Carbon Express Arrows
Horrible deer diagrams
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
ohiohunter 16-Jan-18
drycreek 16-Jan-18
Huntcell 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
Owl 16-Jan-18
Grubby 16-Jan-18
drycreek 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
Eagle_eye_Andy 16-Jan-18
Jaquomo 16-Jan-18
Eagle_eye_Andy 16-Jan-18
skipmaster1 16-Jan-18
x-man 16-Jan-18
JTV 16-Jan-18
Woods Walker 16-Jan-18
ohiohunter 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
Will 16-Jan-18
APauls 16-Jan-18
elk yinzer 16-Jan-18
GhostBird 16-Jan-18
Jaquomo 16-Jan-18
stick n string 16-Jan-18
Tonybear61 16-Jan-18
elk yinzer 16-Jan-18
midwest 16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 16-Jan-18
BTM 17-Jan-18
Fuzzy 17-Jan-18
elkstabber 17-Jan-18
tobywon 17-Jan-18
tobywon 17-Jan-18
Surfbow 17-Jan-18
Salagi 17-Jan-18
MNRazorhead 17-Jan-18
skipmaster1 17-Jan-18
trophyhill 17-Jan-18
Cheesehead Mike 17-Jan-18
Salagi 17-Jan-18
tobywon 17-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 17-Jan-18
Blakes 17-Jan-18
elkstabber 17-Jan-18
Vonfoust 17-Jan-18
Blakes 17-Jan-18
Cheesehead Mike 17-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 17-Jan-18
Blakes 17-Jan-18
Tonybear61 17-Jan-18
GLP 17-Jan-18
GF 17-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 17-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 17-Jan-18
elk yinzer 17-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 17-Jan-18
nijimasu 18-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 18-Jan-18
Deertick 18-Jan-18
Woods Walker 18-Jan-18
BTM 18-Jan-18
MNRazorhead 18-Jan-18
Fuzzy 18-Jan-18
12yards 18-Jan-18
elkstabber 18-Jan-18
Rut Nut 18-Jan-18
TD 18-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 18-Jan-18
Genesis 18-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 18-Jan-18
Genesis 19-Jan-18
16-Jan-18
Man, there are some really bad anatomy diagrams out there of deer, which would guide people to really poor shot placement. I've taken pictures of a few on my phone and am going to post them up and discuss how ridiculous they are.

16-Jan-18

IdyllwildArcher's embedded Photo
IdyllwildArcher's embedded Photo
1. Let’s start with this one. Looking at their numbers, the jugulars connect to the aortic artery instead of the carotid arteries connecting to the aorta. It's also not called the aortic artery. It's just called the aorta. The thoracic and abdominal aorta is a tad too high. The femoral arteries are not that far back. They have them practically back by the butt hole.

Two. The heart is way too high.

Three. Those lungs are way smaller than an actual deer’s lungs. They're also pointed the wrong way.

Four. Are you kidding me? They’ve got the kidneys back in the colon.

Five. They’ve got the stomach reaching all the way back to the ham.

Six. Sure the spinous processes are that high but the spine extends down lower than that. And the spine in the neck is completely miss placed.

Seven. That’s not even correct for the tenderloin much less the loin. If you’re diagramming a deer and don’t even know where the backstraps are, you probably have never shot a deer.

Eight and nine. Well they got the windpipe and of the brisket right.

10. I don’t know what that symbol is. Is that the university of liver? An actual dears liver is much higher than that.

From: ohiohunter
16-Jan-18
You sure its not one of them african deer? :D

From: drycreek
16-Jan-18
So that's where the saying "My heart was in my throat" comes from ! It's a wonder the antlers weren't on his ass......

From: Huntcell
16-Jan-18
Them Columbian Blacktails are one weird deer, once ya get inside them.

16-Jan-18

IdyllwildArcher's embedded Photo
IdyllwildArcher's embedded Photo
Here’s another really bad one. The lungs on the deer are not that large and do not extend back that far. Not even close. And what’s with the main vein and main artery? The main artery, The abdominal aorta, doesn’t follow that tract at all. It goes straight up from the heart to just under the spine and follows the spine all the way back to the pelvis. The main vein, the posterior vena cava, doesn’t travel straight up to the spine like the aorta, but it does not follow the sternum all the way through the guts.

Absolute horrible diagram.

From: Owl
16-Jan-18
Yep, they are that bad. Surprised they don't have "the void" labeled somewhere on the pic.

From: Grubby
16-Jan-18
I’ve heard “the main vein” referenced before but they were talking about something else

From: drycreek
16-Jan-18

drycreek's embedded Photo
drycreek's embedded Photo
How would you rate this one Ike ?

