DeerBuilder.com
Shoulder hits: What to expect?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
bumpinblaze4x4 22-Oct-13
TheIceman@work 22-Oct-13
WB0803 22-Oct-13
OkieSmokie 22-Oct-13
Jeff McCormick 22-Oct-13
bumpinblaze4x4 22-Oct-13
Knife2sharp 22-Oct-13
drycreek 22-Oct-13
joehunter8301 22-Oct-13
TD 22-Oct-13
canepole 22-Oct-13
r-man 22-Oct-13
cord 62 22-Oct-13
grizzlyadam 22-Oct-13
crankn101 22-Oct-13
pointingdogs 22-Oct-13
frogdipper 22-Oct-13
Knife2sharp 22-Oct-13
Banjo 22-Oct-13
Sapcut 22-Oct-13
IdyllwildArcher 23-Oct-13
Nctrapper 23-Oct-13
rooster 23-Oct-13
steve 23-Oct-13
bumpinblaze4x4 23-Oct-13
Stinkbait1 23-Oct-13
milnrick 23-Oct-13
Delmag1942 23-Oct-13
soldierbowman2 23-Oct-13
Ziek 23-Oct-13
Delmag1942 23-Oct-13
Ace 23-Oct-13
bumpinblaze4x4 23-Oct-13
Caddisflinger 24-Oct-13
stealthycat 24-Oct-13
APauls 24-Oct-13
boothill 24-Oct-13
Sapcut 24-Oct-13
TurkeyBowMaster 25-Oct-13
Ryman Cat 25-Oct-13
TREESTANDWOLF 25-Oct-13
GotBowAz 25-Oct-13
tradmt 25-Oct-13
Sapcut 25-Oct-13
GotBowAz 25-Oct-13
mikesohm/magnus 25-Oct-13
Sapcut 26-Oct-13
trkytrack 26-Oct-13
sureshot 26-Oct-13
sureshot 26-Oct-13
sureshot 26-Oct-13
HunterJoe 27-Oct-13
TurkeyBowMaster 27-Oct-13
Sapcut 27-Oct-13
TurkeyBowMaster 28-Oct-13
TruBowHuntr 28-Oct-13
ruletherut90 28-Oct-13
TurkeyBowMaster 28-Oct-13
Sapcut 28-Oct-13
BoneBreakAdvocate 03-Nov-20
deerhunter72 03-Nov-20
Missouribreaks 03-Nov-20
Ollie 03-Nov-20
GF 03-Nov-20
greenmountain 03-Nov-20
DanaC 04-Nov-20
12yards 04-Nov-20
DanaC 04-Nov-20
stealthycat 04-Nov-20
12yards 04-Nov-20
Lost Arra 04-Nov-20
GF 04-Nov-20
Shuteye 05-Nov-20
Missouribreaks 05-Nov-20
IdyllwildArcher 06-Nov-20
GF 06-Nov-20
sbschindler 06-Nov-20
22-Oct-13
I know there have been many a topics discussing shot placement, the void, etc. This topic is dedicated to shots that directly impact the shoulder blade itself.

In 15 years of bowhunting i have not shot a deer in the shoulder (knock on wood); in two years of bowhunting my fiancee has shot two deer in the shoulder (both mature deer). She is currently shooting 40#, 26" arrows, appx 350grain arrows with 100 grain two blade magnus stinger broadheads. Her first deer last year was hit square in the shoulder and ran off with the arrow. It rained that evening and after thorough pursuit/effort the deer nor arrow were recovered. This past weekend she shot a mature doe square in the shoulder; the doe ran off like most injured deer but the arrow was recovered appx 5 yards from the area where the doe was shot. The broadhead tip was bent and there was appx 1-2" of slight blood and fat on the arrow. I was hunting with her and saw the shot, impact, etc. There is no question to me that this deer was not fatally wounded. Following up the shot the following morning no blood was found and i believe that doe is fine.

Please keep in mind that this is not about where to aim, etc. its about experiences with shoulder hit deer and what to expect. My fiancee has an adequately setup bow for whitetail (i even started a thread about it several months ago) and she took her first deer ever with that same setup two weeks ago with a clean pass through, double lung shot.

I have heard of people finding deer with slugs, bullets, and broadheads lodged in various parts; i have even been one to shoot a deer in which i recovered a slug in the shoulder blade itself from another hunter.

