Head Shots

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by spencerhenry, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. spencerhenry

    spencerhenry

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    I was out antelope hunting yesterday. At first light I shot a decent buck, but my shot hit him a little far back and a little high. It was 6 or 7 inches in front of the diaphragm, and about 3 inches below the spine. I watched as the herd ran off, with the buck 3 to 4 hundred yards behind walking slow. I could see where the bullet had hit, I figured he would go lay down and I could catch up to him. Another hunter following the herd put the stop to that, they all kept going.
    About noon I spotted him laying on a hillside about 400 yards out, before I could set up to shoot again, he got up and walked straight away over the hillside. I grabbed all my gear and took off after him, after I crested the hill about 200 yards to the side of his path, I spotted him going up the far side of the next little valley. It was 280, by the time I got set up to shoot, he was at 300, but turned broadside and I could see the hole from my first shot. But, there was something weird about his head. I put one in the shoulder, and he started down the hill, he stopped and I put another one in his shoulder at the bottom of the chest. He finally flopped over and quit moving.
    When I got to him, I could see what was up with his head, someone else had shot him after I did. The shot had removed the front 3" of the lower jaw and the soft tissue of his nose was missing. Now I felt bad for blowing the shot and hitting him far back and high, and he likely would not have survived that hit even though he was not bleeding from it. It likely would have taken a while to kill him. I was not proud of my shooting.
    But, a shot to the head removing a large portion of the lower jaw, tongue, and parts of the nose will absolutely kill him. It will kill him over the span of perhaps as long as a couple of weeks, maybe as quick as a few days, but it will be a painful, lingering death. Dehydration? Starvation? Infection? Coyotes? Who knows how the end plays out.
    Fortunately for this animal I was able to finish the task. But I have found others in the past that were not so lucky. I found a 2 point deer that had been shot similarly to this antelope, with most of his jaw removed, it was 7 days after the last day of deer season, I walked up and at 5 feet finished the little buck. He had puss draining out of his eyes, and what was left of his nose. When he looked up at me he was splay legged and staggering.
    I know there will be plenty that attack me for this post, but head shots are not ethical.

    Flame away.
     
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  2. rebel

    rebel Gold $$ Contributor

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    I won't flame you at all. Experienced a similar situation where I was called to track one. No problem to track by flashlight but after a mile and a half you realize you are not gonna catch up. Head shots are real tricky and you can go from hero to zero real fast. That target is moving a bunch and I only take it if the situation warrants it. Absolutely static at the moment I'm ready to shoot, never at much over 200 yards.
    I've only done this a few times, the situation was right, I was capable and so was the rifle. It's not a shot for the average minute of pie plate guy for sure.
     
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  3. Knotwild

    Knotwild Silver $$ Contributor

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    Unfortunately people don't understand what can happen with a head shot and it really doesn't hit home until you experience the results. When I was very young and dumb I tried a straight on "in the mouth shot" with a .243. The bullet hit the jawbone, ran along the outside and blew out behind the ear. She went down, but got up to run away and I finished her fortunately. What a horrible way to die if you don't get a second chance to finish the job.
     
  4. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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  5. rebel

    rebel Gold $$ Contributor

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    Toby, I respect you as a hunter and really good shooter. However, a lot of of folks THINK they are a really good shooter when they actually suck at it. That is the reason I commented. Not doubting your ability or most of the regulars here - but there are folks out there, believe it or not, that shoot their rifles once a year, get 2 moa at 100 yards and consider themselves excellent shots. I see it every single day of hunting season. Project 2 moa on a deer head. Not good.
     
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  6. rr2030

    rr2030

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    A hunters, and knowing the risk of causing a long lingering horrible death, only an as*hole would risk taking that shot. I have heard the "its not a head shot it's a brain or spine shot" rational and I don't care to hear how many people have made that shot. It's just wrong and it makes me sick when I hear it.

    Sorry if I offend anyone here I'm just passionate about this because I have witnessed the results. Or maybe its the 2 double-shots of espresso, can't say for sure.
     
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  7. Knotwild

    Knotwild Silver $$ Contributor

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    I am not sure if I understand why anyone should be offended by facts. Once people apologize for offending, it's almost like saying, "well, it's not that important if it hurts your feelings".
     
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  8. rr2030

    rr2030

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    NO, I'm saying sorry if I offended you, if your butt-hurt, deal with it. But I stand by what I said.
     
  9. Knotwild

    Knotwild Silver $$ Contributor

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    I guess we are on the same page. I was saying that I really don't care if someone is offended if I stated a fact.
     
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  10. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    I'm not commenting on whether a brain (not head) shot on big game is ethical. I have done it quite a bit but find myself doing much less of it as I get older. This topic has been debated endlessly without changing anyone's mind, which is why I posted the photo that I did.

    My point is that ethics are a personal thing. It's fine with me if you do (or don't) want to try a brain shot. But I am opposed to anyone projecting their own ethics onto someone else.
     
