Contributors to this thread:
Is there a "void" or "no man's land"?
I know this has been discussed, but a recent conversation got me thinking again is there a void under the spine and behind the shoulder? Meaning can you hit an animal there and not hit vitals? This example was actually a mule deer buck that was shot just below the spine and behind the shoulder. The arrow passed through, but the deer wasn't recovered. My buddy said it hit "no man's land" I have my opinion, but am curious what you anatomy experts suggest? FYI deer was broadside
Nope. The spine does sit lower than many people realize though.
In my experience no....hit a mule deer in the spine years ago with a 3 blade head. Guess what ? The tops of both lungs had been cut by one of the blades, I’m into doing autopsies. Had the exact same thing happen on a bull elk a few years later.
Stop the madness, no there is no void in an intact respiratory system. We have had both DR's and surgeons explain why there is no void over the years here on bowsite.
Spine sits right on the pluera lining of lungs. Spine dips lower As you move up to shoulder and neck. No void below the spine.
Between some ears yes...Below an animals spine no
“The Void” can also occur in close encounters with grizzlies.
I don't think there is a void, or "no mans land", but there is an area where the lungs meet the spine that may not result in any blood trail, or a quick death. The animal will usually die, eventually, but that may be long after a hunter stops searching for him.
Not in the thoracic cavity. However occasion an animal survives a high lung hit - or goes a long way.
Top of the lungs are the least vascular area. Punch a broadhead through there and bleeding will be less, and mostly internal. Pneumothorax may result but air rises and likely will not induce complete pneumothorax or lung compromise. The result is an animal which travels far, bleeds less internally and almost nothing externally. Some may survive. The ones that die are often not found, or are discovered much later. There is NO ‘void’.
How about above the liver?
I broke 5 ribs and one of them punctured a lung near my spine in a skiing accident 2 years ago. The doctors explained to me that the lungs are kind of like a balloon wrapped in a sponge. You can puncture the sponge without deflating the balloon, and the sponge will eventually heal itself. I healed, so I think the same is possible with wild game.
Backstap and gut hits are not voids. Some people swear they are.
I agree that there is no true void, but as Kevin Dill explained, the highest lung shot just below the spine is not a good place to hit. I believe a lot of animals are lost with this hit, which is where the legend of the "void" comes from.
I agree that there is no true void, but as Kevin Dill explained, the highest lung shot just below the spine is not a good place to hit. I believe a lot of animals are lost with this hit, which is where the legend of the "void" comes from.
I shot a muley in Nevada’s Ruby Mountians 25 years ago and hit it just under the spine and behind the shoulder. Clean pass through, found the arrow with a little blood not too far away from where he was standing. We trailed the buck for about 1 mile and found him bedded about 4 hours after I shot him. I wasn’t able to close in and seal the deal and the buck ran off and appeared to be okay. I assumed I shot over its spine since the buck seemed pretty healthy when he ran off, there was no blood in the bed and the blood trail ended before he bedded. The buck was a 5 x 4 with very unique antlers. I was hunting with my best friend who was also a guide in the area. During the rifle season 2 months later his client shot the buck. The wound from the broadhead was just under the spine, so high non-lethal lung shot as noted by a couple of posters above.
I measured the entrance wound on this Bull at less than 2" below the spine after I worked him up.
"The Void" is the place people hit when they make a bad shot and are too lazy to do a proper search for a dead animal, because it would be easier to shoot another one. From my vet friend-sometimes, rarely, an animal hit way up under the spine will recover, but probably they will just bleed out internally or die from infection.
Get over it - people make shots that do penetrate where they think. Spine/Backbone are much lower than most believe - see above pic from Wapitibob. Shoulder blade shots are to high. Lots of room up there for non lethal hits that look good on "foam" - "paper"! Upfront and high are bad no mater that angle. Really bad from tree stand.
I hit a nice 9 point whitetail a few years ago. Broadside. Complete pass through with Slick Trick Magnum. Blood trailed him for almost a mile. Jumped him out of his bed and he disappeared. Had him on game camera within a month and for the next two years. He was very unique, with pronounced "crab claw" points on his main beams. He had a nice pretty scar on both sides, just behind his shoulder, about 2/3rd of the way up. I still don't understand how he survived. Made no sense to me. Anyway.....there is an area, high behind the shoulder, that doesn't always result in a kill. Wish I still had the photos. I have had this happen a time or two, but this is the only time I actually had pictures of the deer for a couple years afterwards. What do y'all think happened with ole Crab Claw? This shot wasn't really even high......IMHO.
