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Why a high shoulder shot?

 
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2008, 09:41 PM
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high shoulder

In my uneducated opinion the high shoulder shot allows for more windage error. And since bullet drop is more predictable than wind it is better to place your shot where it can still be effective if you miss judge the wind. If you hit a little further back with a traditional heart/lung type shot you end up with a liver hit and a possible long blood trail. With the high shoulder a little further back you have the chance of catching spine, just need a quick finisher after that. If you go forward to far with a traditional lung/heart shot you may not catch bone and cripple the animal, and a poor blood trail to boot. With a more forward high shoulder you would stand more of a chance for a neck shot, and a dead animal. This is not an absolute garuntee though. By aiming high on the shoulder you stand more of a chance to shoot over the quarries back than with the traditional heart/lung. This is where a good rangefinder and accurate drop chart are essential. Hope this helps. If anyone thinks I'm off base please correct me. AL
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2008, 10:29 PM
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I haven't yet killed a lot of animals "long range" as defined on this site, but I have killed a few animals in very thick wet stuff where you don't want them to go very far. I can tell you that any shot that kills them quick on the spot is a good thing. If it's close range, that can be a neck shot, but across canyons the high shoulder shot is the way to go. If you misjudge windage a little forward on the animal, it's either a low neck/front of shoulder or a miss. Where the big difference comes into play is a shot too far back. When you are aiming high shoulder the shot will probably double lung the animal and it will die within 20 to 30 yards, as long shots are usually at unspooked game. This same misjudgement aiming at the lungs will result in a gut shot animal and a VERY LONG tracking job. I know, I've done it! I think the biggest benefit is increasing your odds of a good kill or a complete miss. Missing sucks, but tracking a wounded mule deer for an entire day (or more) sucks way worse - trust me. Best of luck.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2008, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjbill View Post
I haven't yet killed a lot of animals "long range" as defined on this site, but I have killed a few animals in very thick wet stuff where you don't want them to go very far. I can tell you that any shot that kills them quick on the spot is a good thing. If it's close range, that can be a neck shot, but across canyons the high shoulder shot is the way to go. If you misjudge windage a little forward on the animal, it's either a low neck/front of shoulder or a miss. Where the big difference comes into play is a shot too far back. When you are aiming high shoulder the shot will probably double lung the animal and it will die within 20 to 30 yards, as long shots are usually at unspooked game. This same misjudgement aiming at the lungs will result in a gut shot animal and a VERY LONG tracking job. I know, I've done it! I think the biggest benefit is increasing your odds of a good kill or a complete miss. Missing sucks, but tracking a wounded mule deer for an entire day (or more) sucks way worse - trust me. Best of luck.
+1light bulb

Well said.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2008, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alexkeyser View Post
In my uneducated opinion the high shoulder shot allows for more windage error. And since bullet drop is more predictable than wind it is better to place your shot where it can still be effective if you miss judge the wind. If you hit a little further back with a traditional heart/lung type shot you end up with a liver hit and a possible long blood trail. With the high shoulder a little further back you have the chance of catching spine, just need a quick finisher after that. If you go forward to far with a traditional lung/heart shot you may not catch bone and cripple the animal, and a poor blood trail to boot. With a more forward high shoulder you would stand more of a chance for a neck shot, and a dead animal. This is not an absolute garuntee though. By aiming high on the shoulder you stand more of a chance to shoot over the quarries back than with the traditional heart/lung. This is where a good rangefinder and accurate drop chart are essential. Hope this helps. If anyone thinks I'm off base please correct me. AL
Makes sense to me.
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2008, 02:44 AM
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I aim for the same shot placement as I do with an arrow. A broadside shot, dead center on the height of the animal and slightly behind the shoulder blade/leg bones. I'm looking to place the bullet in the middle of the area containing the heart and lungs, both elevation-wise and horizontal-wise. The area bounded by the diaphram in the back, the spinal cord on top, and the sternum on the bottom and front. I just don't see any other location that offers more forgiveness of bullet placement error, as this centers the largest lethal kill zone on the animal. Done it this way for 40 years now; short-range, mid-range, and long-range. If the bullet has enough retained velocity to expand, the animal is dead. Another reason I choose this location is it kills the animals just as surely as a high-shoulder or any other type of shoulder shot, yet results in the least amount of bullet-caused meat waste / damage.

