White Tail Buck

White Tail Buck

Today’s Tip:  Placing Your Shot

There are only two shots that guarantee dropping an animal in its tracks.  One is a brain shot, but no ethical big game hunter shoots at the head.  The second is a shot which severs the spine, but in most big game animals, the spinal chord is about as big as your thumb, so that is a questionable shot to take.

The one shot hunters should aim for is one through the lungs and heart.  While this is the best shot you can place, it does not always mean the animal will go down right away.  I have seen some animals hit in the lungs and heart go down instantly, while others have taken off as if nothing happened.

It is important at the moment of impact to watch the animals reaction.  Many times deer will kick their back legs wildly and take off running.  Elk and moose may only flinch, almost unnoticeably.  The first thing you should do is wait.  Some people say 5 minutes, others say at least 30 minutes, I say 30 minutes unless the conditions of weather or day light might make tracking difficult.  In a driving rain you can easily lose tracking sign, same with heavy snow.

After waiting, use orange surveyor’s tape to mark where you shot from, then go to where the animal was when you shot.  Look for blood, and mark the spot where you see signs of a hit.  Next look in the direction the animal went, and begin looking for tracks and blood.  Tracking a wounded animal is a lengthy topic, but something that every hunter should learn.  I will write more about this in future posts.