No void, technically. Spine is a good ways lower than many think it is.... dips even lower the farther forward you go..... to get under it lower yet. In fact if really close to the spine there is a major artery that runs under it. I've hit high and back and watched the animal go down in sight, blood trails Stevie Wonder could follow.
Just hitting lung may not be fatal. Edges around the lung are the thinnest sections and the very smallest vessels. I'm sure some lung hits are survivable. I've heard tales of some heart hits surviving. Tough critters.
Also high hits from ground level can deflect on ribs and slide up them, making what looks like a decent hit slide up and over the spine.
Stuff happens. Like many things in life..... bowhunting is a game of inches.....
Not saying there is a void but think about it. If your lungs are on a exhale they probably squeeze and move creating more space in the lung cavity. On a inhalation they probably fill the chest cavity and less space. I think you can put one through the chest and not hit lung or poor lung hit. The results are what we hear of.
This is a little on what Guardian stated. If you hit the lungs in the same spot on a exhale as compared to an inhale. If the lungs get hit on the exhale, being contracted will there be more area cut, than if the lungs are inflated?? If so. How much? 10,20,30%???
Clinton Gowin, you shot old crab claw through the backstraps.
I had a deer travel 500 yards with a high lung hit. Might have gone further if it didn't rip gut open jumping a barbed wire fence post. I recovered deer, but not until after calling my buds to help track and a 12 hour tracking job.
The moral of this story: High lung hit animals go very far with little blood trail. In forested areas, very difficult to find. Many hunters blow it off as a non-fatal wound.
To add to Kevin, Tilzbow's and other's point about a high non fatal lug hit, I killed a buck that had a broken off aluminum shaft with an 85 grain thunderhead lodged in the ribs just below the spine. There was about a 3/4" gap between the spine and the shaft with the broadhead completely encapsulated in the far rib. No external sign of a wound and the buck was big and healthy.
"If your lungs are on a exhale they probably squeeze and move creating more space in the lung cavity. On a inhalation they probably fill the chest cavity and less space."
If that were the case, any chest cavity of anything would not rise and fall with each breath because there would be room for the expansion of lungs. There is no void.
This pic has been floating around the interwebs for a while. I think it's an actual kill that someone dissected to show the boiler room, then that was photoshopped onto a pic of a live bull. Is there an area below the spine where an arrow could slip thru without hitting lungs? You decide.
The spine is depicted too high in the front shoulder/neck area of the drawing Stix posted. GG's post is more accurate.
The OP and most other void stories, all co tain some version of "hit lungs and didn't recover
Well if you don't have a body, you really know where you hit
"Is there an area below the spine where an arrow could slip thru without hitting lungs?"
Don't confuse the white spot under the spine for empty space. It's not empty. If you hit that, the bull will bleed out within a minute or at least be weak enough to where you could walk up to him and shoot him from 20 yards in the lungs on a stationary target. That's what I decided anyway...
HDE, I agree, if you hit the artery in that white area, he'll bleed out fast. What about the darker area further to the front? It appears you can see off side ribs between the lung and spine in that area. Or, are my eyes failing me?
Grey Ghost's Link
Lungs do not drop down away from the spine with exhalation. That's not how they work. The diaphragm muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity does go towards the butt with inhalation and towards the head with exhalation and the lungs go with it and the ribs do move laterally and the lungs with them, but lungs don't drop away from the spine.
"Nature hates a vacuum." Think about it: if the lungs fell away from the spine, what would take their space? Air? That's a pneumothorax.
Lungs touch the spine during inhalation and exhalation. This is known physiological fact. If you take an xray of a chest during inhalation or exhalation, the lung tissue goes all the way to the ribs and spine unless there's air or blood outside of the lung where it doesn't belong.
This is an informative article that explains the various degrees of a punctured lung (pneumothorax). And it offers insight on how an animal can survive a punctured lung, depending on the severity. So, I believe the answer is there is no void, but it's certainly possible for an animal to go a long ways, and even survive, from a high lung hit. Hence the myth of the void.
