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Bullet Placement is everything....Isn't it?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Poper, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Poper

    Poper Member

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    This year's deer hunt was really short and easy.
    When I arrived, I had a pheasant run across the access road right in front of my truck as I was driving into camp. I was a little later than everyone else and they were out for the opening morning hunt. So I parked my truck, grabbed my shotgun and shells and went for a pheasant walk. No shots fired in anger and I found a lot of deer tracks between the adjacent alfalfa field and brush cover on the opposite side of the access road/trail. This was interesting to me and gave me my late afternoon plan for the late day hunt: Pick a hay bale in a low spot that showed evidence of deer traffic nearby. I drew a "antlerless whitetail" tag this year.
    Along about 3:30 pm I saluted the other guys and walked off to the south side of the shelterbelt (about 150 yards from camp) and began walking east. After the first 20 yards or so after turning the corner, I looked to my right while walking and there was a whitetail doe, head up, watching me. I had my rifle slinged over my shoulder, so I just kept walking thinking she may not think me dangerous to her if I kept going and did not stop. I didn't stop until I was behind a hay bale and she could not see me. I peeked around the bale and waited until she returned to feeding. I then brought my rifle around the bale and aimed using a kneeling position, waiting for her to raise her head. I let the trigger break on the kill zone when she was standing still, looking in my direction, taking the typical, classic heart-lung shot. She was quartering towards me from her right side and she was slightly higher than me at about 70 yards or so. I took the shot it and hit her mid point of the second rib. The bullet broke the rib, deflected upwards, struck squarely on the spine and blew out about four inches of spine and an additional six inches plus of backstrap meat! :cuss: :thumbdown::thumbdown: Woe is me!! :notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:

    Total hunt time to kill: About 7 minutes.
    Rifle: Tikka T3 Hunter. .30-06 Spfld.
    Scope: Leupold VXII 3-9x40 in Warne rings.
    Ammo: Federal 150 grain Sierra Game King.
    Performance: 3 round groups right at 1 inch, center-to-center.
    Sighted: 2" high at 100 yards.

    For next year, I am going to practice my head/neck shots and concentrate. I feel like I am being lazy taking the heart/lung shot that close in. At least a head/neck shot doesn't destroy meat. :scrutiny:
     
  2. Olon

    Olon Member

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    Neck meat is good stuff. Not as good as backstrap though I suppose. Congrats on a quick and easy hunt!
     
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  3. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    I understand your frustrations with losing meat but I always aim for the vitals if possible yes I lose some meat but I don’t want to risk losing it or injuring it
    91EC3D3B-4104-4C95-AD1F-06A4C31FE484.jpeg
    yes I lost this front shoulder but this doe never took another step
     
  4. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    It does if you miss by a tiny amount and blow the deer's jaw off or nick the trachea. Then you've wasted the entire deer.
     
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    As you learned, bullet placement isn't everything. In fact, it is nothing without penetration and trajectory. You can place the shot where you want the bullet to go and the bullet may penetrate sufficiently, but if it deflects as it did in your case and goes on an unexpected trajectory, you don't end up with the damage you expected.

    One should never take "head shots" or "neck shots" exactly. They really need to be brain or spine shots. You may get lucky and not hit the spine or the brain and still bring the animal down, but then again, you may not. A shot that passes over the spine and behind the head may only take out a bit of neck muscle and related soft tissue, injuring the animal that may actually survive. Too far below the spine and you missed the major blood vessels, trachea, and esophagus. Keep in mind that on "head shots" that much of the head is inclusive of non-vital structures such as the nose, jaws, etc. As such, it really needs to be a brain shot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  6. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    It is my opinion that if bullets deflect after hitting bone, the bullet was not heavy enough.

    I understand that 150 gr bullets from 30 cal rifles have been killing deer quickly for ages. However, I’m not going to ever agree that a head or neck shot is some kind of solution to a bullet deflection problem. Quartering towards shots have a high probability of hitting bone upon initial entry. It is good to plan for such a shot in your bullet/cartridge selection.

    I am a believer in trying to get an immediate one shot stop. I am also a believer in taking high percentage shots. I don’t think head and neck shot on deer are high enough percentage much outside of 20 yds. Not for me.

    I am a believer in heavy bullets and big holes. My 30-06 has never seen anything lighter than a 180 gr bullet shot at game. I don’t use that gun much because I usually use 300 gr 44 Magnum or 300 gr 444 Marlin.

