View Full Version : anyone "stun-dropped" an elk?

October 25, 2009, 09:32 PM
My brother and I were elk hunting a couple days ago and it was really foggy. When it started to lift we moved down the mountain aways and found 2 cows and a bull at 660 yds. The fog moved in again and we walked to where we thought we would have a good shot and waited a few min for the fog to lift. When it lifted we were 160 yds out and just slightly above them so he tried a high shoulder shot. As normal the elk dropped in his tracks like he was dead, but as we watched, about 2 min later he tried to get to his knees. Before we could shoot again the fog moved in and we couldnt see anything. The next time we saw him, he rolled down the hill 20 yds and than and before we could shoot the fog came back but we heard him roll to the bottom of the gully. It took maybe 4min to clear again but we never saw him again. You could see where something dragged itself about 50 yds, but then the trail cleared and we lost the tracks. No blood any where. We are good trackers and VERY rarely miss, but after 3 of us looking for 3 days, the only thing we can come up with is he barely hit his back and basically "stun-dropped" him. We pride ourselves in always finding our animal but this has us baffled. Any one heard of this before?

October 25, 2009, 10:44 PM
I have heard of rounds hitting the antlers and stunning the animal.
Someone in my club brought one antler in and said the deer dropped and then staggered off but rapidly regained his balance.
Seems the energy of round knocked him silly.

October 25, 2009, 10:46 PM
Sound's plausible to me. I've seen 'dead' elk stand up and make ready to leave after being hit by a 460 WBY mag., only to drop back to dead mode after a staggering step or two.

October 26, 2009, 01:27 AM
If it was dragging itself, I would say it wasn't stunned. There was definite damage done.

It is more likely that the Elk reached it's pain threshold and experienced sensory adaptation, allowing it to get back to its feet. (the body adapts to the constant incoming sensory signal, and creates a new 'baseline' by which to judge the signals.)

There's always the pain gateway theory, as well......

October 26, 2009, 03:07 AM
my dad head shot a cow elk @ 100yd with a 160gr 7mm mag. it dropped right there. he got to the elk, and one eyeball was popped out(he has pics). he forgot his knife, so he set down his pack and hoofed back the 1 mile to camp.
when he got back the elk was gone! said he followed its tracks for a while, lots of stumbles, falls, and thrashing. he lost the trail after a few hundred yards.

he said there wasnt 1 drop of blood on the elk, just the popped out eyeball.

it was the only elk he saw that year too!

October 26, 2009, 03:19 AM
When I was about 12, my dad and I were hunting and in fell asleep in the blind only to be woken by my dad poking me and saying shoot the deer. There was a 10 point about 150 yds down the hill walking away. I had been dead asleep and was still seeing double while I was trying to focus on the deer through my scope. Anyway, I put the crosshairs on the back of it's neck and torched one off. The deer dropped without a twitch with all fours straight out. About 10 minutes later, we get out of the blind to walk down. The deer jumps up and starts running up the hill right at us. After a barrage of shots, the deer dropped 10 yds away from us. Turns out, my first shot hit the deer right at the base of the ear, about an inch from the skull in the hard cartilage part. Apparently it just knocked the deer cold. I doubt that's what happened in your case. I just thought it was a good story.

Para Bellum
October 26, 2009, 04:11 AM
In German we call this a "Krell-Schuss" / "Krell-Shot" it happens when you hit the back very high above the spinal cord. The wound is very small and can easily be survived in cold seasons. But for the first Minutes the hydrodynamic shock of the bullet passing through the edge of the back irritates the spinal cord so much, that it shuts down for a couple of seconds/minutes. It's similar to a knock out in boxing. Little damage, still the darget drops simply due to shock caused to the CNS.

I hope this didn't happen in hot weather. If so, the animal stood little chances of survival because parasites will conquer the wound on the back where the animal can't reach. The parasites will weaken the animal and open an entrance for infections etc, making it impossible to survive winter

October 26, 2009, 09:08 AM
I had a similar occurrence when white tail hunting once. I shot a deer and was upset because as it ran down the hill, its rear legs kept sliding under it, and I was afraid I had pulled my shot and hit it in the hams. It ran down into a thick area of brush, and when I got in there, it raised its head up and I shot it between the eyes. My dad and I looked all over the deer and could only find the head shot. I had to go to school the next day, and when my dad skinned it out, he skinned it from the nose to the hooves, and never found another wound. I can't explain it unless the first shot was pulled the other way and the bullet glanced off the skull or something.

Art Eatman
October 26, 2009, 09:51 AM
Some sixty years ago on a ranch near New Braunfels, Texas, a woman shot a nice buck. She walked up to it and put a tag on an antler. The deer then jumped up and ran and jumped a fence into another pasture. She had merely grazed an antler with just enough impact to cold-cock the deer.

Two men, hunting in that pasture, saw the running buck and one of them shot it. As they walked up to begin field-dressing it, the woman came running up yelling, "Stop! Stop! That's MY deer!"

The men looked more closely and sure enough, there was the tag on the main beam.

"Lady, anybody who can run that fast deserves a deer."

October 26, 2009, 10:16 AM
In German we call this a "Krell-Schuss" / "Krell-Shot" it happens when you hit the back very high above the spinal cord. The wound is very small and can easily be survived in cold seasons. But for the first Minutes the hydrodynamic shock of the bullet passing through the edge of the back irritates the spinal cord so much, that it shuts down for a couple of seconds/minutes. It's similar to a knock out in boxing. Little damage, still the darget drops simply due to shock caused to the CNS.

