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Thread: Neck shots for caribou?

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    Default Neck shots for caribou?

    My wife requested to go along with me for this weekend's caribou trip and is wanting to try to take the animal. All I have that she can handle is my Thompson/Center in .223. I know lots of people say 243 and 223 can kill bou but I just don't trust little calibers yet. I'm thinking neck shot, but have never myself tried a neck shot. Opinions? Experiences? Advice? Does it kill the animal as reliably?
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Were you taught that a neck shot is an ethical shot to take? I was not!

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    Default go head, not neck

    The majority of the neck can take a little 223 right thru it and your caribou will run a very long ways before it either heals or dies; I wouldn't; caribou neck vertebrae are tiny. Bison are a different story; theirs can be 8 to 10 inches diameter, making that a far more assured shot.

    If she can hit what she aims at; aim at the upper head, either you will get a clean kill with zero meat loss, or if you hit too high and hit antler it'll still go down for a second before getting up probably-unharmed (except for a heckuva headache) giving you enough time to chamber another one and take it down without chasing it over a few ridges.

    Another upside of the clean one-shot headshot is that the meat will have zero adrenaline in it; the animal will not even hear the shot due to the supersonic nature of your round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToolMan907 View Post
    Were you taught that a neck shot is an ethical shot to take? I was not!
    I'm 100% for broadside lung shots. I despise the idea of head shots and do know someone who almost lost their animal because of a head shot. The only real viewpoint I've heard for a neck shot is that if the animal is laying down and you cant get an accurate heart/lung shot that the neck is a decent 'Plan B'. It makes sense to me, considering the arteries and spine run through it. I just have no first hand experience with it.

    That being said, does the .223 really have enough oomph to get through the ribs to make a lethal lung shot? I know she can shoot great and I'll be backing her up with my .308. I am just wanting to make sure she makes a clean kill. What would really be handy is if some people who have shot caribou with a .223 to tell me how it turned out.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    I'm 100% for broadside lung shots. I despise the idea of head shots and do know someone who almost lost their animal because of a head shot. The only real viewpoint I've heard for a neck shot is that if the animal is laying down and you cant get an accurate heart/lung shot that the neck is a decent 'Plan B'. It makes sense to me, considering the arteries and spine run through it. I just have no first hand experience with it.

    That being said, does the .223 really have enough oomph to get through the ribs to make a lethal lung shot? I know she can shoot great and I'll be backing her up with my .308. I am just wanting to make sure she makes a clean kill. What would really be handy is if some people who have shot caribou with a .223 to tell me how it turned out.
    I second lung shots and the .223 can do it with the right bullet. I'd use the nosler partition or a TSX.

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    Let her use your .308, I bet she can handle it.

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    I've shot 6 moose in the neck and they fell where they stood. I was using a 30-06 , and a 338 when I did it, so not sure about the 223. If you are not sure about the shot, or your/hers abbilitys to hit the spot just below and back of the ears, take the big area of the chest. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    What would really be handy is if some people who have shot caribou with a .223 to tell me how it turned out.
    When I was dumb enough to try shots at around 400 yds, it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. When I took decent shots at 100 yds, it always turned out good. If the critter is laying down, get it's curiosity up so it stands.
    Your not going to blow the thing off it's feet. Put a quality hunting .224 bullet into a bou chest at 200-250 yds. or less and it will work good enough!
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    I shoot everything in the neck or head..not an antler hunter. And with the proper caliber it drops them in there tracks. Maybe not a .223 but something a lil bigger blows a nice hole thru the head or neck. From grouse, rabbits, on up to moose if there close enough..the rest is bull crap. Caribou are easy to drop as are most moose.

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    Anatomy: But I think ADF&G teaches quartering away shots on deer-sized game and broadside shots on larger game because they are the highest probability shots for a lethal and humane kill.

    Other worthwhile points (Basic Hunter Ed course):
    -like martentrapper suggested, limit shots to within your personal effective range. If you search the archives, martentrapper has been around awhile, and posting on these forums a good while too!
    -Get as near the animal as possible
    -There is such a thing as trying to get too close, which alerts animals to your presence, and either they run or turn and face you making a poor target
    -Before taking a shot, look along the intended flight path of the bullet for obstructing branches, limbs or anything else that might cause a deflection

    Good luck. It's great that your wife wants to hunt with you. Hunts are special trips, in pristine places and Nature on Alaska's scale is as grand as it gets. Have a great and successful hunt.

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    I think skagway has a good point, let her use the .308. I let my 12 year old little brother use mine, and he had no problems. I made a neck shot on a caribou with my .300WM and dropped it in its tracks. I think the caribou was dead before it hit the ground. The great thing about the .223 is that it tumbles when it hits, so it makes a bigger wound channel. I would go for the heart lung shot if you have her use that rifle. I don't think it will have a problem.
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    Default of course a 223 will pop 2 lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by highestview View Post
    That being said, does the .223 really have enough oomph to get through the ribs to make a lethal lung shot?
    Of course it will. Your only downside is that you'll need to have enough confidence that its been hit to go visit the spot where the lead landed and look for blood (which imo everyone should do anyway). Reason being that a 223 does not provide the knock down power (vs. a large caliber that will tumble him if you so much as clip his toenail with your lead), so one of the most likely outcomes after your 223 double boiler shot is that the caribou will amble away without a limp and expire shortly after being out of your sight, IF he doesn't feel that he's being followed.

