View Full Version : What would you do?

September 25, 2009, 09:00 PM
I am privileged to hunt on a section of a well managed private ranch. Some moron (not on our section) decided to hunt with a .22 Hornet. Management found the dead deer and now .243 is the minimum that is allowed and they are really pressing for the larger cals. even up to 30-06.

Our deer run pretty small and the ranges are, for the most part, short. I can't imagine the damage done to a 130# deer that has been shot @ 30 yds. with a 30-06! Or even a .243.

Doe's have to be over 100#s which is a very close call and bucks now have to be sporting 6 pts. I know that you Northern guys are snickering but this is what WE have to play with.

I'm considering hooking up with an old buddy that hunts the WMA's to put meat on the table, times are tough.

I think that I just answered my own question.

Brian Pfleuger
September 25, 2009, 09:13 PM
A well placed shot with a 30-06 is not going to do horrible things to even a small deer. Ok, well, it WILL do horrible things but if the shot is well placed then it WON'T ruin much, if any, meat.

I wouldn't worry about it one bit but if you do worry then just choose a bullet that is not going to be expanding explosively. There are plenty of good bullet choices.

September 25, 2009, 10:37 PM
Hunt by the rules that the landowner has or don't hunt. If you don't have the minimum caliber to hunt with see if your buddies will loan you one. I understand your dilema, but the landowner can set his own rules or deny you access.

September 25, 2009, 11:24 PM
G'day. In Australia the Kangaroo shooters have to head shoot to be able to sell the game. A Kangaroo head is about the size of a 3/4 grown Rabbit. They are often taken out to 250m.

September 26, 2009, 12:09 AM
peet, detonating animals is my primary concern. A .30 anything will ruin a large portion of meat given the short ranges that we mostly hunt it. 50 yds is a long shot if your not over the pastures.

Taylor, I have always followed the rules/laws wherever I have hunted. The ONE exception was some time spent down in Big Cypress, I did what I had to do to survive. It was after MY war and I needed some breathing room.

September 26, 2009, 12:18 AM
I dunno, Swamp. I've shot does about that size with a .30-06 and a .308, and no "detonation" ever occurred. It'll pass through and through just fine, never had excessive meat loss even at very short distances.

September 26, 2009, 12:56 AM
Back in my school days when I would only have 2 or 3 days a season to hunt I ended up shooting a few small bucks because they were all that I could get sights on in that short of a time period. The smallest was 140-150 and I was using standard federal powershok ammo...the cheap stuff. I always have and always will use 180s in my 30.06 most likely. I like the big round for its impact on the potentially 300lbs bucks that I prefer to chase ;-)
Anyway one of those deer was well under 75 yards and even there the shot did very minimal damage. Just catch the deer in a good spot and you are fine, I like the classic broad side, behind the shoulder shot. The entrance and exit holes were both quarter sized, the deer went down fast, and I lost no more than a rib or two worth of meet with no excessive wounding or bloody pulverized meat to cleam up.

Art Eatman
September 26, 2009, 08:31 AM
Sorry, Swamp, I gotta totally disagree with you. I've killed a fair number of deer with my '06, and messing up meat just flat-out didn't happen. At close range, neck shots are seriously easy. If the deer is broadside and you don't think you can hit the neck, the heart/lung shot is clean.

My handloads were running right at 3,100 ft/sec for 150-grain bullets. 26" barrel; 52.5 grains of 4064. I started using that load in 1950.

September 26, 2009, 08:38 AM
A .243 would be a great choice and if you really are worried about ruining meat you can buy factory ammo in 55 to 58 grain offerings. If you don't load your own the factory ammo in that range can be more expensive, but even the cheap corelokt 100 grain shouldn't do alot of damage. I've shot a dozen deer with my .243 and the corelokt 100's and have never had any abnormal meat damage.

September 26, 2009, 09:33 AM
A .243 would be a great choice and if you really are worried about ruining meat you can buy factory ammo in 55 to 58 grain offerings.

