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Big game animalís reactions to gun shots

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Unread 01-31-2006, 11:46 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots


Check Dave's post above for deer shot in a herd, which one to shoot and their reactions.

You know, it's kind or ironic that we are talking about reactions to shots and also the use of sighter shots...........

Gunny Hathcock talked about using sighter shots on "hamburgers" at long ranges. One case, at extreme range, was where he fired a shot to test his calculations and hold, at the same range as his intended target but quite a ways off to the side. The "hamburgers" noticed but paid no real attention to the first shot. Same for the second shot. That put him right on for the third shot which rapidly dispatched the intended "hamburger". One more quick shot at those that came running at the drop of their comrad and he quickly left. One shot generally is very difficult to pinpoint. A second shot makes it a little easier and a third shot makes it dangerous for the shooter, so he left.

As with Gunny's thinking and experience, I would also think that animals can't immediately pinpoint a single shot at long ranges, so the result is the same as what he had. Take a sighter shot, adjust for range and conditions and then.....bang, flop.
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Unread 02-01-2006, 04:50 AM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots

If the round is supersonic as it passes the intended target (something than can hear and the background noise is not deafening) they hear a supersonic "crack". If the bullet impacts close by the sound of the impact is also heard just after the supersonic "crack"... sort of a "tick...whump". If you begin to count once you hear the "crack" you can back-calc the range to the shooter with some degree of efficiency....critters have no use for this information or capability. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] The supersonic crack is heard at a angle ~90% to the direction of the shooter.
A subsonic round by can be heard coming, passing and going and the direction of the shooter can be determined much more easily as the sound can be followed. All that's heard with the subsonic round is the approaching, passing and departing "whizzz/swoosh" the impact (thud) and then the report (if any).

As mentioned in Ian's post and shooting to warn/scare the bear, something I have also done and with about equal efficiency. Animals don't know about bullets and impacts and in most cases could care less (or very little) if the ground shakes and dust rises a bit or bark jumps off a tree...they know about people and people as associated with those noises in some cases. Animals run from people, not the gun or bullets.

Around here deer know it's deer season because the activity in the woods increased many-fold. These are enough folks out scouting and putting up stands before season to effectively change the deer patterns (which is pretty counter-productive to those poor folk that only scout a few times just previous to deer season)...this type of activity, changes, is what deer notice.

Deer on the range are not cause for a cease fire at many ranges, they show no reaction to the gunshots of the rounds passing and impacting... again... they don't know about bullets or any danger outside their realm of experience.

I don't believe deer (or most other critters) can formulate a plan for future unknown events (non-experienced events), they are reactionary type critters. They don't know they're mortal and have no concept of death. They do form bonds and come to see what has happened to a down family member in some cases but I haven't seen any sign of grieving.

I've seen fawns react to their first experience with rain, the two I observed were running around as if scared to death as the first rain drops began to fall but shortly thereafter settled down... I don't believe they liked being touched by the invisible unknown... quite similar in reaction to what happens when I've touched hiding fawns...initial fear but soon they change when nothing "bad" happens.

The fawns remind me of an item I've observed on many occasions.
I found a fawn many years back and when I picked it up it bawled at first. I carried it back to the truck (for a picture) and along the way noticed that if I cradled it's legs and feet it wouldn't bawl...let the feet dangle free in the air and it'd flail them and bawl. I then got to thinking about the many times I've shot deer that subsequently bawled and in all but one case the deer were immobilized (spined or otherwise crippled or stuck). I tested this on a few other fawns and I've some to believe that the bawling is a reaction to the immobility... sort of a "I've fallen and I can't get up!" yell for help or last ditch "stay away, I'm fierce, listen to my roar!".

Here are a few sound clips:

Supersonic 30-06 round passing, shooter 500 yards distant. First is supersonic crack, then bullet departure and finally muzzle report.


Subsonic 44-40 round from 1100 yards. First the faint sound of the muzzle report then the the approaching, passing and departing bullet.


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Unread 02-01-2006, 06:10 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots


Can you tell us what the microphone was setup for there - i.e. was that something the average person would here or was the mike setup with a high gain, setup to pickup minute sounds... the subsonic whirr was pretty neat, I just was wondering - the way you wrote about this in your post made this out to be what you or I would hear (assuming average hearing)... but I figured I would ask anyway.

Very informative post, always wondered about this, just hadn't taken the time to do the same thing you did.

Thanks for the post!
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Unread 02-01-2006, 06:39 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots


That was really funny but I didn't laugh until it went by.


You can hear it coming. Ears are much like eyes and can triangulate sound. They can also compute the trajectory of sound just like your eyes compute a baseball flight and so you can catch it (not me I always played left field).

With subsonic rounds if the first one misses you, then your brain will compute from the sound of the next one whether the second one will miss or hit you. You actually have time to move and react once you determine that you are going to be hit. This is accurate with a very small distance error and as it gets closer and closer you know more about exactly where it is going to land but you have less time to deal with it With more experience you can judge way ahead of time how bad your sh1t is in the street. I would estimate maybe as much as a full second.

The relevance of the discussion is sonething like this.

If you should decide to shoot p'dogs at a range such that you bullets were going subsonic, it would not be beyond belief that a p'dog could hear the bullet coming understand that whatever was coming was going to hit it and have enough time to drop down the hole. So if one set up to shoot a particular individual p'dog and went back day after day shooting at it, the p'dog could very well learn to sit there when it knew you were going to miss and drop down the hole when it knew it would be hit. Would this happen in reality? I don't know how a p'dogs brain works.
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Unread 02-01-2006, 07:02 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots

Can't at the moment find the story, but the fella that has the 3000 yd or so PD hit to his credit, a gunsmith in CO, I believe, when they couldn't spot the 50's hit one guy went down range to the town. The shooted shot. Then radioed the observer to see where he hit. The spotter said that the bullet hadn't yet arrived. Then he heard it coming, so did the PDs and they all dove for cover well before the bullet hit. They regrouped and restarted with a 338 something or another.

Someone otta google it. It was a good read.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 02-01-2006, 07:43 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots

his name is kregg slack, and he posts on here from time to time. Maybe he will see this and chime in

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Unread 02-01-2006, 08:03 PM
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Re: Big game animalís reactions to gun shots

EZ Shooter

I linked to those sound clips from the below site, I didn't record them myself. This are things an average person would hear, I've heard similar myself.


As mentioned by buffalobob and Roy.

I have been downrange and had rounds go past, this is not too uncommon when shooting at very long range. The spotter is near the impact area with the rounds passing within 10's of yards. (This is one of those... "Don't try this at home!" events.)

In some training classes we are often downrange as rounds pass and of course when shooting on military style ranges the fella's pulling targets get to hear plenty of rounds going past.

Subsonic rounds are not too fun to listen to as buffalobob mentions, it's a odd thing to listen to them and know they passed VERY close, close enough to make you move from nervousness.

BUT, this is fairly off topic as deer aren't normally conditioned for this.
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