16-Jan-18
Not bad, but the lung needs to be rotated clockwise a little. Additionally, for how posterior the lungs go, that's an inflated lung, but the top and bottom of the lungs represent a deflated lung. An interesting thing to try, cut the ribs off the sternum, lift the ribcage open like the trunk of a car, cut the windpipe where it enters the neck, and blow into it and suck the air out and look at the difference between a deflated and inflated lung in a deer. There's a huge difference. This difference makes it difficult to know if you got lung or not on marginal shots due to not knowing if the lung was inflated or deflated when the arrow hit, although posterior and peripheral lung shots usually produce that distinct frothy pink blood. The lung shots that hit a lot of arteries fill up the lung with copious blood that has good blood pressure behind it and you don't see the froth that you do with lung hits that don't include big vessels.

I do a full autopsy on every animal I kill, including dissecting the arrow path, in order to find out what I did and how well it went after the shot. A couple things I've noticed: I'm always surprised at how I barely get any lung when I'm behind the crease at all. Another thing I've noticed is the vasculature up front that has me a firm believer in Bill Allard's shot placement. The reason Bill Allard's shot placement brings animals down so fast is because you usually hit one or more of the great vessels: The aorta, the vena cava, the pulmonary artery, or the pulmonary vein, in addition to the large blood vessels of the lungs that are closest to the heart. When I've hit one great vessel, I've usually hit 2 or 3. This causes a massive drop in blood pressure and the animal actually falls due to passing out from acute drop in systolic blood pressure as a vagal response from the brain. It then quickly dies as the heart continues to pump the remaining blood out of the circulatory system. Peripheral lung hits generally do not bleed the animal like a central lung/heart/great vessel hit and the animal passes out from asphyxiation, not exsanguination, due to pneumothorax, or air in the chest cavity. Air escapes from normal breathing through the hole in the lungs and/or is sucked into the chest cavity through the arrow hole in the chest cavity, thus collapsing the lungs.

One more thing that people take for granted, is that the liver in a deer, like in humans, sits right of midline in the animal. Some of the liver does sit in the left side of the abdominal cavity, but about a good 2/3 of the liver is right of the spine. Thus, a quartered-to animal, shot on the left side, is more likely to miss liver and get nothing but stomach and guts, than an animal shot quartered to on the right side (in cases of hitting too far back).

16-Jan-18
First diagram I got a comment and a question...Neck shots are looking pretty good to me right now, but ethically only 80 yds and under. Any guesses what he'd score?

Second diagram...its really good to know where the brain is cause man I've been stumped on that one for ages!!

From: Jaquomo
16-Jan-18
I used to have one that showed a bear's heart OUTSIDE the ribcage, hanging down between the front legs like a fatty tumor. Wish I'd saved it. It was published in a bear hunting article in a magazine.

16-Jan-18
One more question cause its not clear, is the brain in a WT the same place as a Muley?

From: skipmaster1
16-Jan-18

skipmaster1's embedded Photo
skipmaster1's embedded Photo
I saw this one this year and thought it was pretty good. Lol.

From: x-man
16-Jan-18
At least you can see "the void" in daycreek's picture. :)

From: JTV
16-Jan-18
on that last one, the spine is way to high and the "lungs" should fill that whole cavity and the rib cage/lungs should touch and fill in the bottom of the sine... there is no "void" ..

From: Woods Walker
16-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher: I wish to hell that the lungs WERE that big!!!

From: ohiohunter
16-Jan-18
IDYll.. can you please outline Bill Allard's shot placement for us?

16-Jan-18
I don't believe there's a void, although when you manually deflate the lungs as I described above, they do definitely sink down some. The thing is, the ribs arch on each side of the spine and a fully inflated lung actually sits next to the spine. If a deer had a fully inflated lung and you shot it broadside off the ground, it is possible to get one lung while still hitting the deer in the spine. When you deflate the lung, it does drop, but there's not a lot of room. IMO, a deer that's hit high even when it's breathed all the way out, you'll still nick the tops of both lungs if you pass under the spine. The thing is, you have the distinct possibility of only a small cut on the lungs which could result in no blood trail and the animal going quite a ways or possibly of recovering with rest. People get pneumothorax spontaneously and through trauma that is often times managed by bedrest and allowing the body to heal. I think it's possible to hit a deer too high in the lungs, where he'd make it a long way with a poor blood trail and make it difficult to find him. Whether they survive is anyone's guess, although I would guess that it's possible. I think most shots blamed on "the void" are either backstrap hits above the spine or a dead animal that is just not found.

If an animal is dead and you didn't find it, you just didn't look in the right spot. I think it happens all the time.

