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Shot placement on Elk

Old 06-13-2004, 07:12 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Brook, IN
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Default Shot placement on Elk

Is the "vital" area on elk the same as on deer and antelope. Behind and below center of shoulder?The pictures I have seen of killed elk seems like the shot is high and back further. Also is a shoulder shot recommended to "break down" and elk?

To help you answer question 2 I am shooting a 7mm STW with 140grain failsafes, partitions, or accubonds. Have not decided on which bullet yet.
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Old 06-13-2004, 07:21 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

Here is a pretty good link. I just do the same thing I do for a whitetail: hold tight against the back of the shoulder 1/2 way up chest. A lot of people use 140-150 gr for elk, but I like to go bigger: 160 minimum and I usually use 175 nosler partititions in my 7mm rem mag. Accuracy is the main thing. Put you bullet in the boiler room and he is going down.

With the lighter bullet, I wouldn't try and "break down" the shoulder. Just put one in the heart/lung area.

Good luck
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Old 06-13-2004, 08:41 PM
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

Personally I don't try to break the shoulders on any animal unless it's the only shot available. I much prefer to put a bullet right behind the shoulder regardless of what cartridge I am shooting. A bullet that hits right behind the shoulder, either broadside or quartering away, will 99.99% of the time take out both lungs and sometimes the heart too. Very rarely will and elk or any other animal run more than about 50 yards or so when both lungs have a bullet hole through them.

Some people intentionally shoot to break the shoulder of an elk because they say it puts them down right there on the spot. I say that that will not necessarily put them down right there and you end up with blood shot meat that could have been used for sausage or burger.[:'(] I have seen a number of different animals that have a broken shoulder run for a very long distance.

If you do prefer to break a shoulder the 7mm stw will certainly do it.

Here's where I would aim on an elk.

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Old 06-13-2004, 09:10 PM
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

I use only lung shot's and avoid shoulder shots if possible.Shoulder shots are not necessary and just ruin more meat.
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Old 06-13-2004, 09:22 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Glen MT USA
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

big bulls you bring up a good point about not breaking the shoulder down. the reason being is like you stated bloodshot meat and the other thing is unless the bullet fragments it could either be a follow up shot or a tracking job. Why do i say that is because the vitals are not that far forward. If you have a braodside shot and come up the inside of the leg and about 2/3rd's of the way down just above the elbow its a very dead animal. and if they are quartering away just line your shot up with the opposite leg.
Just look at the bone structure alone and you will see that from where the elbow angles up there is a hole there and back about the fouth rib.
I wish I could find a circulatory system for the elk like I have for the deer.

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Old 06-13-2004, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mormonville, Utah!
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

The "break down the shoulder shot" has failed on elk every time I have seen it used. Yes, they always got the animal but the had to finish it after trailing a wounded animal 3-4 miles through nasty terrain. With the longest of a 3 day track job and it was 17 miles almost from the original contact point.
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Old 06-13-2004, 11:30 PM
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Location: Brook, IN
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

Thanks for the replys.
bigbulls, buck 59 thanks for the pics/antanomy charts.
Also very informative link texashunter58.

Bigbulls, jugding by the aimpoints you put on the elk I see it is in the same spot on deer.
neweboarhunter is offline  
Old 06-13-2004, 11:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

First, you gotta find them,
Second, is to get close enough,
Third, is to get them to pose for that perfect shot or decide what you'll do if they don't co-operate with the "posing thing".
Fourth, is to be steady enough on the aim, so your "placement ideas" have a chance,
Fifth, put it through where they live by whatever route you personally like and what your rifle's cartridge is up to.

The shoulder is a big piece of real estate, many different stories can come as a result of where on that shoulder the bullet ends up going (note, I didn't say "where you placed it"). I don't have problems with blood shot meat (of course I'm not a speed freak either --- heavy weight bullet, medium speed) nor do I have any problems with them running away --- at all. Figure out 1 thru 5 and then you can start cutting and packing.

Note: the circulatory system pic above appears to be for a deer which aren't cantalevered quite as far forward as with elk. Close enough for "shot placement" and government work though.

ELKampMaster is offline  
Old 06-14-2004, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Glen MT USA
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

EKM I like the comment''Close enough for "shot placement" and government work though''.
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Old 06-14-2004, 03:10 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Default RE: Shot placement on Elk

All good informative posts guys. The only thing I can add is "your shot placement at the moment of truth." Under perfect conditions I will hold just behind the shoulder on a broadside shot. "not-so perfect conditions." Late in the evening, in dark timber, bull quartering towards you, You have to make a quick shot. I am going to do one of these three things.
1-Shoot him in the front shoulder?
2-Shoot him in the neck?
3-Pass on the shot and wait for a better shot/another day?
If you shoot him in the neck & hit the spine he will drop on the spot. If you shoot him in the shoulder? He might run? He might drop on the spot? He might just stand there like nothing happened? I have shot elk in the vitals and had them just stand there after the shot like nothing happened. When this happens I shoot again. I will shoot until they hit the ground if needed. I have had a three bulls that have taken two vital shots & they almost got a third shot but they fell over before I could get the shot off. My point is elk aint your typical whitetail. When/If you shoot a bull do not stand there & admire your shot. If he is still standing put more lead in him.

I should mention 90% of the time I elk hunt with a 300-win mag with 200-grain Nosler Partition handloads. The other 10% of my elk hunting is spent with my 7mm.STW with 140-grain Nosler Partitions hanloads. IMHO my 300-win mag is a better elk round. My 300-win mag is also a full 3-pounds lighter than my 7mm-STW.[&:]

Good luck,

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