Shoulder shots


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ricebasher302
June 25, 2009, 12:40 AM
Okay, this has bugged me for a long time, and maybe I'm missing something. Please enlighten me.

I grew up as a meat hunter. Big antlers are great and a fun challenge and a great trophy. However, in my family, if you blow out a shoulder, gut shoot a critter, butt shoot, etc, you're tarred and feathered, left to redeam yourself the following season.

When many shoot a critter broadside in the shoulder, assuming all else is up to par, they break the near shoulder, take out lungs and/or heart, and possibly break the off shoulder as well. The animal falls down immobilized and dies. Great.

But if I have the same broadside shot, I shoot behind the shoulder, take out both lungs and/or heart, and the animal dies in the same amount of time.

So why is it common practice for many to shoulder shoot their game? It requires extra firepower to take on the bone, which comes in the form of a heavier rifle. It blows the shoulder all to crap, which is wasteful and a huge pain if you process your own meat, which I do.

I just think it is lazy and unsportsmanlike if the only reason is to prevent the animal running 100 yards further. They do not die any faster.

I do understand that there are circumstances where you wouldn't want your animal running anywhere, but these situations are not encountered often enough to explain the rampant usage of this technique.

Am I missing something?

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interlock
June 25, 2009, 05:10 AM
No, i don't think so but your final paragraph "I do understand that there are circumstances where you wouldn't want your animal running anywhere, " gets it about dead on i think.

I don't agree with "I just think it is lazy and unsportsmanlike if the only reason is to prevent the animal running 100 yards further. The do not die any faster."

try finding a deer in thick summer woodland only 100 yards away without a dog!!


i neck or chest shoot, but i would shouldershoot if it was an animal nearer cover etc. I don't mind llosing a shoulder to keep the whole animal. my point of aim is half way up the body in a line corresponding with the back of the front leg on a true broadside. The bullet goes through the top of the heart. or one third up the body and the bullet goes through the middle of the heart.

Art Eatman
June 25, 2009, 09:28 AM
First off, my own preference has always been and always will be for a neck or cross-body heart shot.

But not all hunts are solely for the meat. Sure, save/use all the meat you can, of course, but there are other factors.

Say you have several thousand dollars spent on a hunt for that big trophy elk. You find him. You know that if his shoulders are broken down, you'll have that mount and the memories it represents--and you'll still have many meal's worth of elk meat.

I dunno. It's hard for me to get real excited over a few pounds of shoulder meat. Backstraps, inner tenders and the hams are the best part of the eating, anyhow. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

DeepSouth
June 25, 2009, 09:40 AM
I just think it is lazy and unsportsmanlike if the only reason is to prevent the animal running 100 yards further. The do not die any faster.

I think you did, to some extent, answer your own question. I'll add, here in AL our deer season in in the dead of winter so tracking isn't normally a problem. I also think if he runs 100 yards the shot was, well bad.

Shoot behind the shoulder (with a .243) and walk a straight line, for about 50+/- yards, in the direction the deer was facing and you'll nearly step on him. That said I sometimes feel lazy and I take the 7mm and bust through both shoulders.

2 cents ain't worth much anymore is it....:neener:......well that's mine

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 25, 2009, 11:05 AM
What Art said!

MCgunner
June 25, 2009, 11:16 AM
I don't find I lose a lot of meat with a decent light caliber and good bullet on shoulder shots. The .308 ain't tough on meat and, well,it's just shoulder meat anyway. So what I lose a little, it's all ground for sausage anyway. :rolleyes: My .257 does well on shoulders, too. At close range, the 7 mag will mess up a lot of shoulder, but I really don't shoot that gun much anymore. It's just too much for these little deer around here. I'm thinkin' I'm going to stick my light on it and use it to night hunt hogs. It'll kill, gut, and quarter a hog in one shot. :D Mainly, what has me thinkin' I'll do that is the fantastic, bright scope it wears, though. You don't even need the spotlight for that scope in bright moonlight, can see the crosshairs just fine, and, well, I feel a nice gun like that should be used for SOMEthing.

schlockinz
June 25, 2009, 11:52 AM
i always aim my shots right behind the shoulder, and sometimes I hit it.

