Home Forums Bows and Equipment Intentional Shoulder Shot

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    • M
      Post count: 107

      With a good EFOC setup and a single bevel BH would anyone recommend taking a shoulder shot on whitetail deer on purpose?

    • Steve Sr.
      Post count: 344

      At this point? Not really.
      At least not with ONLY that information on the set up. More information and testing by the shooter would be needed.

      HOWEVER.

      AFTER getting repeated penetration on bone, CONSISTANTLY, with a set up, where time after time I saw for myself that my set up did indeed penetrate ANY heavy bone structure on a whitetail AND did indeed consistantly reach the vitals, I would be much more likely to “pick a spot” further forward (aka further from the paunch).

      IMHO, getting the broadhead into the vitals is the objective and common sense tells me the less resistance I have to go through the better off I am BUT the knowledge of KNOWING I AM able to get THROUGH the heaviest bones on a whitetail would be an added insurance policy.

      The “perfect shot” would be nice if we could always get it but with a superior penetrating set up that has shown me to consistantly break through the bone threshold……I’d much rather to err into the shoulder area rather than the other direction.

      Liver and paunch shots arent aided much by a set up capable of superior penetration and I’d just as soon never have another..even if (for me and me only) I HAD TO shoot AT the shoulder to insure I didn’t endure the heart wrenching ordeal that acompanies a shot “too far back”.

      This is a question that has laid upon my mind ( again only for MY consideration) for many months now and I do not yet “know” my setup will give me the bone penetration (should it be needed).

      I sincerely wish I had the answer and had it last week.

      NOT YET convinced my lighter (bow poundage)setup WOULD get through the scapula and heavier upper leg bones, I took my “normal” behind the shoulder shot on the biggest buck of my life.

      A less than good shot, branch hit, deer moved..?? Whatever the reason, the hit was a abit higher than mid body and just at the rear of the diaphram broadside. I watched with a prayer in my heart as he went out and slowed then bedded down.

      Confident a two hour wait would result in a dead buck, I sat and texted a buddy with trembling hands, fully prepared to sit there and watch and wait.

      10 minutes later the farmer came from behind me cultivating the picked bean field and passed within 50 yards of the bedded buck and pushed him into the swamp (or accross the road?) The blood trail gone in the standing water covering acres.

      I’m still looking for him 5 days later. Sick, heart broken, and unable to “hunt” for a bit. The hunt will go on into the winter as the swamp freezes over.

      The arrow shows an obvious liver shot and a high one. Decent blood to where he bedded, a pool of blood…..then nothing. No paunch smell or slime on the arrow, just solid dark red blood.

      So do I WISH, I could know my set up WOULD allow for “more forward shots”? uh……yep, and I’m going to get there. The age old “dont aim at the shoulder with an arrow” comments and preachings ALL include “because you cant get good penetration there”.

      GET the penetration consistantly and that rule is then, by description, non-existant at least FOR ME. THIS SAME SHOT with a firearm is considered not only ethical but extremely lethal. It will be the same for an arrow CAPABLE of penetration with the same hit.

      My first “lost” deer at age 57. Shot ON my birthday. The biggest I’ve ever dropped a string on.(20 inches wide or better, medium high tines 8 or 10 in number, heavier than normal mass).

      I’ve been unable to hunt since last friday but…I’ll be back out there soon. I’ll be “hunting” but any bird or other animal activity consistantly in one area of the swamp will warrant an investigation.

      I hestated posting this but…..in reply to your question that many will NEVER accept?

      In MY case, and MY case only,

      YES. IF the vitals lay behind the shoulder with the angle I am shooting (not all angles do) AND I KNOW, my arrow/bow/broadhead REPEATEDLY will give me the penetration needed.

      Hopefully, those replying here can give this matter THOUGHT and not JUST repeat the mantra often repeated against it. The point remains IF you can CONSISTANTLY get the arrow through the shoulder bones, INTO the vitals, well then…..end of discussion IMO.

