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

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Unread 12-05-2009, 06:27 PM
ATH ATH is offline
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Location: Lizton, IN
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Originally Posted by sendero7 View Post
I'm a flatlander hunting in South Carolina. I can't believe that if a wounded animal crosses a boundry line that you can't retrieve your animal. That's a crazy law. Do the game wardens enforce that law or the land owners? Didn't mean to change the topic. Nice buck by the way!!
I can vouch that MI and IN both consider it trespass....I'm a bit surprised SC doesn't, I've never heard of that. I've booted more than one trespasser "just looking for a wounded animal" they supposedly shot within 1/4 mile without me hearing the gunfire, with the blood trail conveniently ending before they came over the property line. I've had to ask permission on a couple tracking jobs for other people's deer and even the landowners who allow no hunting have always gruffly allowed retrieval.
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Unread 10-26-2013, 07:57 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

I realize this is a very old post. But I feel compelled to share my experience and game losses. I used a 162 gr amax on a Elk..was loosing it until another hunter hit it with a 175 Sierra Gameking. Upon retrieval my shots jellied the wound channel, a 4 inch wound channel, Same load Retumbo 74 grs, win mag primer 162 seated to lands and shot a Idaho Antelope at 700 yds. Had to be finished off at 100 yds by son with another rifle load. Loaded up SMK and had better luck but normally game did not expire quickly. Sometimes they even got up and tried to walk away until a follow up shot did more damage. This is when I learned that the MANUFACTURES probably know more about bullet design than we do. DUH! I don't care if you believe what you read on the internet and other peoples success stories. EVEN IF THEY ARE FAMED ON THE INTERNET! Target bullets are not for hunting. With the Long Range Accubonds available and Barnes Long Range bullets I hope These builders will promote more ethical hunting and build rifles for the hunting purpose. Not to build to brag how great they shoot on paper. Last time I checked paper s not the same as flesh and bone! This I a quote from the Nosler rep..O so very true the quote is.. Next is who ever said that a high shoulder shot is the vitals. POOR shot to even try. Lets go back to grade school and learn anatomy. WOW I can not believe a "EXPERIENED" person admitted to this.
Call Sierra and Hornady and they will tell you only a goof ball would use these bullets to hunt with.

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Unread 10-26-2013, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Yellowknife, NT Canada
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Originally Posted by Fiftydriver View Post
I will be honest, I seldom hold to intentionally hit the high shoulder but it often turns out that way. When I hunt at long range, which to me is anything 500 yards and out, I will take a center hold on the shoulder to allow the most error in all directions and still get that bullet in the vitals.

In the area I hunt, putting the animal down on the spot is a good thing but in no way a requirement. May mean a longer haul out but other then that, there really is no way to loose a mortally wounded animal.

I think that the high shoulder shot can get you into trouble, espeically with some specific species of big game animails. Many do not realize that game such as elk, moose or buffalo have huge dorsal spines on their spine. Generally the top third of a bull elk of moose will not result in a one shot kill. It may drop the animal to the shot but I have seen many situations where a hit on the top 1/3 of these animals resulted in the animal regaining their feet after several minutes.

On deer, the distance from their spine to the top of their back is much less so a hit to the top 1/3 of a buck is generally a fatal hit. If nothing else, the spine is generally broken and the animal is unable to move.

In my case, the spine was not physically impacted by the bullet. Both shoulder blades were broken and that was obvious when the buck tried to run as he could simply paw with his both legs and did not have good control of any of his legs telling me his spine was severely stressed.

For all intent and purpose, this buck should have died long before he did. My only real reason for posting this is to say to be prepared for anything when you walk up on your "Dead" big game animal.

