“Power cannot make up for poor bullet placement to any significant degree.” Finn Aagaard
With the hunting season right upon us, let’s continue our study of making a clean, humane shot that will bring home the venison. In the last installment, we talked about the importance of selecting the proper bullet and matching it to the game to be hunted. However, it is just as important to give thought to where that bullet must be placed.
A lot of deer and pronghorn hunters like to put their bullet right behind the shoulder, on a broadside shot. This placement will impact the lungs, create sufficient tissue damage, and bring the animal down in short order. The only trouble with this shot is that it will not always bring the animal down right away and you may have a bit of tracking to do before you collect your trophy. In heavily hunted areas, other hunters may collect the animal and claim it before you can follow up the trail.
A shot that I have come to prefer is one that is placed on the center line, or just below the center line, directly into the shoulders. This shot not only impacts the lungs but it may well impact the heart, or the big arteries feeding into the heart. The animal doesn’t seem to go as far, if he goes anywhere at all.
This is an especially good place to deliver your bullet if you are hunting game larger than deer, such as elk, moose, bear, or the various bovines. These animals take a bit more killing before you are ready to get your skinning knife out. An additional benefit of this shot is that one might also break one, or both, of the shoulders and that really puts them down. The only drawback is that some of the shoulder meat might be bloodshot from the bullet’s impact. I figure that’s a small price to pay for having a trophy on the ground quickly.
The shots to be avoided, in most cases, are those to the neck and head. If your bullet is a little off, you’ve got a wounded animal that is capable of running quite a ways and, in fact, may take days to expire.
The smart move is to give some thought to the anatomy of the game animal that you are after and make every attempt to place your bullet where it will do the most good. A one-shot kill is the mark of a true hunter and the most humane way to collect your trophy.