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Thread: An animals will to live.

  1. #1
    Member High Country's Avatar
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    Default An animals will to live.

    This is a question that just occurred to me. What makes one species of animal die "harder" than another that is similar in biological function? For example, let's think about Whitetails and Dall Sheep. They are similar size, and similar construction (relatively speaking) but there is a big difference in the will to live, at least in my experience. The same could be said about Moose and Elk. Although I have never hunted Elk, the opinion is that they are much tougher to kill than your average moose.

    My question is why? Is it purely more instinct to survive? More sprit engrained in that particular species? If so how did that happen? What drives it?

    I thought this may make for an interesting discussion.

    Shane

  2. #2

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    I have seen it, but I have no explanation or guess as to why. Of all the animals I have killed or seen killed the ones that can take the most lead are in this order:
    Caribou (Seems as though a bull in rut is hardest)
    Grizzly
    Goat
    Mt. Lion
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Country View Post
    This is a question that just occurred to me. What makes one species of animal die "harder" than another that is similar in biological function? For example, let's think about Whitetails and Dall Sheep. They are similar size, and similar construction (relatively speaking) but there is a big difference in the will to live, at least in my experience. The same could be said about Moose and Elk. Although I have never hunted Elk, the opinion is that they are much tougher to kill than your average moose.

    My question is why? Is it purely more instinct to survive? More sprit engrained in that particular species? If so how did that happen? What drives it?

    I thought this may make for an interesting discussion.

    Shane
    Not sure it has anything to do with different species. I think it is all to do with the individual animal.

    Example, I have shot many, many, Coyotes over the years with my trusty Remington 700 22-250. Nearly all have gone down with one shot. I came across this one that I shot, he dropped, layed there for a while, got up again. I shot again, he fell and then got up again. This went on for three rounds. After the third shot he stayed down, that is until I got within about ten feet of him. I stopped about 15 feet shy and just watched him for a moment, looking for breathing, movement, etc... All was calm, until about the 10 foot mark. He sprang to life headed straight for me when he met a quick round from a 30-06 in the chest. I have never seen a Coyote that hard to go down before or since.

    I think it might just be the nature of the individual beast that you are dealing with. Just my .02
    -Caleb-

  4. #4

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    I've thought about this before as well. I think a lot has to do with shot placement, but when I watch a perfect shot on a whitetail on tv, then the thing runs 100+ yards, it baffles me. I've shot 5 bears with my bow, and all have died within sight, and very quickly, some within 10 yards of the hit, and the furthest was about 80 yards. I shot one small black bear with a 375H&H and it took forever to die.

    I think a lot has to do with the adrenaline make up in the species, and the "flight" instincts that trigger more adrenaline to get out of dodge when something bad is happening.

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    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    AKRES
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    I will speak from my own personal experience on this but I have to disagree on the caribou being tough to kill. I am not implying poor marksmanship or one caliber rifle is better than the other or any other of a litany of variables. I have not taken thousands in fact I have only taken five. In that time my partners have taken another four that I helped butcher and carry out. Of the nine taken, all but one fell at the first shot (the exception was a quartering to shot with a 15 knot cross wind that I did not compensate for – the shot hit waaayyyy further back than I had wanted, a quick second shot fixed his little red wagon).
    However the reason I disagree is one of my hunting partners (a nice young lady who was on her first bou hunt) shot her bull in the antler and killed it! It was a younger meat bull with a quartering away shot, but dead as a doornail and the only injury we could find was where the bullet (270) hit and broke the antler at the base of the main beam. As I butchered him I tried to examine the spinal cord to see if maybe she broke the neck but it did not appear so. I am not a Dr or in the medical field so my observations are subject to scrutiny in this, but this is my experience. My opinion is you can kill a caribou with an “Air-soft” rifle.

    Just my nickel
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    I have often wondered if what makes an animal so hard to kill is the perception of that animal, and where it lives, combined with the lore already behind it...
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddler View Post
    AKRES
    Disclaimer
    I will speak from my own personal experience on this but I have to disagree on the caribou being tough to kill. I am not implying poor marksmanship or one caliber rifle is better than the other or any other of a litany of variables. I have not taken thousands in fact I have only taken five. In that time my partners have taken another four that I helped butcher and carry out. Of the nine taken, all but one fell at the first shot (the exception was a quartering to shot with a 15 knot cross wind that I did not compensate for – the shot hit waaayyyy further back than I had wanted, a quick second shot fixed his little red wagon).
    However the reason I disagree is one of my hunting partners (a nice young lady who was on her first bou hunt) shot her bull in the antler and killed it! It was a younger meat bull with a quartering away shot, but dead as a doornail and the only injury we could find was where the bullet (270) hit and broke the antler at the base of the main beam. As I butchered him I tried to examine the spinal cord to see if maybe she broke the neck but it did not appear so. I am not a Dr or in the medical field so my observations are subject to scrutiny in this, but this is my experience. My opinion is you can kill a caribou with an “Air-soft” rifle.