Only deer that I've ever lost was a shot placed right behind the shoulder, good shot when we found the carcass (broken ribs right in the vitals) 2 months later. The ol' doe ran into some thick brush and I never found a blood trail on the black soil at night.

As for the not killing them any faster, I've seen shoulder shots drop them like a sack of rocks, no breathing or flopping once they hit the ground. I think it breaks the neck every now and then, pretty fast death, and thats all I really care about.

ricebasher302
June 25, 2009, 12:24 PM
All right. I guess some of it makes sense. Out West, it's not often I hunt deer in super thick cover. Most of the time, I can watch the animal from shot on till death. In large, heavy areas of thick cover at dark, I could see wanting to drop them in their tracks.

DeepSouth, you're right about the 100 yards thing. Every deer I've shot, besisides one has been with a .243, and those hit well never went more than 25 yards. Poor hits rarely exceeded 200 yards. So, I guess 100 yards is "worst case scenario" for a well placed shot. Heck, my cow elk only went 15 yards with a marginal shot with a .243. However big bull elk are tough, and 100 yards wouldn't be as out of line even if shot with an appropriate caliber.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you guys process your own meat? Why or Why not?

moosehunt
June 25, 2009, 12:51 PM
I do.

It saves a lot of money.

It's done how I want it.

I've yet to see a commercial processor do it correctly--though I'm sure there are some that do.

I used to be a meat cutter (meaning that's where my money came from).

MCgunner
June 25, 2009, 01:32 PM
i do it myself. I do it the way I want it. I grind a lot of it and make my own sausage. Buck ten a pound NOT smoked last time I had it made, too much money. I'd rather do it myself. I have the time and I'm cheap. Hell, to me, butchering has always just been part of the hunt.

~z
June 25, 2009, 01:59 PM
Another shoulder shooter here. I do a fair amount of cull hunting and often down multiple critters in a sitting. High shoulder shots are my choice because they tend to anchor them on the spot. If I have a deer run out of view, my hunt is finished because I have to go tracking. Otherwise I can sit and shoot.

Additionally I do all my processing and generally make about 500+ lbs of sausage each year. Those are mainly from the front shoulders.

~z

Cypress
June 25, 2009, 02:50 PM
The only thing I shoot directly in the shoulder is a hog. Behind the shoulder shots on them seems to result in lots of tracking and tree climbing. There's just not a lot of vitals behind the shoulder on them. We have always processed our own meat from cattle to hogs to squirrel. At the price some processing places charge you can buy your own set up if you hunt much.

wankerjake
June 25, 2009, 02:58 PM
I usually don't take shoulder shots but I might start. There was another post awhile back and somebody posted a video about how a bad shot at the high shoulder will still be a good shot. Ah jeez here it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boxndplzQmU

Anyway that makes sense to me, I think animals get gut shot a lot from people being a hair off shooting behind the shoulder. Also we grind the shoulders into burger/sausage so less meat is ruined than if you were making say roasts out of it, as has been mentioned.

However big bull elk are tough, and 100 yards wouldn't be as out of line even if shot with an appropriate caliber

I shot a small bull last year at around 200 yards with my 30-06. A few inches behind the leg, it was a good shot. Blew right thru the center of both lungs and out the other side. He went a good 200-250 yards. Not much blood either. If they don't have anything busted up they'll go as long as they can. I shot a deer (small buck) with my bow that went in kinda thru the neck/chest and came out the right shoulder blade. Cut his esophagus and a major vasculature. He went a good 200 yards without an apparent limp, I watched him keel over after about 200 yards. There is no telling what an animal is going to do every time, even if they are hit good. I think if I have a good rest and conditions are good I will continue to aim behind the leg, but If I want that animal down a shoulder shot is a good way to go. I've been trying it on coyotes and it sure puts them down hard, but they are much smaller than big game...

schlockinz
June 25, 2009, 04:02 PM
I've butchered and I've had butchered.

