Putting some of our myths to rest

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/deer/articlegad.html

This paper by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources asks the questions that sport hunters argue about incessantly on forums, and attempts to answer them objectively. With data!

Well worth a read. Some forum members will note with the warm glow of self-congratulatory smugness that some of the things we've been banging on about forever are supported by the conclusions (apart from the longer range part of course, which doesn't make any sense). In summary:

Conclusions

  • Shooting percentages about 82%.
  • The farther the shot, the lower the chance of getting the deer.
  • Deer ran about 62 yards on average.
  • Shot placement is determining factor. All things considered, broadside shoulder shot worked best compared to others.
  • About 50:50, deer run vs. deer don’t run.
  • Trained dog expedited recovery of all deer that ran.
  • Dog very important in recovering 61 deer that left poor/no sign, 24 deer judged unrecoverable, and 19 live/wounded deer.
  • Dog accounted for approximately 15 – 20% of total harvest on hunting area, i.e. 75 – 100 deer.
  • No difference in effectiveness of various calibers.
  • No difference between factory vs. custom firearms.
  • Significant difference between bullet types. This study indicates that rapidly expanding bullets lead to deer running less often and less distance and when they run they leave better sign.
 

Mungo

Well-Known Member
Absurd! You should know better than to spout hard data and robust analysis on a public hunting forum!

There was a fairly similar analysis done here a few years ago that came to roughly similar and entirely uncontroversial conclusions. People still got cross.
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
I know Mungo... stupid me! God knows, facts and data are dull and boring and almost certainly fake news. Apparently.

Whilst I certainly don’t expect this kind of study to make even a raindrop’s ripple of a difference to the “way things are done”, it does however give me some comfort that my old Grandpa might have been right when he told me that .30-06 shooters using 180gr Partitions on British deer must have small dicks. There probably wasn’t much science behind that comment, just a hunch perhaps. Unfortunately the aforementioned study doesn’t clarify whether he was right or not.
 

dunwater

Well-Known Member
At last, empirical proof that the neck shot is superior to that behind the shoulder nonsense, and high velocity fast expanding bullets are better than slow controlled expansion jobbies.
I knew ye were all wrong
 

DJB266

Well-Known Member
This thread should be linked to every “what’s the best calibration for” post! Apparently whichever you want/suits you best! Who would have thought!
 

John Gryphon

Well-Known Member
  • One of the MOST important below as a good dog will bail a wounded /poorly shot deer that without would be an impossible task.
  • Dog very important in recovering 61 deer that left poor/no sign, 24 deer judged unrecoverable, and 19 live/wounded deer.
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
Dodgy, are we theorising that the "shoulder" shot is your famous Hillar zone?

Yup. From the red deer in NZ book, you’ve seen this before.

81B03094-8ED1-489C-A094-B55BDB7D6106.jpeg

This book was written in believe 30yrs ago and used knowledge gained from the deer cullers, who with soft bullets in various calibres (first .303 and later .222 and .243) perfected the art of instant drop shots from every angle. So this stuff has been around for probably 60-70yrs, I was taught this position and my teacher learnt it here in the 50s. I was told a while back by our vet that there was a proper research paper on deer anatomy when he was at uni in the 80s, detailing the exact nature of deer CNS and how to effect instant bang flops without shooting the head or neck, but I’ve never been able to find it, have asked the NZDA and NZDFA but to no avail so far.

The trick is to use a soft bullet that isn’t travelling too fast. When I shoot reds and fallow in the hilar zone with the .243, the point of aim will be 1” behind the upper humerus / scapula joint, which equates to the 3rd rib. A ProHunter in there and its all over rover. The bullet expands rapidly and partially fragments, with a low probability of exiting, but there is always copius frothy respiratory blood oftentimes literally gushing out the nose if they don’t die immediately.

The South Carolina study is an all round pretty good effort I think at trying the quantify the variability and lack of precise repeatability, no two shots at a deer are ever exactly the same. For me the confirmation from this study that deer heart / rear lung shot with “hard” bullets are measurably more likely to result in long runners is gratifying. Its the use of monolithics and some traditional tough big game bullet designs that have (by far) resulted in awkward and frankly avoidable situations for me over the years, spoiling many hunts and directly resulting in lost animals. Calibre isn’t the issue, though I would say from memory most of these situations have been with .270 and .30-06. I’m totally over watching someone shoot a deer in the rear lungs / heart area with a monolithic or A-Frame or whatever and then watching it hurtle off into the bush... getting too old and grumpy for the drama that often entails.

And John’s point above about the role of the dog and extremely high success rates is something I’ve taken on board, a good dog is sometimes available to me, not often, and there has in the past been all sorts of drama due to aggressive pigs. But the older I get the more I consider getting a good dog, just need to be able to commit to the training time or else it’ll be as useful as tits on a bull.
 
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NigelM

Well-Known Member
Thought that was what you were getting at...

