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Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

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Unread 06-24-2013, 03:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Idaho Falls
Posts: 300
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Originally Posted by phorwath View Post
I've never shot for the front shoulders intentionally when a broadside shot behind the front shoulders was available. Started out archery hunting at 13, which required aiming for the ribs behind the front shoulders. Anyone that's shot a large game animal thru both lungs with a sharp broadhead on an arrow already understands how quickly lethal that wound channel is.

The State of Alaska Fish & Game department has produced an informational pamphlet for brown bear hunters, encouraging behind the shoulder shots thru both lungs, preferentially to targeting the front legs/shoulders. They seem to believe that the front shoulder shot is too small a target, and a high risk shot for wounding brown bears, compared to a broadside shot just behind the front legs and shoulder meat. The bear can travel a little ways when shot behind both front shoulders, but not so far as to be unable to recover. The bear does expire reliably and readily after the heart/lung/artery area has been damaged. That's where I've shot the brown bears that I've killed. And most every other game animal for many years now. It's the largest lethal target, allowing the maximum room for slight errors in bullet placement, in my opinion.
I would concur, great point.

The 2nd Amendment......America's original Homeland Security.

Ethan Parke........roped the deer in 1953. Put tags in his ears turned him loose then shot him in 1955. Always liked this pic
The story was told to me by his wife who owned the little motel we stayed at on a deer hunt in Malta Idaho about 17 years ago...... Youll never see that again. Just a cool pic of Idaho deer huntin history
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Unread 06-25-2013, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 654
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Why not just aim for the off shoulder if you still want to hit bone? As for caliber my buddy's 6.5-06 with 140 Sierra SBT's has taken some large bulls over the years and somewhere taken at 500 or 600 yards. So you do not need a monster magnum and that rifle has 4 bulls that score over 350.

 I shot a cow elk at 80 yards in the high shoulder with a 7mm STW and a 180 Berger VLD leaving the muzzle at 3150fps and she dropped like a brick. The bullet went through the shoulder and bottom of the spine and exited. Here is a picture of an exit on the off shoulder from a cow elk I shot with the same rifle and load at 357 yards. Granted it did not dead center the shoulder but it did hit some bone and a rib as well.


I watched my brother in law on his first cow elk bust both front shoulders with a 200 SMK out of a 300 win mag at 284 yards. The bullet was found under the hide on the off shoulder. That never knew what hit her. My cousinís first elk was shot with a 190 Berger vld out of a 300 wsm and it was a higher shoulder shot. Again that elk went down hard.

 Now if I knew I was going to shoot an elk in the timber and at hard shot angles I would plan for it and choose a bullet like an Accubond or Partition and so on.
Fast, Flat, and Accurate
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Unread 06-25-2013, 11:18 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 160
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Wicked illustration!
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Unread 06-25-2013, 09:42 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 49
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

30 cal bullet test, cow femurs and newspaper part 1 - 24hourcampfire

Interesting 30 Cal test on cow femurs.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 12:24 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 243
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Ok ive been watching this thread for while now most of the time i have been shaking my head in disbelief after reading many of the posts. First of all let me start by saying i personally like to shoot all biggame animals behind the shoulder. The reason is very simple, it works! I belive that i have the best chance for deep penitration and a better wound channel this way. I am also confident in my ability to track and recovery an elk that has been shot through both lungs and or the heart. That being said i have experienced times when animals did not go down right away when shot through the lungs. If one of my clients needs to make a follow up shoot i always recommend a shoulder when possible.

Ok next topic. I think it is bad advice to recommend a 300 whatever to every elk hunter who comes along. I wish i had kept track of how many hunters have come on guided elk hunts with some kind of 300 and could not handle the recoil and were piss poor shots because of it. I promise there are more people who are over gunned than there are people who can benefit from the big guns. I think it is a caliber envy thing. Ill take a hunter who can confidently and comfortably shoot an elk in the vitals over someone toting a big and has a flinch every time. I think there are calibers that are mostly too small for elk but ill keep those opinions to myself or this discussion. With that being said i have either killed my self or been in on hundreds of elks kills over the yeas. Many and probably most were with a caliber smaller than .308 and for along time and maybe still convinced that there is not a better elk gun (many just as good) inside of 300 yards, than a 30-06 shooting a 180gn bullet.

My advise is to shoot elk with the gun that you have the best chance for success and aim for the spot that will do the same.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:09 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 1,366
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Wyodog---You are one smart feller and I agree with every single word you said!!! If most guys would take a 30-06 with a good 165 or 180 grain bullet they'd see exactly what you're talking about.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 01:26 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ft Rucker
Posts: 17
Re: Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Don't take shoulder shots with soft bullets if you want penetration. A better choice would be a Partition, Accubond, TTSX, TSX, etc, if going through heavy bone. Can the others make it sometimes? Sure. Sometimes they don't.
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