      Some won’t agree but FOR ME, the description of an “ethical shot’ is one that PENETRATES THE VITALS, by point of aim, producing a quickly dispatched game animal. Should that point of aim be THROUGH heavy bone, and CAPABLE of such…..the end result would speak for itself on if the shot is ethical.

      This was my belief before this past week, yet now it is forever stamped into my thought processes with burning letters. I WILL have a setup capable of such and WILL take that shot. Anything lethal and FURTHER from the non lethal areas is a huge plus IMHO.

      As living proof that “crap happens”, I’m going to prepare for it to never happen again.

      No offense to those having a different opinion. Never will we all agree nor will every situation be “right” or “wrong” for us all. The above is simply my thoughts, my plans, and the reasons for such. Some will scoff at my “accuracy” and I can accept that. The shot was not great. Im not at all happy with it.

      BUT, had I “aimed” 6 inches further forward? 😥

      God Bless,
      Steve Sr.

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      M wrote: With a good EFOC setup and a single bevel BH would anyone recommend taking a shoulder shot on whitetail deer on purpose?

      Assuming you’re not trying to finish off an already wounded deer, absolutely not. There’s a difference between making a bad shot and taking a bad shot. One is accidental; the other is irresponsible.

    • sapcut
      Post count: 159

      “There’s a difference between making a bad shot and taking a bad shot. One is accidental; the other is irresponsible.”

      I agree, but…
      The light bow/arrow camp is gonna have real problems either way. Problems that most choose to ignore.

      The heavy bow/arrow setup is not gonna have problems either way. That.. we all have great confidence in. And great confidence has alot to do with great shot placement among a host of other things.

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      Sapcut wrote: “There’s a difference between making a bad shot and taking a bad shot. One is accidental; the other is irresponsible.”

      I agree, but…
      The light bow/arrow camp is gonna have real problems either way. Problems that most choose to ignore.

      The heavy bow/arrow setup is not gonna have problems either way. That.. we all have great confidence in. And great confidence has alot to do with great shot placement among a host of other things.

      Yes, confidence is key. But if someone thinks their heavy bow/arrow is going to guarantee that they’re “not going to have problems either way,” well, here’s to wishful thinking. There’s nothing wrong with overkill in equipment, but it should never be a substitute for common sense and proper judgement.

    • Guru
      Post count: 7

      J.Wesbrock wrote: “There’s a difference between making a bad shot and taking a bad shot. One is accidental; the other is irresponsible.”
      “There’s nothing wrong with overkill in equipment, but it should never be a substitute for common sense and proper judgement”.

      Well said Jason….I absolutely agree!

    • sapcut
      Post count: 159

      “There’s nothing wrong with overkill in equipment, but it should never be a substitute for common sense and proper judgement.”

      You nor I could have said it any better. I could not agree more.

      I think another aspect of common sense is knowing, NOT ignoring and preparing for… the fact that animals do not stay still when shot at and “bad shots” occur due to no fault of our own.

      That common sense is just simply ingored by so many and I cannot figure out why.

      In one reverant thought there is so much respect offered to the game that is hunted but yet not enough respect with the weapon used.

    • Konrad
      Post count: 62

      I wonder…what animal in the butcher’s shop would “duplicate” the shoulder/upper leg (OK, OK, scapula/tibia)for back yard testing?

    • Jesse Minish
      Post count: 115

      What is wrong with shooting a deer in the shoulder blades?

      Just curious but isn’t there vitals back there?

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      no the vitals are behind the shoulder blade, IF the arrow penetrated the shoulderblade it might nick the lung. I have seen shoulderblade shots on whitetail with a rifle, they look nasty??

    • M
      Post count: 107

      Steve Sr. Thank you for the honest response. I am still formulating all this in my mind,but I have decided to adopt/adapt to an efoc single bevel set up because S@#T does happen in the woods.Good luck finding your buck.

