The moment of truth has arrived. The great buck or bull is in range and it is time to shoot. So, where do you aim?
Certainly, your goal is to place a bullet, slug, or shaft into the critter’s vitals. Without lungs, the critter will be down. The lungs are the biggest target and easily identified n the target. If the critter is facing you, or at an angle, thins change. It is possible to miss the target if you do not think about one important fact.
Where will the projectile come out? As a kid, my mentors always told me to “Aim for the Exit”! The longer the shot, the more critical this becomes. If you take a moment and consider the angle it will take to exit on the side opposite the vitals, you can predict where the projectile must enter.
We are taught to aim just behind the shoulder. If the animal is angled toward you, the point of impact will direct the projectile to exit in the guts or other less effective vitals. You may still kill the critter but not without an exhaustive search, tainted meat, or recovery.
One hunting partner, years ago, hit several bull elk with a bow and arrow. In his mind, they were always perfect shots. We never found any of them. Arrows were found with blood or broken in half. He managed to hit the critters but did not inflict a mortal wound.
Deer and elk are durable creatures. Their blood clots faster than almost any other mammal. They can withstand damage and survive. The “one shot one kill” mantra of great hunters, is the result of many practice shots off the bench, and experience.
When you “Aim at the Exit”, you create a line or path through the kill zone of the critter. The projectile will do the damage, as desired. Also consider the skeleton. The shoulder blades are substantial obstacles for the vitals top areas. The sternum, in the chest, is also a dense bone. Consider the vascular areas of the critter. With an arrow, the death will be called due to bleeding. If you take out the heart or lungs, the desired result will be quicker and less painful.
Ethical hunters target areas that will do the most damage, with the least amount of suffering. Wounded critters mean an exhaustive blood trail. As the critter panics, it releases adrenaline. This natural chemical, and other guts, digestive juices, and debris, will degrade the meat.
“Aim Small, Miss Small!”
For more Montana Grant, aim for him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.