    Don’t misinterpret this as me starting a caliber or cartridge war. A 30-06 is definitely enough gun for whitetail. I am a believer in heavy for caliber bullets for most hunting. I am also a believer in the heart/lung/shoulder shot for quickly killing game the highest percentage of times.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  7. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Sometimes stuff just happens.

    i've always been very careful about ruining meat: Won't do shoulder shots. My shots were in the heart/lung area. Deer often ran some distance after being shot.

    In 2000-2001 i began hunting almost exclusively with .50-.54 caliber muzzleloaders. Again most shots were in the heart/lung area. After reading Double Naught Spy's writings i began taking some CNS shots. Properly executed CNS shots are dead right there shots.

    Saturday after Thanksgiving last year a friend, his son and i went deer hunting on my property in Garvin county. Not wishing to interfere with their hunting, i sat in a chair at the shooting bench, reading a book. About 09:30 i looked up and there stood a huge doe about 70 yards away. Took careful aim and unleashed a high just behind the shoulder shot. Bang flop!

    Later i watched while father and son field dressed and skinned the deer. The bullet passed just under the spine. There was a bruise on the back straps over the bullet hole. The 250 grain bullet was traveling at about 2,000 fps when it impacted.
     
  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I will (and have) taken neck shots on deer with my centerfire rifles under the following conditions:1- the deer won't turn and give me a broadside shot, or 2- I'm running out of daylight and don't want to look for the deer in the dark. I don't really care for "neck roast", and I have taken these shots as far as 100 yards.
     
  9. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    Lots of neck shots taken every year out west here, it was common practice in the "olden days" for meat gatherers wanting to preserve the best meat that used "sub-standard" rounds that don't kill deer anymore. Still works today.

    It comes down to be confident in your abilities through practice, know your limitations, use the right projectile and cartridge for the job, wait for the right timing and position of the animal, and don't take dumb shots.

    I'm not going to fault those that want to "anchor" the animal by destroying a front shoulder (although there have been plenty of game that oddly enough can run on 3 legs) as it is a good shot as well, or a vital shot through the chest cavity. But to say that a neck shot is a poor shot doesn't hold water at least out here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  10. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    @Poper that's a bummer about your ricochet hitting the back strap, but not much you could've done differently.
     
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  11. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I'm a fan of head shots on deer. There are requirements though.
    1) know the anatomy.
    2) you must be able to consistently hit a golf ball at the range you want to head shoot
    3) have a solid rest
    These are my parameters.
    This makes my 400 yard gun a 125 yard one.
     
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  12. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Luke

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    Personally, I like shooting game through the lungs and/or heart. But I wouldn't hesitate to take a shot at the neck.
     
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  13. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    We use to hunt in Pennsylvania years ago. My brother bought twenty acres off a four hundred-fifty acre farm. We had the entire farm plus three other conected farms to hunt on.
    On the back side of the farm was a farm no lo ger in operation and the old guy would watch the field across the street for deer to shot at. If they didn't do down by the time they hit the tree line he never went to check.
    He shot at a nice eight point buck, the deer ran like no tomorrow across the stree and onto my brothers twenty acre parcel. My oldest brother shot it and dropped it in it's tracks. That old SOB shot that deer in the jaw right where it hinges, it was almost completely severed flopping in the breeze.

    A couple of guys who hunted this old guys property would find several dead deer a year close to that field. The field was situated across the street from his house and ran uphill. He would sit on his porch and take pop shots at the deer if they adventured out of the woods and into his field.
    What a waste of life and fine edible meat.

    I,ll never get that memory of that poor deer with that jaw just hanging down. If my brother didn't shoot it and put it down it would of had a miserable death.

    Another bad shot was taken up outside of Ithaca New York a few decades ago. A guy I knew toof a head shot at a deer and hit it with a 12 gauge rifled slug square in the nose and the deer took of. He took a second shot at the fleeing deer and missed.
    No snow so tracking was next to impossible.
    A few days later another hunter shot that buckthe slug stopped shot of and needed features to live. Another flubbed up head shot. It this other guy didn't shoot it that deer would of had a horrible death, let alone the suffering it endured for three days.

    Crap happens no matter what. There are factors that come into play. Bad shots like the first incident and bad shot placement like on the second one.

    I quit hunting deer with shotguns years ago use rifle only. . I find I lose less meat, I have better shot placement and get shots at greater distances.

