong, did I say a loooong way without a heart shot.
I like center of body in the center of the rib cage. I prefer the double lung, never had a double lung go more than 80 yards. single lung and liver shots are a different story. the best thing you can do is never track a elk for at least an hour even on a "perfect shot". I
Any one of BB's excellent photos can be used to demonstrate 'do/do not take this shot'
LINK, wouldn't you want the frontal shot a little to the right of your dot?
I've always liked this one.
12 yards I guess it would depend if you're shooting bigdans shirt pocket or the void below the neck. I was marking the neck. Slipping it behind the shoulder would need to be further right. I'm not an expert by any means, post up your spots.
Anywhere in the circle should do the trick
Jordan, how do I search on this website? It's a different setup than most VBulletin sites (which is what I'm more familiar with).
Go to the home page. Scroll to the bottom and bowsite search.
The previous thread has been bumped [for Bowsite newbies, just ignore anything by TBM] This is a great photo showing the frontal; can Link please add the colours, as I can't drive Paintshopworks?
The light area (brisket) below my dot is too low. Somewhere around where the hair changes color but I wouldn't flirt with the brisket. At the range that one is taking this shot(10-15 yards) your point of impact will be in inch or two higher than your pin, so hopefully shooting low into the sternum isn't likely.
I've always enjoyed threads as this, great photos & info guys!
In 2013 I had almost the exact same shot as the photo above at 19 yards and hit just above LINK's yellow dot.
Cheesehead Mike's Link
2 different elk we've taken
24 hours later Les had a broadside shot.
And go to my link for the video I shot of the hunt. He didn't go far.
I know many of you have seen this video before but it's that time of year again... :^)
Nice video mike and that bull of yours is awesome. I am assuming les missed the first shot?
LINK beat me to it. I was going to ask if you knew why the bull spooked around 50 sec mark?
Yes, the first shot deflected off of a branch and just grazed the bull's brisket. I didn't know if he hit or missed and I cow called after I heard the shot. Les also cow called after he shot.
We had been working this bull for about an hour and he was on the opposite side of a very steep canyon. We continued to flank him as we moved up the mountain and we figured that eventually the canyon would get narrow/gradual enough that either we could go to him or he would come to us. We had just taken a short break to take off some layers of clothing and grab a bite to eat and I made few calls and he bugled and he came running. We scrambled and got into position with me as caller and Les as shooter and I decided to pull out my camera and start videoing and I'm glad I did.
I shot my Nevada bull this year quartering very hard away. I put the broad head in his back hip and it drove all the way into the front of the cavity. He ran 30 yards and then rolled down the hill. The amount of lung blood coming out the nose made it apparent how far the arrow pushed forward. Extremely effective.
Hoyt - I started a thread a while back. After my original post and some replies... it got me thinking, so I did some elk measurements for margin of error. Check out the thread. My post with pictures and margin of error measurements are a little ways down in the thread. Hope it helps!
Definitely try to shoot their heart out. I used to shoot them further back but lost a couple to one lung hits. Heck with that! Shoot them in the heart or the arteries right above the heart if possible!
My brother has left a few elk running (limping) because he tried tucking it in too tight. He hit the front shoulder and got 1" of penetration. He would have those elk if he would have been 3" back. My guess is that your single lung hits are a product of a bad angle/poor shot selection. If an elk is broadside, I will aim for the crease every time.
Much larger margin for error!!! My opinion... anything in the yellow is a dead elk.
this I'd crowd over to the left of center, wouldn't worry too much about ribs but mainly just stay off the big shoulder bones.
this I'd crowd over to the left of center, wouldn't worry too much about ribs but mainly just stay off the big shoulder bones.
Jeck, IMO the margin in the V shot is much bigger than the first yellow ring is, pretty close in size to the second one, you could substitute the larger ring for it and move a few inches forward and higher as well, easy to see the major bones, they are farther forward than most think they are. You don't want the heart really, you want that bundle of vessels right above it. Unless quartering away I would agree the heart is a smaller margin from broadside. Hit in the V and you likely watch em go down. BB has the shot to the V nailed.
The bull in the picture is slightly quartering away so being that case the red "vital" ring is pretty close.... but IMO is too far back on a 90 degree broadside, possibly outside the chest cavity. Again unless quartering away it's a one lung and even if two its quite far back in the thin sections. Could be a long day.... or 3.....
That first frontal pic I'd crowd a bit to the right, not the center as that animal isn't straight on like the second pic is. Frontal shots to me are close up slam dunk only shots, which for me I feel are around 20 yards and in.
Again, IMO, you don't shoot for a spot on the outside of the animal..... some folks are married to their spots it seems with little regard for the angles.