16-Jan-18
Maybe someone could link one of Bill Allard's famous shot placement threads? Basically, on a quartered away animal, you aim for the crease at the same level as the humerus/scapula joint. On a broadside animal, you aim at the same level, but in front of the crease, straight up the leg. On a frontal shot, you have to know where the opening is around the bones. You're essentially aiming for the top of the heart where the 4 great vessels come out of the heart. Until this year, I had a streak of 7 animals falling in sight using this placement till I missed back 3 inches on a mule deer and he went 100 yards. In my limited experience of about 10 animals verified by autopsy to have been hit in the great vessels, they all went between 20-40 yards before falling, usually collapsing before you could say one-onethousand-two-onethousand-three. And when you put glass on them, they're still breathing for about a 30-45 seconds.

From: Will
16-Jan-18
That first one is particularly brutal... But, at least they got the lungs up against the spine - IE, no void. That's a win, I guess...

From: APauls
16-Jan-18
With so many pictures available of actualy cutaways on animals I don't see the need for all these funny diagrams. We have literal actual examples to look at. And it's all just a google away.

From: elk yinzer
16-Jan-18
No. 1 is just wow. No. 2 is not terrible....heart is a little low. [On second look, they are way too large, not properly shaped, and I'm not sure it is possible for the humerus to angle such] But don't the lungs go to the last rib and rest against the diaphragm when they are fully inflated? I am under the opinion they go farther back than most diagrams show. I think a lot of the diagrams take the size of a deflated lung and transpose that into the deer, when they need to take into account that they inflate.

I am familiar with the threads where very experienced members tout the benefits of "the crease" shot, but I like to leave a little more room for error behind the shoulder personally, and it hasn't bit me yet. I've even hit farther back than I wanted on quartering-to shots and still had a clean double lung kill.

From: GhostBird
16-Jan-18

GhostBird's embedded Photo
GhostBird's embedded Photo

From: Jaquomo
16-Jan-18

Jaquomo's embedded Photo
Jaquomo's embedded Photo
I shot a big bull elk high through both lungs. Pass-through. There were a few drops of blood for the first 40 yards or so, then nothing. He went all the way across a valley and up the other side into some dark timber. There was no blood anywhere, even when he jumped a four-strand barbed wire fence. I found him by walking the trails into the bedding timber on the other side. Even in his death bed there was only a small amount of blood.

Many might think they'd hit him in the mythical "void", and that he would be fine. Nope.

16-Jan-18
The "void" thing..... i always took it not as a void between the lungs and the backbone, but a void where you can hit without hitting anything vital. There absolutely is a void....a void above the lungs where you can hit and the deer is not getting recovered. When most ppl say void, do they really mean space inside the ribcage ABOVE the lungs? I've always enjoyed arguing with one of my buddies that i hunt with a couple times a year. He gets worked up pretty easy and its funny when his face gets red....

From: Tonybear61
16-Jan-18
There is no space ABOVE the lungs in the rib cage. Any one spending time in physiology, anatomy class knows that. What is there is a series of ribs that rotate from front to back (up and slightly forward on humans who are in a vertical position) along the spine creating a larger space for fully inflated vs not-fully inflated lungs. They are never empty when intact as there is a residual volume. Getting the wind knocked out of you is a mild injury when you are struck in the ribcage and some of that residual volume escapes, thus you feel deflated. If its serious enough you also bleed and bruise internally and on the exterior inter-coastal muscles, etc. I know, did something silly when I was cliff diving for the tour boats on the river at 18-19 years old , about 110 ft as I recall. First jump went well, second one not so much. Other guys doing the same thing died in that spot.

It is possible to hit one or more lung lobes and have an animal survive a long time, many hours or days. Especially on a high shot which leaves little external blood if there isn't an exit channel. Still can die but all the blood will still be in the chest cavity, clotted up, little trail.

If you ever have a chance to go in for athsma testing talk to the PLHCP about your IRV + TV+ERV; FEV1, FEV2 and residual volume (RV) if a bullet or broadhead might hit you...

From: elk yinzer
16-Jan-18

elk yinzer's embedded Photo
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
A good visual reminder that the collapsed lungs you pull out of the deer when you gut them aren't nearly the size of inlated lungs when they are alive.

From: midwest
16-Jan-18
"If an animal is dead and you didn't find it, you just didn't look in the right spot."

Ya think, Captain Obvious? lol

16-Jan-18
Yup :) Haha

There's a lot of truth in that simple statement though. I think a lot of people make a lot of assumptions about unrecovered animals, but they're all just guesses and what happened is they just didn't look in the right spot and find their dead animal. And there's a lot of reasons for that.

Regarding elk yinzer's pic, I'll go back to my suggestion that everyone try to look at the lungs and blow in and out of the trachea and look what happens to lungs inside the actual chest cavity like I detailed in one of my above posts. It really only takes a minute and it's not gross. It'll give you a good idea of where the lungs actually sit inside an animal when the lungs are still in the chest cavity and you watch them inflate and deflate.