My question is: What should one expect as an outcome from a shoulder hit deer (preferably experiences with said subject)? How will this outcome differ with a 40# setup (my fiancee) vs my 70# setup, etc.?

If possible lets keep it to fixed broadheads as well.

Thanks

22-Oct-13
In my experience your setup will blow right thru the shoulder blade. Not so sure about hers but apparently history is telling you that her set up can not go through the shoulder blade.

From: WB0803
22-Oct-13
I hit a mature buck in the shoulder once and it made an incredibly loud crack as it hit home. Deer ran off with the arrow and I only had penetration to the bone at best. Deer lived and was shot the next year but one side was all jacked up opposite the injury.

From: OkieSmokie
22-Oct-13
To answer your question, expect heartbreak.

Several years ago, I hit a mature midwestern buck square in the shoulder shooting a 65lb bow and slick trick broadheads. Long trail, minimal blood, and he reappeared on trail cams a couple weeks later and was seen dogging does during the rut. I'd post the photos, but looking at that deer might make me cry.

The arrow lodged in front shoulder and did not penetrate. Obviously it depends on the part of the shoulder hit, but there are certainly places you can hit with most modern setups where the arrow will not "blow through."

22-Oct-13
You can expect heartbreak like stated above.50 plus bowkills and the 2 not recovered were shoulder hits.They also happened to be the two biggest bucks I've ever seen in the wild.The thin part of the blade is no problem but the thick part.....

22-Oct-13
Thanks for your input guys; sorry to bring up bad memories okiesmokie!

Obviously no one aims at the shoulder when it comes to archery tackle but my fiancee and i have talked quite a bit about shot placement as she has done very well with archery since picking it up two years ago and harvesting her first deer this season was one of the highlights of my hunting career thus far. We have agreed that she might want to aim another inch or two back from the "sweet spot" which should still allow her plenty of room. The frustrating part for her is that the distance between a perfect, lethal double lunch shot and shoulder blade was only a matter of a few inches in both cases so its hard to beat yourself up so much when its a matter of inches.

She has done well with it so far and you have confirmed my suspicions that most shoulder hit deer will go on to do fairly well (although the hunter may not).

From: Knife2sharp
22-Oct-13
Weight of bow won't help. I've hit some in the shoulder with 70lb draw weight. I first learned to shoot deer in the middle of the lungs, which is further back and slightly higher than the "10 ring". My Dad and I would put sillouettes on bales and draw vitals in with a pencil so we couldn't see them. I never had a problem until I started shooting video shoots back in the late 90's and early 00's. I started hugging the shoulder with my shots and the results generally aren't good. A few years ago I started going back to my roots. A double lung clear of even the soft tissue of a shoulder and in the center of the lungs, clear of the heart will cause the lungs to collapse and the deer will suffocate, which results in a quicker death. I hit a doe a few years back, perfectly broadside, I wasn't overly high in my stand, and hit her in the 10 ring and the arrow passed through. She bolted 20-30 yards and stopped in a pocket of trees. 15 minutes later I heard the deer slowly walk off. I stayed on stand for a few more hours since it was a morning hunt. I snuck out and came back a couple hours later with my friend who I was hunting with. I brought him to help drag, but we followed the blood for about 150 yards and she reached a cornfield. The blood stopped and we searched and searched and never found her. I'm dumbfounded.

From: drycreek
22-Oct-13
Hey, it happens. It's a fact of life. If you hunt enough, a less than perfect shot is gonna happen. About the best thing one can say is, the deer will recover. That's much better than a gut shot !

My son once killed a buck that had been shoulder shot with a small caliber rifle. It looked to be a centerfire .22 bullet. We found a really deformed bullet and lots of copper jacket all over the shoulder. That deer never gave any indication of the wound, but he had no meat on that shoulder. It looked like skin stretched over the bone. You could see the shoulder blade outline under the skin. No sign that it was recent either. Looked a couple years old to me. They are extremely resilient.

22-Oct-13
I shot a buck last year in the shoulder. Great blood trail for 200 yards then nothing. I was sure I nailed him but results said other. I thought he had to have died but a month later I saw him rutting some does. I killed him this season and no sign of injury. No scars no limp so I dono wth happened. Not all situations are the same but I would suspect many shoulder hit deer live.

From: TD
22-Oct-13
All about where on the shoulder (scapula) Near the socket it's thick, right on the "T" is tough too. But much of it is "soft" and thin. Although the heavier the arrow, the higher poundage the bow, the better.... that rig should be able to do it if the tough spots are not hit. Even the heavy rigs may not make it through if in the wrong place. You make it through and It's likely a dead deer though.