"What about the darker area further to the front?"
Muscle, but not a void.
Everyone who bowhunts long enough will experience a hit they consider in the vitals but with no recovery. The only void is in their freezer. Killing stuff with sharp sticks comes with millions of variables and a couple small differences in placement, equipment, terrain, and an animals reaction to the hit can mean wildly different outcomes.
Those are Moose vitals overlayed on an Elk by BB years ago as part of an Anatomy thread.
Oh, that's right, Bob, your memory is better than mine. BB was always good at that sort of stuff.
BB was a man generations ahead of his time (photo above evidence of that). His ideas which are common place today were all out rejected back in the day. Without a second thought, he should be in the Archery hall of fame.
How is this still a thing?
"The OP and most other void stories, all co tain some version of "hit lungs and didn't recover Well if you don't have a body, you really know where you hit"
Well, I shot a buck (rifle) at 15 yards that dropped like a sack. Put my hands on him, my finger on the entrance and exit hole, which was high behind the shoulder and under the spine in and out. Took a few minutes to get the gutting gear out, then the buck jumped up and ran off.....
I know where that bullet went through, even without having a body....
Tracked that buck on a very sparse blood trail for an hour before the sign was gone. Saw that buck several times over the next year, he survived the encounter.
No to the "void", but not all wounds will be fatal.
I killed a herd bull elk which had many severe puncture wounds from fighting. One antler wound went through the shoulder and into the lungs. The lungs were healing up just fine from this injury.
There are still some people around who wonder whether the earth is flat too.
Just choot 'em and eat 'em :)
No void. It’s called that but, it’s an over the spine thing. It’s called no mans land for a reason. The tighter you get to the shoulder, the lower it goes. It has to in order to go below the top of the shoulder blades.
All these stories. These threads do one thing only. Shows who does their own butchering.
Well I know some will not believe this and that’s fine. One of the men that works for research manikins taxidermy supply told me his experience. He shot a nice bull with his recurve that was behind the lungs. The arrow had gone into the opposite side and did not pass through. Never recovered the bull. During rifle season he got a call from the ranch foreman letting him know someone shot the bull he had shot. The arrow was still in the bull and covered in tissue. Do not know what it hit but nothing too severe.
>>The only void is in their freezer<<
Hahaha. That's a winner!
I've posted this pic before. Got it from someone either on here or AT. But shows how far down the spine goes on a deer near the shoulder. There is a void, but it is above the spine and through some of the best meat on an animal.
It's awesome to read this. The first few times I saw discussion of "voids" on online forums was a long time ago now, like 00-05 or so. The % of people that have shifted from "There IS" to "There is NOT" has flipped, and that is AWESOME!
That last pic (half a deer) is great... Keep in mind on the live animal, you have fat, skin, and hair... Making the spine look even FURTHER down.
No void but I don’t think I’m changing anyone’s mind. Take a basic anatomy course and you will understand why there can’t be.
No void. Last bull I killed had a broad head and 6 inches of shaft right above the vitals. The bull had been carrying the broad head for 4 years. It was shot 4 years earlier by my friends son, not 50 yards from where I killed it. They thought the shot was a little high, but was a kill shot. We searched for that bull for days before giving up on it.
Yes and no, if you hit them jsut right yes they will die but they might go a loooong way. Basically you are hitting minimal lung. Lungs collapsing definitely does not kill them quickly - not like bleeding out. I clearly watched a mature buck I shot alive for minutes after my BH got into the chest cavity - it was barely in but definitely in. He was up and walking for minutes. There have been documented cases of deer surviving but its rare.
Bottom line is slipping in just under the spine is not good, depending on BH size and game size it can take time. Also many think they hit under the spine when they hit over. I have harvested several deer shot by other who swore it was in the lungs. One I even thought the bullet hole would have hit lungs or spine, even when standing over the deer when I shot it a day later.
The spine curves down a lot more the you think jsut over the lungs. You can hit a mature buck level with you 5" down from the top of the back and go over the spine.
