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Shot Placement

1897 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Dana3of5
I hunt big game with Rifles, and recently have started using handguns. For right now, the only big game that I have hunted is whitetail deer and wild hogs.

On whitetails, I place the cross-hairs either half-way down right behind the shoulder, or in the middle of the neck. The neck shots drop the animals in their tracks. The behind-the-shoulder shots cause them to run up to about 100 yards and then they drop.

Where do you place your shots?

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Well Zach, when a neck shot is done right it's about as good as it gets. However there is fine line between a neck shot and a throat shot! You don't have to miss the spine by much to rip a throat out and you will have your hands full locating that animal. I have been on the track of more then one deer and antelope which could be heard gurgling in the distance. What a sickening sound with little chance of ever catching up with the escaping animal.

The lung shots usually kill really consistant and will fold them up in a 100 yards or less. The margin for shot placement error is high and animals shot into the lungs with an exit wound will sometimes spray blood out their sides when they breath and run. This makes the tracking job easy.

I personally shoot the front shoulders out, the loss of meat is insignificant to me. I would always rather lose 5-10 pounds of meat then the whole carcass to the coyotes or hyenas.

My prefrence is to brain an animal I intend to eat. I have dual crosshairs on my scope one is set for a 100 yard zero and the standard crosshair is set for 3" high at 100 yards. With the upper Crosshair on my rifle I can hit a coin at 100 yards with no holdover so meat hunting or in Africa "culling" is easy. Within a 100 yards an animal hit behind the eye is dead in it's tracks and never takes a step with no wasted meat.

If I'm hunting for trophies then the lungs or shoulders are going to be hit and I don't have the same concern over the loss of a little shoulder meat. If meat hunting is a very strong concern then remember to use heavy bullets with velocities as low as possible to get you the range you need. I know some guys are using 7mm mags in PA where they are shooting 150 yards or less. At that velocity it will hit the animal like a handgrenade! That is definately the wrong tool for the job! A slow 180 grain bullet from a 308 or 200 grain bullet from a 30/06 would do much less meat damage. The old 30/30 with it's 170 grain bullets at 2200fps was and is an excellent bush rifle for eastern deer hunting.
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I never really thought about an animal "gurgling" from a bad neck shot. Fortunately I have never had that problem, but I'm sure that next time I will think twice about it.

For moose, the area just below the Hump works well (spine, lungs, heart). There are no normal calibers that will absolutely guarantee a busted shoulder, and I don't go there. I have used neck shots on other animals, but generally, it's not my first choice.
Butt shots, in my opinion, on moose (and other animals as well) are a NO GO. No caliber normally used can penetrate that far reliably, that includes most, probably all, of the magnums. Sure, it can be done, but chances are real good it won't work. Only way I'd try it, is if I was chasing down wounded game.
I too was a firm believer of the neck shot when I was young and living in ND. After moving to Montana where the season runs two months I saw deer every fall with the lower jaws swinging in the breezes. Not a pleasant thing to view. Aim for the lung/heart area, you will be better served.
I shoot at the spot the will put my bullet into the "far" shoulder. That may be through the "near" shoulder, or in front, or behind it.

Deer PIC

I can't upload the photo, so if you want to see it email me, and I will send it.
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