From: BTM
17-Jan-18

BTM's embedded Photo
BTM's embedded Photo
If you think those deer diagrams are bad, how about all the rifle scope ads that show the crosshairs centered everywhere but a good spot.

From: Fuzzy
17-Jan-18
Grubby, please don't post that diagram.

From: elkstabber
17-Jan-18
Idyll, thanks for this write up. No matter how many animals a guy has killed we can all stand to learn some more.

You agree with Bill Allard and recommend that we aim for the lungs/top of the heart. Of course this makes sense and works very well.

Don Thomas once wrote a chapter called, "Broadheads, a job description" in which he talks about how an arrow ideally kills. From my reading I remember him saying that we should be aiming to collapse the lungs, causing pneumothorax. The lungs collapse and it won't take long. Don Thomas is (or was) a medical doctor when he wrote the chapter. Like you, he did full autopsies on his kills.

Isn't this different than what you are suggesting? In other words, you're saying aim for the big vessels above the heart, whereas Don is saying hit the center of the lungs?

I understand that either shot will kill but is there a difference in what you are saying versus what Don Thomas recommends?

Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding. Thanks!

From: tobywon
17-Jan-18

tobywon's embedded Photo
tobywon's embedded Photo
This has been posted on here before and is pretty cool because it is an actual cut away showing the organs. I think he (Woody) also has a black bear as well.

From: tobywon
17-Jan-18

tobywon's embedded Photo
tobywon's embedded Photo
I also have the book that has overlays of the organs, bones, and circulatory system on deer as well. this is the organ overlay

From: Surfbow
17-Jan-18
Man, apparently I've been doing my tenderloins all wrong based on that first diagram...back to the drawing board.

From: Salagi
17-Jan-18

Salagi's embedded Photo
On the back deer dark spot up high is entrance
Salagi's embedded Photo
On the back deer dark spot up high is entrance
Salagi's embedded Photo
Exit, arrow was a complete pass through
Salagi's embedded Photo
Exit, arrow was a complete pass through
All right, explain this one just for fun. I shot this deer in 2016. Found very little blood in the 150 yards I followed it before I lost the trail (making it the first deer I ever hit with an arrow and didn't recover after 40+ years of bowhunting). The pictures were taken by the trail cam where my folks were feeding rice bran a couple of days later. First picture is entrance, second is exit (I was shooting downhill). Deer appears to be fine. Actually had several pictures that night, so I'm not judging from just 2.

From: MNRazorhead
17-Jan-18
Above the spine, through the backstraps. I've done the same thing.

Ike, I have to ask, where did those diagrams come from-especially the first one? An art project? Wow, just wow.

From: skipmaster1
17-Jan-18
That shot was above the spine.

From: trophyhill
17-Jan-18
Great thread! Thx for posting!

17-Jan-18

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
The white dot 1/3 of the way down from the back is the spinal cord. This photos shows how low the spine is and that the lungs are actually higher than the bottom of the spine.
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
The white dot 1/3 of the way down from the back is the spinal cord. This photos shows how low the spine is and that the lungs are actually higher than the bottom of the spine.
Yep, Salagi's deer was clearly hit above the spine.

Here's a cross-section of an actual deer that I copied off of the Bowsite many years ago.

From: Salagi
17-Jan-18
Exit looks too low for above the spine.

From: tobywon
17-Jan-18
Definitely above spine. Salagi if you draw a line at the entrance on your deer on Mikes cross-section post above to the exit, you are above the spine (white dot). Especially with the steep shot angle.

17-Jan-18
I agree, above the spine.

tobywon, I don't agree with that diagram. Even with the lungs inflated, I don't see them going back that far. Especially the top left and bottom left, those sharp corners don't have lung tissue.

elkstabber, if you aim for the top of the heart/great vessels, you're still going through a lot of lung. They'd die of double pneumothorax if it didn't take so long. Bleeding out takes them down quicker and kills them quicker. It's usually just a matter of seconds quicker, but it's also the difference, IMO, of them falling in sight or not. Plus they die after passing out instead of suffocating. Either way is generally a quick death, but the latter, not always. Especially 1 lung hits.

The farther you aim back, the less risk of hitting the humerus or the scapula, but the more risk of missing the lungs entirely when the animal walks unexpectedly or jumps the string.

Think about it: how often do you hear about gut shots and "high and back" shots? All the time. Far more than forward shots. I aim for the top of the heart and still have more gut shots than I have shots too far forward. Because animals rarely back up - they usually lunge forward.