    • Jesse Minish
      Post count: 115

      Greatreearcher wrote: no the vitals are behind the shoulder blade, IF the arrow penetrated the shoulderblade it might nick the lung.

      If you hit the shoulder blade you will hit lung especially out of a treestand. Maybe not at all angles though. I have shot deer through both shoulder blades and got both lungs.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      hmm, okay I was always told that the lungs were behind, probably because they didnt want me to try anything stupid:D. I guess the shoulder shots I have seen were far forward, and I dont think they were intentional. But they all were followed by another rifle round!

      Just curious but did you go through both shoulders using a bow? If so you have to tell me what system you were using!:wink:

    • Jesse Minish
      Post count: 115

      The majority of the lungs are behind the shoulder but there are lungs under the shoulder also.

      Yes I was using my bow. I did it with a 70# bow and laminated birch arrows that weigh about 700 grains and a Eclipse head.

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      hmm, makes me reconsider getting to know my 70# bow a bit more! I bought it as a investment, figuring that I would bowhunt tougher game in the future. I can shoot it well. But not nearly as well as I can shoot my 55# take down.

      Thanks for the info Jesse! Always learn something new on here!!! Best of luck this season!

      chris

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      Jesse,

      As far as I’m aware, the only time that the majority of the lungs are behind the shoulder blade would be on a downward quartering toward angle.

    • Jesse Minish
      Post count: 115

      Jason, I said the majority of the lungs are behind the shoulder (to the left of the shoulder blade on your diagram)but there are lungs under it. By under I meant on the other side of the shoulder you are shooting at.

      I shot a deer at a slight down ward angle and perfectly broadside. The arrow hit both shoulder blades. The deer ran about 20 yards and when I gut the deer the broadhead hit both lungs.

      I have never feared a deers shoulder or ribs. The only deer I never got a complete pass through on was my first deer with a long bow when I was 14 and I have hit a lot of off side shoulders and some front side shoulders since. Just my experience.

      I am not saying aim for them on purpose but if it happens to me like it has I am not going to worry.

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 762

      Jesse,

      Heck, I totally misread your post. Sorry about that. You were clear; I just goofed it. I’m going to blame it on the decaf. 😳

    • Steve Sr.
      Post count: 344

      Interesting to me that the two deer I HAVE shot through the shoulder blade with a bow and the 90 or so Ive butchered all died…….and quickly. (Ps that’s not counting anything but archery shots) BTW? BOTH of mine got lungs AND arteries. All I know about the others from customers that hit the shoulder is that they went down fast, short blood trail and no second shot was needed accept for a few HIGH ones that hit spine too.

      No one can say “its a bad shot” if it penetrates and kills the deer and no one can say “there isnt anything behind the shoulder blade” on ALL angles, one behind the shoulder isnt ALWAYS lethal either, it depends on the angle.

      “there is s a difference between a bad shot and a bad hit”. If the arrow DOES penetrate and kill the deer….it is then neither, but that said, I would rarely aim AT the shoulder but also would not PASS UP one close with a set up made to do so.

      A BAD SHOT is a non-lethal one. Because some don’t feel shooting a shoulder blade is acceptable in their world……fine. Saying it is therefore a BAD SHOT they not paying attention to the information available to them now and not paying attention to other people’s posts.

      They have had this in their heads for years and are incapable of comprehending that an arrow that DOES CONSISTANTLY GO THROUGH BONE…….and shot into the shoulder produces a dead deer….NOW.

      As I posted earlier……..go look. ALL information on “not hitting the shoulder blade” online, in books, etc etc……is followed by “because penetration is limited there”.

      [b]NOT because “there are no vitals there”.[/b]
      I personally will stick with whatever IS GOING TO send an arrow through the vitals……regardless.

