As you will see and hear in this video, someone behind the hunter is cow calling and luring the bull toward the hunter. July 21, 2011. About the only obstacle to consider is the smaller ribs that will be encountered at the back-end of the ribcage. There is only one feeling worse than tracking an elk after a bad shot, and that is not finding that elk. 37 is a long poke and probably better left to shots with less potential to go wrong. Now it's your turn, tell me why you believe a frontal shot is a good shot. Just as off-season practice will increase your confidence of being able to hit where you aim, knowing the distance to your target will also give you an additional advantage. Make that shot, be diligent and stay put, leave him alone for 30 minutes to an hour, and you will be doing the happy dance. The last two shots are highly debated and can create controversy between even the best of hunting partners – the quartering-to and the frontal shots. (2) Be sure to hit in the center and not to the side. I have just let the air out of the balloon…it IS a dead bull. To learn more, subscribe to the University of Elk Hunting . The animal that might have traveled farthest was a 6×6 bull elk shot at 75 yards in thick cover, using a .300 Winchester Magnum with 200-grain Nosler Partitions handloaded to 2950 fps. Two sides of that triangle are risky. I did, and I’m glad, he turned full broadside and I placed the broadhead right behind his near leg as he made his first step to my left. You need to understand that there are very lethal shot locations that can be made, and we have nothing against someone choosing to take those shots. In the photo you will see the body of the elk from the side, in the photo you will shoot for the bottom middle third of the chest. Tune in to learn when to use it, when to avoid it, and steps you take to ensure it ends in a clean harvest. For this reason, we would strongly advise against ever considering this shot. Plenty of guys still shooting with stick bows and getting it done every season. The drawbacks to consider on a quartering-away shot are the possibility of only hitting one lung as well as hitting the off-side shoulder which would prevent a pass-through. Make it automatic to know exactly what to do when presented with an opportunity or a no-shot decision. When it comes to shot placement on elk, the bottom line is this – shoot where you are confident. So long as your bullet is heavy and elk-tough, a frontal shot on elk is incredibly deadly. This gives the largest target with a size-able margin of error, great exposure to the vitals, and a high possibility of a quick, clean kill. Snyder also says to keep in mind that when you do take a frontal shot, “the thing you need to remember about the frontal shot is that the opening in the animal’s chest when it’s facing you isn’t much wider than the width of a softball. The 12 Best Cartridges for Elk Hunting. The brain. If taking a quartering-away shot, try to visualize your entry/exit and aim so that you can get both lungs (minimize the angle) and/or get a good pass-through. Great stuff. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b29d9f4c551fdd2ab1726a589fcd8bf0f3c20ba70223128ac8a615fb472c7466.jpg, https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b29d9f4c551fdd2ab1726a589fcd8bf0f3c20ba70223128ac8a615fb472c7466.jpg. I also have a 46-second 'shoot' video taken with my digital camera. Those who have made frontal shots can attest to the massive and immediate trauma that a well-placed frontal shot can inflict. However, it is imperative that the hunter that shoots this shot has a complete grasp of an elk’s anatomy as well as great shooting skill. The guide then went on to convince me that when hunting on the ground, perfectly level with an elk, that the frontal shot is a fine shot to make at a close distance. Had a monster at 15 yards and tried to place my shot right behind the shoulder. It’s a devastating shot. Good luck on your next “moment”! The bullet performed well, the animal dropped like a rock. Or worse yet, the pit in our stomach at the realization that we possibly made a bad shot. So we all need to constantly look inside ourselves and make a decision that we will be able to live with. With that said, I have seen a ton of shots attempted there that have gone bad and give me three things to worry about as a guide: ( I always feel if it’s not me shooting, I am not in total control, so the variables of what can happen grow). If the bull is quartering away and you shoot that spot, and the heart is missed….that means you only get one lung. There is absolutely no question in my mind I killed that bull. If the shot is a bit off, missing the heart and ends up in the crease, it usually is not a pass through and when the bull runs, he shears the arrow shaft and the skin covers the entry wound and he bleeds internally. Quartering AwayI also always remind hunters to look at the legs to be able to tell how much the animal is quartering or if he is solid broadside. It does no good to be proficient with a bow or rifle and know the distance to the target, if you don’t know where to aim. Penetration into the vitals (usually 12-18″ needed for elk) typically isn’t an issue. He went in depth with telling me about all the arteries that converge in the front of the heart, which sits fairly close to the front of