Randy Ulmer also advocates for a more central, even posterior lung aiming point. His rationale is that you cut more lung tissue in the rear of the lungs. That sounds good on paper and works if you hit it, but also results in more gut shots. He says he's not too worried about gut shots because he can back out and reliably find the animal if not pressured. Personally, I hate gut shots for more than the reason of the wait, more difficult track, potential souring or destruction of the meat, potential lost animal, etc, but I don't want my animals to die like that. It happens, but I want to minimize gut shots. So I respectfully disagree with Mr Ulmer even though he's a far more accomplished hunter than I am.

I'd rather not suffocate to death either. I'd rather pass out quickly and bleed to death in my sleep. I feel no guilt for the killing I do, but I think the right thing to do is to do it as efficiently, quickly, and with the least amount of suffering as possible.

From: Blakes
17-Jan-18
I agree with everything IdyllwildArcher has said... except...

The lungs NEVER lose contact with the ribs or sternum unless there has been a puncture which breaks the vacuum of the thoracic cavity. Release of that vacuum is what causes a pneumothorax (bilateral pneumothorax if both lungs are effected) which is the cause of death of most game shot with an arrow (most don't have time to bleed to death). The diaphragm inflates the lungs when it pulls air in because of this vacuum.

If you have the cavity open and blow in the lungs it is easy to see how you could get the idea that the lungs fill, then in-fill the space but that is not true when the cavity is intact.

From: elkstabber
17-Jan-18
Thanks Idyll.

It seems that Randy Ulmer and Don Thomas seem to be on the same page. It's great to hear the various opinions, especially from actual real medical doctors.

It has been a few years since I'd read Don's article but there two things that stood out: 1. Most deer die from pneumothorax and do not bleed to death 2. Hitting two lungs is a definite because they both deflate, whereas hitting one lung would just slow some animals down and may not kill them.

From: Vonfoust
17-Jan-18
Wondering, if you were able to puncture the diaphragm without hitting a lung, would the damage to the diaphragm be enough to kill a deer?

From: Blakes
17-Jan-18
Vonfoust, if you were able to hit the diaphragm without hitting lung (highly unlikely as they are touching but still remotely possible), you would hit liver and the animal would bleed to death from that.

17-Jan-18

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Salagi,

I drew the arrow in on this version and tried to match your entrance and exit holes. As you can see the exit would be about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the deer's back, if not a little more. That arrow would be thru the backstraps, above the spine and it would miss the lungs.

17-Jan-18
Blakes, I do agree with you that there's no slipping an arrow inside ribs and missing lung under the spine. There is a lot of room over part of the sternum where you can miss lung, specifically the bottom of the heart and the mediastinum. I don't see what you're disagreeing with as my point about blowing up the lungs was showing how erroneous these diagrams are that have the lungs going back so far. I may have written something that made one believe you could miss under or over the lungs during exhalation, but that's not what I intended to convey. When I said this:

"Additionally, for how posterior the lungs go, that's an inflated lung, but the top and bottom of the lungs represent a deflated lung."

I was referring to a lung that was knocked down as it basically, top and bottom, has pneumothorax in drycreek's diagram.

As you know, when you manually inflate a deer's lungs, they only get so big and don't stretch a bunch without popping so you can definitively see how far back they go. But you're definitely right about manually deflating them and I should have clarified that better. When you deflate a lung manually, you can suck it down to almost nothing, which would actually give the ridiculous and erroneous impression that the lung would actually be tough to hit during exhalation. Reading what I wrote above, I definitely worded it poorly

From: Blakes
17-Jan-18
Idyll, Gotcha, misinterpretation of what you wrote... sorry.

It still shocks me how many people believe in the "void". I even have a friend that is a wildlife biologist that swears it exists!

From: Tonybear61
17-Jan-18
no void- between the flexing of the diaphragm and ribs, intercostal muscles lungs fill the area in the chest cavity. That said, wonder if anyone recall how many lobes are ina deer lung, 5 like a human?? That make some difference. While two lung penetration is preferred if you only hit one would it be more effective to hit one with 2 (right side) or 3 (left side) lobes functioning??

If you ever get a chance to inspect freeze dried, inflated lungs do it. Tells a lot about the structure. I have recovered lung hits that went 5 yards (2016) and one that was double lunged by a hunting partner that went over 800 paces/yards. That one was shot from a ground blind, double lung, arrow on the ground and still sharp. Was with 18-20 other deer and they kept pressuring to get up it when it bedded down til it got out of sight. Coyotes got a good part of it but we were able to examine the rest the next day. It was a good solid hit both lungs 1/2 way up the chest cavity, blood trail was good in the snow too. Go figure.. Sometimes they are just that tough

From: GLP
17-Jan-18
Why is it that sometimes you hit dead center of the lungs and the lungs collapse and another time you open them up and you have lungs with a cut through them?