FWIW I've had better luck on them with two blade heads. They don't break or crack like a regular bone. You "cut" through for the most part rather than shatter anything. Easier the do that with fewer blades I think.

Another factor I theorize is if the deer has it's weight on that leg. That structure is not anchored solidly like most of the bones, it gives when it is hit and absorbs the blow. Gives much more when no weight on it. More solid with weight on it.

I'm chasing a buck that's I think is still carrying my snuffer ss, hit him CRACK in the shoulder about 2 months ago. Pretty sure I've been on him two times since then inside 30 but no shot, the last time about 3 weeks ago or so. An inch lower or an inch back and I think I'd have watched him go down. But wasn't to be. Yet. When I get my broadhead back we'll know it's him for sure.

I'm not really "hunting" at this point now, I'm on an obsessive quest for redemption....

From: canepole
22-Oct-13
It's can be hard, but if you can wait till that front leg is stretched out you have an extra couple inches to work with.

From: r-man
22-Oct-13
what to expect is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, the deer tring to plow the ground with there face, one time a doe I hit when I was young and did not know where to shoot ,plowed a near perfect trench in a just planted been field, the arrow did finally break, and she still made it a nother hundred yrds

From: cord 62
22-Oct-13
TBM + r-man = WTF?

From: grizzlyadam
22-Oct-13
I hit three whitetails in the shoulder blade over the years. Two with rocket mech heads that did not penetrate and I lost them both, one at 20 yards and one at less than ten yards. Switched to razortricks and hit a big doe at 20 yards and got a complete pass through. All with a 70 pound bow. Also shot a shoulder blade from a mature buck wrapped with an inch of meat and the hide to test my new heads and got full penetration through the ridge part of the bone. I posted the video here on the bowhunting tv section. I've posted the vid and pics too many times here.

From: crankn101
22-Oct-13
I expect a short recovery. Maybe its just me...

From: pointingdogs
22-Oct-13
Cord.. I second your thoughts

good luck to all, the dog

From: frogdipper
22-Oct-13
I have shot through a shoulder blade and had a passthrough with a 50# longbow with a 500 grain arrow...and I have hit shoulder with a 60# compound with a 560 grain arrow and had an inch of penetration. It's a crapshoot on shoulderblade shots...what's the angle? what part of the shoulder bone did you hit, the thin part, or thick part with the ridge on it? I will avoid shooting into shoulderblades as much as possible.

From: Knife2sharp
22-Oct-13
Front leg forward brings the scaplula down. Next time you skin a deer, move the front leg forward and back. You will see when the front leg is back, it opens up vitals even more.

From: Banjo
22-Oct-13
I shot 1 deer thru the shoulderblade at about 33 yds the deer only went about 70 yds and piled up. the arrow went thru the thin part of the shoulderblade and the arrow broke inside the deer but you have to get lucky and miss the parts of the shoulder where the bone is heavier, I wish I would have taken a pic of the shoulder.

From: Sapcut
22-Oct-13
what to expect?

With a 40# bow and light, low FOC arrows, I think you can expect to have a minimal chance at good penetration and recovering the animal.

With a 70# bow and not so heavy, low FOC arrows, I think you will have very little trouble penetrating an onside scapula but trouble exiting far side scapula ridge...but a better chance of recovery the animal than the 40# bow.

Now....The bow is part of the equation but I would say not the most important part. The arrow and the way it is built has a GREAT affect on the lethality of the shot. Without a doubt that is what needs to be addressed...IF AND ONLY IF you really want to maximize your chances of recovering your deer.

Every perfectly built arrow will kill every single deer IF hit in the perfect spot...just as most any arrow will.

But "most any arrow" will not maximize your chances of recovering deer like a perfectly built arrow IF hit in a not so perfect spot.

23-Oct-13
Think about it.

If someone shot you with a bow in the Deltoid and it stuck in your humerus, do you think you would die that day?

If someone shot you with a bow in the shoulder blade, do you think it would go through it and kill you?

From: Nctrapper
23-Oct-13
Might suggest waiting for a more quartering away shot .