Bad advice here, 55 and 58 grains are varmint bullets and they will explode violently at nearly 4000 fps.

Unless you are using a solid copper bullet such as Barnes or Nosler E-tip and even these companies don't offer a bullet that light in a solid copper. To avoid a blow up on deer, use heavy bullets at moderate speeds. Use 85-100 grain bullets for the .243 Win and 165-180 grain for .30-06 and you can basically eat right up the hole.

Brian Pfleuger
September 26, 2009, 09:34 AM
A .30 anything will ruin a large portion of meat given the short ranges that we mostly hunt it.

I don't think that it will. I hunt deer exclusively with a 12ga which generates over 3000ft/lbs of energy. These days we use ballistic-tip bullets too. So, I've essentially got a high powered, 58 caliber rifle and the VAST majority of shots are at under 50 yards.... I'd say that the average is 30 or less. A well placed shot ruins nothing but rib meat, which we don't use anyway. Worst case is one shoulder gets hit but it that happens it won't matter if it's a 22-250 or a 30-06, you're going to ruin meat and there's not going to be much difference.

By comparison, a 30-06 generates between 200 and 800ft/lbs less energy, roughly, and creates a hole with nearly 4 times less area. We would consider 30-06 to be a LOW risk of damaged meat.

September 26, 2009, 10:39 AM
I've predominately used a 270 Win here in the Texas Hill Country where the deer aren't much bigger than a dog with long legs, and have plugged the vitals without too much devistation at less than 100 yds, though I like the neck shots (they don't move other than the summersault on the way down;)). Used Winchester Ballistic Tips (130 grn).

September 26, 2009, 11:12 AM
Swampghost, you have never shot a deer with a 30-06.
I have killed 90 Georgia whitetails, and I killed 60 of them with my 30-06.
These were small deer like you are talking about, 130 pounds on the hoof was not unusual, some were 150 pounds, a really big one was 200 pounds on the hoof.
Thick Georgia woods, average range, 40 yards.
I was using the Winchester Silvertip, and the Remington CoreLokt, both in 180 grains.
On a lung shot, .30 entrance wound, .50 exit.
Zero damage to good meat, just a little bruising on the ribs, they are garbage anyway.
On the neck shot, no big deal, wasted a pound or two of neck meat, but the deer was anchored, didn't run.

Rather than excessive damage, my problem was inadequate damage. On the lung shot those little Georgia deer would run 100 yards at least. I had them run 120 yards sometimes. I got good at tracking a blood trail.

I wanted something to do more damage to anchor those deer.
Now I shoot 'em with the .50 Savage muzzleloader, two inch exit wound on a lung shot, Bambi won't get far.

Brian Pfleuger
September 26, 2009, 11:27 AM
I wanted something to do more damage to anchor those deer.I don't really understand the fascination with anchoring a deer. Nearly every deer I've ever shot has run somewhere between 30 and 150 yards. I've never had a problem finding one. A hole through both lungs, especially one that hits a major artery, can leave blood trails literally 5 feet wide and 3 feet up the side of trees and brush. I might walk 5 miles in a day of hunting, 150 yards more is not terribly bothersome.

Now I shoot 'em with the .50 Savage muzzleloader, two inch exit wound on a lung shot, Bambi won't get far.

"Bambi" could still go 150 yards or more. Like I said above, I hunt with a 12ga generating over 3000ft/lbs of energy. Nearly every deer that I and everyone in my hunting group has ever shot has run between 30 and 150 yards. Last year I shot a buck at about 40 yards with a Remington Core-Lokt Ultra. It was walking at the time. At the shot it jumped and jogged about 40-50 yards before falling. I blew it's heart to shreds and hit both lungs. 3000ft/lbs from what is essentially a 50 caliber rifle bullet and the deer didn't "anchor".

September 26, 2009, 11:47 AM
i have used both .308 and .06... both with 150gr fmj bullets... and I ALWAYS shoot in the head.... sure dont have to track em far, and no meat damage.