This was one method that Mountain Men and Indians, use to obtain wild horses. They would be stunded just long enough for them to rope and secure them, dress the wound and they had a ride. Needless to say, there were some that did not survive, so those went in the pot. A poor shooter did not get to many tries to get it right. ... :rolleyes:

Be Safe !!!!

Brian Pfleuger
October 26, 2009, 10:38 AM
My dad did this to the widest racked whitetail I've ever seen.

His brothers (long story about the genes on that side) were shooting at this buck from their backyard out into the vineyard. Well, it was so far away that they weren't even scaring it. This was with 12ga shotguns so we're not talking about 1000 yards. It was probably 300. Anyway, the deer is just standing there for probably 10 shots.
My dad comes out of the house saying "What the &^$% are you ^%&^% ^&^%^& shooting the ^*&(^&*^ at?" The brothers point out the deer and my dad, having his gun slung on his shoulder, says "Oh, that? Hell...." whips the guns off his shoulder and fires a round.
Well, no joke, the thing drops in a pile, can't really see it though because it's in fairly high weeds. My dad jumps on the four wheeler and we ride over. Just as we get there this buck is thrashing and kicking trying to get up so dad shoots it through the neck. Immediately he says "Wasn't there two horns on this thing when I shot?" "Sure was" says I. "What the hell happened to the other one?"
We get looking around and there it lays, maybe 6 or 8 feet from the deer. When fitted back onto the deer you can clearly see about a 1/4-1/2 of the outline of a 12ga slug right where it broke off.
The hole in the neck was the only other hole in that deer.

The antler fit right back on just fine and dad fixed it with wood putty. You couldn't even tell it ever happened when he got done. Anyway... wide? Holy smokes. He also had a 7-point and an 8-point that he had shot a few years prior. They weren't gigantic at all, like 12-14 inches inside spread but..... they fit side-by-side, INSIDE this 8-point's spread. It was 27 or 29 inches, one of those, can't remember for sure.

October 26, 2009, 12:47 PM
I gave up on high spine shots years ago for this very reason. There is an area about 4" , directly below the spine that has no vitals in it. When placing a bullet in this area an elk will sometimes go down to "spine shock" yet in a few minutes will recover from shock and stand and run off with little or no bloodloss. However it sounds like you enflicted a bad wound if he was dragging body parts. This could be from poor placement or poor bullets we will never know. Another lost and unrecovered dead elk. What a shame. And to the man that told the story about his dad head shooting a cow elk and it getting away, this should be a lesson to ALL hunter that a head shot is the most inhumane and unethical shot a hunter can take. When they work all is good, when they fail a noble animal is doomed to a miserable slow death. As a guide I cant count how many animals we lost to head shooting and how many we found dead a month after season. With elk nothing beats a good bullet placed mid lung cavity. As hunters we owe our quarry nothing less than a quick humane death.

October 26, 2009, 05:36 PM
Took two headshots at a 5 point bull a few years ago with an open sighted sporterized Arisaka. First shot cut about 3/4 of an inch off the top of his left ear. The next shot dropped him like the hammer of Thor, got up to where he went down and no elk. There was no blood or hair, just the left antler from the middle of the brow tine up. My neighbor saw the same bull a few days later in his alfalfa, said there was a little ragged stump with part of a brow tine on the left side. I told my wife it wasn't big enough so I was practicing my "catch and release technique". Had to have been a hell of a headache. We looked the following day to make sure it wasn't a lethal hit and couldn't locate him. The day day after the season ended is when he showed up in the field.:mad:

October 26, 2009, 06:37 PM
CORNBUSH luck was with you and the elk both. So many end up with their jaws shot off and that leads to 30 days of starvation before a miseable death. We would find a few dead deer and elk with their jaws broken each year. A friend found a dead 5 point bull elk last year with an arrow sticking out of his mouth. From the recent snow he could tell it had just died, this was 5 weeks after archery elk season ended. Once when I was guiding, and against my advise, a client shot a cow elk in the head. Problem was his aim wasnt that good. His bullet blinded the elk after shooting both of her eyes out. She ran off and we finally found her 3 days later just shivering from fright and just let us walk up to her.

October 26, 2009, 06:52 PM
The circumstances wouldn't allow for a body shot, short spruce trees. Went out for an hour after work and left my 270 home.:mad: We have found a few over the years just like you describe, sucks everytime. My uncle shot a nice muley one year that looked just fine. When we skinned it out it had an arrow that had gone in just above the left shoulder blade. The entire arrow was coated in a black cartilidge like flesh and puss. We did a little further disecting and found puss pockets all over the deer. We had the local fish cop come out and look, he said he would issue a new tag and take the deer. My uncle declined as the buck scored over 200 B&C, can't eat the horns but whatever. The thing that amazed me was it had been almost 6 weeks since the end of the archery hunt. The arrow went right along the spine and there was no limp, no indications at all that it was injured or sick. The fish cop who came and looked took pictures and uses them in an archery ethics course now, so I guess some good came out of it.

October 26, 2009, 08:59 PM
remchester......This elk wasnt dragging body parts so to speak, just his hind end like he had a broken back. But we covered almost a 2 mile circle all around below where he was and never found anything. He must have regained himself somehow and went back up the mountain. We never seen any ravens, magpies,bears or lions anywhere and if he was dead we should have seen AT LEAST 2 of the 4. We've had lots of problems with lions and griz. Thanks for the stories guys. I'll get my brother to read this.