The Power of a Well Placed Bullet
I'm now over 50 and been on the big game trail since I was 14. Many animals have fallen to my well placed bullets. I've learned a few things but do not know it all. Animal reaction to a well placed bullet is not always as predictable as we assume.
I've watched big mulies topple over in their tracks at 200 yards or so from a 170 grain 30-30 bullet through both lungs. I've also seen 'em bound away as if missed at 75 yards or so, then topple after a few jumps. It is a mystery to me.
I've harvested many coastal blacktails with my 44MAG carbine. Reactions have astounded me. One buck rose up on his hind legs and pawed the air like a stallion. Then he toppled over backward and kicked a few times. Another buck charged away and hit the ground stone dead in mid-stride. His chin plowed a shallow furrow in the dirt. Several blacktails just folded up and fell where they stood.
Antelope nearly always drop in their tracks from a double lung hit from my .243 rifle. These fascinating animals seem fragile compared to other big game animals.
Elk get a lot of press. "Bigger is better" according to so-called experts who write columns for magazines funded by ads by magnum focused gun manufacturers. Am I the only one who noticed that elk are not armor-plated? Please show me a big bull who can stand up to a double lung hit from a 300 Savage, .308, 30-06, 7mm-08 or 6.5mm Swede. Just show me one bull who can get away after such damage? This animal does not exist. Elk are not armor-plated despite what that southern Californian urbanite named Craig Boddington is paid to write!
Animals are killed quickly by well placed bullets that form a mushroom shape, hold together, and punch through hide and ribs. Animals are wounded by poor shooting, inadequate comprehension of basic anatomy, and bullets that fail to penetrate through hide and ribs. The diameter of the un-expanded bullet and velocity are lethal factors to consider but will never make up for poor shooting.
Good hunting to you.
Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.