High Shoulder Shot question

ShtrRdy

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Last year I anchored a Cow Elk with a high shoulder shot. I was actually aiming for the heart/lung area but ended up high and forward. The Cow went down right away so that was nice. I was wondering if someone could explain what is actually happening to incapacitate the animal with a high shoulder shot? Also, what area on the animal will perform a high shoulder shot?
 

DrillDog

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Shot placement is 6"-8" below the top of the back dead center aim on the shoulder.

The bullet destroys the spine directly above the lungs and heart. That of course completely disables any mobility in all 4 of their legs or body. The bullet impact on the heavy bone of the spine creates massive explosive energy downward into the vital cavity that rips through all vitals with bone shrapnel and bullet fragments. They are instantly paralyzed so they cant run and it's a quick death because all vitals suffer massive amounts of damage. You could even say it's a more humane shot placement as well because they will not feel any pain with their spine severed.
 
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codyadams

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What he said, but I would take caustion intentionally targeting this area (you stated you weren't, this is more for later readers) because it gives a very small window of margin. For instance, if you had been aiming there, it would have been a total miss. Or even worse, if you were aiming just a little higher, it could have taken a chunk out of the elks back but not incapacitated it, leaving it to run off. If I want to anchor an animal in its tracks, and I am in a range and conditions that I consider optinal and can hit a small spot, I prefer to hit in a window about 2-3" tall depending on the animal, with the bottom of the spine being the top of the window, extending down 2-3". Even without directly hitting the spine, the hydrostatic shock temporarily (at least) parylizes the animal, and if the bullet performs properly, the lungs are destroyed as well, and the animal dies quickly.

If I do not feel comfortable on a shot with such a small window, but still know I can place it in the vitals, I aim top of lower third. Center body actually leaves less vital area above the POA vs below, where as top of lower third pretty closly splits the vitals (heart/lungs) in half. If I hit right where I aim, the animal generally does run, but if the bullet does its job, always less than 50 yards in my experience.
 

memtb

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What he said, but I would take caustion intentionally targeting this area (you stated you weren't, this is more for later readers) because it gives a very small window of margin. For instance, if you had been aiming there, it would have been a total miss. Or even worse, if you were aiming just a little higher, it could have taken a chunk out of the elks back but not incapacitated it, leaving it to run off. If I want to anchor an animal in its tracks, and I am in a range and conditions that I consider optinal and can hit a small spot, I prefer to hit in a window about 2-3" tall depending on the animal, with the bottom of the spine being the top of the window, extending down 2-3". Even without directly hitting the spine, the hydrostatic shock temporarily (at least) parylizes the animal, and if the bullet performs properly, the lungs are destroyed as well, and the animal dies quickly.

If I do not feel comfortable on a shot with such a small window, but still know I can place it in the vitals, I aim top of lower third. Center body actually leaves less vital area above the POA vs below, where as top of lower third pretty closly splits the vitals (heart/lungs) in half. If I hit right where I aim, the animal generally does run, but if the bullet does its job, always less than 50 yards in my experience.

^^^^^^^^^ this ^^^^^^^


However , it looks really spectacular in the “movies”..... at least after all of the edits! memtb
 

YZ-80

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I like the effects of a high shoulder shot for sure, but I hate what it does to the back straps on a whitetail, so I always go for the old “boiler room” shot. That said, it is also quite spectacular to aim a little low and get a perfect heart shot. This always seems to illicit the high back kick. Very cool.
 

ShtrRdy

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In my case the bullet didn't touch the spinal cord. The heart and lungs were not damaged. Could hydrostatic shock have affected the spine?
 

Plinker147

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In my case the bullet didn't touch the spinal cord. The heart and lungs were not damaged. Could hydrostatic shock have affected the spine?
A fragment could have severed spinal cord and not broke spine. I have had that happen several times.

I prefer the old fashion boiler room shot, most margin for error. I’ve shot a lot of elk with shoulder shots when we needed them DRT. I wasn’t eating them but I remember the people who got them always commented on the ruined meat.
 

lancetkenyon

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There is also a massive nerve cluster under the spine, above/in front of the lungs that will act like a light switch for the game animal. But, there is also a big void above the lungs and below the spine that might look like a perfect hit, but nothing vital is destroyed, and the animal walks away. So, for me, a vitals shot is always taken. In the crease above the elbow, between 1/2-2/3 way down the body.
 

ShtrRdy

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A fragment could have severed spinal cord and not broke spine. I have had that happen several times.

I prefer the old fashion boiler room shot, most margin for error. I’ve shot a lot of elk with shoulder shots when we needed them DRT. I wasn’t eating them but I remember the people who got them always commented on the ruined meat.
How does that type of shot ruin the meat?
 

MTLIVIN

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I would bet a good number of the critters shot on BOTW and LRP are finished off with a follow up shot that doesn't make the edits, especially when using smaller calibers. The top of the lungs isn't the deadliest area for a bullet but it can drop them as if struck by lightning. I shot a couple this way and didn't like to find them alive when I approached. I shoot for 1/3 up in the crease, they don't go far
 

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