    Some people prefer shotguns, i prefer rifles and will never go back to shotguns for deer hunting.
     
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  14. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    What, like actual hunting? And being prepared to go home empty handed for lack of a good shot?

    Harumph! Harumph, I say!

    :)
     
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  15. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I've always been an inveterate meat hunter. Running public land and small parcels, not a lot of trophy bucks to be had anyways. I favor the neck shot under proper conditions. Under 100 well supported, under 50 offhand + stationary deer. It's best done with a regular soft point, leave the premiums at home unless you're light for caliber. It requires skill and confidence from field positions, and destroys very little good meat. Deer are universally dropped in their tracks. The aiming point is not high on the neck unless they are very close, rather below the midpoint slightly above the shoulder.
     
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  16. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Well, I have taken head and neck shots in the past. Three years ago I shot a nice mulie buck with a head shot. He was laying down, head up watching a party of hunters about 150 yards or so to the left. I put the crosshairs just behind his left ear. The bullet entered at that point and exited just above the right nostril. I was using my .270 silhouette rifle with 140 gr. Berger bullets and know that at 200 meters, the bullet hits the crosshair aim point exactly.

    Several years ago, I was hunting in the Bear Lodge mountains of NE Wyoming near Devil's Tower. I spooked a whitetail doe out of a draw and she ran uphill. I knew the area very well and expected her to do the usual whitetail characteristic of looking back at what spooked her before continuing down the other side of the rise she just ran up. I took a knee, got her in my scope as she ran and when she stopped at the top of the rise, the trigger broke and the crosshair was centered 1/2 way between the head and the shoulder - exactly where the 165 grain Hornady Interlock from the old Remington 788 in .308 Winchester struck. Bang, flop. Paced out at 236 paces or about 197 yards using a 30" step for measure. Fluke? Maybe. I shoot metallic silhouette competitively at the "A" class level, so the kill zone of a deer at 236 yards is about the size of the 200 meter chicken. Not a difficult target, even offhand (unless you have uncontrolled breathing due to exertion), and kneeling is my favorite field position because it feels so natural to me. It very natural to drop into the kneeling position and be instantly set into my "Natural Point of Aim".

    Our hunting group is for the most part, meat hunters. If a guy has a "any deer" tag or "any antlered deer" tag, he is unlikely to pass up a big buck, but will probably pass on a young one ("leave him for seed, let him grow"). We prefer to take young does. Interestingly, all six tags this year were filled with antlerless deer. One button buck and the rest does.
     
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  17. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I agree, DH.
    I have come home with more than one tag in my pocket. I do not fear leaving a tag unfilled. As a matter of fact, there was a wall in my shop (before we moved) with past unfilled tags glued to it. Quite a few, I must say. :scrutiny: :what:
     
  18. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    A 30-06 bullet has the speed and energy to kill any animal within North America. I feel that it is too much for deer at typical forest distances but not arguing with success.

    TR
     
  19. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Well, TR, where i typically hunt (SW SD) shots can range from 30 yards to 500 yards or more. A .30-06 is a pretty good compromise between the .30-30 and the ultra flat shooting .300 Win Mag., 300 WSM, .300 Wby., .300 SAUM etc. I am growing particularly fond of my Tikka T3 Hunter in .30-06. It is light, easy to carry and hits like Thor's hammer at most hunting ranges. This year, 1 shot, 1 kill. Bang, flop.

    I have killed deer in that area in ranges from 35 yards in a shelter belt (with a 95 gr. .243 WSSM) out to 433 yards across a picked corn field (ranged; .270 Winchester, 140 gr. Berger).

    For my type and area of hunting, I believe the .30-06 is a reasonable compromise.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
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  20. HB

    HB Member

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    Its important to be competent and 100% confident that when you pull that trigger you know that deer is dead.

    However, really weird things happen with bullets. Be prepared for a track or a follow up shot... this aint TV.
     
