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Thread: Head shots.

  1. #1
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    Default Head shots.

    Got to thinking about Head shots tonight, did 2 today, as Caribou are right behind town. One was shoot and drop, her buddy ran, stopped and I missed the first shot at her. "But" she stood there untill I did it right with the second shot, spewing her brains across the clean snow. Not bad meat, a bit of fat and tender young adults with nice tight"C" multi pointed antlers ,The sign of adult female caribou.

    Anyway, my pard Bob started talking about his shooting, which I didnt see, and I noticed 3 Females with head shots on two and one in the neck in his sled. Jokeingly, I commented on the neck shot one , saying "Two outta three aint bad" and Bob replied with a laugh,"It aint a Seal!" I cought his drift. With Seals, you only get one shot.
    Since hunting is our topic1/2 the time, I learn much from listening to my friends, and watching them in action, so I'm no spaer chuckin' expert, but I have had a front row seat to these guys in action. Even from the tent...
    So we skinned , gutted and disassembled them while we B.S.'d untill dark, which came on fairly quickly, as we left town about 3pm.

    Now my boys are getting old enough to hunt seriously on their own, and have been doing so for years, starting in the river and now they play in the Sea. The brother-inlaws too, and it works out well for all of us.

    Most guys up here hunt Seals seasonally, if they live near the Kotzebue Sound. Head shots are the rule in this hunt, and I belive that it carries over to most all shooting.
    My wife shot this with a .22lr at 50 yards, after drifting up to it while going to her Nets. She recognized it, shut off her motor and almost got to it...LOL! and got it as it raised its head from its nap.

    In the summer, after it starts to get dark again, in the small river we Salmon fish at every summer, Seals will enter the river and lagoon and eat up Salmon. My family watches the shallow spots for Seals making their way up river and catch them there, or just shoot them in the river (Its only 20 yards across, and get a net streched out from the high bank on the next bend down stream will catch the body rolling along the bottom, or my boys will get it first, by peering down into the river looking for it on the bottom.They poke it with a harpoon or boat hook, and haul it up. Never lost one yet.
    Kobuk River, where we are today is too wide and deep to do this, and besides, it frozen when were around here...LOL!
    Jon and his First Seal.

    They also haul out on the banks to rest and look like sandy colored short log chunks...kinda... and they shoot them in the head there.
    Seal hunting is a different relm of hunting entirley.
    Head shots and head shots ONLY.
    In the water, in fall time, some Seals are shot in the head ,the only target they show, and will float, and its a productive hunt in terms of #s taken. Sometimes Seals are harpooned so that if they do attempt a get away, they are tied to the boat untill dispatched with a club to their thin skulls.
    Winter hunts have Seals scratching out a hole to come up and rest/sunbath on warm days, and they face the hole, so they may escape quickly.

    The Spring hunt is boating about, shooting Seals on drifting ice, and the seal always faces the water during his naps on the edge, checking constantly for danger and then napping again. They are very hard to get near, as they are nervous....Any sighn of danger, and its in the drink with a flip of the body, and its rather hard to retrive them when they do.My boys use a fish finder and snag them up with a bundle of sharp trebl hooks weighted down, but they cant snag them all.Sometimes its too deep, and you must not shoot...like a VERY steep mountain, and a trophy Sheep , you can only watch.
    If your in a relativly shallow area, and anyone who hunts an are knows their territory....and a depth/fish finder helps...LOL!
    Hunters must make a shot to kill it right there on the ice's edge. Many shoot right behind the eyes, and many shoot right at the base of the skull, severing the neck. Both drop them dead right there.
    In the spring Big Seals called Oogruk are hunted on big pices of clean flat ice, sometimes many square miles in size.

    I tend the boat and let the hunters off, while I fish for char and shoot Geese, Sea Scoters, Eiders and Oldsquaw. The guys will stalk them by hiding behind ice chunks, or slide in across the ice on sleds, on their bellys, in white cammo.
    Its cool to watch.
    They get one shot.
    Then they are walking back with or without a Seal.

    Gotta know when to shoot, and when to just watch.

    Jon got this guy with his M-91/30 and Czech LPS FMJ....now tell me that keyholeing bullets dont rip 'er up.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  2. #2
    Member danjordan78's Avatar
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    Default Great Post

    Love the stories and the pictures. I'm sure someone is going to whine that we shouldn't post blood and "give the anti's ammo against hunters". I think stories like these bring hunting and subsistence back to reality and don't try to make it sound like everything is pretty and perfect. Alaska is truly one of the last places (in the US anyways) that people, both white and native, can live more traditional lifestyles and hunt for their food. Not everyone does it the idealized way but sometimes doing what works is more important.