Not a North America animal or a "void" shot but just picture proof that a perfect shot can result in a long recovery. This is definitely the exception and not the rule but weird things can happen with our equipment. This impala traveled about 1/2 to 3/4 mile from the shot and was finished off with a rifle about 3 hours later. He had laid down and may have died soon, but he may have lived for a while longer, it's impossible to know for sure. The wound shown is the arrow's exit wound, the entrance wound was about 1" to 2" lower. Broadhead was a sharp 3 blade VPA that was sharp enough to pop hair off my arm. The PH, who'd had 30 years experience, had never seen this happen. In fact, when we returned to camp that evening he called the other PH's out of the lodge to show it to them and everyone was shocked about the recovery.
There was a tree stump about 2 feet behind the impala when I shot that stopped the arrow dead. The impala went down like a sack of potatoes and broke the arrow shaft off inside of himself. The PH put the camera away, I set my bow down and when I looked up the impala had gotten up and was running away. The only thing we could figure is that the shaft that broke off inside the impala, along with the fletches, allowed the blood to clot, stopped or slowed the bleed and kept the lungs from deflating.
Since we have answered "no" to this question for many years and it hasn't sank in yet, let's just answer "yes" for discussion sake. :)
Haha I thought this might be a hot topic and I did say I have my opinion. I'm like most that I dont believe there is a "no mans land" but more of a place I dont want to hit. I have always been one to focus on bottom third, behind the shoulder but not too tight to the shoulder. With that said my wife did just as I told her and her bull died within 50 yards. The deer I shot on the other hand was hit too tight to the shoulder and low. It did catch his heart, but he went nearly 200 yards and died half way down a hellhole. If I would have center punched his lungs I dont think he would have got out of sight. Fun discussion and does make you think to aim small and hopefully miss small! Good luck to all this September and I hope to not see you in the VOID!
There is no void. You can put an arrow through backstrap without severing the spine.
Tilzbow.....I’d say your shot was too high on your impala. Had almost the exact same scenario on my gemsbok. This is the exit wound. Entry was basically the same spot on the other side. Perfectly broadside. Had to finish her off with the PH’s rifle 8 hrs later. I went to the skinning shed to see how in the world that shot didn’t kill her. I missed the heart/lungs by an inch too high. Never would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. My PH filmed the shot sequence and you can easily see the entry as well as the exit wound when the gemsbok ran off.
There is a void, it's where you hit not where you thought you hit!
Medically speaking there is very little if any void. Medically speaking it is possible to survive a punctured lung
MA - sorry to be nitpicky... If we define void as space between lungs and spine, then medically speaking there is zero, ziltch, nada, zippo, no void at all.
Absolutely on the survive a punctured lung. I had a doe go 436yds (according to OnX) from shot to death with a shot I blew, that went as close to the spine as an arrow can go when one is about 15 feet up, for the entry... then exited about half way up the body on the off side. I was amazed, and honestly, I dont think I'd have believed it if someone told me it happened to them, that they hit both lungs and the deer made it that far and lived at least a few hours. Ugh.
This deer lived 2 days on 1 lung, found him about 1 zig zag mile from where I shot him and he was still warm, had to grind search.
No void, just muscle, cartilige in a bad spot. Sometime what we think is a broadside shot is not. Animals like deer and antelope can drop and spin in split second. That said also keep in mind teh shoulder balde isn't attached. So in addtion to being above teh lungs, in teh neck, etc. you can squeeze an arrow along the rib cage and under the shoulder blade. Won't have beleived that until I recovered a few. Also longest trail job on a double lung hit I have ever been on was over 800 paces. Yep recovered most of the deer coyotes got the rest. The deer was in a group of 18-20 animals and they actually pushed and kicked it out of its bed. Broadhead was still deadly sharp after a complete pass through. Very rare indeed, only saw somethling that that once in hunting over 40 years . Never have and never will see a VOID in the lung or pleral area.
Over a lifetime of hunting I’ve made a poor shot or two, but usually knew right away they were bad. Once was absolutely sure I’d hit the void on and Axis buck as that’s the way the shot looked good to me. My buddy caught the shot on video and through slow-mo confirmed I caught nothing but backstrap as he jumped the string. Another time I had a deflection that looked like a too high hit on a black bear. If it caught any lung it was just a scratch but it did cut the femoral artery Just under the spine and he died before getting 20 yards. Agree there is no void and any hit below the spine in the thorax will generally be lethal.