September 26, 2009, 12:19 PM
Swampghost said:

peet, detonating animals is my primary concern. A .30 anything will ruin a large portion of meat given the short ranges that we mostly hunt it.

Methinks you don't fully understand terminal ballistics of very many types of bullets?

If you use a fragile bullet, then what you said is generally true. With a better constructed bullet, it's not.

I've gotten horrendous meat damage from a .243 bullet that was fragile, yet only lost about 4 ounces from each of two different antelope shot with a 7mm mag using a better (not premium) bullet.

I also stopped using the fragile bullets in the .243, and the ones I use now don't damage a lot of meat.

Our little whitetails (coues deer) top out at around 120 lbs. They average about 80 lbs. I've shot some within 10 or 15 yards with a 7mm mag that resulted in minimal meat damage.

Pick a good bullet (but not TOO well constructed or it won't expand at all), place it well, and you won't have to worry.


September 26, 2009, 01:18 PM
The Hornet is just a poor choice.Not enough bullet weight and light bullet construction.
At the ranges one might try to use a Hornet,a good old 30-30 will get the job done.So will a .250Savage or a .44 mag.A 7.62x39,a 35 Rem,or many rifles downloaded a bit ,even with a cast bullet.Along with hitting a good spot,you have to get penetration.Varmint bullets are poor.

The last deer I shot was a nice 4 point.(western count).Ot collapsed in its tracks from a lung shot.Exit wound was half dollar size.None of the jello-bloodshot hivel explosive damage.

I hit it with a 200 grain .30 cal Accubond launched at 2900 fps from a 30-338.

By using a heavy,tough bullet,meat damage is light

September 26, 2009, 06:18 PM
i have used both .308 and .06... both with 150gr fmj bullets... and I ALWAYS shoot in the head.... sure dont have to track em far, and no meat damage.

The use of FMJ bullets may not be illegal in WV however most States say that the bullet must be an expanding type. Make sure you check your hunting regulations before you start using FMJ ammunition.

September 26, 2009, 09:27 PM
Peetzakiller...do you typically take lower vital area shots?

I find if you look in a lot of hunting magazines or watch a lot of hunting shows the "recommended" ideal broadside shot is a bit low for my taste...it seems to involve aiming AT the heart. Myself and most other in my camp, we shoot a little higher..typically our bullets miss the heart entirely but catch major blood vessel/arteries instead and the lungs still get punctured. I like this approach because One: it saves the heart and that's good eating! and Two: it does seem to anchor deer (most of us use 180gr federal powershot ammo from 308s or 30.06s) Sometimes a deer will make it 50 yards, but often they just drop right in place or take one single jump and fall. My own personally theory is that the impact of the bullet is imparting a serious shock to the spinal colum (as the bullet passes fairly close, but under it) and on more than a few deer it appears to be slightly bruised. ... nothing like a good shock to the spin to stop something in its tracks.

As for the issue of tracking a fatally wounded deer...its usually not too hard, but there are a lot of areas around here where 150 yards can and does seem like an eternity of gnarls, tangles, and annoying frost reddened leaves that make red drops of blood blend in and desappear to anything but the sharpest eyes.

Brian Pfleuger
September 26, 2009, 09:45 PM
Peetzakiller...do you typically take lower vital area shots?

No, in fact my advice is to avoid the heart when possible. Both to save the shoulders and the heart from bullet damage but also because a low shot will hit nothing but leg. Generally, I aim several inches roughly 45 degrees up and behind the heart. This location is nearly fool proof as it insures a vital zone hit in all but the most extreme eventualities.

I don't mind a DRT shot, I just don't understand why it's the criteria for choosing a gun. I shoot deer with a bow too so I see what 40 or 50 ft/lbs does and how easy a heart and/or lung shot deer is to track.

Yeah, sometimes tracking can get nasty in brush but it's just not a real concern for me. A deer hit in the lungs will be bleeding in a way that makes trails easy to follow.

It's funny that you mention the low shot being idealized by the tv shows. I've always thought that they seem to glamorize the DRT shots and often shoot dangerously close to the "no mans land" in the deers high forward chest area.