    Its always a good idea to take a page out of the bow hunters book, and just sit down for 15 minutes or more after shooting, before you go look for blood. Use that time to:
    - calm down
    - rechamber a round and put safety on, telling your partner your gun is hot again
    - Mark the place you shot from; prop a glove on a bush or tree, or tie some TP to a bush, etc...
    - Memorize a landmark the exact direction that you shot, so that if you can't find blood you can return to your shooting point, recreate in your mind where the blood will be, and go look again.

    A double boiler shot creates an unforgettable, easily trackable series of marks, even when done with a little 223; you're looking for pinker marks than you'd see if you hit meat, and a large blast of pink at each exhale if the animal is moving along quickly.

    Back to head vs. neck: I don't recommend a head shot to anyone that doesn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they'll hit exactly what they aim at. And my comment about hitting an antler comes from when a friend of mine (ironically, that does work full time for F&G) busted an antler clean off with his first shot; that is still to this day the only time I've seen that done; he fell down, dazed, we got close, and he then got up and dizzily tried to walk away.

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    I dislike head shots because there is just too much movement in the head. I dislike neck shots because there is a lot of stuff there that won't be quickly fatal. Some people prefer them but I don't. Lungs are big and invariably fatal.

    While the .223 is certainly not my favorite for bou, with the right bullet (TSX, Partition, etc- NOT Varmint bullets) it will easily double lung a bou within a decent range. A buddy of mine shot a deer with a .223 TSX at 50yds and I'd have believed him if he told me he'd used a .270...

    I'd take it and go on.

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    While i agree the .223 with a Barnes TSX will work on a bou, it sounds like it is time to get your wife a new hunting rifle for next year. The 30-06 is a great rifle that won't hurt her. I would suggest practiving with the reduced recil loads and then go hunting with full loads. She won't feel a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    While i agree the .223 with a Barnes TSX will work on a bou, it sounds like it is time to get your wife a new hunting rifle for next year. The 30-06 is a great rifle that won't hurt her. I would suggest practiving with the reduced recil loads and then go hunting with full loads. She won't feel a difference.
    This is difficult. I thought she had no inclination to to shoot the animal herself until two days ago, when she asked if she could take the caribou. She hadn't said anything like that until now. She is the type who is a fantastic shot unless she is anticipating recoil. When she has her 9mm, she can out shoot me like crazy. When she tried the .40 S&W, she could barely keep it on the paper. She could probably handle the .308 if we had a while to practice, but I'm not sure if we can make more than one range trip to verify the sighting on the .223. This is all last minute and I might just take it myself, but I figured it was worth asking about.

    I cant believe all the stories about people in villages killing brown bears, moose and polar bears with .243's, now that I'm looking around. Do what must be done, with what you got, eh?
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default switch up

    Let her parctice with the 223 and when the time come just tell her to use the 308. Tell her that you bought some recoil reduction rounds for her. Heck you could even stop by sportman and make a show of it showing her a box of them.

    This is assuming that she hasn't shot it before.

    Here is a decent thread from another forum http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/i.../t-506316.html

    One question would be do you reload, so you could load something up for her? If not you could go this route..

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=467277
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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Let her parctice with the 223 and when the time come just tell her to use the 308. Tell her that you bought some recoil reduction rounds for her. Heck you could even stop by sportman and make a show of it showing her a box of them.

    This is assuming that she hasn't shot it before.
    I would worry that she would not handle the .308 well if she is not well practiced with it and sometimes people sight-in differently. I assume she would need to sight-in the rifle to make sure it's one for her shooting posture. The suggestion that she use the low-recoiling .308 loads, might be good. But I wouldn't make her think she is doing so, when she isn't for trust reasons.

    Is it a cost issue why you do not buy a compromise rifle, like a .243 or .25-06 Rem? Those would seem to be quite a bit superior to the .223, but without much recoil.

    I know some people say that shot placement is everything, but I think the .223 is a bit underpowered for whitetails, which generally are smaller that a bou. I have no direct, relevant experience, but I have noticed that my 300 Win Mag. seems to put down deer faster with a similar shots from minumum calibers i have witnessed from hunting partners. Just my own experience.

    Is your wife is a great shot at game, not just paper?

    If you are going to do it, the Cor-Bon 62gr TSX loads or the Federal 60gr Nosler Partitions might be good factory loads. If you reload, the someone 70gr TSX might be even better, but I do not think it is factory loaded anywhere.

    I would shoot for the lungs.

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    In this situation LUNGS! and be ready to back her up if need be. Next year I would be thinking 270.

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    Let her practice with the 308 using reduced recoil rounds from a standing position and she will feel the recoil a whole lot less. My kids have used my 22-250 with 62gr Bear Claws to take Mule Deer Doe's out to 200 yds with one shot. Use a good bullet and I would not hesitate to use the Contender on Caribou under 100 yards.

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    I knew a gov't trapper/predator control chap that used to cull deer with a 222 using FMJ bullets - don't know what grain - but he was very careful with shot placement ( lungs ) and kept the yardage low - probably 150 or less - he shot a ton like that and they would run a ways but usually less than a cpl hundred yards. I know bou are considerably larger but I would think it would work if you were selective.
    I think bou are fairly easy to kill compared to deer from my experiences?

    I'm with the others though - dig up a 308 load or similar even if it has to be after this trip....
    Good luck.
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