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Old November 21, 2005, 10:29 PM   #1
Long Path
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Head-on shots and "the bunghole shot"--

Well, as promised in this thread, I thought that it would be worthwhile to discuss what your thoughts are on the rarely-discussed but often-tried "bunghole shot."

The shot, simply put, is a last resort shot. It involves killing a deer (or elk or what have you) with a shot to the vitals from directly behind. Typically this is fired at an alerted deer, and the white tail is up, providing a brilliant point to find in one's sights. If you hold precicely on that white tail, you're not really trying for a "bunghole" shot; you're aiming for the base of the neck or the top of the spine. This will most assuredly kill the deer, but gives you a smaller margin for error. As this shot usually entails a moving target (albeit a target that is moving directly away from you), a wider margin for error is often preferable. In such an instance, the hunter may decide to drive a bullet directly between the hams, through the gut, and into the thoracic cavity. This is actually done with some regularity without destroying any meat, but there's a mess to deal with upon cleanup. There is almost always some significant meat damage, as well; the bull's eye (or brown eye, I suppose ) is pretty small, and the likelyhood of hitting a ham or a backstrap is pretty good. I

f you're using a lighter caliber or lightly-constructed bullet, this is NOT the shot to take. A .243 can completely expend itself in the ham and pelvis of a good sized deer, never making it forward of the gut. Likewise you hunters who like to put 130g bullets into '06s and .300 WinMags-- that's a LONG way for a bullet to have to traverse to reach the heart and longs.

On a personal note, I've tried this shot on about three or four occasions, with mixed success. On one, I clean missed the first shot and anchored the deer with the second shot, after driving a bullet all the way through the right ham to rest against the sternum. On another, I ended up hitting a bush with my first shot, so I held higher and hit her in the head with my second. On other occasions, I clean missed the deer. Why? Because it was running away from me. Nowdays, I like to believe I wound't take those shots, because of the distance and the fact that they were running.

There has been some discussion of the ability of a round on a head-on shot to punch through to accurately hit the vitals, and more on the issue of possibly piercing the gut with the bullet after it passes though the chest on a head-on shot. This has never much bothered me, I must confess. I only load rounds with bullets that can penetrate the ribcage of a deer from any angle, and I take pride in doing a good job of cleaning my deer in the field. Any clearly tainted meat, I'll excise. (Read, any meat touching the wound channel after the bullet has passed through the gut.)

What are your thoughts on the issue?
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Old November 22, 2005, 12:57 AM   #2
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Well, it seems interesting. I've heard of it as a 'Texas heart shot", but never tried it myself. I don't know that I would try in the future. It just seems that you could easily move the crosshairs up six inches, and make a neck shot, which would be more sure, and less messy. And IMHO, if the deer is going so fast and jerkily that you cannot reliably hit the neck from behind, you shouldn't be shooting at it at all. But then again, I have always been a very cautious shooter. A few weeks ago I passed up a nice buck I probably could/should have taken because I wasn't sure of a clean kill .
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Old November 22, 2005, 09:26 AM   #3
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It is a last resort type of shot, and I probably still wouldn't resort to it. I certainly wouldn't take that kind of a shot unless the deer is already wounded. Even then, if the deer is moving, chances are you will miss and/or further wound, especially if the deer is running away. Hitting the back of the neck while the deer is running? Probably won't happen for me (I'll miss). I think I would rather let the wounded deer run off to hopefully lay down and die instead of further alarming it with the sound of another gunshot.

And cleaning a deer after that kind of shot? Yuck!
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Old November 22, 2005, 11:20 AM   #4
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You are on your own at the skinning rack there Path.
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Old November 22, 2005, 12:02 PM   #5
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My dad tried it once,

at a doe running dead away about 50yds out. Just as he squoze it off she was on her way up & he shot right under her, didn't see her drop so he waited 1/2 hour or so & went to find sign. He found a tuft of hair so he followed her trail & found her still alive on the other side of a small stream.... with most of her innards on the near side of the stream . Apparently he had just grazed her belly & it had held everything in until she jumped over the stream at which point she "exploded". I still poke fun at him every time I see him "manually" field dressing a deer & ask why he is doing that the hard way.

As for me I don't know if I would try it or not, guess I'd have to be in that situation to find out. The part that troubles me is risking the hams & straps! Them's mty favorite parts, mmmm straps.
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Old November 22, 2005, 01:10 PM   #6
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Head shot or Bung.

I guess it is what you are able to get sometimes.

Both are conditioned if you are eating the meat or wanting the antlers, one messes up the head and the other makes a real mess to clean.

Jack O'Connor wrote about a shot one time as the deer was running away, dropped like a stone. Could not find the entrance wound. He was trying to be funny or just discreet as to where it went. Since he was a great writer and gentleman, I would suspect he was being discreet.

If I was shooting at dangerous game and they had their tail to me I would take it as a real treat to shoot them there (bung), it is a killer shot make no mistake about that. At deer which you are looking to eat I don't think so.