the chest. Can anyone tell me the best way to post the video? When it comes to shot placement on elk, remember that our emphasis as your coaches is to insure a solid, responsible and ethical shot. Well there you have it,,, The frontal shot is the best shot to take and gives hunters the best over all kill opportunity and the best opportunity for a double lung or heart shot according to you. So, where is the best place to shoot a deer without it scampering off with a serious injury? Updated: May 10, 2019. The FrontalThe frontal shot, when made, is a devastating shot. And for a quartering away shot, ALWAYS aim for the leg on the opposite side as shown in the pics. Frustration and desperation have to lead to success, but more often than not, they lead to failure. Find a tough cartridge for one of the most prized and toughest hooved big game animals around. All about confidence in your equipment and shot placement from there. At a slightly sharper angle, the leg bone is not directly in alignment with the vitals, but it leaves a smaller margin of error than a broadside shot. I know this is a controversial subject, but hear me out. I’ve spent most of my hunting career with a rifle but have chased animals with a bow before and will do so a lot more in the future and I love the 2 holes approach, and even more the bit about aiming for the offside leg on quartering shots. Whatever the case, we owe it to the animals we hunt to do all we can to make a quick, clean kill. If you hit any of those areas as described, you are not going to recover. This applies to every aspect of the shot: distance, angle, etc. Also, if you shoot off slightly to the right, left, up or down …you are still golden. Know your limits and STICK TO THEM IN THE FIELD! 2. Sleep. Hours, days, and months of practice and preparation can greatly increase our odds of being successful. Attending 3D shoots in the spring and summer  or shooting squirrels or other small game in the off-season can give you the confidence you need when determining the actual distance to your target. Trust us when we say that no one wants to feel that sick and demoralizing feeling of losing an animal. Where to Shoot a Deer The heart and all of the largest, busiest blood vessels that go with it, plus the trachea and front third … We totally love what we do and when we get to share it with others and help them to have some of the same incredible experiences that has made our lives so special, well Bud, that’s a win win! My rule of thumb for a frontal shot is 15 yards or closer, and I allow myself plenty of time to make a shot, especially for elk. Frontal shot on elk has the most epic blood trail {VIDEO} Many of us have seen the video that shows a kid shooting an elk straight on, and it starts bleeding like a fire hose. To shoot or not to shoot? Practice at the distances you plan to shoot. Elk Vitals: The best vital shot placement on an elk with a bow is a double lung shot with the animal standing broadside. Hard tracking job, with the possibility of losing blood trail. Deadly shot, If made. The bullet weight required increases as bullet diameter increases. I want a blood trail …. Thanks Chris! Additionally, the target is smaller, therefore, it is viewed as a low-percentage shot. The image to the left provides a good reference for each shot possibility. I am aware of the proper shot placement, and have taken two mule deer with this shot that died within sight – one traveled about 30 yards, the other about 6 feet. The Frontal The frontal shot, when made, is a devastating shot. There are 3 factors that contribute to making a quality shot on an animal in the field: (1) Practicing with your weapon, (2) Knowing the distance to your target, and (3) Knowing where to aim. Because of that, don’t shoot. I think most hunters have a problem with the frontal brain shot angle, other than that the shot is a simple one and at close range..but be sure you have tested your rifle at very close ranges, you may be surprised where you point of impact may be..Do your homework before you shoot and elephant is the best advise I can think of right off hand.. To consistently produce results, you’re better off keeping your shooting skills honed year-round, not simply picking up your weapon a few days before the season opens. I HAD him, I burned a hole into the hair I was going to slice if I wanted the shot, and it was a slam-dunk for me. Avoid aiming at the transition of dark to light hair – this is where the sternum comes together and you can also see the leg bones are closer together in this area. You are not going to recover that bull for about 4 to 6 weeks. Sharing on our Facebook page for all of our hunting customers. The image to the left shows where to aim on a straight-on (frontal) shot. A better way to focus on the elk shot placement comes from a picture that is centered just above the shoulder of the animal: One final picture depicts where you would aim on an animal that is facing you. Good luck this season! My view was almost identical to the photo above with the red shot placement dot, except he was looking to my right. Keep up the awesome work. This segment is first rate and should be easy to remember in the heat of the moment! Being comfortable with the “manual” method of distance-judging is important. But many bowhunters also believe that a quartering-away shot