From: GF
17-Jan-18
OK, Reality Check: take a deep breath; observe increase in pot belly. See attractive young woman walk by; suck in gut. Observe that you cannot breathe while doing so.

When a deer/Elk exhales, the liver & gut move forward into the rib cage. How Far would depend on the intensity of the exhalation, but normal tidal volume is not so much that you need to sweat it on a relaxed animal.

So basically, if you hit into the rib cage ahead of the diaphragm, you will get lungs for sure. Just do be aware that the spine dips low as you move towards the front.

Why Don Thomas is Right and what Ike is missing: Don Thomas shoots longbows and maybe recurve, but I don’t believe he has any use for a compound whatsoever. Or sights, either, for that matter.

So this is about Risk Management.

Ike wants that animal unconscious ASAP. Totally get that.

But assuming you are going to hit the animal SOMEWHERE, the Risk Management perspective is that you go for the largest possible target so as to provide maximum margin for error. If you hold top-of-heart (as I have done for most of my rifle-hunting career), you are choosing a smaller target (offering less margin for error both vertically and horizontally) and one which is protected by many layers of muscle AND by relatively massive bone structure.

So, since Dr. Thomas is shooting a bow capable of producing maybe 40%-50% of a typical compound set-up, and because he is using a less precise sighting system and because he is almost certainly operating without a precise range estimate (let alone a lasered measurement), the Center-of-(Lung)-Mass hold takes him back off of those big bones, and provides a target which (on a deer, for example) is about the size of a soccer ball, rather than a softball. Net (over the years) is reduced overall suffering and reduced number of wounded and lost animals.

Long & Short, it is better Risk Management to accept a relatively high probability of seeing a minor adverse outcome than to take on a lower probability of something major hitting the fan.

And if you do the math.... Let’s say the shifting your point of aim back by 3 or 4 inches will increase the size of your target from a 6” circle to a 9” circle. In pure square inches, the 9” (diameter) circle is 125% LARGER. So not half again as big, but over TWICE as big.

And on the whole issue of suffering... just as the animal will pass out from low BP long before it is well and truly dead, the animal will pass out from low O2 in the bloodstream before death sets in. After all, the animal is not technically dead until the brain has been oxygen-deprived for Long Enough, and the mechanism of oxygen deprivation is kind of beside the point.

And last point - if you’re concerned about recovering the animal, it’s a lot harder to get a decent blood trail from an animal shot through the meaty part of the shoulders than one shot through the ribs. Especially with a bow generating #30-#40 FPE, where your chances of an exit wound are diminished. All that muscle lets very little air in and precious little blood out. FWIW, I put a 3-blade head through both ventricles of a buck that went a solid 80-100 yards without leaving a single drop of blood, save one where the arrow snapped off.

17-Jan-18
GLP, I think it has to do with either the lungs filling with blood and keeping them up or the holes in the chest wall not remaining patent and sucking air in quickly to collapse them faster, or both. Depending on shot placement, it is possible for an animal to die from exsanguination before it dies of suffocation from a collapsed lung, especially if the animal is resting (bedded) and you did a good amount of artery or great vessel damage.

One thing I've noted, is that sometimes you have a sucking chest wound and sometimes you don't. Fat, blood, fur, hide, dirt, # of blades, size of hole, location of hole on the body, how hard the animal runs/breathes, bedding down on the hole, etc all come into play with whether or not you get a sucking chest wound.

There's two types of pneumothorax: The first is from air that enters from a hole in the chest cavity due to the negative pressure in the chest cavity created by the diaphragm moving posterior. The second is air escaping from inside the lung that was breathed in through the trachea and exiting the lung through a hole in the lung into the chest cavity. We see folks with the latter type of injuries, usually from blunt trauma to the chest cavity and fractured ribs piercing the periphery of the lungs. They often times make it. The ones with sucking chest wounds are much more dangerous and die quicker - I can't remember a single person that has had two open wounds to the chest, one over each lung, (like a broadhead going through both lungs) that's made it alive to the ER. I've seen people shot in the chest, but in the front, exiting the posterior of the chest, but only hitting one lung, make it. In fact, I've seen quite a few people get one lung knocked down all the way and do fine. Often times, non-sucking chest wounds have more lung collapse from the bleeding from the lung into the chest cavity than the actual air escaping from the lung.

In the case of a deer shot in the lungs, if your wound isn't sucking air in, and sometimes they don't, then you're relying on air leaking from inside and the big airways are protected by the big bones up front for the most part. It's going to take that deer longer to die and he can quite possibly bleed to death if you got enough big vessels before his lungs collapse.

