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High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

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Unread 11-29-2009, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fort Shaw, Montana
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High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Well, I spend this past week hunting pretty hard to fill my 2009 deer tag. It was a hard year. Very warm, VERY VERY windy and spent more time running tresspassers and poachers off the property then hunting. Thats for a different story though.

My story here is about my actual kill. Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving day, I had a decent 5x5 mule deer come out of a draw or should I say pushed out of a draw right at last light. I was set up with my little green 7mm Allen Magnum. I ranged the buck which had settled in a shallow draw with a hot doe after being pushed out of the creek bottom. I ranged him at 685 yards. Found the proper hold and held the 2 moa for the windage. I was trying to make a high shoulder shot to pin both shoulders and put the buck on his nose where he stood.

At the shot, the 175 gr SMK launched at over 3400 fps landed true and the buck folded on the spot. Just like you see on all those shots on TV about long range hunting. I set and watched the buck for several minutes and he never moved a bit. The hunters that pushed the buck out of the bottom came up and asked if I had seen the buck and I replied that he was dead over on the hill side. They asked who shot the buck and I said that I had with a bit of a smile on my face I am sure.

I talked to them for a few minutes but then told them I better get started on getting the buck packed down to where I could get the truck in. I hikes back to the truck, shed all of my gear and took another look at the buck through the spotter. Still had not moved, dead as could be.

Left the rifle in the truck, grabbed my knife and game cart and was on my way.

When I got over to the buck, it was getting pretty dark but I could still see pretty well. The buck was still in the position he was when he took the shot. As I always do, when I approached the buck I let out a few sharp yips which I have always found to get some reaction from a still alive big game animal even better then touching them. Nothing. I walked up, grabbed one antler and the huge bodied buck jumped up and stumbled up the hill. He was not moving well but he was moving nad he was far to mobile to try to wrestle him down and cut his throat.... Not want to do. I was pretty discusted with my self for not bringing one of my handguns to finish the job but the buck had not moved for nearly 30 minutes from the shpt, I was sure he was dead.

The buck struggled up the hill roughly 50 yards and fell. I backed out, ran back to the truck which was only around 800 yards away and grabbed my 1911 in 400 Corbon which luckily had a set of night sights on it. My load drives a 180 gr XTP to just shy of 1300 fps so it works well for a big game back up pistol.

By the time I got back to the buck it was really dark. I could see shadows but that was about it. I knew where the buck was if he had not moved so I worked wide around that location and got above the buck. I came over the hill and could see what I thought was the buck in the same location. I will be honest, for that first shot I held center of mass and let one of the 400s go. The buck jumped from his bed and ran to my left at around 20 yards. I fired again and the buck stumbled, fired again and the buck fell and rolled down the hill. I ran down the hill and caught up close to the buck as he made it to the bottom of the hill. He tried to get up again but I was close enough now that I could see well enough to place a shot at the base of his skull and the fight was over., Finally.

Things had gotten pretty "western" for awhile and it was my fault for not taking a firearm to finish the job in the beginning.

It was to late to get the buck back to the truck and to be honest I was pretty whooped. I got the buck down to the creek and dressed him out and left him low right next to the creek where it would be very cool for the night. I would come back in the morning with more muscle and pull the buck out of the creek bottom.

All night I wondered why the buck did not die. The chest cavity was FULL of clotted blood. Certainly he would have died or was that caused by one of the 400s bullets??? The morning light would tell the tell. I was also worried that the 175 gr SMK just pin holed through the buck doing little damage. Several questions to be answered.

The next morning we arrived on the sceen and I started the inspection. The 175 gr SMK had hit on the onside shoulder, a hit ahead of center and exited through the offside shoulder just back of center. IT had passed roughly 2" below the top of the chest cavity. There was a good exit wound through the offside shoulder, plenty of damage. The bullet had clearly opened up and done its job. The shot landed slightly higher then I wanted but not by more then an inch or two and still very much in the right area.

So why did the buck not die quicker..... Not sure. I suspect his adreniline (sp) had been reved up getting bumped out of the creek bottom and he was just reved up.

Seeing this I wonder how many of those PERFECT, long range, one shot kills through the shoulders turn out to be much more then this which is edited off TV.

I reinforced a lesson I already knew but needed a reminder of apparently. No matter how dead the big game animal looks from a distance, take at least a side arm with you to finish the job if needed.
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 11-29-2009, 06:40 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Missoula, MT USA
Posts: 278
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Very strange. What's the law on polishing off game animals after legal light? If there's one thing I've learned this year it's that bureaucracy trumps common sense and ethical reason every time as far as FWP is concerned. Wouldn't want you to get in trouble over something that every one of us would have done.
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Unread 11-29-2009, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 384
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Pretty much mirrors my experience with the high shoulder shot. Glad you're ok!
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Unread 11-29-2009, 07:13 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,084
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

If you look carefully at the picture of the antelope in the thread below you will see that the bipod covers the cut throat. This antelope dropped like a rock with a broken offside shoulder and had a huge exit hole through that shoulder where the Berger expanded. What I found was that when it had hit the ground that it landed on the exit wound which sealed it off. The hide probably moved on the entrance wound and sealed it off. Consequently, the chest was not open to the atmospheric pressure. Contrary to popular opinion, the lungs themselves may not bleed very much from a bullet hole. Much like you, I goofed around because the animal was "obviously dead" and when I finally got to it 45 minutes later it was very much alive but unable to move.

Bates Hole Buck Part 2c

I do not understand how some people ALWAYS get "'bang flop". It just doesn't happen that much with me.

One thing that seems to happen when the bullet lands high is that the shock wave hits the spinal column and knocks it unconscious for a while. Sometimes it dies while unconscious and sometimes it gets up after a while and runs off (that was really disconcerting when the dead animal was not where I saw it drop.)
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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Unread 11-29-2009, 07:29 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Canterbury, New Zealand
Posts: 675
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

I had a similar thing happen a month or so back, posted it here Red hind at 594 yds Unusual shot

Long story short, shot a hind at 594 yds, bullet hit high in on-side shoulder and then range forward, went overtop of spine and exited high shoulder on off-side. Hind dropped on the spot, but was still alive 45 minutes later when we got to her. The bullet had not entered the chest cavity, however there was a huge amount of blood in the chest.

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Unread 11-29-2009, 07:49 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,080
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Congrats on the hunt. That is one of the things I love about hunting, it is full of surprises. Would like to see some pictures of the buck. Take care and thanks for sharing.
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Unread 11-29-2009, 07:56 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,548
Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Good, HONEST story Kirby. An example for all to follow when it comes to sharing their hunt. Due to your honesty, I for one learned something I didn't know...yip instead of poke with the gun and irregardless of time since hit assume the animal is alive...one could get injured or worse yet imagine if it were let's say a bear. My hats off to several others that responded to your post for their honesty about their less than 1 shot kills. PS, TV-of coarse the edit some of that stuff-IMHO.

Last edited by Chas1; 12-05-2009 at 05:41 PM. Reason: no email notification
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