is the only way to that frontal area because it allows you to slip behind the shoulder. Not much can be debated regarding a standing, broadside shot. An extreme quartering away shot will offer little room for error as the margin between the back hip and front shoulder shrinks as the angle of the elk away from the hunter increases. Penetration – many hunters will argue that it is difficult to get penetration in this area, referring to the “grapefruit-sized” opening you have to hit in order to miss the ribs. I had a big bull moose under 20 yards, frontal for what seemed like an hour, but was only about 4-5 minutes. More Hunting. If I double lung the bull, he is going down in a hundred yards…especially if I bugle after my shot to calm him down. The arguments against taking a frontal shot, however, are worth taking a look at as well. We would however like to drive home the fact that your goal should always be two holes, a pass-through, double lung hit. Too low one way and hit the leg, or too far to the side and catch the shoulder bone, or too low another way and get brisket. The quartering away shot is a favorite of many elk hunters. Aim halfway up the body cavity, just as you would on a broadside shot. There are 5 shots to look at when considering getting an arrow or bullet into the vital area: (1) Straight-away (rear) shots, (2) Quartering-away shots, (3) Broadside shots, (4) Quartering-to shots, and (5) Frontal (straight-on) shots. All in all, a head-on shot with a bow is far more likely to result in a lost and wounded deer than a successful recovery. The image above is a great reference for where you want to aim on a broadside shot. As you can see from the diagram to the right, a quartering-to shot is tough due to the position of the front leg bone, especially at the angle shown. Aiming low puts you in the “sternum” area and although the ribs are small in this area, at a fully frontal angle they are concentrated and it is best to hit above them. Due to the large hip and leg bones on the rear quarter of an elk, a straight-away shot is not typically a high-percentage or advisable shot. Those particular shots made by someone that totally understands an elk’s anatomy and taken within a hunters effective and solid killing range, if made, are extremely lethal. I will, however, urge hunters to study the anatomy of an elk and determine for themselves whether the shot is effective or risky. Not knowing this can cost you a bull of a lifetime–even worse–without a comprehensive understanding of elk anatomy and your abilities, you might end up wounding a magnificent bull and never recover it. Because let us be honest, we all desire of taking down a big game with a single shot. With that said, we will briefly discuss those shots and then we will give you our shot recommendation and the reasons behind it. In this area you have a 12″ window that will safely take you into the vitals. A shot here on a broadside animal can be anything from a direct heart shot, to hitting the top of the heart to a double lung hit even with the shot being a little high. After over 7 hours of searching in extremely thick cover by three people, including a 500′ tightly gridded GPS search, temperatures had reached upper 80s and no chance of salvaging the meat remained. I don’t care if he dies in 30 or a hundred yards. Contrary to many thoughts, the leg bone does not run straight up the leg but actually angles forward, creating a nice pocket directly above the point of the elbow. Do not forget the brain is the center of all life in a deer. Hours and hours of practice will create the muscle memory and skills necessary to make the shot when it counts the most. So again, I can’t say not to shoot there. There are 2 issues that definitely need to be mentioned if you are considering a frontal shot: (1) Don’t aim low. If not made correctly, it guarantees a wounded animal and no recovery. It’s frustrating to have everything finally come together, only to shoot high or low due to not knowing where to hold. If you place the arrows too high, it could keep the animal alive and in pain. Be patient and hope for a better opportunity. Corey Jacobsen with Elk 101 walks us through the pros and cons of the frontal shot. Hoping to go up this Saturday and let the crows and buzzards find him for me. Wish I would have read this before last week. We always recommend to shoot whatever works best with your setup. We will wait for the broadside shot, and you will shoot for the central lung shot just above the heart. I’m not going to recommend taking these shots, but I’m also not going to advise against these shots. At the shot the bull crashed forward through some brush, but stopped after about 35 yards. To learn more, subscribe to the University of Elk Hunting. The bull quickly dies in seconds with a BOW and ARROW!Committed. By Aron Snyder. This, combined with no exit hole can lead to a tough bloodtrail, especially if only one lung is hit. However, it is imperative that the hunter that shoots this shot has a complete grasp of an elk’s anatomy as well as great shooting skill. Elk Frontal shot courtesy of Elk 101 Where to aim for a quartering to shot: The quartering to shot is very similar and is a shot is will take on deer but not elk unless I am slightly elevated or slightly below and have the angle to place it within that 11×9″ window