We've got a good butcher where I hunt, and I haven't had a place to do my own butchering during college (something about deer hanging in the dorms thats frowned upon)

snakeman
June 25, 2009, 04:26 PM
Shoot the animal in whatever vitals are offered for the shot if you have the opportunity to shoot where you like do it and you will be fine. If a neck shot is all that is offered take the shot etc. I like to put the bullet in the same place you do but my brother-in-law makes my nephew shoot for the head at 10 years old. That is wrong for the deer and shooter. When you are seasoned and skilled it makes no difference as long as the shot is in one of the sweet spots.

Austinite
June 25, 2009, 05:34 PM
When I shoot, I aim for the shoulders and hopefully Iíll catch both of them. If there is any type of angle, Iíll most certainly hit at least one of the shoulders. I was taught to be a lung shooter but no longer believe it is the best shot. Iíve chased down too many deer with good lung hits Ė most of which bled well but many did not. Some were not found until the next day despite many man-hours of searching. Exit wounds donít always guarantee good blood trails.

Deer shot through the shoulder DO die faster than lung shot deer. There are simply more vitals between the shoulders (heart, aorta, spine, front of lungs) than behind the shoulders (just the lungs). As a bonus, breaking down the front legs greatly reduces how far an animal can travel after being hit. Of the 100+ deer Iíve observed getting shot, Iíd say that lung shot deer run off at least 75% of the time and shoulder shot deer run off maybe 30-40% of the time. Run distances are consistently shorter with shoulder hits. While I certainly consider both shoulder and lung shots ethical, I consider shoulder shots more ethical because the animal dies faster.

Is meat ďwastedĒ? Well, I wouldnít use that term, but more meat is inedible. As others have pointed out, the quantity and quality of shoulder meat is low. Our family processes at least 7-8 deer ourselves each year, and we give away another 7-8. We arenít that worried about a few pounds of shoulder meat at the expense of hit animals potentially getting away and dying a little more slowly.

$0.02

ricebasher302
June 25, 2009, 05:56 PM
Snakeman, You probably put it best. I've taken several successful head shots, a neck shot or two, from the front, the back, and side. Take the best shot you can, and know that there's a chance things can go wrong even with a perfect shot as in Wankerjake's examples. It's hunting, not an exact science. With experience comes confidence.

Schlockinz, I graduated college a year ago and know what you mean. Whitetails fed me through college, and butchering was a little tough on a kitchen counter with two non-hunting roommates. Great memories, though.

Also, certain animals that I'm not as familiar with have different structures, such as hogs, bears, etc. A shoulder shot would probably be more appropriate as Cypress mentioned.

I think as long as my chest shots work for me, I'll continue, knowing there are times shoulder shots are justifiable.

ricebasher302
June 25, 2009, 05:58 PM
Good insight, Austinite

DRYHUMOR
June 25, 2009, 06:07 PM
A Sawzall with a 12 inch blade does wonders on bones.

I'll cut one up that way once and awhile. Mostly I debone as much as I can. Can't eat bones, and they are heavy.

Tip:

I learned if you place a deer on it's belly, and split the hide from the back of the head to tail, you can work out both hams, both shoulders, and all the loin.

Bend the rear leg at the knees, work the ball joint out of the hip socket.

And once done, the guts are still in the cavity, for coyote bait.

Asherdan
June 25, 2009, 06:21 PM
In season out here I often face hot weather. I also hunt terrain that is brush coated and constantly crossed by deep ravines. A deer that runs 20 yards is probably going off an edge and going to require me to rope down a brush choked hole, cut 'em up and rope out me and the pieces. Had to do that this year, took me six hours in the dark to get the meat and head out to a pick up spot. Fortunately it was cold enough that I didn't lose meat, in many years that would've been a worry.

I also use calibers (44 mag, 45-70) and bullet types that fit the close type brush hunting I do and don't blow the snot out of the surrounding meat. I shoot shoulders looking to fit the needs to the conditions.

Vern Humphrey
June 25, 2009, 07:48 PM
I just think it is lazy and unsportsmanlike if the only reason is to prevent the animal running 100 yards further. They do not die any faster.
Have you hunted in the Rockies?

A deer or elk that goes a hundred yards can wind up a hundred yards below you - often in terrain that you can't safely navigate yourself.

Lower yourself down to an elk carcass with a rope, then look back up the 200 feet or so near-vertical slope and ask yourself how you're going to pack out several hundred pounds of meat up that slope and the several miles to the nearest road, along with the hide and antlers before the meat spoils or gets fly-blown.

