View Full Version : Shot Placement and what really happens! *Graphic, shows blood and meat*

December 22, 2008, 10:22 PM
I am a deer processor. We do an average of 600 deer per year, and every year it never ceases to amaze me how many people ask "Where's all my meat?" We do a quality job, and we do it in a clean fashion. Blood clots and hair wont be part of your burger here. A general rule of thumb is that you will get roughly 50-60%% of the hanging weight of the deer back in meat, depending on the size and fat content of the animal. This number decreases drastically with bad and multiple shots placed in the heavily muscled areas of the deer, ie. shoulders, neck, and hind quarters.

These pictures dont really do any justice to just how violent a bullet can be, and just how much meat you lose. I am merely making this post to display what happens when that bullet hits flesh. I'm not trying to say guns are bad or inhumane, as i am a gun hunter myself. But merely to give a novice hunter, who may take a bad shot, a better idea of why its a bad shot.

I want to illustrate just how destructive bullets can be and how much meat you can lose if you're shot placement isn't in the best of locations.

I'm going to try to get a few better pics now that the season is slowing down, these were just a few quick ones with my phone, but they'll do.

This is a shot placed right in the shoulder. This pic illustrates how much energy the bullet displaces as it makes a through shot.


In this photo you can see one side of the shoulder split in half where the where the shoulder blade meets the rib/neck area.


and this is where that cut of meat was taken from


These pictures dont really do any justice to just how violent a bullet can be, and just how much meat you lose. I am merely making this post to display what happens when that bullet hits flesh. I'm not trying to say guns are bad or inhumane, as i am a gun hunter myself.

December 22, 2008, 10:34 PM
Good post and helpful to us all. Being that we would all like to get as much meat back from you as possible, where are you recomending the shot be placed? The area i see yellowed in is exactly where i center my shots as i've room for error, unlike head and neck shots. J.R.

December 22, 2008, 10:40 PM
Double lung is the best. The ribs yield very little meat when compared to the mass of the shoulder. Move your shot back from the center of the yellow portion more towards the back yellow line.

Obviously the best shot for maximum meat retention is a direct head shot, but i don't recommend it.

December 22, 2008, 10:54 PM
Gunner85 why don't you recommend head shots??? I am also a deer processor and know exactly where you are cumming from. I take hart shoots on my deer but i don't take perfect broad side shoots, i take them as thay are quartering away so i only lose one shoulder. On the same note i will never pass up on a clean head or neck shoot.

December 22, 2008, 11:45 PM
I butcher my own deer, elk and antelope, and hate the meat lose due to bullet damage. If at all possible, I aim about 2/3 down the shoulder, just behind where the shoulder and chest meet. Takes out both lungs and the heart if placed right. If low, it still gets the lungs, if placed high, you get heart and arteries. Just watch the wind so you don't put it into the shoulder and damage all that tasty meat :)

December 22, 2008, 11:59 PM
If I'm not taking a neckshot, I aim right where the bottom horizontal yellow line intersects the right vertical yellow line. It's not rare to have a little meat loss on the opposite (exit) shoulder area, but it depends on the quartering cant.

Any "at home" processing tips? I take good care of my meat cooling it quickly and keeping it cool but not frozen for a week or so. It always tastes great, but my knife work could probably use a little practice.

December 23, 2008, 12:16 AM
fisherman66 that is the same spot i shoot'em, and i have yet had one run more than 20 yds if i do my part and that is with a .308.

The only tip that i can give you is to get the hide of the deer as soon as possible it keeps the meat a lot cleaner than trying to skin it out when it has lost most of the body heat. I don't know where some of these people are cumming from saying that it is EZ'er to skin a cold deer. I can skin a Hot/warm deer in 90sec. i know this because i do about 250 of them in the two weeks of rifle seassen. Then wash them off when thay are still hot and wet, once thay dry it is hard ass hell to get clean. And as far as your knife work that just cooms with a lot of practice.

December 23, 2008, 01:59 PM
Do you see much difference in destruction between higher velocity rounds (7mm mags, .300 mags, .25-06) and lower velocity rounds (.45-70, .405 Winchester, .35 Remington)?