otherwise I’d prefer almost straight on Frontal is best avoided if possible, especially on heavy critters. It is best to aim for the “vitals”, the area within the body cavity that houses the heart and lungs, as there are several major arteries in and around those organs that can produce sudden and severe blood loss. The bullet, after being cleaned looked like something from a magazine add. Perhaps we’ve all felt the heartache that often accompanies a missed shot. The animal is going to die, but you risk not recovering the animal. Very little blood but tracked for about 1/2 a mile before loosing all blood. But something told me this was a once in a lifetime animal, they wind was in my favor, just to wait him out. Educate yourself and practice, and your confidence will lead to success in the field! First, I’ve killed elk at distances inside 30 yards with a full-frontal shot. Double LungMy number one goal is 2 holes to insure I recover my bull. ADVERTISEMENT. Never have I missed a frontal shot, nor had an animal turn on me upon release. The Golden TriangleIf you look at the anatomy of a bull elk, the “golden triangle” that I am talking about is just that, golden if you ace it. So I always shoot for a double lung. He only went 40 yards. I had never taken a frontal shot on a bull elk until last week. He ended up shooting it twice, although it would have been just as dead with the first shot. The center of the red dot is where you should aim to make a clean kill on a frontal shot. Shooting off-center (especially combined with a low shot) on a frontal shot exposes an arrow to deflection off the ribs, resulting in the arrow penetrating between the rib cage and the shoulder blade. On the elk, lion and all other animals I’ve taken with a frontal shot, the blood trail has been immense. Be careful with shooting to far towards the shoulder as the leg bone and shoulder blade are tough bones to penetrate. Bullet frontal area has a positive correlation with killing power (other factors being equal). The broadside shot is, without a doubt, the best shot you can take on an elk. Last week I called a bull in to 18 yards, I had reason to believe he would scent me and spook before offering a broadside shot. However, he never shed a drop of blood, and I assume the mane hair was sufficient to absorb the bleeding from the cut in his hide over the trachea. Thanks Larry for the positive feedback! Additionally, the entry hole is often behind the ribcage in the guts which can lead to a plugged entry hole. I need to get ready for my weekend elk trip and am running a little short on time so I will probably post pictures after the weekend. The most important part of executing the frontal shot (besides being accurate) is knowing where to aim. If you talk to me about bowhunting for more then 15 minutes, you'll find that I am an advocate of the frontal shot (taking a shot when an animal is facing you, not standing broadside). Elk Frontal shot courtesy of Elk 101 Where to aim for a quartering to shot: The quartering to shot is very similar and is a shot is will take on deer but not elk unless I am slightly elevated or slightly below and have the angle to place it within that 11×9″ window otherwise I’d prefer almost straight on If you’re hunting solo, a bull will typically come to the call head-on, and if you can put your arrow into the thoracic opening, you’re going to take out throngs of arteries as well as a number of vital organs. Shot Placement Feature | Elk101.com | Eat. This is not a shot we recommend. I love the way you guys put your info out there. Great article. Thanks for this great information and supporting graphics. ADVERTISEMENT. Misjudging distance has been a main reason for more missed shots than most of us probably care to count. A great aiming point is half-way up the body, right on the crease behind the shoulder. 3. As far as a .308 exiting an Elk, sometimes yes, sometimes no. Bowhunting: Frontal Shot Placement. I’m done elk hunting for the year, and will not take that shot again on an elk. Each and every one of us has to to determine just what the most effective range and shot placement is, that we are most comfortable with as ethical and responsible hunters. A pass through, and that is what you get most of the time if you hit that bull where I have shown you. This is not a bragging point, rather an example of how the frontal shot can be highly effective when selectively taken. A razor sharp broadhead inflicts massive bleeding and causes quick death by major blood loss, only if placed where it can do its job. We don’t shoot an animal quartering to us. You could hear arrow cutting swamp reeds on his far side for quite a ways. Spending time during the off-season practicing with your bow or rifle will increase your confidence in your weapon. By Joseph von Benedikt. Take some time to study the information MasterGuide Joe gives you here–over and over again! Educate yourself on anatomy – know ahead of time where you need to aim, and where you are comfortable aiming to make a clean shot, and STICK TO IT! Tune in to learn when to use it, when to avoid it, and steps you take to ensure it ends in a clean harvest. Be patient and wait for a shot you are confident you can make. Quartering to shot Pick your aiming point to go through the front point of the near side shoulder, through the heart and angling