From: rooster
23-Oct-13
My buddy shot a doe in the shoulder a few years back. The deer ran to within 25 yards of my stand and stood there until he started following up on the sparse blood trail. I could see the deer but couldn't get a shot, and had no way to tell Dan to back off. You wouldn't have known the deer had been hit by the way it acted. Once Dan showed up we went to where she had been standing for at least 20-30 minutes to find only a small amount of blood. I went back and found the arrow which showed very little penetration. Dan was shooting 70lbs. We tracked her until after dark and then tried again in the morning to no avail. Upon driving out the night of the shot a deer ran across the road in front of Dan. We believe it was his deer.

From: steve
23-Oct-13
No recovery , and if you think your bow is fast enough to always pass threw all the time your are mistaken I know sometimes people get nervis and pull a litte but you can only hope for a kill .Good luck

23-Oct-13

bumpinblaze4x4's embedded Photo
bumpinblaze4x4's embedded Photo
"Think about it. If someone shot you with a bow in the Deltoid and it stuck in your humerus, do you think you would die that day?

If someone shot you with a bow in the shoulder blade, do you think it would go through it and kill you?"

You would have alot better chance at dying with the shot in the humerus simply because of the primary vessels going through the limb. Its not a matter of "do i think", its a matter of how does a broadhead perform on a shoulder blade from various setups. I appreciate everyones input thus far, i think its good to know just how much of a "shield" the shoulder blade provides to the deer, at least with archery tackle.

Here is the broadhead/arrow that we recovered from the doe that was shot sunday in the shoulder. I'm glad we shooot magnus broadheads, at least i will get a free replacement! If a magnus won't go through the shoulder blade, i can't imagine other heads.

From: Stinkbait1
23-Oct-13
I've only shot 1 deer in the shoulder. I was hunting off the ground and a mature doe gave me a broadside shot. I just flat out pulled the shot left and hit her high in the shoulder. She dropped in her tracks and her back legs were paralyzed. Blood was pouring out and she would have bleed out anyway. I ran up and quickly put another arrow in the vitals to finish the job. I did an autopsy and the broadhead cut an X through the shoulder blade and lodged in the spine. One vertebrat had a large split in it. Shot was at 15 yards with a 60 lb. recurve, 2216 arrow and 125 grain Phantom broadhead. Based upon this experience I believe it all depends on penetration. If my arrow hadn't hit the spine I might not have recovered that deer. I think I hit a big artery as well because there was so much blood pouring out. So, I think I had two things in my favor. If I had hit lower and got the same kind of penetration I believe I would have got into the heart/lung area and the deer would have died quickly. There are vitals behind the shoulder blade. The question was "what to expect". If I get good penetration through the shoulder blade and into the body, then I would expect to recover that deer. If I get just a few inches of penetration, no deer recovered and it would likely survive.

From: milnrick
23-Oct-13
Over the years we've experienced a couple of shoulder hits, using fixed blade broadheads (both COC and replaceable types) the results have been the same.

Loud crack on impact (think ball bat striking a wooden fencepost), the sickening "what just happened" feeling when the arrow strikes 'a little' high and just seemingly stopping in mid-flight. The results were identical both times. Poor penetration (arrow was recovered minus about two inches of shaft and the broadhead).

The buck was seen two weeks later chasing does, and was arrowed 'successfully'; he did have a severe limp, but that was about it. The doe was shot by a friend who was hunting black powder from another blind one week later. My point is the deer your hunting buddy hit most likely survived.

From: Delmag1942
23-Oct-13

Delmag1942's embedded Photo
Delmag1942's embedded Photo
Here is what I would expect. 69 pounds, 450 grain arrow, G5 Montec CS 100 grain. Blew threw the left shoulder blade, and the broadhead was protruding out the right one when he fell within 50 yards,

23-Oct-13
I think it still depends. Does it hit in the thin shoulder blade, likely dead deer. Does it hit just below the thin blade in the thick part of the bone, just a couple inches of penetration and the deer will live. Being high up in a treestand changes the angle and complicates it as well. Bow weight I dont think is the answer. I have hit smallish North Carolina whitetails when I was shooting nearly 80 lbs and if ya hit the thick part it still stopped it. Another issue I have seen is from a high up tree stand is a shot that looks good, leaves blood but is found later to have gone in at the top of the shoulder and goes down through the front leg exiting around the elbow and never going inside the chest .

From: Ziek
23-Oct-13
The #1 reason for poor penetration is BH failure. If I recovered a BH that looked like that after only hitting an animal, even solid bone, (no rocks etc.), I'd be looking for a different BH. Learn from this and switch to VPA.

From: Delmag1942
23-Oct-13
What Ziek said!