    Just my nickel
    Drew
    heh heh,
    Try shooting one when he has his nose in the south end of a north bound cow. Lightning striking him between the eyes won't even phase him.
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    Default Goats...

    Interesting post High Country, I'm sure most of us have wondered this from time to time. My order (of animals I've killed)
    1. Goat
    - first died clean- 1 shot, double lung 9.25" billy
    - second died rough- 3 shots, all kill shots- jumped off nearest ledge 8.5" billy
    - third died rough- 4 shots, 3 kill shots- jumped off nearest ledge (really big ledge) 10" billy
    2. Caribou
    - haven't killed one in awhile with a rifle or bow, but I remember them being really tough, especially later in the year (as AKRES pointed out)
    - killed 2 with a bow, they bled out and died properly, but went a lot further than any bears I've killed with a bow
    3. Grizzly
    - don't know how many I've killed, but I've never lost one- or come close
    - killed 3 with a bow, 2 shot well that bled out quickly and didn't make it 100 yards, 1 that was shot wayyyy too far back but also went less than 100 yards and bawled in the alders for about 5 minutes and then died...
    4. Moose, Deer, Sheep, Blackies...rabbits, grouse, ptarmigan...
    - Moose die easy, as long as they're not pumped up
    - Sheep die if you look at them the wrong way- they're lucky they live in rough terrain usually, otherwise they would probably be extinct...
    - Blacktail deer die easy to, I haven't harvested one with a bow, but a variety of rifles; .22-250, .243, .270, 30.06 have done the trick with ease

    Why are some animals tougher??? I don't think it is something that can be quantified- maybe its like peoples and cultures, some are historically known as being more resiliant, others known for rolling over at the first sign of invasion or attack- I will refrain from providing comparisons for fear of offending anyone...

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    Hit any animal in the CNS and they are going down.

    I hear stories of people shooting Moose and that the Moose took off running. Out of the 19 Moose I have killed, I have never had a Moose travel more than 10 yards after being hit and have never seen a Moose take off running after being hit. Watched one Bull shot with a 416 Remington just turn 180 degrees and let the shooter put another in next too the first shot, just from the opposite direction is all.

  10. #10
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    I have often wondered if what makes an animal so hard to kill is the perception of that animal, and where it lives, combined with the lore already behind it...
    What Vince said.

    And I also think the nervous and hormonal states of the animal at the moment of impact play a factor, aside from shot placement of course.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Default likley

    I think some species are tougher than others, and some individual animals take more than others. I have seen moose many times shot with a bow not take 5 steps..... I have also saw them soak up 4 rounds from a 375 and keep walking. Caribou in my experience have all died pretty easily although we do not hunt them in the rut... Grizzly, well if his adrenaline gets going look out, if he doesnt know you are there and the first shot is good most they keel right over. I have only shot one Elk and he took 3 rounds from a 7mm, I do believe on average they are tougher than moose though.

  12. #12

    Default Great topic

    I agree that it depends on the history of the animal. How much of a fighter the animal is. Like the studys on humans with hydrostatic shock. Some one or something that has excepted the fact it might be shot at or get into multiple fights are geared to take the outcome differently. Their systems are ready for that shock.

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    Default with everything else the same, whats the diff?

    the diff is a combination of genetic's (DNA) and the life experience of a particular individual animal.

    with all possible variables to be made the same (as if that could be done ) an important and immediate consideration for me is the point of life in each animal. those being "in their prime" are the ones that seem hardest to put down and keep down, or even get a good stalk on.

    the fact that an animal won't usually run, if it don't know what to run from or what to run too is thee pivitol point for all of my hunting and that time to take a shot comes or passes. an animal knowing what a hunter is -creates the core for the experience for sport hunters and the number one reason i do it. i know a large number of alaskan's claim they'll starve without the meat, but i see that to be more of a privledge made into a right and not the other way around.

    yes i said it! to have a good experience is more important than meat, so i suppose i will be now be disqualified as an alaskan. but my priorties remain the same- the hunt experience #1, the meat #2, and the trophy #3.

    your post is a good one, because those "prime-time" animals and the skill level of a hunters and luck must all be factored by the demoninator of the individual animal's life experience and genetic blessings.

    As is obvious, very young and very old, or sick/poor physical condition allow all to submit to mortality more readily. but even with seemily similar variables in biology, as you point out, one can't help but witness evidence to raise question of the spirit of any indiviual within a given experience.

    right down to the exact moment for impact of a mortal wound.... if the animal is on the inhale or the exhale, each species physical make up, shot placement and ballisitics, and other countless variables give way to the spirit of the animal.

    it is amazing to learn of mountain goats ability, when in there prime, to ward off a grizz, and untold stories of the toughness of say the wolverine, or the crazy caribou in rut. each speices has it's own charterisitics.

    but any animals "will" or resistance to thee inevitable sacrifice of life and return of their energy back to mother nature, has always been and always will be both a genetic (instinctive) and learned (experience) behavior and a point in time for one ability to do so.

    no matter what somes religon or belief -our experience's live forever so long as there is a memory alive, and as in all things, when the memory dies so does that person or animal, ect.

    so the next time your pouring lead into a seemily armored tank that won't go down..........what it is telling you is remember me, IMO

  14. #14
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I too find it odd that some animals seem to take more killing than others. I don't think that it will ever be fully explaned, and probably has alot to do with individual animals.

