Why I don't shoulder shoot elk!

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by bigngreen, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Not intending this thread to necessarily start an argument but to show guys who have yet to take an elk or have few under their belt just what it is that they are shooting through. Hopefully a couple pics will help keep surprises and bad days from happening!!

    Back story on the shoulder bones in the pictures, they are from a nice bull about a 290 class bull. Bull was shot with a 7mm mag with 150gr soft point at around 350yrds. He was making a break for it and when hit did an endo but was trucking on his front end and starting to get his back end back under him when a 165 Matrix crashed his neck. He made it around a 100yrds in a few seconds, if this would have been in heavy timber it would have been a crappy day and in some condition this would have been a lost elk.
    The bullet went through the shoulder, went OVER the spine and took the top of a couple vertebra of then exited the of shoulder. I've seen this exact shot placement exalted on sites as the perfect shot placement but you have to remember on large bulls to bring your placement down so as to impact the spine, at the place of impact the main spinal column is 8 in from the top of the meat add a couple inches of hair and your looking at 10 in down to impact the actual spine.
    I see this kind of shot placement every year cutting, most have a second shot placed to kill the elk, I've seen several elk healed over from hits like this with healed shoulders and missing parts of the back bone. Also seen elk that were stunned with a similar shot and be gone when you walk over to recover the animal. I cut a cow that was shot with a 8mm rem mag three times at these two spots, they slowed the cow down but did not bring her down, the only bullet that penetrated her past the on side shoulder was the one at the top of her shoulders the other two DID NOT penetrate, this was not even at long range!!

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    This is a picture of what your trying to shoot through if someone tells you to shoot for the point of the shoulder, for reference I have large hands and forearms being a mechanic. If you plan on consistently shooting elk at this point don't go with less than a 338 RUM class chambering driving a 250 gr size bullet. I've seen 30 cals fail time after time to make it through this bone, Barnes don't give you any special power either, been down that road as well.

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  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Nice pictures.

    You are exactly right, they can carry a sporting goods worth of lead.

    Once they start running, it can require a CNS, heart or double lung shot to stop them.

    AJ

    ps: My sig shows Michigan, but I grew up in Colorado and have seen elk do some absolutely astounding things.
     

  3. Catahoula

    Catahoula Well-Known Member

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    I have put down several elk with that shot using a 25-06 and 100 grain partitions. You cannot sell that B.S. to me. Also alot of deer.
    Kirk
     
  4. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    I have shot elk everywhere, with 243 up to big 338's and I dont shoulder shoot for my prefered shot. I have taken 15+ with stick and string, boiler room does it. Very good pictures
     
  5. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    The pics don't lie, bull was trucking and bullet did not impact the spinal column. What's BS?
     
  6. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    This seams a little knee jerk to me there is no BS intended. I think its good advice bigngreen is giving. I cut alot of deer here in NY and its very amazing the wounds we see these animals have survived. If you have shot them through the shoulder in the past and recovered them thats great for you. But here we like to air on the side of caution no one want to loose and animal or worse yet to have one suffer. In my opnion any information that helps you do that is good information not BS.
     
  7. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Great pictures, I always learn something from bigngreen's anatomy lessons. Just cause a thing hasn't happened to you doesn't make it bs. The truth of what happened in this case also doesn't take away from a different experience someone else may have.
     
  8. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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    isn't that the shot the folks from The Best in The West like and the elk just ddrt?
     
  9. Topgun 30-06

    Topgun 30-06 Well-Known Member

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    IMHO they do that for the effect it will have on camera since the main reason for that show and it's spinoff is to sell rifles and scopes! It's much more dramatic to see the animal go right down than if they had to go and track it down like they might have to with a lung shot animal. Personally I very seldom ever shoot an animal other than through the lungs because if he doesn't drop right there he normally will go down in short order within sight.
     
  10. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    That is the classic top of the shoulder shot, that's why I posted it to show people that on a big bull hold lower to impact the spine. On a small bull or a cow that would have been money, blown a section of spine to bits they may have tried to wiggle a little or just been flat out. If you've watched BOTW you'll see a couple shots where they DRT a bull then pan away but the hero shots are not in the same place the bull took the hit and theirs a drag trail in the snow, there is one hit where the bull drops but you see him getting up on his front end as they are panning of it for shooter commentary. I've slammed elk on the ground and had them revive and try to make of a half hour later!!

    I'm just trying to give guys a look at what actually is under all that fur and just what they are shooting at. Look at the size of that knuckle, DANG!! Good test would be to go find a fist size rock and try to shoot through it and find your bullet in the ground behind it. Not say you would never shoot through it cause I have, but then again I have had bullet fail to penetrate it, saw two hit at that joint this year that did not penetrate the chest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  11. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    I have never hunted Elk, but plenty of Whitetail deer and IMO you never want to aim above the spine!
    IMO, to do so is totally a mobility shot and NOT designed to kill.
    Now the scapula moves up and down with leg movement so care needs to be taken not to follow it up past the spine. IMO, the high shoulder shot is designed to blow bits of bone fragments into the heart/lung area or take out the spine or all of the above.

    edge.
     
  12. WapitiBob

    WapitiBob Well-Known Member

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    The problem, most believe the spine is higher up than it really is.
    This is a Deer but the ratio will be close to the same.
     

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  13. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    Good discussion and pics, guys, and thanks for starting it BnG. It's making me think about my shot placement a bit more critically.
     
  14. Topgun 30-06

    Topgun 30-06 Well-Known Member

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    That's a good picture to see how much meat there is from mid area on up towards the neck. If an animal is hit there with an arrow, there is a good chance the animal will live and I've seen a number of photos with an arrow sticking out of the animal like nothing has happened. However, hit with a bullet it may go down because of shock, but it may get up within a few seconds if it isn't shot again and it will live with little to no blood trail. A number of animals I read about where guys say the animal went down like a rock and had to be dead, only to watch it jump up and never see it again are classic examples of where the animal was probably hit in that meaty area, but note in any vitals.