Shoot for the spot you want to hit INSIDE the animal and still avoid the big bones. Know where the big bones are. The angles take care of themselves from there on.
Thank you, this is one my boy is looking at as well. Next year for us
Hey NorCal, Hope you're going to post up some pics and a story in your Nevada thread....congrats!
The kill zone, the black is my pin float on that size of bull.
12 yards that's funny. mine would be all over the horns.....
12yards that was a great comment!
12 yards wins the interweb for this week!! And many thanks to Link for adding the dot to BB's photo...much appreciated As to the dimensions shown in Jeck66's photos, I asked a few years back if I could combine the lung and heart shot dimensioned photos and reproduce this as a target face...and now I practice using nothing else; as long as my BHs are at least in the larger yellow circle out to my max range of 60 yards, that's just fine with me [like in this photo, where I'm BH tuning at 60yds; BH on left, FP on right] Good luck and good hunting fellow Bowsiters!!
Hundreds of elk are lost every year to mid-body "perfect double lung" shots. Big difference between a "dead elk" and a recovered elk.
a double lung is my preferred placement..elk will not go far if they can't breathe.. I have made a heart shot and watched a cow at a dead run go over 300 yards
Jaq, do you mean that the hunter "thought" he had a perfect dbl lung but he didn't? I couldn't imagine an elk going far with both lungs deflated. Or is there just not a lot of blood (maybe on a high lung shot).
Double lungs for me too. I tracked many heart shot elk further than lung shot
I agree, I'm a "lungshot" type of guy myself ;-). A well executed double lungshot will most the time if not always result in a dead elk. A lot of guys make the mistake of going in too early and not giving the elk enough time to expire. Therefore resulting in a long track job and a lot of times a lost animal. Like Lou said, a big difference between a dead elk and a recovered elk.
Yep, too many people don't truly understand the real "recovery kill zone". Especially rifle hunters who convert to bowhunting. And a shot on an elk quartering forward even slightly - or turning forward slightly at the sound of the shot - might only get one lung if it's toward the back of the lung cavity. As we all know, at the moment of truth sometimes things aren't always as they appear.
Also, a high double lung shot usually produces very little external blood but kills the elk. I killed a bull a few years ago with a high double lung shot. On impact it actually looked pretty good but there were only a few spatters for the first 50 yards or so. That bull walked all the way down the mountain, across the valley (where he crossed a grazing fence and left no blood) and into the heavy timber on the other side. I recovered him by going in on all the entrance trails into the timber, found him just off the third trail. There wasn't even much blood in his bed, it was mostly internal except what came out his nose and mouth. Someone trying to follow a blood trail would've lost that elk, and we'd have heard the familiar story, "I hit him perfectly, double lung, but there were only a few spatters of blood, then nothing. We searched for hours and only found a couple more drops of blood".
High and back lungs are thinner sections with the smallest and fewest vessels. Thickens the closer you get to the heart and far more and larger vessels. Lungs aren't balloons that "pop" when you hit them any old place. They can collapse with a pneumothorax (air entered into the chest cavity) but that can take some time as well. Many hits don't result in a collapsed lung either, hide or meat/fat plug up the hole.
As Lou pointed out..... all lung hits are not created equal.
Depending on the damage, heart shots can go a ways, sometimes with a poor blood trail. With a functioning heart, you cut an artery under pressure and stuff happens fast with normally great blood loss/trails. Have had animals go down in seconds on shots that had me first swearing under my breath seeing the high and back hit..... which just happened the hit the major artery under the spine. (Thank you God....) The heart will actually pump blood out of major organs like the brain, so no oxygen available to it. Shut off the pump, pressure drops and all the blood remains where it is, the organs can still use what oxygen remains in the blood that is left. Not for long.... but longer than if it wasn't there to use.
Agree on the high back part of the lungs. I hit this mature buck through the top and back part of both lungs (the exit was on the same spot on the other side). I thought I hit him in the liver so I waited 4 hours in my stand before getting down to even look at the arrow. About 15 minutes into my sit I heard some brush rattling in the direction he took off. That is where I found him laying. I blood trailed him way past where he died and he doubled back toward me after 15 minutes and fell over about 60 yards from my stand. He definitely lived quite a while. Lucky for me he didn't keep going one direction.
This "mid body" hit is less than 2" below the spine.
Had a guy tell me once that he aimed for the "female artery" on going away shots...
Off leg is a good reference.......or so I hear.
I believe If you use the center of the lungs as a point of rotation, the off side leg will put you behind of or in front of, the center of the lungs as the animal turns. Quartering away I want to exit in front of the off side leg.
