On the recent elk hunt my brother and I were on we had the chance to take two bulls in very different situations. Mine was out on a large meadow late in the evening, for that shot, I slipped the bullet behind the shoulder as I had no concern about the bull covering some ground before passing. He only traveled 25 yards anyway.
My brothers bull on the other hand was in heavy timber. We were hunting him in an area that had many deep draws. Shooting him down in one of the draws would have ment many hours packing meat out on our backs. IF we shot him on top of one of the fingers between the draws, he would be much more accessable but he would have to drop to the shot.
When the shot opportunity happened on a big bull, my brother put the shot through both shoulder tops and the spine. The bull fell on his nose to the shot but needed a finisher shot when we got up to him. He certainly could not move, but would not have died for a long time.
Not being terribly familiar with elk anatomy I was suprised at how low the spine location is on a mature bull elk because of the very tall dorsal spines on the verebra.
Watching the impact of my brothers shot, I suspected a high lung shot and on deer it would have been easily into the lungs but on an elk it was not even in the chest cavity. The shot impacted probably 1/3 down from the top of the shoulder hump.
There is no doubt this shot is effective at ending the escape of an animal this size, but you will more then likely need to apply a finishing shot when you get up to the bull.
A shot a bit lower taking out both shoulders would have also dropped the bull and probably killed him much quicker with no follow up. still, to get a shot angle to cleanly break both shoulders is not always possible.
If I needed to drop a big bull on the spot I would try to take out both shoulders with a shot about 1/2 the way up the chest of a bull. YOu would probably get some spinal shock as well and top of the lungs also.
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