September 26, 2009, 10:02 PM
simon, I have shot plenty of deer with a 30-06. Down south, where I grew up, a 200-300 yd. shot was not that unusual for deer or hogs. The 30-40 or '06 w/180's or 220's was the way to go. The deer where I now hunt tend to be down in the 100-150# range and the distance is very short.

BTW, a 30-06 frontal shot on a hog can liquidate the contents. This makes the rest of the process very odiferious.

September 26, 2009, 10:45 PM
For that situation as far as range and animal size it seems a .30/30 would be a great choice. They've been killing deer for almost a century with much less energy than an '06.

September 28, 2009, 12:03 AM
I would definately say .30-.30 160gr. Lever revolution by hornady. I have had the best accuracy and it will do more than what you would need.

September 28, 2009, 02:47 AM
30-30 is a great suggestion. I tend to hunt larger animals than the little deer you're asking about, but the 30-30 would work well in that application. It's lower velocity will cause less damage but is plenty lethal. More often, though, I use my 30.06 for game as small as Pronghorn (antelope) up to elk and bear. With a 150 grain, the Pronghorn sustained minimal meat loss, and for my last elk, the 180 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw dropped him in his tracks at 65 yards. Two broken ribs, both lungs perforated. I guess the loss of a half pound of rib meat won't bother me much, on either the small antelope or a big ol' elk!

Magnum Wheel Man
September 28, 2009, 07:52 AM
of those listed so far, I'd probably choose the 30-30...

as the "newbie" at deer camp ( back when I 1st met & married my wife... going hunting with her dad & old family friends ), I was bestowed the honor of field dressing most of the deer ( I think they wanted to make sure I knew how to do it )... guns used were one 243, several 30-06's, one 300 Win Mag, & one 45-70...

one might think the 243 provided the least amount of damage to the meat... but that wasn't true... "bloodshot" the bruising around the wound seemed to be as much related to the velocity of the bullet, as it's weight or diameter... the 45-70 with factory loads consistantly damaged less meat than the other rifles shot for shot... the owner of the land is the one who used the 300 Win Mag, & I always wondered why he hadto use that cannon on deer, because we often had to trim out 6-8" out around the bullet hole because of bloodshot, the 30-06 with 180 grain bullets bruised less meat than the lighter weight hollow points...

personally now, I'm a handgun hunter... I'd be using my 45 Colt Contender... but a 357 Mag sounds like the ticket for smaller deer at close ranges ????

Brian Pfleuger
September 28, 2009, 10:23 AM
that wasn't true... "bloodshot" the bruising around the wound seemed to be as much related to the velocity of the bullet, as it's weight or diameter...

You're right. A good portion of the "bloodshot" meat comes from the effects of hydrostatic shock more than exactly bullet energy or size/weight. Speed produces hydrostatic shock completely independently of energy or size of the bullet. Energy and size/weight(momentum) will effect the penetration distance and may produce longer channels of lost meat but the diameter of the damage is highly dependent on high speeds causing hydrostatic shock.

On the 357mag.... I'd say you'd be fine for virtually ANY deer at distances out to 100 yards more, depending on the exact load. Contrary to popular internet lore, deer are not hard to kill. Pretty much any handgun with roughly 450ft/lbs or so of energy and just about any rifle bigger than 17 caliber is sufficient, given the proper bullet, placement and distances.

September 28, 2009, 10:31 AM
In my area and preference to be away from the slob hunters, I tend to need a DRT kill to avoid swimming the gator swamps chasing a runner.

On the flip side, I have a friend in a wheelchair so he absolutely can't track into thick stuff. He pokes the front shoulder with his .308... He says the loss of one front shoulder is the price he has to pay be both ethical getting his kill retrieved and to gather the meat he is after.

September 28, 2009, 10:46 AM
As stated above, shot placement is critical with the 30 and above. How ever, Several Bullet manufacturers make low recoil rounds. Also if you know someone that is a (competent reloader). They could download your Ammo. for you.