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  21. Poper

    Poper Member

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    Very true. I shot a doe one year dead on, dead center with a .270 Win. With a 140 gr. Nozler Balistic tip at about 40 yards. It penetrated about 2" before it exploded. The deer ran off about 70 yards or so. There wasn't a piece of her heart bigger than the end of my thumb.
    Go figure!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
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  22. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I am a firm believer in using enough gun just to cover the oops. For example, I took a poke at a mulie buck across a canyon at a guesstimated range of 400 yards. My sight-in should have me 14"-16" low at that distance. Everything looked good. I had a good rest and the crosshair was about 6" over the back as I squeezed one off. That was the exact time Mr. Mulie decided to take a step. I saw him kick a back leg and knew instantly that I had taken him too far back. He stood for a minute hidden in brush and finally fell rolling about 100 yards down the hill. He would hang up in the brush and kick his self loose finally coming to a halt among some oak brush. My 130gr Speer out of my 270 had taken him in the center of his ham blowing a hole through the Femoral Artery. Would a smaller caliber do as well? I doubt it.
     
  23. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    I really don't like that phrase..., well to be clear, I don't like that phrase when I've heard it from persons other than Captcurt....because the others don't seem to mean quite the same thing that he does...... :(

    Alas, my friend, your definition of the "oops" is the unplanned event, which had it not happened, the deer would've been down, no worries. However, where I am there seem to be waaaay too many hunters that practice this idea, when they actually should practice their shooting, and also practice their tracking. ;)

    I have often heard men preparing to go to their annual deer camp, exclaim that at least a .30-06 is needed, but they use a .300 WinMag or .338 WinMag to be certain of killing the deer. Any large magnum rifle would be ideal, really, for the whitetail are so big that "anything smaller simply won't put the deer down." And always their shots are under 300 yards, and more often than not, at around 100 yards. :confused:

    Too many guys these days seem to rely on massive cartridges at relatively close range hoping these will make up for craptastic marksmanship, often combined with poor tracking skills. To them the .35 Remington or the .30-30 Winchester out to 200 yards "won't kill a deer". Some will say the .25-06 or the .270 won't do well either, and the .243 is nothing but a "little kid's cartridge for killing small doe". :scrutiny:

    When I worked part-time at the LGS, I sold a fellow a Remington 770 (plain-Jane model 700) in .270 Winchester, a good 4x scope, and a 30 round "hunter's special" box of Federal brand ammo. We mounted and bore sighted the scope, and the customer finished sighting in the rifle the following day. He then drove up to the "deer camp", a cabin in PA, and was promptly told I had taken advantage of him, since I didn't sell him a "magnum". Opening day was the following morning after my customer arrived at the cabin. He was a good shot and took a nice 5-point buck on day one, much to the amazement of his cohorts. ( He stopped by when he got back with photos and to thank us for our recommendations). :D

    I have only two types of shots in my "bag o' tricks". Either the broadside lung shot, or the quartering-toward-me shoulder shot. I'm a bit different though, as I'm using a comparatively heavy, all lead projectile, at a pretty slow speed, and shooting 100 yards or less. I only added the shoulder shot last January, as I have always done well with the broadside lung shot, and if I couldn't get it, I'd pass on shooting. A neck or head shot was out of the question for me...they still are. However an online fellow BP hunter wrote how he had spent two years using only shoulder shots, or he'd pass, and had harvested around a half dozen deer. The shoulder shots had, so far, all be highly successful. So I tried my first one, and indeed, the deer dropped as if poll-axed.

    So agreed, weird stuff happens from time to time. It's good to have a "forgiving" load, and I'm using a .54 instead of a .45 for just that reason. Just so long (imho) as the hunter doesn't always count on "forgiveness", it's a good idea..............

    LD
     
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  24. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I did lose a deer one year to a lung shot. .308 at about 50 yards, 165 gr. Sierra Pro Hunter at 2630 fps muzzle vel.

    Bullet apparently did not exit. No blood trail and lots of Deer tracks like a four lane highway. The deer walked away into the trees as though nothing happened. I waited for several minutes before following so that if wounded he would not spook and run off into the next county. As above, could not track as very high game trail activity and no blood. That really bothered me.

    Found the apparent remains of this buck the following year about 300 yards from place where shot, down hill and cross hill, under a low branched spruce. (We hunted the same small ranch in the Black Hills for several years.)

    Sometimes things just happen.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 10:46 AM
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  25. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Yes...sounds like maybe some sort of bullet failure. Zipped right through your deer with very little mushrooming effect. Blood loss after a good amount of time did the buck in, with all that blood being trapped inside the body cavity. It does happen. My deer this past October only showed blood where she was hit. Lung shot, but she didn't cough until she got to where she piled up. Only went 30 yards but went down in some tall grass in a windfall clearing inside the woods.

    LD
     
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