      As for light bows, Ive a buddy that has shot through BOTH shoulder blades…..with a 43 lb recurve (dead in less than 40 yards)

      There obviously EXISTS a combination that WILL pass through scapulas or leg bones, spines etc etc, even with a “light” bow. I personally will be shooting a heavier bow the remainder of this season, but because I have found cold fingers and a light bow isn’t a good combination for me and my release (on fast shots).

      The Ashby Report has consistantly shown bone penetration results to be possible and in my case, I have simply not yet decided (and tested myself) the one I will settle on.

      As expected, SOME replies here are opinions without backed up experience. That is also fine since we are here to share information with each other, but keep this fact in mind when reading, dear reader.

      I just wish to point out that penetrated shoulder blades on this site, in this forum, are not all that RARE nor were they “non lethal” aka “bad” hits. THOSE posted were and are not “opinions”, they are cold hard fact.

      Ill stick with those that have seen it, done it, and what worked doing so.

      We can discuss this into the ground, post all the “diagrams” we want. What has happened and DOES happen in the real world has shown me that it is not only possible……it worked so well that I WILL be able to do so, and soon.

      God Bless
      Steve Sr.

    • M
      Post count: 107

      I am working on an EFOC set up because in a shot I would rather err towards the shoulder than the liver. I would prefer a quartering away into the vitals behind the shoulder shot but that doesnt always work out and of course things go wrong beyond our control. What I wrestle with is the fact we never know for sure until the deer is hit. I am narrowing this down to Carbon Express Heritage 250 arrow, 100gr brass insert,250 gr Abowyer brown bear including insert. If I can tune my bow to shoot this it should penetrate both shoulders and give a pass through shot according to “the reports”, but I wont personally know till the arrow hits the deer and I see for myself. We all hate wounded lost deer and my goal is to minimize this when everything goes wrong.

    • SlowBowInMO
      Post count: 13

      If a deer had no bones at all, the best shot is still not in the shoulder blade area. I’m all for tuning a set up for maximum penetration, but I can’t for the life of me see a good reason to intentionally shoot a deer in the shoulder regardless of the set up.

    • M
      Post count: 107

      The heart and major arteries lie low between the front legs of a deer shooting through the shoulders (I did not type shoulder blade) could be your best chance of hitting them depending on angle and penetration. The legs also provide locomotion to the deer so disabling one or more legs should decrease the ability of the deer to travel great distances. These are the questions out there for discussion and the big question I have is it better to err more to the shoulder area than back further and risk a paunch or liver shot. The title of this thread is Intentional shoulder shot not Intentional shoulder blade shot.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      SlowBowInMO wrote: If a deer had no bones at all, the best shot is still not in the shoulder blade area. I’m all for tuning a set up for maximum penetration, but I can’t for the life of me see a good reason to intentionally shoot a deer in the shoulder regardless of the set up.

      Lots of truth and good points in what many are saying here, but the above from SloMo pretty much sums up my own views in the fewest words. As posted elsewhere, on this year’s bull elk one of the test shots I took on the just-dead animal was a 45-degee shoulder shot from 15 yards. Ashby-designed arrow (680 grains total, single-bevel head, 26+ percent FoC) blew a big hole in the scapula and penetrated 18″. 55# bow. This and other tests of my own and other hunters I’ve heard from, plus Ashby’s research, says that yes, with a good solid Ashby arrow setup and a bow not too weak or slow, you most likely can get good penetration on a deer shoulder (I know nothing about the penetration dynamics of steep-down treestand shots). Yet, that physical fact is not ethical license to purposely do it, because as SloMo and others have pointed out (I really love J.’s “moving” deer anatomy diagram), it’s not a high-odds shot, so why take it? That shot –highest odds — will consistently be level with the game, broadside, low behind front leg. We should stop occassionally to recall Ashby’s bottom-line motivation in doing this work (and it’s the same motivation that inspires me and most other “Ashby disciples”: NOT to allow us to take low-odds shots and get away with it, but rather to supply solid insurance when “good” shots go bad, increasing odds for fast humane kills and prompt game recovery. Thus, to me, this knowledge allows me to aim a bit farther forward, right over the heart, doing my best not to hit bone but knowing that if I do, I have a setup that will handle it. Insurance, pure and simple, as I believe Steve Sr. is also saying. Good discussion, amigos! Dave