I will post some pics when I get a chance.
Shot a moose at 850 yards this fall with a 300 WM and 210g VLD. First shot was a direct spine hit. Moose fell over as if struck by lightning but got up 10 to 15s later. Put down with heart shot after that. While dressing, found that the spine was not broken although the bullet had hit it directly in the "V" of the spine while broadside. The fragmented bullet had jellied a large portion of the adjacent vitals. My point is that if the bullet didn't break the spine, it probably wouldn't break the shoulder either. For large game, I'll stick with lung/heart shots at extended ranges.
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Unread 10-26-2013, 01:25 PM
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

If the eyes aren't open, the animal isn't dead. That's my belief.

This is an old thread. I re-read some of it and over the past 45 years of hunting and trapping experiences, have come to believe eyes-closed is always a 'hunter beware' warning signal. Every animal I've shot, to the best of my recollection, expired with its eyes open. I think because of TV and movies, we've been trained to believe death is often eyes closed. I don't believe I've ever observed an eyes-closed dead animal.

Because of this, it's something I always look for when approaching a downed animal; be it brown bear, moose, deer, sheep, coyote, fox, or muskrat. If the eyes happen to be closed, I expect the animal to still have life in it. If the eyes are open and glazed, I expect a dead animal.

I recall a memorable experience I had when I was 13 years old. While checking my fox trap line in Michigan, I found a live possum in one of my leghold traps. I didn't have my .22 with me, so I found a stick and clubbed the possum on the head several times. He finally quit moving around but I watched him for awhile, having heard the well-known trait of possums playing dead. Finally convinced the animal had expired, I released him from the trap and carried him by his tail about 1/3 mile away from the trap site to dispose of him along a ditch bank. The whole time I was carrying him I kept him away from my leg and continued to keep an eye on him. After setting him on the ground, I went on to check the rest of my trap line. On the way back out to the road I passed by the possum again. He was gone! There was no snow on the ground for tracking, but I spent a fair amount of time snooping around. Gone. I don't know if the animal was truly unconscious from the blows to the head, or simply playing dead. The only purpose of this trapline story is to point out - the eyes were closed the entire time I carried him away and set him down on the ground. Come to think of it, this experience is probably what taught me "eyes closed - alive" - "eyes open - dead". This is my rule of thumb. Be interested to hear if anyone has experiences that differ from mine.

While approaching a large downed brown bear in 2001, even though the eyes were opened and glazed, I still found the longest stick I could locate and slowly approached with rifle at the ready, while touching an eye with the end of the stick. Was glad he didn't blink at me. He was 6-7X my weight...

Last edited by phorwath; 10-26-2013 at 02:09 PM.
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Unread 10-26-2013, 01:48 PM
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Paul.......I think you are dead on. Eyes don't close unless someone (something) closes them! Whether it is a person, or animal, same story......Rich
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Unread 10-26-2013, 11:01 PM
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Idaho Elk Hunter,
I would be cautious about using the "E" word on this forum. no work will get you in trouble faster, and for good reason. I feel Len's rules on the "E" work are what keep this a top notch forum.

As far as saying that anyone that doesn't use "hunting" bullet or go for heart lung shots is crazy (including Kirby), well... I respect your opinion. Lets agree to disagree.
I don't feel that Amax's in particular are a great hunting bullet, but I know that my 250 and 300 grain Berger and MKs have laid a whompin on enough animals for me to feel comfortable with them.
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Unread 10-27-2013, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tucson Az
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Re: High Shoulder Hits, be ready to finish the job....

Love the fact that old threads can pop up here and still be relevant years later.

I am not fond of finding shot game still alive and am always cautious when approaching a "dead" animal.

Last year I walked up to my downed cow elk. Her eye was open. I did the usual poke with the rifle barrel and IT WINKED. Never had seen that before. She expired within a minute or so and didn't require a finishing shot. Sure glad I didn't grab a hind leg to begin gutting her.

I did exactly what Kirby did on a javelina. I shot it not too far from my truck. I walked back to move the truck then proceeded to the javelina with just my knife. Got to the animal and it was very much alive but mortally wounded. I debated jumping on it and cutting its throat but the rapid clacking of its teeth quickly changed my mind. I walked back to the truck 100 yds away and got my 38 snubnose which ended the situation. Lesson learned.
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