From: Ace
23-Oct-13
It would be interesting to ask everyone WHERE the shoulder blade is on a deer. It's farther forward than many people believe.

If you shoot straight up the leg (assuming a perfectly broadside deer, with the legs straight), you hit heart or lungs and no shoulder blade.

The hump you see is mostly muscle.

23-Oct-13

bumpinblaze4x4's embedded Photo
bumpinblaze4x4's embedded Photo
"The #1 reason for poor penetration is BH failure. If I recovered a BH that looked like that after only hitting an animal, even solid bone, (no rocks etc.), I'd be looking for a different BH. Learn from this and switch to VPA."

While i partially agree with this statement i disagree that a different broadhead would have changed the outcome in my scenario. In my opinion if a two blade, cut on contact head (like the magnus) looks like that after a shoulder hit then i do not believe any other head would have resulted in a dead animal (in this situation). I have too much evidence to back up magnus stingers being a great broadhead so switching heads is not going to be happening. For those interested, here is a picture of the whitetail anatomy, granted the shoulder location is altered depending on where in the animals gait the shot takes place.

24-Oct-13
You need to talk with your GF about shot placement. She is likely holding for the top of the heart/lungs but not accounting for the fact that whitetails drop at the shot. Whether its 2 inches or 12 inches, they are all going to drop to some extent. The fact that the has shoulder bladed the last two deer speaks for itself. If she had been holding 4-6 inches lower they both would have been dead deer.

The BS about BH failure is just that, BS....the tissue around and under the shoulder blade can absorb a massive amount of shock. It's not attatched to anything. It's floating an layers of muscle, fat and connective tissue. The position of the deers shoulder and shoulder blade will dictate whether any broadhead gets through whether its from a 40 or a 70 lb bow.

From: stealthycat
24-Oct-13
I expect my 63# compound, pushing a 590 gr arrow tipped with a 2 blade Zwickey Delta to blow through all but the very "crown" of a shoulder bone

However, IMO, your problem is thi

" appx 350grain "

bump that to 500 grains and watch what happens

From: APauls
24-Oct-13
Scapulas - no problemo.

Socket - Ba bye

From: boothill
24-Oct-13
I'm thinking it was a hard quarter away shot. Did it hit high up toward the shoulder blade or low toward the socket? Must of hit the bone pretty square.

From: Sapcut
24-Oct-13

Sapcut's embedded Photo
Sapcut's embedded Photo
This TuffHead 300 would not even get scratched in a scapula collision.

Nor would there be any issues with the structural integrity of the arrow due to the ArraFoot footings.

25-Oct-13
I personally see little reason to consistantly hit the shoulderblade because it is high and most of the vitals are not covered by it. The problem comes into play on 1/4 to shots from elevated position.where the shooter tries to sneek on in front of of the blade and into the vitals. The deer drops and wheels and the shoulder is placed in a position to catch the arrew...most likely it slides into the t bone and stopped by the triple thickness. That why I reccommend the hamblaster for serious situations.

From: Ryman Cat
25-Oct-13
Lots of blood at first false hope then nothing unless your using some heavy bow and the BH does its job. I once shot a doe at 10 yards knocked her clean down with a 3 blade Rocket head mechanical she had the wind knocked out. No penetration what's so ever. I shot her again in the lungs while she was knocked out. Weird thing I saw.

Some profess they shoot through shoulder blades I can't see how unless your shooting a very heavy bow.I never had one go through from any lighter bows 65 and under due to a bad shot.

25-Oct-13
Great read and looks like experienced opinions, I'm one one of the guys who lost a great buck on a high should shot, that one still haunts me.

Knifetosharp gave a great idea and would be a great lesson for anyone, seeing the bone structure significantly makes you understand why to stay away from the shoulder.

From: GotBowAz
25-Oct-13
Sapcut, I have to ask, why a double footed arrow? How much arrow is in front of your arrow rest…3 inches? Are you saying that same BH and an arrow weighing approximately 470 grains or better (not footed) would not penetrate a scapula as well as your double footed arrow? Seems like a HUGE over kill to me not to mention time and costs in setting this up…unless of course your going after an elephant. Here we are talking about a deer.

I was really blown away by a single footed arrow as I had never heard of it until visiting this site. I'm still not sure I understand the concept behind it as you can put weight inside the shaft if FOC and more arrow weight is desired. Why would you want to have a bigger diameter arrow? I'm talking about for hunting the critters in north America. If it’s to make the front of an arrow stronger then perhaps changing up arrows would be a much better and possibly cheaper option.

