This is a pic of a set of large cow elk shoulders laid out at about the position they would be in. I had a pic of a 10in paper plate in the area of the large black dot but I couldn't find it but at any rate the dot will cover 10 inches and is the perfect shot placement for me. The scapula can be easily shot through but your high in the lungs and it's most effective if you hit the spine and take out the dorsal aorta. The heavy bone just below that is hard to shoot through and maintain bullet integrity and is the most often cause of the fabled perfect shot but the bullet failed excuse. I've punched that bone twice with a 168 Barnes from a 300 WBY and not had them penetrate past the bone, it is extremely dense and most elk I've cut that have been hit at that bone will show it not entering the rib cage, high shoulder almost always will allow a bullet into the goodies but in the middle and back of the bone always get's them where they live. Above the point of the lower joint about 1-2 inches will center you up on the heart, the area where the big black dot is where the aorta and heavy blood rich area of the lungs are, they won't last long if not DRT, that's where this cow took a 140 Berger and she fell on her nose dead! The dimension of an adult cow will be 22-24 in from top of spine to bottom of brisket without hide and hair. Bulls will be a few inches larger.
+1 Heart and lung. Because it is most often fatal. The other choices are easy to screw up. Don't forget you willl be tired, out of breath and excited when you take that shot. Good Hunting.
biggreen is spot on, I concur on the scapula/leg bone joint/knucle. Put a bullet on that base ball size mass of bone and your in for a long night if you can't get it done with a follow up shot.
I had a 210 berger and a 180 berger gernade on 2 different mule deer at LR hitting that knucle. The second time I recognized the hit and followed up quick with another solid hit. I now favor a little bit behind the black disc in the pic.
Bust one through both lungs and if somebody else tries to tag him they better be ready for a good fight!!! Anybody that would try that doesn't deserve to be called a hunter or be out in the outdoors as far as I'm concerned.