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Thread: Preferred shot placement on moose for meat.

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    Member ProHunterAK's Avatar
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    Default Preferred shot placement on moose for meat.

    Just curious to what your shot placement would be on a moose you are hunting primarily for meat. I know everyone has their desired shot but would you rather take a shoulder shot, neck shot, spine shot so on so forth and what is your reason behind that choice. I am just trying to get some other hunters insight on the subject as I know I have always thought of my shot options when I am in the field.

    For the example we will go with a 50 yard shot

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Reguardless of the angle, distance etc... I always take a boiler room shot with a goal of taking out the heart/lungs. If not possible, I don't shoot. I don't worry ruining any meat, I worry about a clean ethical kill shot. I've only got 3 moose under my belt with one taken with a bow, but have taken several caribou and many many deer. I took a head shot once on a whitetail deer over 20 years ago thinking of not wasting an ounce of meat. I blew off the jaw and never found the deer. I felt sick to my stomach for a long long time. Never again! Too many things can go wrong that we don't forsee.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I'm just the opposite.....I'm ALWAYS worried about the meat....because that's what I'm there for. At 50 yards I'll put one behind the ear. Done it many, many times. I will not take a head shot though If I'm not comfortable with it. Then it's heart /lung always.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member ProHunterAK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input on this I too am more concerned with the meat aspect as every little bit helps fatten the green stuff that my wife likes to spend.

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    I prefer double lung...minimum meat damage and helps bleeds them out which is better for overall quality of meat...

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Even at fifty yards there are many variables of course. Is the moose completely visible, in motion, standing still, head on or broadside, and your own shooting position and skillset and what distance your rifle is sighted in for.

    In general, I recommend a lung shot for moose as it offers the largest target area and the least chance of wounding loss. Moose are just not that hard to kill, just about any caliber into the lungs will result in a downed and recovered moose. Sometimes you can't avoid hitting either of the shoulders with a lung shot, and yes you will lose some meat from this. I too always worry about the meat, but that's secondary to the primary goal of getting meat in the first place, ensuring a clean kill and recovery.

    Now that doesn't mean I haven't also taken a number of moose with a behind-the-ear shot at close range (like 50 yards) when the conditions were just right. Just know though that it's a fairly small area there to hit the vertebrae and it's not hard to miss and wound. I'll only take that shot if the moose is in relatively open ground and I know I will get a chance for a followup shot (to the lungs) should I miss. You know right off, if the moose doesn't fall over then you have not hit the vertebrae. Also, with the larger calibers sometimes the moose will fall over even if you don't hit the vertebrae, then jump up and start running off.

    All this is complicated because a lot of us, me included, sight our rifles in for 200 yds or so. The nice thing about lung shots is that anywhere from 50-300 yds you don't have to stop and think about compensating and aiming lower or higher because the lung target area is so large. Go out to the range though if your rifle is sighted in for longer range and try some shots at 50 -75 yds, see where you're hitting before you try any neck/head shots.

    Also keep in mind that you should bleed a moose that is downed with a head/neck shot, get right up there and cut the jugular and you'll end up with better meat from the field.


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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I only take lung shots....better meat preservation, generally more reliable kill and not a lot of wasted meat. If you also get the rear of the heart, great but you might lose some shoulder meat- if not, a double lung is still 100% fatal.

    I dislike head and neck shots for a lot of reasons, but if I'm close enough to hit the head/spine reliably I can probably hit both lungs with my eyes half closed. The one exception was a deer I shot in a hay field- I could only see he head and neck. It worked but I probably wouldn't do it again.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    If you miss the moose, you've lost all the meat. If you kill it and recover it, you've only lost some of the meat. For that reason many hunters avoid head or neck shots, as they offer a small target and are very unforgiving if you miss by a couple inches. I love the head shot at close range. If you can't hit a pop can at 50 yards you need more range time! Right between the eyes when they're looking at you and they drop like a rock. The back of the skull if they're looking away is very good, too. I've shot many deer in the neck, and young bull moose have very little neck meat, so neck shots there waste very little. Its a different story though on big bulls. With up to 80 pounds of meat on the neck, a blown out vertebra in the middle of that mass can damage quite a bit of it. A clean pass through in the ribs can be a great shot, too. However the hydrostatic shock of the bullet will often create large areas of bloodshot in the burger meat on the ribs and backside of the front quarters, resulting in large amounts of meat loss. Angle it a little wrong and blow out a shoulder, and the meat loss is very significant.

    I've also had large meat loss from head and neck shots! Hit a young moose right beside his left eye while he was looking at me, and the bullet re-entered his neck, traveled down into his shoulder, blew out the joint, exited and re-entered the ribs, breaking a rib and lodging. I lost half the neck, almost all the shoulder, and some rib meat. From a head shot!

    I lost nearly half the backstrap, a little bit of ham, and half the neck of a sheep I shot in the neck. It was a steep uphill shot, with the sheep looking down at me, but the bullet deflected down after the shot and traveled beside the spine the full length of his body before exiting beside the tail.