    Thanks again for the stories! Just got me thinking...
    Dan

    "May the gods keep the wolves in the hills and the women in our beds!" Menalaus -Troy

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default thanks

    Your posts always have a little different perspective on things and its nice to read them. You make some good points, thanks for taking the time to share some reality with the rest of us.

  4. #4
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Love the tale stranger, i remember the first time i was allowed to tag along on a seal hunt in Goodnews bay, it was exciting watching those guys go after them, sticking the boat on a sand bar, out in the middle of the bay and those guy just hop in the water and drag them out. the Herring were in and the seals were every where... and i had a ton of fun pulling chicken halibut up with a spinning rod while they hunted. every one of those guys used heads shots also...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Default

    Another good real life story of a hard good life.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Don't anyone take this wrong way...

    ...but when we're talking about caribou hunting I do not recommend head shots for most hunters. I really want to emphasize this because so many read this forum and I don't want readers to come away thinking that a head shot on a caribou is necessarily the best shot to take for everyone. It isn't.

    We all miss at times, and that's why I don't recommend head shots, because two inches left, right, low...you have a wounded bou, and it's basically luck to miss high and not hit anything, whereas that same distance off on a lung shot you have a dead caribou most of the time.

    Not knocking you, Stranger, thanks for the pics of the seal hunts, some good eating and good hides there. Sounds like the same thing as hunting beaver here in early spring or late fall, head shots only for the most part, very small target, have to get fairly close. Keyholing bullets does rip up brains.

    Again, my point is that in field conditions and for the majority of big game hunting scenarios and majority of shooters, keyholing bullets is not likely. So I recommend the use of bullets made for hunting big game and to take the shot most likely to lead to a harvested animal.
    Sincerely,

  7. #7

    Smile Thanks!

    You just took me on a trip through old Alaska. May it always be like this. I think I will read it again.

  8. #8

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    Thanks Stranger.
    I like you use headshots, on everything except bears, sheep, goats and fur. On all meat animals, headshots are the only way to go. Instant kills and no loss of meat. As far as missing, I am very much convinced, that choosing a headshot, forces the shooter to focus on a SPOT and increasing accuracy by a thousand fold, rather than shooting for the boiler room. If all young hunters were introduced to this, as you have been and apparently will do for your children, it would be a very good thing. I have seen a lot of meat bloodshot and I really don't like it.
    SP
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    Member akula682's Avatar
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    i agree to a point, give kids single shots, so they are forced to take their time instead of just blasting away. I made the switch to single shots to differentiate myself from all the jack*****'s down in NY (where I grew up) who feel that "accuracy by volume" is better than taking your time and putting the shot where it belongs. Taking a head shot is a good thing when you can do it, in my experience most people should not take a head. Many people get “buck fever” and can’t shoot straight and limiting your target area by taking a head shot just isn’t a smart way to hunt.
    Now having said that, there are people who know how to hunt and don’t get all flustered when they see their prey and are able to make the shot.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

  10. #10

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    I agree with Mark. Headshots are only for "expert" marksman or situaions where the animal can get away and not be recovered such seal or beaver hunting. A few inches forward of your mark and you blow off the lower jaw of a big game animal. If this happens they won't leave a good enough blood trail and wander off to die a miserable death. It ain't pretty.

    A WELL placed shot behind the shoulder (lungs) is the most RELIABLE shot to take and will ALWAYS secure your big game animal within a reasonable distance. Why risk it, lung shots don't ruin meat and always kill.

    Great stories and photos - thanks for sharing.

  11. #11
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Good post. Bring out the discussion. Interesting use for fmj bullets.
    I'll keep using the boiler room shot on most game. Hate the chance of ruining a saleable set of horn/anter if my aim isn't true. Might even ruin a cape/lifesize hide if you mess up the face.
    Each hunter makes his choices and suffers or reaps the consequences/benefits. May it always be so. Hunters are by and large intelligent capable folks.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Member Randy907's Avatar
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    I can understand a head shot on a seal or something that would slip into the ice and never be seen again, but up here on any other animal whats the point, too much of a risk for providing a clean, quick kill, behind the shoulder is the best spot. But thanks for sharing your story it's interesting and provides different view points.

  13. #13

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    Very cool post. Never had a chance to hunt seals, but when I do see them it is usually just the head sticking out of the water.

    I agree with Bushrat that shooting big game, 4 legged kind, in the head is just not ethical or responsible. Voluntered @ a F&G check station in the lower 48 for a class in high school. One day we had 2 mule deer come in & both had there bottom jaws broken, just hanging, & after talking to the hunters the story was they aimed for the head & thought they missed & so they fallowed up with the vital shot & then dropped the deer. Saw lots of deer & elk but 2 in one day was high to me.

