Hunting larger game animals such as elk or bear requires a certain level of skill and knowledge. One of the most important factors to consider is the size and weight of the animal being hunted. Larger game animals require more powerful rifles and calibers to ensure a clean and humane kill. Additionally, hunters need to take into account the distance of the shot and the type of terrain they will be hunting in. These factors can have a significant impact on the type of rifle shot that is preferred for larger game animals.
When hunting larger game animals such as elk or bear, shot placement is crucial for a successful and ethical kill. Knowing where to aim can make all the difference between a quick, clean kill and a wounded animal that may suffer needlessly. This section will cover the three most common shot placements for larger game animals: the broadside shot, behind the shoulder shot, and lung shot.
The broadside shot is one of the most common shots used by hunters. This shot is taken when the animal is standing perpendicular to the hunter. For a broadside shot, the aiming spot is usually the chest area, just behind the shoulder. This area provides a clear shot to the lungs and heart, which are vital organs that can cause the animal to expire quickly. When taking a broadside shot, it is important to avoid hitting the shoulder bone, which can make the bullet deflect and cause a non-lethal wound.
Behind the Shoulder Shot
The behind the shoulder shot is another popular shot placement. This shot is taken when the animal is standing at a slight angle to the hunter. For a behind the shoulder shot, the aiming spot is usually just behind the shoulder, aiming for the lungs. This shot placement can be effective because it avoids the shoulder bone and provides a clear shot to the lungs, which will cause the animal to expire quickly. However, it is important to note that if the shot is too far back, it may hit the liver or stomach, which can lead to a longer tracking time.
The lung shot is considered by many to be the most effective shot placement for larger game animals. This shot is taken when the animal is facing the hunter. For a lung shot, the aiming spot is usually the center of the chest, aiming for the lungs. This shot placement can be very effective, as a bullet through the lungs will cause the animal to expire quickly. However, it is important to note that if the shot is too high, it may hit the spine, which can lead to a non-lethal wound.
The caliber of a rifle refers to the diameter of the bore, or the inside of the barrel. The most popular calibers for big game hunting include .270, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Winchester Magnum. These calibers offer a good balance of power and accuracy, making them suitable for a broad range of hunting situations.
When it comes to hunting larger game, it’s essential to choose a hard-hitting cartridge that can deliver enough energy to take down an animal quickly and humanely. Some of the most popular cartridges for big game hunting include:
- .270 Winchester: This cartridge is popular among hunters who pursue pronghorn antelope, mountain lion, and Coues deer. It offers good accuracy and flat trajectory, making it a good choice for shots at longer ranges.
- .30-06 Springfield: This cartridge is a favorite among hunters who pursue big game in the Midwest. It offers a good balance of power and accuracy, making it suitable for a broad range of hunting situations.
- .300 Winchester Magnum: This cartridge is popular among hunters who pursue bull moose and other large game animals. It offers excellent long-range accuracy and delivers plenty of energy to take down even the biggest animals.
- .338 Winchester Magnum: This cartridge is a favorite among hunters who pursue black bears and other large game animals. It offers excellent stopping power and can deliver enough energy to take down even the toughest animals.
When selecting a cartridge, it’s essential to consider factors such as accuracy, bullet weight, and muzzle velocity. A good rule of thumb is to choose a cartridge that can deliver enough energy to take down an animal with a broadside shot angle.
In conclusion, when it comes to hunting larger game animals such as elk or bear, the preferred rifle shot placement is the vital organs in the chest cavity. This shot placement ensures a quick and humane kill, minimizing the animal’s suffering and guaranteeing that the meat is not damaged.
Steve from Meateater recommends aiming for the center of the chest, between the front leg and one-third of the way up from the bottom of the chest. This shot placement targets the heart and lungs, which are the vital organs responsible for oxygenating the animal’s blood. A well-placed shot in this area will cause the animal to lose consciousness within seconds and expire quickly.
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Jason Huskey is a family man with three kids and a wonderful wife. He’s always starting new hobbies, but his true passion lies in shooting sports. Jason has been a CCW license holder for over 10 years and carries every day. In addition to firearms, he also enjoys playing guitar and writing songs. He tries to live by the Christian values he believes in.
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