September 28, 2009, 10:49 AM
How about 30-30?

September 28, 2009, 10:49 AM
That's Interesting, I have only hit a deer in the front shoulder once. It was from ridiculously close range with a 180gr psp federal from my 30.06. Of all the animals I've killed, it is the one that ran the farthest. It seemed to be thrown around 180 degress by the impact, (I say seemed because I'm not sure if a ballistic impact has enough energy to actually do that, the deer might have jumped around so quick it only looked like the bullet threw it around) But regardless, it landed on its feet and took off running (on 3 legs), it went all the way across the clearing 50-70 yards and ran head long into the first tree on the other side of the clearing then fell motionless and 100% dead.
To this day I refer to it as "dead deer running" as it seemed to have no idea what it was doing, it just went straight into that tree and I'm convinced it was dead before it ran into it. As for the running on 3 legs part, the impact of the bullet caused the bullet to turn to fine powder and the shoulder blade was half turned to powder as well and the other half was in about 10 distinguishable chunks. The bullet did not penetrate the shoulder but the impact liquified everything behind the shoulder to the point that all I did was open the deer up, pull out the pounch and everything else, which usually requires cutting and pulling, just ran out onto the ground...Nasty damage. Most meat, save for that shoulder and a few ribs was salvageable though.

I just thought I would mention that, as it is my one story about a shoulder shot and I wouldn't have thought about shooting a deer there if I wanted a DRT impact.
Any idea what kind of bullet your friend uses...probably something that holds together better?

September 28, 2009, 10:54 AM
300, Brian shot one each day both nice bucks on a limited mobility hunt I went with him on... He blew up a shoulder on each and both ran about a 75 foot "U-turn" as they fell over. After the first, as we talked of meat loss he told me he aims for "that spot" and sure-nuff he repeated it the next day.

As for the .30-30, out to 150 yards it kills as dead as any .30 bore rifle.

September 28, 2009, 12:05 PM
You might consider a heavier (165 or 180) bullet. They will blow through without making a mess.

September 28, 2009, 01:01 PM
I assume you mean heavier jacketed, because in terms of weight, it already was 180gr....in my case

September 28, 2009, 05:02 PM
You're "privileged to hunt a section of a well managed private ranch", and you don't want to hunt it now since they require .243 or larger??? :confused:

I've shot tons of deer with my .270 and didn't detonate and ruin them, many within 50 yds. Same with the 7mm-08 and 30-30.

September 28, 2009, 08:37 PM
100 pounds and up to about 140 is the average size for the blacktail most folks see. They do get bigger but you have to be pretty darn lucky to get a shot at them.
I took almost all of mine with a .30-06. Not a lot of meat damage, at least no more than the .30-30 I started with.

September 28, 2009, 09:22 PM
I have shot lots of antelope with a 338 win mag and 375 H&H with very little meat damage, most you can eat right up to the hole.

September 28, 2009, 09:31 PM
Lonestar .45: You're "privileged to hunt a section of a well managed private ranch", and you don't want to hunt it now since they require .243 or larger???

I was as confused as you at first there, but then I realized the real issue wasn't hunting with a larger caliber it was being told that he had to. I think the OP has his favorite rifle in a smaller caliber and is just ticked that he can't use it.

BTW, a 30-06 frontal shot on a hog can liquidate the contents. This makes the rest of the process very odiferious.

This will happen with any shot of this type regardless of caliber.

September 28, 2009, 10:34 PM
just get you a .45/70 as the saying goes "you can eat right up to the hole".

September 29, 2009, 02:51 AM
G'day. Some parts of the opening statement got me thinking.

I am privileged to hunt on a section of a well managed private ranch. Some moron (not on our section) decided to hunt with a .22 Hornet. Management found the dead deer

If it is well managed then they knew (and therefore approved) a .22 hornet was being used to hunt Deer. If they did not know a .22 hornet was going to be used or they didn't know the hunter was going to be there, then the ranch is not well managed. (I think it's called a catch 22):rolleyes:

How did the ranch management know a .22 hornet was used?