Now if I'm close to an animal with a good rest, I have head shot a few. It doesn't get any cleaner than that. But that's not a suitable long range aiming point from my persective.

The only reason I would shoulder shoot any game animal, either high or low, was if I was videotaping the shot for sale to the public. If the shoulder shot drops the animal in it's tracks, the taped kill could appear to be more humane to the anti's or uneducated. But the fact of the matter is that shoulder shot versus lung shot, the animals aren't likely to be brain dead any quicker one way or the other. It takes just about the same amount of time for the blood pressure to fall due to blood loss in both locations. My lung-shot game may move a little ways after the shot, but they're running dead on their feet.

I might shoot a bear through the shoulders if I needed to break him down up close, but even the three brown bears I've shot were taken with the broadside lung shot behind the front shoulders. The larger two both came off their feet at impact and never regained their footing. In fact the larger of the two was dead on impact. Literally. He squared 10' 5" and was hit from 130 yds (I'm not claiming long range) with a 225 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw from a 338 Imperial (equivalent to the 338 Edge). He dropped so quickly, and without even a twitch, that I thought I might have brained him. I couldn't believe a lung shot could put down a 1000 plus pound bear - instant lights out - like that. Because of these doubts, I watched and waited a good 15 minutes before even beginning to approach. About 25 minutes after the shot I was finally standing next to him, expected to see a head shot bear. But the bullet was centered in the ribs right where I had aimed.

I won't argue here with others about the efficiency of the kill between the high-shoulder hit or my lung hits. They will both produce humane kills. I'm happy with my lung shot clear of the shoulder. It's just as humane, offers a greater margin of shot placement error, and results in minimal meat damage.

Interestly enough, on my last brown bear hunt on Kodiak Island, while I was reviewing some literature produced by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, I read their recommendation and preference for the lung shot above and beyond the shoulder shot, because a lung shot bear is a dead bear. The long-held belief that the breakdown shoulder shot is the preferred shot for brown bear is resulting in more wounded bears than a well placed lung shot, in their opinion. Shot's missing the shoulder bones are often not as deadly as shots centered through the lungs because of that lack of lung damage. I'm not saying that Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologists are the final word on shot placement, but they normally aren't too far off base either.

In fact, I'm not saying I'm the final word on shot placement for any of our other forum members either. But I am for me, and that's how I do it.

Last edited by phorwath; 03-07-2008 at 02:49 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2008, 04:06 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: texas
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High Pocket shot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coues Sniper View Post
Thats what I would like to know. Seems like the traditional "behind the shoulder" shot would allow for more shooter error - especially if you happen to miss high. But vertical error would be less common than horizontal at (known) long ranges.
This is what we refer to as the "High Pocket" shot. Yes the margin of error is somewhat smaller than the heart/lung shot. If done correctly will anchor them on the spot.
Divide the body in 1/3s and line up on the front leg and shoot at the bottom of the upper third. It is best done with a perfect broadside profile, as both shoulder blades must be hit. If done right you will go thru the bottom of both shoulder blades, passing over the very top of the lungs, (that is the insurance) and just clipping the bottom of the spine.
The first reaction from the animal is the back legs will go out from under the animal (that is from the spinal trauma) and the head will usually whip back over the shoulders. The animal will almost always be dead when you get to it due to the lung trauma. If the hit is a little high, a finishing shot will be required. If the hit is a little low, both shoulders will be broke with severe lung damage, and the animal will run on its chin, but recovery will be short.
hope this helps
ddgo
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2008, 04:15 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 128
Seems to me that at long range, due to the the high apogee of the trajectory, as it meets the high shoulder would cause the bullet to plow through the heart/lung area anyway. I could be wrong as I have NO long range hunting experience and dared litrtle short range hunting experience. However, based on what I learned here and from the "Beyond Belief" DVD, the bullet drops more from above as opposed to entering the thoracic cavity laterally. If I am wrong, someone please correct me.
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