    I will say that of all the types of game I have harvested or seen harvested, elk seem to take the cake. I watched an uncle make 5 yes 5 successive hits to the boiler room on a big bull and he just wouldn't quit. The bull in question also was not alarmed or spooked in any way, he just wouldn't go down. I watched another bull this time a spike, to prove that it may not be an old tough one thing, take a hit to the chest and run about 1/2 a mile. He just seemed to have an inexhaustable supply of blood. In another case I hit a 5x7 bull through the lungs with a shot from a 3006, at the shot he rared up like a stallion and took 2 steps forward behind a screen of brush where I could only see his feet and antlers. I was forced to sit and watch with no way to get a finisher in for almost exactly 45 minutes, he just stood there blowing blood out his nose.

    I've also been a witness to very small bodied whitetail deer soaking up outrageous ammouts of lead, while others tip over from a marginal hit. I was with my dad one fall when he put a bad shot on a nice buck, hit him in the ham breaking his hip. We trailed him for about 5/8 of a mile until we ran out of daylight then came back at daylight to resume the followup. When we picked up the trail we followed it for another 1/4 mile sneeking up on the still alert buck, who was laying in a shallow pool next to a seep. We moved into position and dad gave him a solid shot to the chest at which point he got up as if to bolt, he hit him agin putting him back down. When we made it the 120 or so yards down to him he was still alert and breathing, another shot to the neck sped up the process. Heck I once shot the same buck twice, 10 days apart. The first time I hit him low in the brisket and lost the trail when he laid down in a mudpuddle and the bleeding stopped, I searched nearly the whole season for that deer which I just knew was dead. On the tenth day I happened to look up and who do I see chasing a doe over the ridge toward me, the same buck with a big smudge of mud and dried blood on the bottom of his chest. When he stopped at about 250yds I took a rest and proceeded to shoot a U shaped notch out of the very top of his back over the spine. I kept looking for him for 3 days after the close of season and the amount of blood he lost from both of those wounds was unbelievable to me. It looked like somebody broke a hose on a paint spraying rig. But lo and behold my uncle jumped him a couple weeks later while hunting quail, he was no worse for the wear other than 2 large scabs.

    I have witnessed some wild hogs take copious amounts of lead and run off, as well as unkillable turkeys and especially pheasants. I have watched pheasants sail for what seemed like forever after taking enough pellets to kill a flock of greater Canada geese.

    I think it is possible to see this phenomenon with all species, just some more often than others, which do you think would be tougher, a mountain grizzly scratching out a living or a whitetail living the good life on green winter wheat?

    All that aside the one grizzly I have shot tipped over rather easily and uneventfully.

    Who Knows.



    P.S. The superbuck my dad took in the above tale weighed 132 field dressed

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    Member Phil's Avatar
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    I read an article (and I don't even remember where) that claimed response to being shot depended on the contraction cycle of the heart. I really can't say any more than that.

    In my limited experience, African animals seem much harder to kill than North American animals. Even when the African animal has been transplanted into the US. I shot an Axis deer with my 06 and had to shoot it 2 more times at close range (about 10 yards). Any of the shots would have done in any whitetail I have ever encountered.

    A long time ago (August 16, 1971 to be exact) I killed a Mt. Goat with a 7mm Rem. Mag. It was standing broadside at 30 yards. It took 1 step and died. Didn't seem anywhere near as tough as the reports I had.

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    I haven't hunted like you guys but I have met some seriously tough spruce grouse! I remember I shot one cleanly in the neck with my .22 and he still flew away and others that were able to fly clean away from me after well placed wing/chest shots.

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    Every animal I have ever persued was trying to get away as soon as it realized what I was trying to do.

    The only variation on "Toughness" or "Will to live" I have observed was a direct result of my bullets placement.


    Most die right there, with head/neck spine shots.


    Those that were harder to kill were shot in a different place on their body.


    You would have loved my morning, My Mosin Nagant for 6 bunnies, 5 head shot and low head on hit, plucked and gutted, (but the dogs gotta eat ), and you can bet the worst (and only) took longest to quit flopping, kicking, screaming....~~LOL!!~~
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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon254 View Post
    I... Grizzly, well if his adrenaline gets going look out, if he doesnt know you are there and the first shot is good most they keel right over

    Hmmmm agian the Lore....


    my Grizz had just 1 minute earlier got his ass whooped by a sow for nearly 15 minutes before they broke the fight off... needless to say he was pumped when he step out of the brush and looked at me and the camp... shot him at 6 foot... he was dead less then 30 yards later...

    never did find that bullet... passed clean through doubt it really had time to open up even... nice clean hole through the heart
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