    So no shot is perfect all the time for not losing meat. The head shot when all goes right wastes the least meat, causes instant death. High miss chance though. Neck shot usually causes low meat loss, and results in downed animal right there. Target is about 3 inches, though, so good chance of missing the spine. Shock of bullet will still often knock the animal over, but be ready for a quick follow up if he jumps up in a minute. Ribs offer the largest target, highest average meat loss, but quite likely the best chance of having an animal on the ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NhraFox View Post
    Just curious to what your shot placement would be on a moose you are hunting primarily for meat. I know everyone has their desired shot but would you rather take a shoulder shot, neck shot, spine shot so on so forth and what is your reason behind that choice. I am just trying to get some other hunters insight on the subject as I know I have always thought of my shot options when I am in the field.

    For the example we will go with a 50 yard shot
    Midway between the top and bottom of the neck, and i/3 of othe distance back from the head. I hope you use large caliber ammunition, since large, heavy bullets destroy less meat than do smaller, high-velocity bullets.

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    Member ProHunterAK's Avatar
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    This year I will be using my 30-06 for moose and will run a 180 grain round.

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    All things being equal, I prefer to put one right behind the shoulder. That shot always puts the animal down, even with a good sized margin of error. Take the high percentage shot and kill the critter, then worry about how much meat there is.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    If you use a big enough magnum it not only kills the moose more, it turns it into a pile of pre-wrapped 1 and 2 pound packages.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  13. #13

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    Tried a head shot last week on a cow moose, it'll be the last time. Even though effective, it did not kill her and when I got 10 yards away and was getting ready to put another shot in her, she got up and charged. I got off a quick shot from the hip that hit her in the noggin and put her down for good less than three yards away. Got the adrenaline pumping, and if I wasn't already jacking a round, she would have freight trained right over me.

  14. #14

    Default Preferred shot placement on moose for meat.

    Its simple for me, some ruined meat is better then no meat.

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    Brain shot.............

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    It depends where the moose is. If they are close to water, I shoot for both front shoulders if possible as it will put them down where they stand. If I don't care if they walk a few yds after being hit, I use the heart lung shot as it damages less meat. Both are large targets but the heart shot does not always drop them. Even with bloodshot meat, I clean it as best I can and grind it for jerky. Also using a larger caliber heavier slower bullet helps with the meat damage. Shooting at very small targets works if the moose stands still as you are pulling the trigger. If it moves even a little while you pull the trigger, a very good shot can turn into a very bad shot all because of things beyond your control.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Even with bloodshot meat, I clean it as best I can and grind it for jerky.
    I use papertowel to remove just about all of that bloodshot/quagulation away from the meat on a lung shot. Papertowels really do the trick and get ahold of most of that blood that flows under the slimmy film. Don't skimp on the papertowels as once they make contact with the slim and blood they loose their gripping effect to pull that stull off. I go through a roll or two but thats a cheap price to pay for valued meat. If you seperate muscles instead of just cutting up the meat, I find that I loose very little bloodshot meat.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I have always been a heart lung shot guy. When dealing with a moose, the minimal meat loss is a drop in the bucket for the good meat you do have. The target is bigger and more forgiving in case you jerk the trigger or the moose jerks. I did shoot a moose with a head shot once. It was the easiest shot ever...and I missed. The follow up shot to the noggin did the trick but I couldn't stop thinking about the first shot missing. That is why I am a heart lung kinda guy. With that being said, this year My son shot his caribou in the neck. Only shot we had. That was impressive to see an animal fall so fast. It went straight through the vertabrae and hit an artery. It bled a fountain for a long time. The catch to it is, once you skin out the animal you see that you really don't have any room for error with this shot and if the bullet was 3" lower it would of got his wind pipe and he would of ran meaning your now shooting a moving target that is pumping adrenalin through its muscle, making the meat tougher and tougher with each step till either you hit it or you lose it. Now where you hit it could be questionable. I haven't practiced shooting at enough moving targets at the speed a caribou runs to know where I am going to hit. Might hit the guts, hindquarter front shoulder and you get the point. I think the safer boiler maker shot should be the prefered. One solid shot and game over. Ethical kills will always trump a little meat loss.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    Ethical kills will always trump a little meat loss.
    Well I guess the term "ethical" will always be subjective to the individual then. Because to me, when I put one behind the ear and the animal never knew what hit him, is more of an "ethical kill than" if an animal spends a few moments before collapsing and fading away. That's pretty much why I do it in the first place, as I don't like to see an animal suffer AT ALL. Like I said in my first post, if given the opportunity....close distance, a good rest, and all things being "right", I will always go for a head shot. It's just what I've always done. It's pretty much Dad's fault because he put hundreds of deer down with one behind the ear with his 257 Roberts. I know my gun that I've been shooting for many years and really don't have a problem with head shots at close range. But I will be the first to say that if I don't feel comfortable with the shot I won't take it....as simple as that.

    The last animal I killed was a nice, lone, caribou bull. I snuck up on him while he slept. Got to a little less than 100 yards away had a good rest and took his brain out. He never woke up from his last nap overlooking a beautiful alpine valley. Can't get much more or an "ethical kill" than that....imo.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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