Swampghost. I'm not trying to flame you, just found the choice of words interesting.

What caliber did you use on that ranch?
Apart from Deer, what else is there to shoot at on that ranch?
How many people hunt there?

September 29, 2009, 09:50 AM
It's funny to see others perspectives,, and the rules of some places really can be questioned..

I have a small herd of Montana Whitetails that insist on eating my hay for my barn...because of all the livestock and a few houses around I ONLY allow hunting them with MY 22Hornet

Guys who want meat doe's, they come to my house, fire a few shots on tagets to get comfortable with the hornet capabilities ...(this shooting doesn't even scare the doe's from the hey yard less than 100yrds away.

All shots are 60yrds or less. I instruct all shooters to only shoot broadside and aim for the ear canal... I use a 35gr. V-max at 2980fps... and I have Never seen a single deer take a step after the shot... This is like the HAMMER of THOR A big cloud of hair usually drifts lightly in the wind after the shot.

Never seen a exit wound other than a few fragments, so the neighbors and my animals are all kept safe.

September 30, 2009, 10:54 PM
The ranch is large enough to host a full-time game manager and 2 full-time FWC employees, all with families and supply all with individual residences on site.

It leases parcels. The lessees are required to document all kills on their lease and include the lower jawbone of all deer killed.

Somebody made a bad hit with a small cal. I don't have all of the details but assume that they found the deer dead and performed a necroscopy.

S&Cbones, about a dozen on the lease but not all at once. Generally six on any given day.

Taylorf.,my minimum was the 5.65 but it never saw the woods here. The Mini didn't work that well down south. I've been using the .243 as my 'long haul' rifle over the pastures as everybody frowned on my 30-06 when I first entered the camp. At that time IT was considered overkill.

All of this has kept me busy. The 30-06 is sporting new glass, looking at scope mounts for the 30-40 and dialing in my mainstay for the season, 1894 Marlin.

October 1, 2009, 12:06 AM
"Somebody made a bad hit with a small cal."

I think this pretty much sums it up... someone made a "bad hit" and then tried to blame it on the caliber ... I wonder if this same "bad hit would have been lethal even with a big Ultra Mag?

October 1, 2009, 11:45 AM
This sounds like a job for mr. thuddy-thuddy;)

October 1, 2009, 11:44 PM
There are also poachers. Given the canal network which limits the access it would be rather simple to apprehend them and nobody wants to be bothered.

October 11, 2009, 11:04 AM
Skullandcrossbones wrote:

G'day. In Australia the Kangaroo shooters have to head shoot to be able to sell the game. A Kangaroo head is about the size of a 3/4 grown Rabbit.

Holy Crap! They must grow some grizzly-sized rabbits in Oz.

Or maybe those kangaroos are the size of gophers.

Speaking of gophers - I don't have much of a problem taking out a gopher or a ground squirrel at well over 100 yards. How come you guys are having such a hard time shooting a big ole' deer right between the eyes?

Art Eatman
October 11, 2009, 01:20 PM
Ahem! Cough, cough. To return to the subject of the thread: Thinking about the gun requirement on that ranch: It's their game, so they set the rules. Why worry about why they set their rules the way they want to? Either play by the game's rules or don't play the game.

Worrying about why folks do what they do can lead to ulcers. Hey, I'm not gonna worry about why somebody doesn't like someone else's rules. :D:D:D

October 11, 2009, 01:42 PM
Shot 5 doe last weekend with a 308 using Speer 125gr TNTs. Head or neck shots, and they dropped right away. Heart/lung shots, they ended up running/stumbling 50-75yds and dropped. In all instances, was able to use all quarters, and lost maybe a couple pounds of meat from each deer.

These were all 90-110lb Texas Hill Country deer. So about the same as what you would be hunting.

did see a couple that were shot that weekend with bigger calibers. In every case, shot placement and the angle of the deer determined how much meat was lost. The ones quartering away where bullet exited a shoulder ended up with one forequarter gone for the most part.