December 23, 2008, 02:15 PM
I will take shoulder shots in the thorny rattlesnake infested south Texas just to keep from having to track and drag.

I like neck shots on does as they do not have the neck meat a buck will.

I process my own and get less percentage than you, and am happy with that,as I remove every speck of fat, silverskin and connective tissue. Total processing time after skinning and quartering is about 4 hours. You would go broke getting your venison that clean.

December 23, 2008, 03:46 PM
Total processing time after skinning and quartering is about 4 hours.

About the same here. I can do it in about 3 hours if I grind the shoulder meat, but if I try to get cuts or chilie meat off the shoulder I can easily add over an hour to that time. I processed 2 small doe this year at the same time and finished in about 5 hours since everything was already prepped and I ground all the shoulders.

I process my own and get less percentage than you, and am happy with that,as I remove every speck of fat, silverskin and connective tissue.

I end up with about 1/4 freezer weight : live weight, but I'm pretty obsessed about the fat, silverskin bloodshot meat and connetive tissue too. I don't bother with ribs, brisket nor neckmeat.

It's much easier to skin while warm. Cools them faster too.

December 23, 2008, 06:42 PM
For meat retention i love head shots, but for many hunters a head shot can be beyond the skill level of the hunter. If you miss the brain/spine and say blow the bottom jaw off, that deer will live for a long time before they finally die of starvation. Deer are very resilient animals. I've seen them with healed up bullet wounds and lengths of arrows in them from previous years. If you feel confident in your abilities then by all means take a head shot.

jcjr3020, one thing to keep in mind if your at home butcher wants to skin the animal hot is that they will have to process it within 2-3 days. Depending on your climate after a few days that meat will start to dry out and blacken, becoming tuff as shoe leather.

Bitmap, when the bullet hits bone its hard to tell what it was unless there was a recovered round. Our laws only allow the use of shotguns with slugs, black powder, and pistol cartridge rifles. And they all seem do do about the same amount of damage. We do get a few mule deer in every year from Colorado and the the damage from the rifles they use far surpasses any shotgun round.

December 26, 2008, 01:15 PM
On my own land, I shoot for neck, previous post, 4 inch fwd shoulder regadless of cal., inline with vertabre. Very little lost meat. Head shot about 40 % time. Skin immediately, gut while hanging, whatever internal organs bagged. Bone out meat while hanging including ribs for burger, in my cooler for about 4 days or more, process to whatever. Works for me with little waste. I shoot for the freezer! Years ago, used to go for heart or shoulder shots. Lots of meat wasted, blood shot. Got to be a good shot and all changed. My call now.

December 26, 2008, 01:42 PM
Heads bob & weave alot making it easy to throw a bad shot. I only take head shots when the deer is moving directly away from me. Hit a little low and it's a neck shot.

December 26, 2008, 07:33 PM
absolutly becoole. If you wait until they turn their head away from you, they are not likely gonna see muzzle flash and have a time to react before a bullet traveling 3000 Fps gets there. i like those shots also because if you miss, you completly miss. You hit the back of their head, or neck, its done.

December 27, 2008, 12:31 AM
I got all squirrelly this year after not seeing a deer for a month ans shot my buck twice. luckily he dropped. unluckily i hit him through the back legs. the hind quarters were full of fragmented bone and pretty much ruined. I got wat i cud off of them but still felt bad horrible about shooting that deer. its def not going to happen next year.

December 28, 2008, 02:06 PM
This one never even twitched.Took the arteries off right at the top of the heart.No edible meat wasted.(except the heart)


December 29, 2008, 07:51 PM
I also butcher my own animals at home. When your the one cutting destroyed meat off the animal after a not so great shot from your animal or someone elses, it makes you strive to put in a good hit. I try not to take the shoulders, but just behind the front leg about a third of the way up the chest works great. My favorite shot is a quartering away shot just in the crease of the leg and the chest, takes out the lungs and heart and if it exits it comes out the chest not the shoulder. I'll take a head or neck shot anytime i can, but only if I have a rock solid rest and the range is not more than about 200 yards, maybe 250 on elk.