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Old November 22, 2005, 01:18 PM   #7
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A tougher shot than it seems, I think. Anatomically, you'd have to put the round dead center through the pelvic girdle; otherwise it's a shattered hip. Not a clean kill. If you do manage to get through the pelvis, the bullet will have to travel through maybe three feet of tissue before encountering anything that will drop it then and there. That's not likely to happen. Again, not a clean kill . My feeling is that a responsible hunter should always try for a clean and quick kill. Obviously, that doesn't always happen, but we try. But to intentionally take a shot that you know won't do that is.... well, it ain't a good thing, IMO.
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Old November 22, 2005, 01:56 PM   #8
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I still poke fun at him every time I see him "manually" field dressing a deer & ask why he is doing that the hard way.
I took a shot at a fleeing little pig (~30-40 lbs.) with a .38-55. The Hornady 220 gr. soft point hit "the sweet spot" and opened up the thorasic cavity all the way up to the neck. It split the sternam and there were NO internal organs left in the carcass at all. It was as clean a field dressing as I have have ever seen. No meat damage either.
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Old November 22, 2005, 04:58 PM   #9
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My brother took a shot at the back of the neck of a whitetail deer walking away from him. He missed the neck but hit him in the hind quarters. He was using a 30/06. The bullet fractured the rear leg bone close to the hip joint, traveled thru the deer's intestines and out the side near the opposite front leg. The deer dropped quick but died slow. I gut shot a deer broadside before and it stunk, but man...the smell that came out of this deer when he cut it open was nasty. The deer's intestines and stomach was swiss cheese. Everything was leaking. He threw up, I threw up. Bung Hole shots are bad news.
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Old November 22, 2005, 05:27 PM   #10
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Yeah, nothing worse than the smell of "gut shot".

I'll take a head on neck shot or brisket shot, but trying to squeak one between the haunches without fragging a LOT of good meat is harder than just zapping the animal in the back of the head. I pass on the straight away shots.......
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Old November 22, 2005, 06:42 PM   #11
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My friend and I got very close to that "buck of a lifetime" this year. The only shot presented was a "bungholer" and neither of us even considered taking the shot. I know that many would, given the size of the trophy, but I couldn't do it without remorse and neither could he. Besides the mess it makes, I just feel that my quarry deserves better treatment than that.

I won't flame anyone for doing it - it's a personal choice. But don't ask your buddy to help you dress it if you make that shot..:barf:
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Old November 22, 2005, 06:51 PM   #12
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I don't like the bung shot either. I'll try a head shot a little higher. We had one this year (won't mention who) that was hit just port of the "opening". The bullet went through the left hip, completely shattering it, through the guts, missed the lungs, and broke the right front shoulder. Found the slug lodged under the hide in the front shoulder. Blood trail was fairly significant. Tracked her into a cedar thicket 200 yards from where she was hit. She had somehow jumped 2 fairly high fences in the process and was still alive 2 hours later. She bolted out the thicket, across another fence where she was finally dispatched. I could not believe that deer was still alive. And yes, that stunk about as bad as I ever want to smell.

Had another guy shoot a deer in a field and dropped him stone dead. We could not find even a drop of blood, nor an entry or exit wound. Very odd until we opened him up. Bullet had entered directly in the bung, hit and broke the neck and somehow ricocheted out of his mouth. We confirmed this by 2 broken out teeth.

Oh and I know firsthand via another one of my hunting partners (nameless again) how a 150 gr. 30-06 slug can nearly perfectly gut an antelope.
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Old November 22, 2005, 07:58 PM   #13
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Hell, I won't even shoot a hog in the a$$. To me that's just wrong. I feel the animal deserves more respect. jmo
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Old November 22, 2005, 09:46 PM   #14
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I missed a good shot like that I yelled 'its a sow' and waited for a brief second and I was told 'shoot it'. By the time I had waited that second the sow made a hard right and put a bunch of bush beween her and me.

I was looking for 'Boar' and that particular word means just that, 'Boar' is a male not the female.
If you are looking to keep the area good for hunting I personally don't like killing the female species. You need them for the future of the species.

I know you need the other also. But one Boar can sure spread the seed.
Next year you have lots of little ones. Kill the Sow and you are going to cull it quick.

But the bung is a good shot on hogs. One of the best. You hit them in the tail and they are finished next shot is a finisher, or it goes to the vitals. Pretty awesome if it is truly up the bung.

Young sow is good for meat, where young boar is not. IMHO leave um lay, the herd will eat them later. I would not shoot small boar or small sow.
I feel there is a free time. If you want them out of your fields that is different 'kill um all' as they say. Use enough gun or not they will be food for the rest.

I personally feel if you are hunting to exterminate, kill them with enough gun and that means something that can reach hundreds of yards, like an 06 in 180 grain bullet.
Most people don't like the 06 or the 308 NOT.

