High Shoulder Shot question

greenejc

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Dec 26, 2012
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342
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Colorado, currently
I hit a cow elk in the heart with a 400 gr. muzzleloader bullet, and it ran 75 yards with no blood trail. X2 on Terminal Ballistics Research. That website is worth the read. They talk about the autonomic plexus, which is in front of the shoulder. I hit that on an aoudad and gemsbok, and DRT. After looking at the anatomy of elk, I try to aim just a little above center. With a lower velocity, or a muzzleloader, a scapula shot doesn't ruin as much meat. A .45 cal. 405 gr. high shot on or just below the spine will drop them in their tracks. I saw a low spine shot drop a cow, leaving a 4' half circle of blood spray from the lungs. I almost always hunt muzzleloader, so I go for the high percentage shot with the most room for error. I believe that to be on or just behind the shoulder, a little above center.
That's about right.
 

bearcat2

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Jul 13, 2009
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...250 yards was about his comfort zone and is a fairly long shot for a guy from New York.
Ouch!
P.S. I'm from the Adirondacks not NY lol
I like all my elk hunters to be comfortable to 300 and farther is better. But honestly most of them are from back east and used to hunting out of tree stands and often in shotgun only states, so many have never shot an animal over 100 and 200 is a long shot for them.

Can be a real challenge to get someone who a) has only hunted from a treestand and never shot without a rest and b) never shot anything moving, much less running; within >200 yards of a standing elk. By the time they find a rest or get their shooting sticks out the elk isn't usually standing there any more. :)

This guy grew up squirrel and rabbit hunting with beagles so he could at least throw up and shoot something on the move offhand. Between that, being in good hiking shape and a 250 yard comfort zone he was really one of my better hunters, probably the best this year. I had one guy this year who managed to hit an elk at a fast walk, offhand, one out of five shots at 60 yards this year. And that shot was through the pelvis while quartering away.
 

greatwhitehntr

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Feb 1, 2013
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132
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Northern NEVADA
For the most part it is the only shot I take.
Destroys the central nervous system and spine, at longer range it gives you more of a hit probability, left and right you are in the neck or front shoulder and lungs, high is clean miss and if it goes low it breaks front shoulder or shoulders into the pump room.
I will say that some bullets cause more damage / meat loss
 

greenejc

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Dec 26, 2012
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342
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Colorado, currently
As long as your hit is below the ball joint, it will be a good hit. It will hit the spine or break both shoulders if you're using a bullet big and heavy enough to get a pass through, and may clip the lungs. It will also disrupt the autonomic plexus most of the time. But if he's still standing, shoot again.
 

CHRIS MCBRIDE

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Jul 13, 2019
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Browns Summit, North Carolina
actually my favorite shot. A stated they normally drop in tracks and zero tracking. I shoot most my deer this way if possible and never had any real amount of back strap messed up.Now I do not shoot any much higher than I would if going boiler room.Heck I accidently loaded a 100 gr hollow point in my 7 mag few years back.Had a medium size buck come out at about 90 yrds.When it hit him it looked like someone busted him betweens eyes with 10 lb sledge hammer. I thought man got to get smaller gun. Bullet did not exit other side,but then he never budged so no tracking needed.
 

WildRose

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Feb 3, 2011
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N. Texas and S. Africa
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?
Done right you're punching a hole through the spine.

It's a risky shot in that if you're a little high sometimes you'll knock them down but they can then recover and run off before you get there if the spine is not hit.

Where on the animal? Just below the highest point on the top curve of the shoulder bade.



The down side is a lot of high quality meat gets wasted.

Honestly the much higher percentage shot is just above the elbow. Blow out the heart and/or one or both lungs with a good bullet and they won't go far and there's very little wasted meat.
 

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