Just my thoughts

GBA

From: tradmt
25-Oct-13
There are better 2bl coc heads out there. It's great that you will get a free replacement but I would rather just recover the animal and sharpen the broadhead.

The laminated Magnus would likely have performed better and 100gr more arrow weight wouldn't hurt either.

From: Sapcut
25-Oct-13
GBA,

Overkill? What's that? Apparently based on the above posts, we havent reached such a thing as "overkill".

When my arrow hits any bone in any animal I hunt and not structurally breakdown....then I guess I have been successful or have become an OverKiller.

If any part of the arrow breaks down upon impact, the penetration has then been greatly reduced. That is not good.

Sooo.....I use footings to greatly strengthen the business end. It does make a huge difference especially with a 800+ grain arrow.

Also, my arrow is about 1/4" off the shelf. The footings sit on the shelf with no problem. I'm shooting a 71# Black Widow recurve.

From: GotBowAz
25-Oct-13
Sapcut, Thanks for the explanation and it does put things in a better perspective now that I understand your shooting a recurve. Arrow sits on a shelf, not a conventional compound rest.

Is your initial set up is for dangerous game outside of north america? I can see why you would shoot here what you would use in Africa, makes sense to stay consistent with your equipment.

I was not trying to insult, I was trying too understand why put so much into an arrow for north america animals and sorry, I did assume you were shooting a compound. My bad.

GBA

25-Oct-13
in my opinion after bowhunting for this my 35th year, and all the testing we have done at magnus, pretty much any bow poundage from 40 lbs up will go thru the thin part of the shoulder blade, but if you hit the ridge on the shoulder blade or the ball joint nothing is going thru it. the deer will survive. thanks

From: Sapcut
26-Oct-13
GBA, no problem whatsoever.

I haven't hunted outside of NA but do hunt elk. My main reason for "giving it all I have and leaving no effort on the table" is because I want to maximize my chances of blowing thru an animal with any shot I may take....intentional or not.

With that effort and preparation, I feel I will also maximize my chances for two holes for leakage and a recovered animal. But that is just me and my personality.

From: trkytrack
26-Oct-13
Never shot a deer in the shoulder blade so I can't really comment on it. But reading everyone's responses, I will certainly try to not ever make a shoulder shot.

From: sureshot
26-Oct-13
I have shot 2 deer in the shoulder blade.

The first deer was the first buck I ever shot with a bow. It was a huge learning experience. The shot was quartering to at about 5 yards from a tree stand. I found that deer the next morning after the coyotes had eaten the back end and it was not a pretty picture, that deer still bothers me. I shot it with a Spitfire mechanical head and the deer went 250 to 300 yards at best.

The 2nd deer was in 2010. I called a really good 10 point in off a corn field right at first light. I shot him broadside at about 25 yards. The arrow broke off when he turned and ran. I had the fetched end of the arrow with blood about 1.5 inches up the shaft from where it broke. The deer had 8 inches of arrow in him still and a whole lot of energy . We tracked him over half a mile and finally lost the trail. That buck never bedded and worked a scrape line up the edge of a bean field after being shot and I still wonder if he died or not.

Both of these shots were high shoulder from treestands and in my opinion even though I found the first deer, both were lost . High shoulder shots are not good and rarely are they recovered in my opinion.

From: sureshot
26-Oct-13
I have shot 2 deer in the shoulder blade.

The first deer was the first buck I ever shot with a bow. It was a huge learning experience. The shot was quartering to at about 5 yards from a tree stand. I found that deer the next morning after the coyotes had eaten the back end and it was not a pretty picture, that deer still bothers me. I shot it with a Spitfire mechanical head and the deer went 250 to 300 yards at best.

The 2nd deer was in 2010. I called a really good 10 point in off a corn field right at first light. I shot him broadside at about 25 yards. The arrow broke off when he turned and ran. I had the fetched end of the arrow with blood about 1.5 inches up the shaft from where it broke. The deer had 8 inches of arrow in him still and a whole lot of energy . We tracked him over half a mile and finally lost the trail. That buck never bedded and worked a scrape line up the edge of a bean field after being shot and I still wonder if he died or not.

Both of these shots were high shoulder from treestands and in my opinion even though I found the first deer, both were lost . High shoulder shots are not good and rarely are they recovered in my opinion.