January 3, 2009, 08:51 PM
Better to waste a little meat, than not find it at all!I've TRACKED good placed shots for way to LONG to worry about a little meat.Those whitetail can be damm hard to bring down somtimes.My gun holds more than one shot.So i'll just keep pulling till my game is down!After waiting in a stand for weeks in the freezing cold LOL!

January 3, 2009, 09:32 PM
Good pics! As said, lot of folks don't understand the power of a rifle hit. Dad was part Lakota and Blackfeet and almost always hunted with a bow so I had to learn about damage control on my own.

January 21, 2009, 10:43 PM

look these subsections over for terminal projectile effects on meat-n-bone...
both rifle and slug represented:











puts thing into perspective

January 21, 2009, 11:31 PM
puts thing into perspective

No doubt! Great stuff.

Brian Pfleuger
January 22, 2009, 10:53 AM
So, basically what happens is that when you shoot an animal in a vital area... it dies. It really is amazing how many people don't seem to believe that simple fact.

In NY, where I hunt, we have to use 12ga with slugs only. I hear people all the time whining that it's "not enough gun" for whitetail deer. Crazy, crazy.

January 22, 2009, 10:37 PM
even before I moved back into PA from TN, I had plans to have a slug gun as my primary deer blaster; in 2003, I bought a Benelli SBE (semiautos allowed for big game in TN) with the intention to get a Benelli SBE rifled slug barrel; after coming back to PA, I traded the Benelli on a Mossberg 835 Turkey/Deer comboand got some $$$ back; had to sell it later to pay for a move;

later on I bought a Remington 870 turkey gun and added a Hastings slug barrel and a Remington field barrel...QA not the best...both the turkey barrel and field barrel threads for taking chokes were out of round (chokes not pointing straight forward) and patterns were horrendous; sold the combo to a person that was going to shorten the barrels for 'defensive' use;

after a few months, I bought a Mossy 500 from Dunham's Sports that was a field barrel & rifled slug barrel combo & added a used smoothbore slugger barrel, but again had to sell the combo to pay for a huge medical bill after loosing a job and not having health coverage;

after a few years of using rifles; I recently bought another Mossy 500 combo from Dick's with field barrel and slug barrel; dad gets field barrel for small game hunting and I get the slug thrower for deer starting next season;

with advancements in firearm technology, optics technology, and ammunition technology the humble slug gun is now a 100+ yard field gun that offers great accuracy, excellent terminal performance, and humane & clean kills

even the older forster-style slugs offer good performance out to 50 yards with double bead sighting on a smoothbore barrel

January 23, 2009, 12:02 AM
It's not that a 12ga isn't enough to drop a deer, but here in KY we've got tons of rolling hills and fields that are 500+ yards. Not saying that you should take shots that far but I wouldn't dream of taking a 100 yard shot with a slug gun at my skill level.

February 6, 2009, 09:39 PM
dear paddywhacked,

in an area like yours, I would opt for a .300 mag; something like a setup I bought very lightly used; there is a rifle customizing shop that had a customer who won a Remington 700 SPS in .300 wsm in a raffle; he had a muzzle brake installed and scoped it; he used it for one deer season and consigned it; I snagged it with the muzzle brake installed and Leupold bases & rings; I added a Nikon Buckmasters 4.5-14 x 40 w/ BDC reticle that someone ordered and didn't complete the sale on; the shop bedded the action, floated the barrel, and smoothed out the trigger to a crisp 3.5# for no additional cost since I bought the scope; that thing is MMMEEEAAANNN at 100 yards & 200 yards with Winchester 180gr Super X softpoint ammo; the only drawback is the setup is somewhat cumbersome in a treestand in the woods; that's why I want to try a slug gun next year;

on the flip side dealing with slug guns...I eluded to using forster style slugs, but a 100 yard setup is a bit more involved; the Mossy 500 I got uses a fully rifled barrel that is scoped with a 2-7 x 36 Bushnell scope for precise aiming; getting used to such a setup initially costs more when trying different loads and sighting in, but once it is setup, the scope is mounted on the barrel and you only really need to confirm sighting with 1 or 2 rounds each year;

awesome talking with ya, later!!! :D

February 6, 2009, 09:48 PM
Meh, I'll take my 2006 Savage Model 111 .30-06. Works just fine for me :)