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Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

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Unread 02-07-2005, 04:11 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 2,369
Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

In another thread Brown Dog posted:


I hadn't considered the 'force multiplier' idea of brain shots for culling.

At the risk of hijacking a thread, would you mind taking a second to explain how you visualise your aiming point for a brain shot; deer face on, side on and oblique.

I've never brain shot a deer, so I don't feel wildly confident about the aiming point;

for eg, on Saturday I lay waiting for a doe to show herself over a convex slope (waiting to neck shoot her), meanwhile her young buck partner lay facing me.

To pass the time I moved my sight picture over the buck's face.

I think that a brain stem shot would have meant shooting between the nostrils- which made me think about how much bone, sinus etc the bullet would have to transit to reach the stem - a lot!

Shifting the POA higher -between the eyes, presented a 'glacis plate' of sloping skull bone.

What's the solution? [in case you wondered, the pair took off and I didn't get the shot!]

By the way, Bill B, Don't feel bad, I don't understand the SMK debate either:

Encouraged by the SMK reports that I read when I first discovered this board, I experimented by shooting an unopened tin of tomatoes at 200m with a 168 lapua scenar out of a 308.

Expected an explosion; nothing happened.

Thought I'd missed.

However, it was drilled dead centre

Next time I'm attacked by tinned tomatoes, Scenars will not be my projectile of choice

Each to his own I guess"

When I shoot cull/crop damage deer I try to make multiple kills per session and to do this the deer need to drop on-the-spot so as to not overly alert the other deer. To do this I often shoot head shots...here's a little about the structure of a deer's head and where I aim.

A deer's head is shaped a bit like a long dull wedge with the nose at the tip and brain at the rear. The brain case (cranium) comprises but a small portion of the entire deer head and a frontal shot, up the nose, must travel a fair distance through the nasal cavity crowded with soft tissue, bony septum and turbinates...not a good option.

When I shoot for a brain shot I prefer the deer be nose to the ground in a feeding stance so that the neck is stretched out and I have a clear path to the braincase. This allows a through-and-through shot, no meat damage and the projectile is close to the ground so less chance of it landing in an undesired area later in it's travels. There is also less chance the deer will see anything as is the possibility when shooting them from the side as they stand in the standard "posed" left or right stance.

The projectile needs to hit a tennis ball/small avocado sized object cradled in a cavity bounded by ear canals on the bottom rear, eye sockets on the bottom front with the rearmost edge being the cervical spine connection. I try to place the round at the intersection of a pair of lines, one drawn from each eye to the opposite ear canal. On frontal oblique shots the eye may be a good marker but the angle needs to be considered, a nose up stance as in flehman would not be a good choice. On rear oblique the ear canal would be good. I have on occasion shot them from a straight-on stance with the nose angled down good bit...my position being high than that of the deer.

Shots to avoid...darkish/low light shots at dawn or dusk when the critter is looking directly at the shooter or if the shooter is in a shadowy place. The beast will sometimes see the muzzle flash and do a quick little "snake head" maneuver and cause a erroneous impact...same applies to muzzle loaders and the billowing smoke upon discharge. Any straight-on up-the-nose shot should not be taken...the head may be twisted to the side on impact and the round will miss the brain but you'll have a beast with a face that looks like a peeled banana racing noisily around quite unhappy.

Best shots for me are head down and feeding as I stated earlier (either from the front or rear), I've shot several that were feeding straight away from me, the projectile passed through the throat and entered the brain from the bottom side. Shots from the rear (180) are the easiest as the critter is facing straight away, head high and the entire terminal cervical spine and brain are an easy unobstructed target/hit.

Not much of a shot from straight on nose up.

The ear canal (auditory nerve fossa) is low in the ear.

Shots from the bottom must miss the jaw bone.

Head down feeding makes for an easy brain shot.

Inner parts reveal the actual brain size...face shots are no good..the brain must be hit.