    Was hunting Afognak a few years ago searching the edge of clear cuts when I noticed a cow elk facing away out towards the clear cut. I waited hoping to spot a bull, or other elk, but she was alone & I found that very odd. I dropped her, started skinning, gutting, & there was no fat to speak of, even inside the chest cavity there was 0 fat. She had atrophy going on to her muscle tissue. When I went to take her tongue out the smell alone about blew me back. Same thing, bottom jaw broken form a bullet. GANG GREEN ROT!!! Rest of the meat was still fine. Sorry no head shots for me. I was glad I found her before she just slowly withered away. I am sure the same person that shot @ her figured he missed as well?

  14. #14

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    I think if a hunter lacks the ability to hit an animal in the head(brain) at a hundred yards or less under ideal conditions, they shouldn't be in the woods. That being said, I do not recommend that everyone should try it. I've made several under what I would consider perfect conditions, but no longer due to the fact that I cannot get to the range and practice like I used to. Poor shooting/marksmanship doesn't change just because you aim at a different spot.
    Are you as unimpressed with my signature block as I am with yours?

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    Thank you one and all.

    I make head shots "Because I can" but after reading my post I realized that I did not mention that I was about 75 yards away, in a stand of small spruce, shooting down to a lake,and waited about ten minutes for the groupe to approch, following the trail. The were below the little cliff that makes up one side. If Caribou , or anyother animal is further than I am certain I can hit, I will move to the ever unpopular neck...~LOL!~ And beyond 200 yards I put them in the body. I could tell you of the true shot spot for meat hunters who want to anchor down an animal that is very far , and getting farther, but I see no need not stir the pot....~LOL!!!!!!!~

    Anyway, you can see that Seals do not present any opportunity whatsoever to be shot in the body, because THAT is what will lead to their waste.

    My other point; The number of guys doing this is not small, and I am certainly NOT the best.
    A good part about 'crewing up' as we call it, I can do my part while another makes more of his accurate shooting and his second is ready with the harpoon. Teanm work that feeds us all legally.
    Besides, the ladys love it when theres Birds AND Fish AND Seals to put away.

    An 900lb Oogruk, Bearded Seal.


    Nothing is wasted.
    We claen and dry the intestines, and the wife makes waterproof garments to sell, and teh stomach becomes a drum head for Dancers, and the meat is dryed into "black meat", and is stored in the oils rendered from the blubber in the buckets.
    The skins are tanned and made into clothing to sell and to make canvases to draw on with ink to sell as well.



    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  16. #16

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    Great post Stranger! I enjoy all of your posts. You give a whole new view of putting meat on the table or grocery shopping however you look at it. Keep the posts coming.

  17. #17
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    Default Head shots

    There are those who will criticize a head shot but will justify taking shots over 400 yards. If you are a good hunter and know what you can do with your gun, I say, why waste the meat and why not get an instant kill. I know many meat hunters who will only take a head shot. I suspect a big reason a lot of hunters aren't into head shots is that it can ruin the trophy value of an animal. They don't understand that for a lot of hunters, the meat is the trophy and the head is secondary at best.

  18. #18
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Stranger,
    You don't have to justifly your shots, the guys reading this have to understand the are on a diferent level hunting. One can't expect to perform like someone who hunts for a living when they hunt one animal for 10 days a year. I read all the post and still think lung shots for most as Mark said . I've also found neck shot animals that weren't found by the shooter, no blood trail, in heavy forest many times no follow up shots.
    I also grew up in NORTHERN NY, all the down staters still scare me.

  19. #19
    Member akula682's Avatar
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    I knew one guy, years ago in NY who no matter WHAT, no matter if it was a trophy or not... he always took a head shot. Of course he only had one leg and hated tracking/hiking after game.
    I saw a nice 10pt Whitetail of his with its head shattered because he put a 12ga slug into the brainpan. Couldn’t get it officially measured, but it still looked good on his wall after some crafty taxidermy work, and his sons deer cape.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

  20. #20
    Member akula682's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    I also grew up in NORTHERN NY, all the down staters still scare me.

    I know how you feel, they still scare me .
    I usually hunt alone because of bad experiences when I was a kid hunting. I went “gang” hunting with some friends when I was 16 and was scared out of my mind by the way they hunted. a good buddy of mine shot at a whitetail doe that was about 80yds away, and he got off 15 rounds!!! No kidding, 15!!! From a Mossberg pump, Never hit her, not even close… he turned to me and said sometimes you just have to take a chance. I told him he was an idiot (I added a few choice words with that).
    Several years later I found out that my family was pretty much just as bad. I have owned my own land in NY (southern Finger Lakes region) for a while now and I still do not allow ANY group hunting on my property, and only a very Select few non-family can hunt on it. My best friend takes care of it for me while I am away.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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