  11. rr2030

    rr2030

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    Make no mistake, there are zero ethics involved in a decision that has an unreasonably high probility of maiming an animal and causing a horrible lingering death.

    We are all exceptional shots, but the hunting shot is typically cold bore, uneven terrain, maybe you are a little out of breath, the wind, the distance, your excitement, etc. Its better to put one solid in the boiler room and make a clean ethical kill.
     
  12. natdscott

    natdscott P100, HM, DR, experienced beginner. Silver $$ Contributor

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    Deleted....I'm sorry I bothered to be involved in this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  13. Toby Bradshaw

    Toby Bradshaw Gold $$ Contributor

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    The last time this came up the argument went on for eight pages.

    http://forum.accurateshooter.com/threads/head-shooting-deer.3887370/

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis
     
  14. johnfred1965

    johnfred1965 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I watch a LOT of TV, like discovery channel and military channel etc. I watch those cool shows about snipers and their training and abilities. The true marksmen of the military, Army and USMC snipers and Navy SEALs have the skills of a High Master, and could pop a "Tango" right in the forehead. So, where are they trained to shoot? Center mass, the "Boiler Room". It isn't that they can't hit the head, but as it has been pointed out, the head is a small target, and it can move between trigger pull and impact. The chest is a bigger target, less likely to move far enough for a miss, will kill just as dead, and when you are shooting at someone who could shoot back, you want to make sure you kill them with the first shot.

    you should do the same with a deer. Sure, many on here could hit a golfball at 500 yards, but if all you have to do is hit a volleyball, why take the chance? I'm not into the ethics argument of this, If all I can see of a bedded animal is its head, I'll shoot it if I can, But in 99% of the shots, the Volleyball is showing and that is the shot to take. A bit more than .02 but there you go.
     
  15. rr2030

    rr2030

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    Everyone shoots within their limitations, until they don't ...
     
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  16. 1shot

    1shot Site $$ Sponsor

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    While there are a lot of very good hunters, those with matching shooting skills are far fewer. I had to dispatch a small 2x2 mulie many years ago similar to the deer @spencerhenry described. Lower jaw hanging, green ooze dripping off of it. I'm happy for the animal that I could put it out of it's suffering.
    I hold a HM classification in both mid and long range, but I will always wait to take the high percentage shot. It's just the ethical this to do, hence one of the reasons for my screen name.
    I hope this helps,

    Lloyd
     
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  17. rebel

    rebel Gold $$ Contributor

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    Agreed sir!
     
  18. spencerhenry

    spencerhenry

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    Whomever shot the antelope I killed in the jaw, was not out there looking for it. Take what you will from that.

    I am sure there are some world class shooters on this forum, but there are also plenty that aspire to that category but will never achieve it, and some of those create their own legend in their minds.
    I have a guy renting from me lately, he claims to be former law enforcement. He claims to be a fantastic shot. When I just met him last year, we got to talking about coyote hunting. He told me that he would shoot them for me, that he would "shoot them in the eye at 600 yards". I invited him to come shoot with me at my range at least a dozen times, and every time he declined. Most often the excuse was that he shoots 1000 yards and shooting at my 450 yard range was too close and no challenge. Another excuse was that his rifles were zeroed for Oklahoma and up here at 8000' they would be way off. When he moved in to my place, the range is 50' from the door, he shot a couple of times. His shooting was NOT impressive, rather pretty poor. My point is that here is a guy that claims to shoot 1000 yards with impressive accuracy, that claims to be able to shoot a coyote in the eye at 600, claims to shoot "the heads off of turtles at 450" every shot, like its an easy task, who then when given the opportunity to show his skills can't reliably hit a 6" gong at 450! Those are, from MY experience, the head shot guys.

    The real world of hunting is quite a bit different that sitting at a bench with a rifle dialed in to precisely hit the same target at the same distance every time. My antelope was at 343 yards, I was prone with a bipod that was just a little bit too high, my scope was fogging slightly from my breath. My fingers were really cold, and even after waiting a couple minutes, my heart rate was still elevated from getting into position. I did not hit my intended point. I am not a novice shooter, nor am I a world class shooter. But a 343 yard shot at an antelope should be nothing to think about.
     
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  19. Jason_A

    Jason_A

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  20. pacificman

    pacificman

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    Most hunters care about the game they pursue and when things don't go the way they should we get a very sick feeling
    and do our best to be humane towards the game animal and put it down quickly. There will always be a few hunters out there
    that just don't care and those are the ones that give the rest of us a bad name! It takes a perty big guy to admit to making a
    mistake...but I'll bet it has happened to most of us that hunt at one time in our lives. Many years ago I lost a deer after making a perfect lung shot with bow and arrow...
    My buddy said lets go after it...we should have waited and let the deer bleed out...I just about quit
    bow hunting. I chose to not fill my tag that year because ethically that was my choice for that year. Sometimes even making
    a perfect shot on game can result in a lost animal. I really do think that most of us...95 percent care about our game animals.
    I think we can learn something from spencerhenry's post and from others that have posted here!!! ;):)
     
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