    • M
      Post count: 107

      I shot a doe on saturday from a distance of about 10 feet. I was up in a cedar tree on a steep hill. The doe was facing uphill quartering away above me on the hill not the tree.One of three things went wrong 1. my lower limb hit a branch 2. I misjudged the extreme angle 3. the doe jumped the string. I think it was a combination of 1&2, but the arrow hit the doe in the neck and hit the spine. The doe dropped in its tracks but did require a finnishing shot. I was not using an EFOC setup because I am not ready yet. I was using carbon express heritage 150 arrows standard aluminum insert and a 145 Zephyr head with bleeder blades out of my Bear 55# Super Magnum 48.I think this qualifies as a succesful failure because the arrow penetrated to the spine but was stopped cold. The BH was not damaged bleeder blades gone, but not enough penetration.This was a lucky shot not planned this way but the arrow ended up where it shouldnt have. More and more my personal experience shows these classic non EFOC combinations leave no margin of error and I would never take an intentional shoulder shot with one and in fact I fear hitting a deer in the shoulder. That is why I think I and maybe others out there hit a little to far back and hit the liver with agonizing results for both hunter and animal. I think we are all saying the same thing a little differently but with an EFOC arrow/bh combination I would be more confident in trying to slide the arrow right behind the shoulder very close because I would have more margin of error if I did hit bone. Gun season starts next monday so I should be ready with my Ashby system when it ends. I am allowed 6 deer so I will keep shooting to gather some real world experience on single bevel vs. bone

    • mudfish99
      Post count: 13

      I just posted some pics of a couple of bucks, I recently submitted to the Ashby study. You can read the details, but the one buck that I shot through the shoulder blade dressed at 245#. The arrow severed the cranial vena cava, as well as nicking the brachiocephalic tree, it thereby severed the fourth rib and lodged in the opposite leg. No lungs were touched. The buck went approximately 150yds before collapsing, but offered a very poor blood trail. Internal hemorraging was massive.
      The other buck was shot behind the shoulder and exited low behind the opposite leg. Both lungs were hit severing the pulmonary artery. Recovery within 50yds, blood trail excellent.
      The difference? The first buck did not have an exit hole, consequently the blood trail was poor. Why? Large bucks have massive shoulder muscles, the broadhead must pass through the trapezius, the deltoideus, and either the infra or supraspinatous muscle, then through the scapula, next comes the cutaneus trunci, through the ribs and into the vitals.
      To make a long story short. Both bucks are dead, but it was alot easier to recover the one with a ventral exit hole. If I have a choice, I’m going to tuck it in right behind the shoulder.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Thanks, Mudfish. Doc Ashby will be delighted to have you to talk shop with when he returns. 😀 dave

    • traddad
      Post count: 4

      Having just finished an AZ Elk hunt, and immediately heading off to MT for a deer/antelope hunt, I decided to stick with what my eye was used to hunt with the 710 gr arrows and single bevel NO MERCY’s. I found while sitting water that I kept getting the quartering-on drinking shots on antelope and passed them waiting for the side shot that never came. After aganizing, I finally figured my “set up” should be substantial enough to handle the blade of an antelope and took the shot on a quartering on, head down and front lower than the rear end shot.
      I must say, the sonic crack of that arrow hitting the shoulder blade with an immediate drop of the buck was amazing. I wouldn’t try this on anything larger than a deer sized animal, but now with my setup and minimal yardage (20 and in), I would feel confident….The pick is posted on the trophy page.

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