WapitiBob, did that bull leave a good blood trail?
I agree with jeck that anything within the yellow circle is a dead elk. Not necessarily a recovered elk, but most likely dead somewhere.
Bob, that "mid-body" hit is very close to where I hit the bull in my story above. At the instant of impact as he spun it looked pretty good. And it was deadly. But it took two guys with a combined 80 years of elk bowhunting experience to recover him without a blood trail
Nope, didn't bleed worth a damn. I knew I was in trouble the second the shot broke. Luckily It had rained down there for 3 months straight so I backed up and just looked out ahead for his tracks in the soft ground. Hard dry ground and it would have been a tough recovery. I think the big 3 blade head helped with cutting the top of the lungs but that's just speculation.
Looking at Jeck's picture and kill zone, if aiming at the red dot and the bull drops at the shot, you will hit high in the kill zone. The one shot I saw taken at a bull, I was amazed at how he dropped whirled and took off at the shot. He rivaled some of the wariest whitetails I've seen. Amazing an animal that big can react that quick. In other words, I'd be tempted to aim lower than the red dot on Jeck's pic.
12yards, love your pin float illustration! LOL I agree, a little lower would be a great shot. I putting it in the crease a touch lower in jeck's 3rd picture. It gives me a definitive spot.
12 yards I have shot 4 elk and none dropped at the shot. I would read the animals body language to determine how alert he was before going with the assumption that he is going drop. Shot distances were 7, 14, 32, and 65. Two were within two or three inches left and up of jecks red dot both died in under 60 yards. One was a deflected of an unseen limb but luckily hit the femoral artery. The fourth was shot at 14 yards probably 3 inches high of jecks small margin example and left great blood trail for 80 yards bedded down and was jumped by a guide with two hunters almost immediately after bedding down. Almost zero blood trail afterwards and petered out in short notice. 6 people and two dogs searched for 8 hours and found no elk. This elk was perfectly broadside was the one that I would felt certain that would be down for the count.
Obviously, I have not shot a lot of elk but I have shot moose, deer, pigs and I use some simple rules.
1. Go for center punch on double lung which provides largest target and greatest margin for error. 2. Stay away from leg bones and shoulders. 3. Take frontal shot but only at 25 yards or less. This is where I am comfortable with small window to vitals. 4. Absolutely don't get sucked into single lung angles. Animals can go a long ways on one lung. Recovery time is paramount on large animals during warm weather that often accompanies elk season. 5. I would rather go home with an unfolded tag rather than let a bull rot in the woods. P.S. Even though I have lots of experience shooting animals I will listen to those people who have shot numerous animals of a species that is being discussed because each has certain peculiarities when shot placement is the discussion. I sent this thread to a friend who is going on his first elk hunt this year when he asked me about shot placement.
has anyone had a broadside low forward pass thru and watched the bull go 50 yards hang his head low and sway for a 5- 10 minutes pick his head up and walk off never to be seen again. hollow spot bad luck or what.
There aren't any "hollow spots". See above. So you likely either hit further back than you thought or your arrow stayed outside the body cavity. Another possibility is that you just sliced the heart, which I've seen take a long time (and a second shot) to kill a bull. But the chances of a full passthrough there are pretty low because you have to pass through the leg muscles and close ribs on both sides. Possible? Sure.
it was just behind the elbow on the front leg shot went thru as I saw the blood spot on the other side. possible that the bull had breathed out lifting the lung slightly, shot then being below the lung and behind the heart?
If you hit him where you think you hit him he would have dropped in sight. If the front leg was pulled back at impact you most likely hit behind the lungs and below the liver in the forward-most stomach which rests below the liver and up against the diaphragm. I believe that's stomach #4 but don't have my anatomy diagrams here with me. I'll try to remember to post that tomorrow.
Suspect quite a few "heart shot" elk that are lost are actually hit this area "right behind the elbow" with the leg pulled back. I hit one there once and didn't find him for a few days, unfortunately.
I guess the hamblaster is a forgotten technique? ;-)
Mule Power...DO NOT DARE TO RAISE THE SPECTRE OF TBM!!! :-D Joking aside, there is some real wisdom here, especially Jaquomo's most reassuring observation "I agree with jeck that anything within the yellow circle is a dead elk. Not necessarily a recovered elk, but most likely dead somewhere". ;-) So, I'll be carrying on practicing using Jeck's 'Magic Circle[s]' as my target face of choice, BUT with Jaq's caveat firmly at the front of my mind...just because it looks like a good hit, it doesn't necessarily mean it's a LETHAL HIT...to quote my school-boy Latin, 'Caveat Sagittarius' or 'Let the Archer Beware'