back toward the last rib. I held right on his trachea in the dark mane hair above the esophageal groove. Thanks Brendan for the positive feedback! It was a chip shot and the arrow penetrated completely, I watched the nock and fletchings disappear right where I aimed. As hunters, we owe it to the animal, and to fellow hunters, to do all we can to make a quick, humane kill. From the diagram you can see that this will place your shot above the heart, solidly in both lungs, at a point where several major arteries convene. The time-tested and proven standby is the traditional broadside shot. The only time I would pass on this shot angle, at this distance, would be if I was shooting a very light caliber (6.5 Creedmoor and under), or a very soft bullet. That determination can change from year to year based on better or declining proficiency. The frontal shot is one that is hotly contested. A password reset link will be e-mailed to you. There are some pretty successful elk killers that call alone and take elk facing them at different degrees. Animals shot here, generally will go down in minutes, if not seconds. A shot at the brain is more likely to get down the deer within a few seconds and in the most humane way. Wait them out! It provides great exposure to the vitals with minimal resistance. If you shoot back, there are still a lot of lungs behind you. If you don’t get a pass through, you WILL get both lungs. It is important to note, however, the angle of the leg bone. However, that’s a pretty small target, and finding it when shooting from an elevated stand is even more difficult. And by shooting mid body, about 4 inches back from the crease, that line coming up from the elbow, you have plenty of room in each direction. Animals shot here, generally will go down in minutes, if not seconds. That is the question that confronts us, hunters when we have a deer in our sights. ADVERTISEMENT. Taking a frontal shot with a BOW on a BULL ELK. If an arrow is lucky enough to make it through this area of large bones, it still has a long ways to go to get into the vitals (up to 48″ on elk) and will often stop short of the lungs in the stomach/gut area. Not only insuring a quick death, but the solid blood trail as well needed to insure recovery. Training yourself to follow the back of the elk’s front leg about ⅓ of the way up the chest will give you a perfect spot to aim for a double lung shot. If you shoot low, you have lungs and the heart. The last factor that contributes to making a quality shot is knowing where to aim. Best feature EVER on shot placement. An arrow or bullet in this area will almost always give a hunter the best opportunity for a quick kill, as well as provide a good bloodtrail for a quick recovery. One of my hunting buddies has a barnes X bullet he recovered from the hide on the opposite side of a cow elk he shot. There is a "Bullet Frontal Area List" on the Rifle Information Page, and an expanded version on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page. Corey Jacobsen with Elk 101 walks us through the pros and cons of the frontal shot. To the contrary, I don't personally know one person who has lost an elk with a frontal shot." Arrow penetrated 11 inches and sheared off when he ran. This shot should only be taken by those that know what they are doing and I highly recommend that the shot not be taken over twenty yards. Rangefinders have eliminated much of the guessing game in judging distance, but many times an opportunity presents itself so quickly that we don’t have time to get an accurate range. If you shoot high, you still have lungs above. I would strongly advise against aiming behind the shoulder on a quartering-to shot as you will get one lung at best and the bloodtrail will typically be difficult. I think you need to know where to place the arrows. Taking a frontal shot on an elk has been a controversial topic for many years, and for good reason. Scrolling through Facebook, I came across a similar video from Trevor Johnson. Most of the reasoning against taking the shot, however, has originated from one of two perspectives: a lack of understanding of elk anatomy or a previous bad experience with the shot. In other words, what's your objective and what are you aiming for with that shot? Two best places to shoot a deer are the brain and approximately 4-inches above the heart. Elk are incredibly tough animals, and a broadhead in the neck or shoulder won’t typically provide the lethal results we desire. When the moment of truth presents itself, it’s important to have confidence, knowing you’re going to hit where you aim. HUNT ELK! My objective most times I shoot a big game animal and any time I'd shoot an elk with a bow is a double-lung shot. AND if you shoot a heavy arrow with solid energy, you help yourself with a pass-through and a blood trail that Ray Charles could follow. I’ll have to consider getting a new bow with new arrows. Additionally, the jugular as well as several other main arteries run through here, and the resulting blood loss from a shot in this area can be devastating. ADVERTISEMENT. Not a high percentage shot, but there are elk that are shot broadside at dusk, it rains or snows, and the hunters spend days looking with no results. I love what you guys are doing and the way it is presented. 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