MCgunner
June 25, 2009, 08:52 PM
Quote:
I just think it is lazy and unsportsmanlike if the only reason is to prevent the animal running 100 yards further. They do not die any faster.


Have you hunted in the Rockies?

A deer or elk that goes a hundred yards can wind up a hundred yards below you - often in terrain that you can't safely navigate yourself.

Lower yourself down to an elk carcass with a rope, then look back up the 200 feet or so near-vertical slope and ask yourself how you're going to pack out several hundred pounds of meat up that slope and the several miles to the nearest road, along with the hide and antlers before the meat spoils or gets fly-blown.

Well, the idea is to harvest the animal and, yes, they do die faster many times when shoulder shot. Even if they don't, what's the difference, you have to watch the animal die? Does he suffer any more? If you lose that animal because he went 150 yards in heavy cover and didn't leave a good blood trail, it's an animal lost, not a good thing. Lookin' at this from a wildlife management point of view, the shoulder shot will more certainly spend a tag. Deer lost in the brush aren't accounted for. In effect, you've shot one deer without tagging it which means if you fill five tags (in Texas), you've actually killed SIX.

So, which is more sportsmanlike, anchoring the deer in place or losing it in the brush because you couldn't stand to watch it die? :banghead: I've been fortunate to not lose a deer. I've lost a turkey, I've lost lots of ducks, even a few when I had a dog. Did lose a hog, once. But, I've been fortunate with deer.

interlock
June 26, 2009, 04:43 AM
i process my own, however i have watched a butcher do it and did some learning from him.

Asherdan; "Keep your mouth shut and people will think you're stupid. Open it and they'll know for sure. " truly a great quote from Mr twain!!

i think we can be sure from the variety of answers that most experienced hunters use shouldershots now and then, circumtances prevailing

Speedo66
June 26, 2009, 10:24 AM
I shoot for the shoulder, and hope to break both.

If I destroy some shoulder meat, so be it.

I hunt in heavy eastern brush and forests, a deer running a hundred yards, particularly late in the day, may not be recoverable.

If I lost a deer I would feel terrible, not knowing if it were dead. If he (or she) runs an extra 100 yards, that may be an extra 100 yards I have to drag it.

I'll take the meat loss.

TexAg
June 26, 2009, 10:41 AM
Shoulder shots should be in the repertoire, as any animal will have varying responses to being shot. I recently shot a whitetail at about 75 yards and was very sure I had hit it, but there was no blood and he went to my right which was the way he was facing, out of my line of sight into some brush with a million paths leading in all directions. After an hour of not finding him I was nearly convinced I had missed, my scope was off or something because there was no blood and no deer. I then looked left and spotted him lying there not 25 yards from the spot I shot him. He had jumped right, gone down in a shallow creek bed and circled back left. There was a pool of blood under him, lungs demolished and one shoulder broken but not destroyed. They're unpredictable, and maybe if I'd broken both shoulders it would have done the trick more immediately, but there is sometimes no telling.

ricebasher302
June 26, 2009, 11:18 AM
Quote: "Have you hunted in the Rockies?

A deer or elk that goes a hundred yards can wind up a hundred yards below you - often in terrain that you can't safely navigate yourself.

Lower yourself down to an elk carcass with a rope, then look back up the 200 feet or so near-vertical slope and ask yourself how you're going to pack out several hundred pounds of meat up that slope and the several miles to the nearest road, along with the hide and antlers before the meat spoils or gets fly-blown."


Vern Humphrey, I'm from Wyoming, so I know what hunting in the mountians is like. I have indeed roped elk up near vertical inclines in hot weather, one particular episode comes to mind. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. All of my family shoots Behind the shoulder on deer and elk and have never really had a bad experience. We've all been very successful at recovering game. Perhaps someday that luck will run dry, but, for now, it's working well for me.

T.R.
June 30, 2009, 10:36 PM
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/organdiagram.jpg

This view shows where the vitals are located. Shooting into the shoulder on purpose sends splinters of bones throughout the chest. But sometimes this is the only shot one os offered.

TR

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