The void is the place you hit when you don’t find the animal and you try to convince yourself that you made a good shot
Shot this buck at 22 yards G5 broadhead pass through. I felt good about it thought it might have been a bit high but still felt ok. Ok blood for about 125/150 yards, then drops, then pin drops then nothing. Looked for a while after that then decided to back out after i couldn't get on blood again. Stayed the night and looked the next morning and came up with nothing. Pulled the card on my camera and checked it when i got home. He had came back in about 3 to 4 hours after i had shot him. I never saw him or had pictures of him again he was killed by a rifle hunter on my lease at the opposite end of my lease about 2 1/2 weeks later. He had a big wound on both sides just like the picture shows. So i don't know what happened, Would like to hear your thoughts on it...
The one thing we don’t know is what a live animal looks like inside standing up, inhaling and exhaling. We do know what a dead one looks like inside lying down. I’d like to see how large that artery along the spine is when it’s filled with blood. Just curious.
Are 4 blade broadheads better than 2 blade heads then? Thoughts?
When an animal is inhaling or exhaling, I would think that maybe the lung area decreases and increases in size, but I don't think that gaps would form around the lungs. I think the lungs will always fill the entire cavity.
^^^ that's part of the reason your chest moves as you breath.
Its all interesting to me. I really figured i would have more people chime in on the shot, broadhead etc. I have no idea what happened with the buck I shot but I do have the facts after the matter and still can't piece this puzzle together.
All I know is my wife is a ER doctor and she told me and that she has seen people shot through the chest many times and that she has had multiple people survive because the bullet missed the lung. When I asked her if there was more space around the lung on a exhalation she said most definitely. When you gut a deer are the lungs stuck to the chest wall? The answer is no. Then why would you think the lungs would fill the chest completely all the time? No doubt there can be space and the lungs can be missed.
The only void that exists is in the Understanding of science and physiology by those who say it exists. Survival does not prove a void exists.
I see one ER I hope I never need the services of.
There is no void, and yes animals, including humans can survive being " shot" thru the thorax including portions of lung tissue.
do people really think there is still a void?
that's funny .... in today's world, to believe in such a myth ....
Not all deer physiology is the same. Ask a surgeon. Same spot may have a lung or aorta and maybe not on next deer. Opinions based on incomplete data are just that.
"All I know is my wife is a ER doctor and she told me and that she has seen people shot through the chest many times and that she has had multiple people survive because the bullet missed the lung. When I asked her if there was more space around the lung on a exhalation she said most definitely. When you gut a deer are the lungs stuck to the chest wall? The answer is no. Then why would you think the lungs would fill the chest completely all the time? No doubt there can be space and the lungs can be missed."
That is contrary to the responses that I have seen from every other doctor or vet who has posted on this topic over the years.
Medical Science is always evolving. Heck Covid did not even exist a year ago
My cousin Steve shotgun killed this buck. upon cleaning recovered his broad head in opposite shoulder by knee at a quartering away shot. He shot it behind shoulder midbody looked for 2 days. void? Didn’t duck the slug great Michigan buck.
The chest is a cylinder. The diaphragm is a piston.
The space you see around the shriveled lungs of a dead deer is what killed it.
So no, there is no void. Anyone says otherwise is choosing to believe (and spread) a falsehood in the face of indisputable medical and scientific fact.
But I get it - that particular brand of Stupid seems to be fashionable these days.
I see Matt quoting someones (I didnt read back far enough to see who, sorry) comment about an ER doc wife noting there is space around the lung. Frankly, that's either a husband not understanding a doc wifes response, or an ER doc that needs to step back and do some serious learning. And I'm ok saying that. Because some things are facts. And if she really thinks normal animals and humans are walking around with space around their lungs when they exhale, she needs to do a LOT of anatomy CME's as soon as possible.
I have seen on many YouTube videos and TV where people aim to far forward in what should be perfect for a double lung shot but ends a lunges at best. Right behind the shoulder is many times to far forward. People are thinking behind the shoulder when they should be thinking much farther back. This alone accounts for many of the “ I hit him perfect” that wander off to die.
Here's a deer cross section. Show me the void. :-)
Ok, don't know where that pic came from but not the one I posted. Enjoy....Marilyn definitely has a void.
nice misdirect midway!! very nice !!
Midwest, between the ears!