[b]"X" marks the spot but this would not be a good shot as he'll probably see the muzzle blast and move.[b]

A better shot but not too good for a buck to be mounted.
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Unread 02-07-2005, 04:26 PM
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Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

This is the first information I have read on this subject. Many wont talk about it because they feel a "head shot" is impratical because if your not a good shot then you will most likely wound the animal.
I try whenever possible a head shot, more meat, and a quick kill.
I do however know that a shot placed anywhere within an inch of the brain will net you the same result as a brain shot. The shock from the bullet impact will produce a wound channel that will include a good portion of the brain.
I have shot deer head on and placed the bullet impact at between the eyes and the top of the head and it creates a "U" wound channel and not much was left of the brain.
The shots I have taken while the deer were standing sideways were extremely violent, usually the other side of the head was missing and not much brain was left either.
I did however hip shoot a running doe that ran past me about 5 feet away and by luck alone I managed a head shot. She was still breathing but obviously most of the brain was gone as the hole she was breathing out of was her skull. This was the only time this has happened to me and I didnt feel bad as the deer didnt know it was dead just left over brain activity from the foramen magnum still intact. All of these shots were taken with Berger VLD bullets except for the hip shot deer.
Head shots are the way to go if you can shoot that good.
JM2C [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Unread 02-07-2005, 04:31 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Blighty
Posts: 637
Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session


Bloody hell, I think that is the most awesome answer I've ever received to such a short question! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Absolutely crystal clear. I had not appreciated the 'head down feeding' shot at all.

Brilliant explanation of the POAs.

Many thanks for the time that you must have taken [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Unread 02-07-2005, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sask. Canada
Posts: 2,410
Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

Excellent info and illustrations. Only thing I did not like about brain shots was the involuntary kicking and spasms that sometimes occured for some time after the critter was down. For some reason I did not get any of that when I shot into the middle of the white throat patch - no kicking at all. Did a lot of deer, with rimfires and .22 centerfires in the whitepatch with uniform results.
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Unread 02-08-2005, 12:17 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 166
Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

Ian, I had the same results, 2 yrs ago I took a large 6 and the shot was at about 60yds with a 20gauge shotgun. only head shot ever done but it went in the eye socket and out the oppsite ear. the buck dropped right there but kicked and thrashed for some time. But the does just stood there looking and never ran off for several minutes.

I got to say that thinking about it, whenever i have dropped the animal in its tracks, any animals with it seam to be stunned and would sertainly allow for a second shot for one of them as well.
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Unread 02-08-2005, 12:20 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,519
Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

Very informative. Thanks.

Does this info also relate well to bear? If I get a chance to hunt them this spring they will most likely be grazing. I would ecpect a head down shot to present its self as well as any other shot.
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!
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Unread 02-08-2005, 12:52 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sask. Canada
Posts: 2,410
Re: Cull Shooting...multiple kills per session

Best to avoid shooting a bear in the head if he is big and scoreable - the skull is the portion of the critter that is measured. Any damage effecting length or width can booger the skull for scoring. Head is also a small target and constantly moving. Also it is like rock, have had some bullets fail to penetrate. Same goes for neck, always moving, small target but both can be very fatal. Hit him about like Dave's deer illustration, maybe a bit back on the side shot. Center the neck from head-on and his nervous system is whacked.

I have shot hundreds of bears so can probably provide some advice on shot placement. Used to do it for a gov't agency. Used to train wardens/bios how to catch & kill/dart bears properly in field seminars. Break his shoulders, he will be down and paralyzed back of the impact - in other words he will not have back legs. Sometimes there is enough damage to kill with this shot, but usually he is on the ground and not going anywhere. After having done that shoot him in the chest and he will die. Don't shoot the chest (heart/lungs), break the shoulders and you have control over him. Nervous system is better to take out than respiratory/circulatory. Why track a bear when you do not have to...
Works for me - stopped a big brownie in Alaska in June with this shot, head-on and coming fast.
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