Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 69

Knowing the location of an animal’s anatomy (heart, lungs, spinal cord) builds confidence in shot placement. FRONT QUARTERING POSITION 1 FRONT POSITION 4 4 3 1. HIGH SHOULDER When needing to put an animal down instantly, a high shoulder shot is common on larger game species like elk, moose, bear and even deer. The bullet breaks the shoulder instantly leaving the animal immobilized. This also requires a more precise shot. While a well-placed shoulder shot can be effective, it also potentially damages a lot of meat. 3 BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY Broadside Position. 2 2 REAR POSITION BROADSIDE POSITION 5 4 4 1 3 2 REAR QUARTERING POSITION 5 FACING FROM ABOVE POSITION 6 4 3 2 2. HEART Arguably the best shot placement on most big game animals. While it is never as imme- diate as most people think, it is the most commonly placed shot in big game hunting. This shot is usually attainable with an animal standing broadside, quartering away or facing the hunter. The downside to a heart shot is the bullet often deflects from the rib bones, and there is a risk of meat loss. The upside, however, is that most heart shots will hit both lungs which makes for a quick kill. Penetrate one lung, however, and the hunter will likely have to track the wounded animal. BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY Quartering away, Broad- side. 3. LUNGS When both lungs are penetrated it results in a quick death. This is the preferred target area for archery hunters preferred target for both archery and rifle hunters. Not only do the lungs pres- ent the largest target area on an animal, but when a bullet or arrow penetrates the lungs the animal has difficulty breathing and will eventually drown in its own blood and soon expires. A lung shot on an animal in a rear quar- tering position also will penetrate the heart. If only one lung is penetrated the kill may not be immediate, and will require some tracking. Fortunately, the animal expires quickly. BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY Broadside Position. 4. NECK Shooting an animal in the neck might reduce damage to any meat, but the odds are not great of quickly killing quickly. That is unless you hit the animal’s spinal cord. Like a shot to the brain, the target area is small (roughly 5 inches). The carotid artery is also located within this area but it too is a small target area. Another potential issue with a neck shot is hitting the shoulder blade, which will wound an animal but likely not pene- trate the spine. The result is a wounded animal. BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY Front, Rear Quartering Positions, Front Position, Broadside Position. 5. HEAD A well-placed shot to the brain will kill an animal instantly, but the drawbacks outweigh the reasons why many people avoid taking a head shot. First, the brain is a small area and most hunters are not nearly as accurate with a rifle as they’d like to think. It also means penetrating a thick skull, and a brain shot will jeopardize mounting the an- imal for taxidermy purposes. Simply put the results can be a grotesque. Unless the animal is close and no other shots present themselves, this is a last resort shot and in most people’s opinion should be avoided. BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY When vitals are blocked. 6. SPINE The spine shot is almost an instantaneous kill, but depending on the animal’s position can be difficult. If the animal is quartering away, or facing broadside, the neck shot will often result in hitting the spinal cord. Often a spine shot is best taken when the animal’s rear is exposed. But rest assured, if you hit the animal’s spinal cord it will likely drop instantly. BEST SHOT OPPORTUNITY Facing from above. www.westernhuntingjournal.com 67