From: sureshot
26-Oct-13
I have shot 2 deer in the shoulder blade.

The first deer was the first buck I ever shot with a bow. It was a huge learning experience. The shot was quartering to at about 5 yards from a tree stand. I found that deer the next morning after the coyotes had eaten the back end and it was not a pretty picture, that deer still bothers me. I shot it with a Spitfire mechanical head and the deer went 250 to 300 yards at best.

The 2nd deer was in 2010. I called a really good 10 point in off a corn field right at first light. I shot him broadside at about 25 yards. The arrow broke off when he turned and ran. I had the fetched end of the arrow with blood about 1.5 inches up the shaft from where it broke. The deer had 8 inches of arrow in him still and a whole lot of energy . We tracked him over half a mile and finally lost the trail. That buck never bedded and worked a scrape line up the edge of a bean field after being shot and I still wonder if he died or not.

Both of these shots were high shoulder from treestands and in my opinion even though I found the first deer, both were lost . High shoulder shots are not good and rarely are they recovered in my opinion.

From: HunterJoe
27-Oct-13
Reflecting back over the last 38 years the animals our hunting crew have lost have been hit high in the shoulders. Tree stands and shots down into the shoulder slide along the scapula and then hit the ridge and are stopped. Never have recovered one even with extreme effort. Many have been seen days or weeks later doing fine. We try to avoid the high shoulder hits at all cost.

27-Oct-13
We have a ham shot and a shoulder shot going on at the same time, and it is quiet obvious that ham is better, which is exactly why I invented the Hamblaster option for 1/4 to shots. Not a first choice shot, but if busted and the deers next move is wheeling and running...what ya gonna do?

From: Sapcut
27-Oct-13
The shoulder is never a first choice either but....

IF you have the right arrow (implying the arrow is slightly more important than the bow) you can have confidence knowing you have greatly increased your chances of blowing thru the shoulder region if the arrow unintentionally goes there.

With my setup... 800+ grains, structurally enhanced, 33+% FOC and shot with 71#s, I would much rather crowd the shoulder area or triangle rather than think lungs and get a gut shot.

If I think heart shot tight in the triangle and miss further back then I hit lungs...dead! If I hit forward then I go thru bones and hit heart or arteries Recover animal either way.

In 2012, I killed two deer by thinking tight in triangle and actually entered in front of the heart. Shot with TuffHead and had major blood trail.

The very last thing I want to do with any broadhead is make a guacamole gut shot.

28-Oct-13
Sapcut...I like the sound of 800 grains of arrow...what arrow are you shooting? I am looking to go small dia arrow but want to retain at least 600 grains.

From: TruBowHuntr
28-Oct-13
TBM

"What ya gonna do"......ummmm not shoot!

TBH

From: ruletherut90
28-Oct-13
X2 TBH. I rather not take a shot then try such a low percentage shot!

28-Oct-13
Guts would make him bed quick and ham would kill him quick...very high percentage shot...the fact that I formulated the plan to execute this shot 15 years ago and have not taken it yet affirms that I do not purposely see to take this shot...only as a last resort on certain deer.

From: Sapcut
28-Oct-13
TBM, I shoot a Gold Tip Ultralight 300. The shaft is only 8.6 gpi. Then I add the 300 gr. Tuffhead, 200 gr. adapter/insert combo and 50 gr. of footing.

03-Nov-20
A little late to the party, but I know this is a frequently visited thread. I built some 730 grain arrows (23%foc) for my 63# compound. I’ve only shot one buck with this current rig, but it happened to pass through one shoulder blade and the bottom knuckle of the other one before snapping off after an almost complete pass through.

From: deerhunter72
03-Nov-20
A reboot of the TBM hamblaster!!

03-Nov-20
Lots of variables. Depends on area of scapula hit, age of deer, distance of shot and momentum loss, angle of hit, forward momentum lost if expandable used , etc, etc. In general, on mature deer expect a loss.

From: Ollie
03-Nov-20
Clearly the setup is not adequate for less than perfect shots. That is why many of us advocate heavier draw weight bows with cut on contact broadhead. Where are all the advocates of lightweight bows hiding?

From: GF
03-Nov-20
“ Where are all the advocates of lightweight bows hiding?”

They’re out following sparse blood trails......

Break it down....

At a 45° angle, you hit the scalp and half of your arrow’s KE/momentum will go into sliding the scap across the surface of the underlying ribcage. So if you hit the spine of the scap from a quarter-on angle, you probably shouldn’t expect much penetration.