Additionally, after death, the positive pressure that collapsed the lung could leak out of the broadhead hole and the lung could spontaneously reinflate.

17-Jan-18
GF, I agree with most of what you say, but I'll go back to the point that if you miss forward, you hit bone or briscuit and it's generally a non-fatal shot or you hit the front of the lungs and I've done that once and that deer bedded down and died (follow up shot) in 60 yards. If you miss back, it's irrelevant. How many of us have more bone hits than gut/liver hits? Not me, and I aim farther forward than most. And what I often times hear is "high and back" on TV and from hunters in the field.

The farther back you aim, the more you risk hitting the stomach or the guts when the animal jumps the string and moves forward. I don't think this point can be argued. I don't like gut shots. I'd rather have a non-fatal humerus hit than a gut shot, even if it means the difference between recovering the animal. And it has nothing to do with the animal suffering. I've lost two gut shot animals that did not bed down and I hate the 8 hour waiting game - it's torture. Lastly, of the couple gut-shot animals that I've recovered, eaten, and the few more from others animals that were gut shot, I'd say about 1/4 of them have a bit of a funky taste. Most taste fine, but some, not so much, and I think it has to do with how long they live with a gut shot. Some gut shot animals die really quick because you got a big gut artery. The ones I've seen with a lot of red blood in the abdomen have tasted fine. The ones with no blood in the abdomen have tasted a bit funky.

As far as the deer going a long ways on heart hits, I've heard this a lot from different guys so I believe you, but I have 8 heart hits in the past 4 years and none of them went more than 40 yards and there was always a good blood trail.

I agree with your reasoning, but I still think Bill Allard's shot placement is superior. Good luck to you in your hunts.

From: elk yinzer
17-Jan-18
Wow, couple of great posts by GF and Idyll and some very good points in both. I think it comes down to personal experience because I have yet to gut shoot a single animal (knocks on wood) but I have shoulder shot three. And that is being a center mass shooter my whole life. I've had some crease hits with impressive results. I've also had posterior lung hits dead in 30 seconds. I have yet to see the repurcussions of erring back but who knows; maybe the law of averages will catch up.

17-Jan-18
A couple more things GF, as far as your animal being down quicker due to no O2, it's just not true when you hit an animal in the great vessels. If I sever your aorta, you are unconscious in 3 seconds. If I occlude your airway, you will fight and struggle for a minute before you pass out. I've watched these deer die. I know how long it takes. I've seen posterior lung hit deer go down and sit there and struggle and suck air into their chests for a good minute before they go quiet. It really is a moot point because it's still a quick humane death and I shouldn't have even brought it up in the first place.

Regarding your last point, I believe that blood trail has more to do with the blood pressure behind what you've cut forcing blood out and the amount of blood, then where the hole is and that's based on me shooting several deer in the great vessels. First off, there's no need for a blood trail when the animal dies in sight and that's what I prefer. The blood trail on an animal that is hit broadside or quartering away in the great vessels leaves a short blood trail that looks like a garden hose. But the blood trail on frontal shots, which goes through a fair amount of meat, some lung, etc, before hitting the great vessels, still leaves a garden hose blood trail that will splash when you walk in it. That's why I've formed my opinion that it's what you hit and the blood pressure behind it that matters more when it comes to blood trails.

From: nijimasu
18-Jan-18

nijimasu's embedded Photo
nijimasu's embedded Photo
Just in case...

18-Jan-18
LOL!

From: Deertick
18-Jan-18
Thanks, Idyll, for this fun thread. Bad diagrams are a blast, and seem to be all over.

What I am interested in is when lungs DO get hit, yet the animal recovers. How does this happen?

Hunters often has the thought that lungs are like "balloons" which can "pop" and that pneumothorax is quickly deadly. Yet we hear of Lou's elk above. How can we explain that?

My explanation (as an MD with some understanding of trauma) is this: We don't shoot lungs because they "pop" (though the potential for a pneumo is added help for us). We shoot lungs because they are vascular. Lungs receive 100% of the cardiac output of the right heart, and are filled with vessels. But they are not filled evenly. Anteriorly, they are exponentially (literally) more vascular than posteriorly, which is why Bill Allard's aiming spot works, and Lou's shot (likely not where he was aiming) resulted in a longer trail.

We shoot vascular organs primarily. Lungs work. Liver receives a very large amount of blood, and that, therefore, works as well. Stomach, intestines, and colon are relatively lightly vascular. Kidneys, if hit, result in quick death (just try to find them, though). Aorta, carotids, and femoral artery hits are devastating.