One of the best and most popular for numerous reasons. If I had only one gun to choose I would go for the 06 or 308.
Reload it up or down lots of brass and it is a good shooter. That accelerator round makes it good for lighter stuff also. But unfortunatly the 308 is no longer loaded in that round you would have to reload it. Not to bad.

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Old November 22, 2005, 10:05 PM   #15
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I don't think I would ever try that shot. I've had one or two bad shots in my short hunting career, mostly on running pronghorns. These are shots I regreted taking in hindsight. I think the animals we hunt deserve our respect, and that we should only take shots that are humane and ethical. Now saying that it all depends on the skill of the shooter, I'm a decent shot but not a skilled one so I prefer the broadside or quartering shot. If you are this kind of a skilled shot with confidence in your ability take it, but if you have any doubt respect the animal and let it go. Just ask yourself if you were that animal being hunted what kind of hunter would you want pulling that trigger?
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Old November 23, 2005, 10:27 AM   #16
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My father's comment about the going-away shot was, "If you see his horns stuck out way past his butt, either side, you better take what you can get."

I sure wouldn't take that shot on a meat-doe.

With my .243 loads, a frontal shot isn't a problem. The bullet pretty well starts coming apart on the breast bone, and all there is inside is a double-handful of mush where the heart/lungs used to be. I've never had any fragments get past the diaphragm.

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Old November 23, 2005, 11:35 AM   #17
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First deer I ever shot was a small doe, head on into the chest.Using 130 gr 270 cal. The bullet went through every inch of intestine and ended up in the ham.I certainly learned not to do that any more:barf:
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Old November 23, 2005, 07:09 PM   #18
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Back when I first started deer hunting I think there was some internal pressure to "bag a buck" every season, or you just didn't measure up somehow. So we hunted haaaard..., and if it happened that we didn't fill our tag, man were we creative on the reasons! But even back when I wore a younger mans cloths, I couldn't squeez off at the South end of a North bound buck, just couldn't do it. I'm in the camp that would attempt it only if the animal was already wounded, but as a first shot I just can't do er. And as I get older, I find myself passing on more bucks than I take anyway. I don't hate them deer that much!!!
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Old November 26, 2005, 06:39 AM   #19
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try a backdoor shot with a 12 gauge and slugs.did that when i was about 12 i think it was.first deer ever taken.learning to gut your first deer like that teachs you patience when it comes to hunting and waiting for a clean shot. a .270 works good for gutting turkeys when shooting from behind.a cousin did that one the back and out the base of the neck.took everything out with the bullet and saved all the meat.
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Old November 26, 2005, 11:22 AM   #20
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I took it this year at very close range (might have been 20 yards or so) and it worked, but I did put one through the ham and destroy some meat.

The thing is, that was the first shootable deer I'd seen all day in a 2-day season, and if I'd let it go much further in hopes of a quartering shot, it would have been through the brush and gone. My options were to pass on it, try to get it to stop for a better shot, or take the rear shot. I took the shot.

As long as we're telling on ourselves, if I'd been a bit quicker I'd have had a shot at its back as it climbed the creek bank opposite, almost like shooting straight down from above. That was the shot I was thinking of when I brought the gun up, but once I had a sight picture, I took what was there.
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Old November 30, 2005, 08:15 PM   #21
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Bunghole shot

I talk about this very question in each of my Hunter Education classes. This is what it boils down to.

1. Is it ethical? What is the cost to you personally for taking this shot?
2. What if you miss, ie. graze the hindquarter? Have you ever seen a wounded deer like this on your property? ( I live in a rural area with alot of ranchers kids )
3. Is it fair to the animal?
4. Is it sportsmanlike?

As for me and my classes, I'll keep teaching that this is an EXTREMELY poor shot that should be avoided at all costs.
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Old December 3, 2005, 09:17 AM   #22
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I have had the opportunity (as with many of us)....many times. I have never taken such a shot - and NEVER will. I do not believe it to be ethical. I also do not need the meat so badly, as to take such a risky shot. Regardless of the animal involved, even a "world record"....or "once in a lifetime" butt-shots for me.
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Old December 3, 2005, 02:35 PM   #23
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Hank is right I have actually tried it one time and it is worse than a gut shot I did it perfectly but I will never do it again cleaning a gut shot animal is no fun and it takes the fun out of the hunt
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Old December 3, 2005, 04:21 PM   #24
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Irresponsible, Inhumane, Unwise, Unfair, Impatient, Unwise, Unethical... That's the bunghole shot to me and I won't take 'em. Feel good about my choice too though I've let ol' mossy horns slip away more than once over it...

And shooting at the spine/head over the back - great shot and well done untill you drift a little low. Then all those words above come home to roost again and ya feel like all that gunk ya gotta scoop out if you do make a recovery. But accidents do happen.
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Old December 5, 2005, 04:39 PM   #25
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God help the poor buck if your hitting a little low. OUCH !!!
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