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.
Absolute horrible diagram.
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).
Second diagram...its really good to know where the brain is cause man I've been stumped on that one for ages!!
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.
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.
Many might think they'd hit him in the mythical "void", and that he would be fine. Nope.
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...
Ya think, Captain Obvious? lol
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.
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!
Ike, I have to ask, where did those diagrams come from-especially the first one? An art project? Wow, just wow.
Here's a cross-section of an actual deer that I copied off of the Bowsite many years ago.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.