If you hit from a true broadside, then the arrow will pin the scap in place... unless the shot is at a steep, downward angle, in which case you are once again going to slide the scap over the surface underneath.

Surely those of you who shoot a little pool will be following the logic.

One more good thing about a standard-width 2-blade COC: first, you’re more likely to get the penetration that you need to finish the job, but also, if you don’t get the penetration, you don’t leave an enormously wide gash on the surface.

03-Nov-20
I have killed a few deer with shoulder hits with a rifle. You can expect two different results . 1. the projectile slices through the thin part of the shoulder blade for a a very fast kill. 2. you hit solid bone and the projectile deflects that causes nonfatal damage. I doubt hitting with an arrow would be much different. I tend to blame the broadhead less than bad tuning. I have witnessed arrow flight so bad the arrow slaps the deer instead of driving the head cleanly through. I think this explains some "good " hits that don't kill.

From: DanaC
04-Nov-20
This thread was dormant from 2013 until now... I expect that both broadheads and bullets have improved since 2013. That said, unless I was using a rifle with *really good* bullets and plenty of weight, I'd avoid shooting shoulders.

And yes, we all know that 'in the real world, less-than-perfect shots happen, blahblahblah.' It's always been the argument for bringing a bit more firepower than you need. A little heavier arrow, a better broadhead.

From: 12yards
04-Nov-20
I've hit 2 shoulders and I'm 0 for 2 on recovery in my darn near 40 years of bowhunting. This with some heavy arrow/bow combos. I avoid the shoulder. First was from a tree back in 1987. 70 pound bow 31" draw length and arrow weight nearly 600 grains and a three blade replaceable blade broadhead. Hit the scapula from above. No penetration. Second was from the ground on a quartering to shot. No penetration with 550+ grain arrow and 70 pound bow 29" draw length and COC broadhead (Bear Razorhead Lite).

From: DanaC
04-Nov-20
"...from the ground on a quartering to shot."

That right there is my hot button. The quartering to shot is NOT a bow hunting shot. Heavy rifle, ok. Bow, no. Sorry, just no.

From: stealthycat
04-Nov-20

stealthycat's embedded Photo
stealthycat's embedded Photo
see that ridge ? hit that and you're screwed

From: 12yards
04-Nov-20
DanaC, I agree. I made a poor choice on the shot. And stealthycat, I agree with you as well. That ridge can stop a heavy arrow.

From: Lost Arra
04-Nov-20
Sometimes it's hard to accept that a shot missed. A shoulder blade hit is a miss. If you recover the deer, it's luck. As mentioned above, draw weight or arrow weight won't change the fact it was a miss and it won't change the outcome.

From: GF
04-Nov-20
“ A shoulder blade hit is a miss.” Disagree. A bad hit is a bad hit. That’s WORSE than a miss.

Anybody wanna take a crack at drawing a line around the part of that blade that you think you CAN expect to get through??

From: Shuteye
05-Nov-20
I have killed a lot of deer in my 78 years. Have had pass through with Jak Hammer broad heads right through both shoulders. I try and lung shoot for a positive recovery. I have switched to a Ravin cross bow and at 425 FPS the bolt would easily go through both shoulders. However, I wait for a good lung shot before squeezing the trigger. No messed up meat. The only shoulder shot that I did not recover was with a Bear Grizzly bow at 48# pull and a Bear Razor head. Deer was at 10 yards and the arrow bounced out. I was in my early teens.

05-Nov-20
Crossbows and guns potentially have a whole different outcome. I have seen both shoot through the shoulder blade on mature deer. My original post was on the assumption a real bow and arrow was the weapon.

06-Nov-20
This was a classic thread. TBM would go on in the coming months to advocate the Hamblaster more and more and it started some pretty wild conversations. He started taking shit like Trump at an MSNBC roundtable and just kept with it. Shortly after this thread, he started advocating for Simmon's Landsharks and told a story of tracking a deer by looking for ants and spiders on gut fluid splatters. Then he told of jumping injured deer and stabbing them by hand. I've since put 3 animals down by hand, but have never seen ants or spiders on any body fluids. I guess there's more bugs in the South.

From: GF
06-Nov-20
I noticed that he was less ardent in his support of it on this thread.... so far.

Did he jump, or was he pushed?

From: sbschindler
06-Nov-20
its apparent to me that a lot of you do not know where the shoulder blade is on a deer,

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