That cross-section covers everything you need to know, including the fact that you can top the off-side lung (from an elevated position) even if your shoot over the spine.... but if you stay under the backbone and in front of the diaphragm? Nothing’s ever certain, but you’ve gotta like those odds...
My nephew had 1/3 of his lung taken out due to a snowboarding accident. Yes survived a torn, punctured lung. Even so there is no void. The lung fills the space inside the rib cage. Anyone who says different ER or not is anatomically, physiologically and medically wrong.
By the way a dead deer who was drilled by an arrow has deflated lungs so it may appear there is a void, but they are dead. Alot of the blood clotting in the body cavity is also post mortum.
A vet once told me about an easy test to help explain how lungs fill the pleural cavity. Put a tiny bit of water inside a ziploc bag, squeeze the air out and zip it. Now try to pull the sides of the bag apart. You can't.
Now unzip the bag and it easily pulls apart.
The pressure differential is how lungs collapse when air gets in between the lung and the cavity wall. And why after you open up the chest cavity the lungs are no longer stuck to the chest walls.
There was a TV show a few years ago, don't remember the name, where a camera crew followed first responders all the way through the ER.
One episode was called "the pulsing knife". A disgruntled wife stabbed her husband in the chest with a broad blade butcher knife. The handle "pulsed" with every heartbeat, and the victim was conscious and voicing displeasure!
"They" got him in surgery and cracked his chest and were astounded...one surgeon shouted out, "it missed everything!"
That blade went through the chest, missed the heart, lung tissue, any arteries, and lodged against the heart sac thereby pulsing with every heartbeat.
The dude was home in just a few days and refused pressing charges...said he had it coming...lol.
Just thought I'd toss this into the mix. I'm 68 and have hunted since age 12...had a few head scratchers in that time, and found that show rather interesting.
I really do think a contributing factor to all this is simply dull broadheads. Hit an animal as tough as an elk high in the lungs and it can go over 400 yds, make it a sharp head and he is lucky to make it 100. So, so many Bowhunters are walking around with dull broadheads that they couldn’t cut themselves with, never mind make a quick clean kill.
I couldn't agree more Mike, definitely not the case in the buck i shot above. I am diligent at keeping SHARP broadheads. Like I said before don't know if the void exists or not, only know what happened to me. Still hard to believe an animal can live after three razors go through it. The shot was not perfect no doubt but did I think it was lethal absolutely. My take from ALL of it is sharp, dull, fast, slow, light or heavy DON'T hit em high...
Either way it was interesting reading the thoughts and theories from others. Good luck to all
I don't know if there's a void but I do know if you hit a whitetail high and don't spine it or cut the big artery you probably ain't gonna find it. Aim lower 3rd
"’They’ got him in surgery and cracked his chest and were astounded...one surgeon shouted out, ‘it missed everything!’”
“Everything”.... That’s a relative term, I’d expect.... Dull(ish) knife, missed the heart, missed the major vessels... it’s not possible to put an arrow through a deer’s or Elk’s chest without hitting lung tissue, but parts of it are richer in blood vessels than others.
Difference is that an arrow goes all the way through, leaving (ideally) two points of entry for air to come in and cause/allow the lungs to collapse. Pulling that knife out could have killed him on the spot.
And that guy got to a trauma surgeon inside of the Golden Hour. Plus the knife was almost certainly sharp (to the extent that “sharp” applies) on only one edge, not two.
So really, not at all comparable.
The trouble with a high double-lung hit is just that the chest cavity has to fill up before blood begins to spill, and a badly spooked animal can cover a lot of ground in a half a minute. And those damn mechanicals sure seem to make ‘em run like hell... So if you are dependent on blood on the ground to follow the trail, yeah, you could be screwed that way.
I’ve seen a lot of reports of clean pass-throughs where the animals just stood there; but I don’t recall it ever happening with a 3-blade or a mechanical....
Now, the TRICKY thing about a high double-lung hits is that the difference between above the spine and under it is about 2 whole inches. Or less. I have a tanned hide from a deer I had to shoot twice to put it down; one over, one under, and you’d be hard pressed to guess which was which from the holes.
So I 100% understand how a guy could be dead certain that he was under the spine, but actually be over it. Especially considering how much lower it sits in the front than in the middle.
But there is a very good reason why no one has EVER recovered any animal that was hit in The Void. Nor ever will.