I shot a Roe buck night before last. 176 meters, 100 grain Pro Hunter from the Lapua with a TV of 2610 fps. He was quartering towards me at about 11 o'clock. Went in an inch or so to the left of the brisket, broke the shoulder, cut the heart in two and came to rest in the stomach. Can't have been going very quickly when it got there as there was not a lot of green spilt.

He kicked his back legs and ran 15 yds before he dropped. I was surprised as I thought I would have hit your Hillar zone on the way through. Is it much higher than the heart?
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
Yes, it is higher than the heart. Not a lot, but if your bullet cut the heart in two, you’ll be about 2-3” too low I would have thought, guessing there. Also, from what you are describing with the animal quartering strongly towards, the broken shoulder suggests the trajectory of the bullet passed down the side of the bang flop zone. Much easier to hit broadside obviously.

F319CF1F-8191-4FD2-8F70-E04FEF760379.jpeg

The last three small reds (yearlings) I shot were all facing me, looking at me. Instant drops, face down towards the shooter. I aimed just to the left or right of the the midline of their neck depending which side of midday they were standing, right in the middle of the chest in the vertical plane. So the bullet transects the midline of the animal in the long direction roughly in line with the third rib if you were looking broadside. That should in theory go straight through the mass of pulmonary veins, bronchi and the autonomic nerves that control breathing, heart beat etc.

How much of the ProHunter did you recover?
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
Thought so.

I didn't recover any of the ProHunter. It was almost dark and I wasn't about to try to trawl through the stomach contents before the 20 minute carry back to the vehicle! No sign of it elsewhere in the carcass back at the larder so presume it was in there somewhere. Surprised me, thought it would have carried a bit more energy than that.
 

Erik Hamburger

Well-Known Member
Excellent data, thank you.

In particular these 2 points made me giggle, but if these facts would be generally accepted, these Forums wouldn't be half as much fun to read.

  • No difference in effectiveness of various calibers.
  • No difference between factory vs. custom firearms.
 

karamoja

Well-Known Member
My dad who was involved with heart and lung perfusion since it's birth said the issue is whether the heart is full or empty of blood. Or indeed half full or empty - no one can know that! A bang flop is dictated by that fact.
Regarding calibres a real man uses what he damn well pleases regardless of diametre and velocity. I don't care! As long as it's legal and used appropriately!
So what's more effective at a hundred yards a .243 Ackley improved or a 45-70 - let the debate begin!!!
Oh what will run furthest?
Rant over sorry I have had a long week (as someone once said "what sport"
Best ranting K
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
My dad who was involved with heart and lung perfusion since it's birth said the issue is whether the heart is full or empty of blood. Or indeed half full or empty - no one can know that! A bang flop is dictated by that fact.

I disagree with you and your dad there karamoja, hearts very rarely dictate bang flops with deer.

Bang flops are caused by destruction of comms between the brain and the motor functions. That's why the head and neck shots disable and kill an animal immediately - the genuine 100% bang flop.

A spine shot between T1 and roughly T8 or T9 will immediately drop the animal on the spot but may not kill it outright. A spine shot behind the T10 or T11 vertebrae will disable only the rear legs and by no means kill the animal immediately.

There are two other primary central nervous system pathways the hunter can target that will bang flop a deer. The brachial plexus, which sits below the spine and between the scapula (shoulder blades), and the autonomic plexus, which sits in the front lungs area where the arteries run to the top of the heart, just in front of the joint between the lower scapula and upper humerus.

As Nigel describes above, he shot a roe yesterday and split the heart in two, but the animal made 15 yards. That's because the bullet trajectory likely passed underneath and / or to the side of the autonomic plexus.

Heart shooting deer in this part of the world is considered by many to be a no-no, explicitly because so many heart shot deer run like buggery into the bush. To bang-flop them, 99% of the time you need to involve the CNS, directly or indirectly through shock.
 

karamoja

Well-Known Member
It's to do with blood pressure!
You are entitled to disagree, forty years of designing and replicating the heart and lungs during surgery does develop some understanding though I would think. empirically speaking it's is interesting that two identical shots often result in different responses - bang flop or a run? Interesting to hypothesize though? Ultimately use what calibre you like for the reasons you decide! I often use .303 a 7/08 as well as 9.3 they all did and fill my freezer. Which is my main goal!
Best K
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
No disrespect to your father mate, but that's just not right. Unless you are defining a bang-flop as a stagger or a short run. Which its not, a bang-flop, as we like to call it, is an instant collapse, i.e. the effect of shooting a deer in the brain.

Blood pressure loss happens at variable rates, as you have suggested, and the length of a dead run will be determined by the rate of blood loss which is a function of wounding of course. Most of us here have heart shot deer and seen dramatically different outcomes, from a few yards to well over a hundred and more. But instant collapse from a heart shot, in the manner of a brain shot, is very very rare and if it happens like that, then 9 times in 10 the hunter (if he's interested) will find peripheral wounding through fragmentation that has made it to one of the nerve pathways, usually the autonomic plexus.

The research that the South Carolina folk presented clearly demonstrates this.
 
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