Bleeding, is what we're after. And the posterior portions of the lungs don't do that nearly as well as the anterior portions. In fact, with injury, they can effectively be "shut down" by the animal. Before any clotting occurs, the vascular bed of those portions of lung can have their circulation diminished substantially from a baseline that wasn't all that high. Pneumothorax, far from the certain and swift death that many picture, can be contained and compensated, and the animal can often survive hours, days, or recover completely.

Shoot for blood and you won't be disappointed.

From: Woods Walker
18-Jan-18
Now if someone could only post an anatomy diagram for the velociraptor at the 3D shoot..........

From: BTM
18-Jan-18
Nijimasu: NOW I know why I've lost so many Godzillas! Will do better next time I draw a tag.

From: MNRazorhead
18-Jan-18
Might want to use your mini-nuke arrow on him. Probably dial the yield up to the max, too, lots of heavy bone in there.

From: Fuzzy
18-Jan-18
nijmasu, that's probably the most useful diagram yet! lol

From: 12yards
18-Jan-18
Salgai, you are above the spine. I, unfortunately, did the same thing twice last fall. It was a bad year for me. The positive is, I'm sure, like your doe, they will be fine and will heal up. Next year I need to settle the pin better and not rush the shot and punch the trigger.

From: elkstabber
18-Jan-18
Thanks Idyll. Great discussion.

From: Rut Nut
18-Jan-18
Ike- just curious..................................where in the world did you get that 1st diagram from???!!! To me that is like a CARTOON!!!!!!

From: TD
18-Jan-18
Agree with Ike, blood pressure and what is hit make or break a blood trail. Some heart hits that completely disable it I've had poor blood despite a low entry and exit. No pump, no pressure. High chest can be poor blood as the cavity has to fill up first. Lots of reasons for poor blood. (it's not just a broadhead thing/thread and really hard to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges as each event is so unique)

WRT "void"..... shots from ground angles can hit lower than the spine, catch a rib that curves up to connect at the spine and slide up and over it. It's not an angle that effects a person from a treestand much, but on the ground I've seen it. Spine is lower than most think and lower yet more forward in the chest, but slide an arrow up a rib and it compounds the issue..... also if you DO get just under that spine, in what many think is a "void" you likely hit the jackpot and clipped a major artery that is just under it and a bloodtrail Stevie Wonder could follow.....

Funny things can happen when hitting live moving stuff with sharp sticks.

18-Jan-18
I completely agree with you Deertick. That's why I aim farther forward than the crease, unless I'm shooting quartered away, then the crease hits the same spot (this is Bill Allard's shot placement). Blood vessels, blood vessels, blood vessels. And it's not just the great vessels. As you know, there's tons of big blood vessels, arteries and veins, that are larger the more proximal to the heart you are, and get smaller at the periphery of the lungs. That's why these animals go down so fast when hit in the area above and around the heart.

Nonetheless, pneumothorax does kill animals, but only if it knocks down both lungs. I've seen fat, old, diabetics with one lung knocked down that did just fine. And they are certainly not as tough as deer. And even a double pneumothorax requires that the lungs get knocked down enough to make the animal pass out and/or die. If they dont, they go a long way. I don't like relying on double pneumothorax because animals bed and can clog the outside hole. This allows one lung some time and platelets to start to do their job and seal up holes.

As far as why animals recover, I'd have to guess: I think they're peripheral lung hits without significant bleeding to cause exsanguination, the lung(s) drops enough and the animal, while exerting itself, passes out or beds from exaustion. Then, there's not enough lung volume lost to suffocate the animal and it recovers and leaves. Lungs reinflate with normal respiration, so long as there's not adequate positive pressure in the chest cavity to prevent them from reinflating. I've seen people's pneumo's resolve on their own just fine. I can't imagine that it doesn't happen with deer too.

Rut Nut, I found it on Google just looking at deer vascular system diagrams. So many are terribly inaccurate.

From: Genesis
18-Jan-18
I'm a strong proponent for slightly behind the crease and from a tree stand a very strong one.

18-Jan-18
Genesis, it does make more sense when you're 20 feet up and the animal is at 10-15 yards. You're starting to limit your target size the closer you are with the higher you go in a tree. About 1/2 of my animals are taken off the ground, but from a tree, I vastly prefer a quartering away animal in the crease. I won't take an animal quartered to from a tree unless it's hard enough that I'm shooting the shirt pocket and sending the arrow over the heart - essentially the same shot. I've killed a few animals that were right under me (5-8 yards) broadside at the shot and I still shot straight up the leg, aimed for the top of the heart giving me plenty of room to miss the scapula, missed the offside lung as I passed through the heart, and still had them go down in sight. And I've never lost an animal from a tree using Bill Allard's shot placement.

From: Genesis
19-Jan-18
I've lost 4X the shoulder shots than gut shots.Not advocating gut shots but I dodge the scapula like the plague!

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