Shot Placement advice for Bison - Replies needed quickly!
Sorry for the short notice on this question, but it just came to me as an afterthought to put the question to all of you. I will be leaving tonight at 7:30 pm and will check for replies before I leave.
Here is the background information:
A buddy of mine was lucky enough to draw a public land buffalo tag here in Wyoming. A few weeks ago he asked if he could use my 338 LM to shoot the bison, as he did not have much confidence in his 30-06. Since I was accompanying him on the hunt any ways (as an official photographer, knife sharpener, and pack mule), I gladly obliged.
He is planning on shooting the biggest, meanest, and oldest bull that he can find and would like to dispatch it efficiently. He's Ok with shooting it through the front quarters (shoulders) if that will kill it quickly. He considers 150 yards as long range and has no intention of taking a shot beyond 200 yards. With that in mind, I loaded up some old 300 grain Winchester Western, Round Nose Power Points, that I had on hand (these bulltes are no longer available). The load is 90 gr H1000, 3.588 OAL, roughly 2700 fps, and sub-MOA accuracy at 100 yards.
He asked me yesterday where he should place the shot when he takes it and if I thought that the bullet would penetrate through the front shoulder of a buffalo. He's not 100% confident that he can place the shot perfectly on a 'back-of-the-neck-shot' and doesn't want to damage the cape either.
So please help me with your wisdom and experience on shot placement for bison.
P.S., Assuming my buddy fills his tag this weekend, I'll post the results of the shot, pictures, and the story.
Bison are like any other four legged critter we hunt. Put one through the lungs and hes dead, put one through the lungs and the heart, he dies quicker.
Break down the shoulders and he will go less distance after the shot.
Take out the spine with a high shoulder shot and he will go on his nose but more then likely not be dead until you apply a finishing shot.
I have never shot a bison personally, I have seen many killed on video and witness a few taken in person and I will say this, with a 300 gr round nose SP of 338 caliber, I would not think twice about busting a shoulder on a bison. That said, if it makes you anxious to do so, simply aim for the off side shoulder if possible to break it on exit.
Again, there is no magic to killing a bison, put the bullet in the vitals and he is dead. THey have a large lung capacity and a huge blood supply so it may take longer for him to go down then smaller game but from what I have seen, just keep putting them in the shoulder until he goes down.
More then likely, they will not run much from you once you find them. They really are not to afraid of us so place that first shot well and it will do the trick, if you want insurance, keep shooting.
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
Quick reminder--- go look for the layout on the internal organs of the bison
They are not layed out in the same proportion to your normal "anatomy" markers as you are used to looking at elk or deer. The heart sits lower in the chest cavity and you must be careful of going "too high" on your shot placement within the chest cavity. I play in the BPCR area and have spoken to some folks whom have hunted them with the old buffalo rifles and the most common problem, complaint ect is that they shot too high. Better to go a little lower than too high.
Since they're park bison you should plan on shooting one from about 20yards and that may have some impact on the ammo you choose. Just find one you want, walk right up to it, shoot it, maybe several times. If it were me, I'd herd it to a road first, then I'd shoot it.
A friend that I built a #1 Ruger for in .340 Wby Ko'd a prime bull with a 250 gr Nosler Partition with a clean chest shot. When he recovered from recoil, he saw the bull falling where he had been standing.
Hope this is in time to boost confidence. Look forward to seeing the results.
Texas State Rifle Association Life Member
NRA Endowment Life Member
A big fast bullet will beat a little fast bullet every time
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature, who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
John Stuart Mill
Buffalo are fairly easy to kill. We've had a lot of people use 30.06 with good success and I've been "field harvesting" them with a .223 but I carry a 375 for a back up to keep wounded aniamls out of difficult areas. Depending on how you look at it I've had either the pleasure or job of shooting god knows how many. Most are shot behind the horn and this is a fairly easy shot with some margin for error. If you shoot them in the head from the front you have to bee careful to not shoot between the eyes because this is too low. Draw a triangle from the horn bases to between the eyes and shoot there. Another easy one is the side of the head between the eye and the horn and the trauma is much more effective than a frontal shot but you will have holes in the skull and the side shot sometimes makes a big mess. You can't go wrong however with a good old heart/lung shot. Buffalo are very efficient in their breathing and can live for a long time with messed up lungs. If your really after tthe heart you need to shoot at what looks like the arm pit. This is where we try to get our achery hunters to shoot. If you go with a high shoulder shot there is a good chance you may hit the spine as it dips down quite a bit in the shoulder area. We tell our clients too "keep shooting" and this has served them well. The cape will have a lot of hair on it so don't worry about ruining it, we have never had a cape ruined out of litterly hundreds of dead buffalo and some were really shot up.