Interesting Point about Bow Shot Placement

Discussion in 'Shot Placement' started by Primo661, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Primo661

    Primo661 AH Member

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    As some of you might have seen from my introduction thread, I'm new to the bow hunting game. Gone are the days I could line up my cross hairs behind the ear of a trophy reedbuck or impala and squeeze the trigger to see the animal disappear from my sight into a heap hidden from view by long veld grass.

    With this in mind, it has been a time of personal growth and learning that one so often finds themselves in with this game. I've taken to learning as much as I can about shot placement and the anatomy of my intended quarry and this research unearthed an interesting thought. A medical doctor applied what he knows of the bodies response to trauma to hunting, specifically what shot placement would result in the fastest kill, heart or a lung shot? Now to me this was a no brainer, hit him in the heart and let physics do the rest. He offered an alternate hypothesis.

    When the body is exposed to trauma to the heart, its natural response is to slow the heart rate to protect the heart and limit further damage. When the body experiences catastrophic blood loss and the resulting drop in blood pressure the exact opposite happens, the heart rate quickly rises in an attempt to restore normal blood pressure and as a result speeds up the loss of blood and brings death sooner. His conclusion was therefore that a lung shot, just above the heart so that the arrow would atleast nick the arteries leaving the heart would cause the animal to bleed out and die sooner resulting in a bigger and shorter blood trail making tracking easier and quicker while also ensuring less suffering on the part of the animal.

    The other consideration from a hunters point of view is that a pure heart shot leaves less room for error for a rifle hunter and ever less for a bow hunter considering the proximity of the large bone structures of the upper leg and shoulder to the heart. Also, the fact that the heart is so low, a low shot that might result in a wounded animal or outright miss on a heart shot where it would just mean an arrow in the heart if the shot was taken aiming at the center of the heart lung area.

    Now I know both shots will always result in death but what are your thoughts on the idea? Are there any doctors or vets who can back up or dispute the theory offered by the doctor in question? Am I barking up the wrong tree to question what seems so obvious or do you think there is merit in the case?
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    On top of the Heart every time wins.
    You get both lungs in the deal and blow the large vessels to.
    Hands down the Doc is right.

    Golden triangle.
  3. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    On top off the heart destroying the main arteries will always be the best as the doc mentioned.The bloodflow gets cut off and the heart is not able to pump the oxygen rich blood from the lungs to the brain which results in quick death.
  4. Bushman10

    Bushman10 AH Senior Member

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    Lets split this into two discussion - one on quick death and the other on blood trail as you can not link the two:

    Blood trail - In my experience hunting with the bow and guiding bow-hunters, blood loss has very little to do with whether you hit the animal in the heart or in the lungs. It has to do on the size of the hole that is left. A twin blade arrow that does not exit on the other side of the animal leaves a very small or no blood trail as the meat often closes around the shaft. A three blade arrow that does not penetrate leaves a much bigger blood trail as the hole does not close easily. A pass through with a nice wide mechanical twin blade like the Rage will most often leave a big blood trail as there are large holes on both sides of the animal. A lung shot will most often bleed through the nose of the animal and a heart shot not.

    Quick death - A spine shot will drop the animal on the spot. A lung shot will have the animal run quite a long way and a heart shot will see a short quick burst. I have seldom seen a lung shot animal expire within 20 meters but I have often see a heart shot expire within 20 meters.

    Last point - I have quite often experienced very little to no blood trail with a heart shot as the heart stops instantly and then there is engine to pump any blood. It is only momentum and adrenalin that then lets the animal run a short distance.
  5. kal

    kal AH Veteran

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    Very interesting discussion, I have always aimed for lungs do to the size. In preparation for my first trip to Africa I have been studying the triangle intensly. My 3D league scores have gone down but the real life trophy will be better lol. Lots of good info from you guys.
  6. Blue Skies Hunting Adventures

    Blue Skies Hunting Adventures AH Enthusiast

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    Very interesting and informative topic, let me ask this as I would love to hear from some of you who have hunted lions. I noticed on the the vital area of a lion, that the lungs and heart are not as far forward as a typical african species, so my question if you have a broadside shot on a lion, do you take the lung heart shot (golden triangle) or do you break it down by going for the high shoulder shot.
    Thanks!
  7. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Leopard is the same, the age old breaking down theory, I am and will never be convinced... On a flat broad side on any cat I always call the crease slightly behind,,, when one studies the vitals it is smack in the middle of them and therefore your largest margin for error shot....

    Rather than playing with smaller margins, I opt and recommend the the safe route.. :)

    Hey many guides call the shoulder many don't, lucky for both sides cats are not flat broad side that often and a combination comes into play 95% of the time... ;)
    Great thread !!!!
    My best always...
  8. dobber

    dobber AH Veteran

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    Spine shot will not kill the animal on the spot, normally require a follow up

    This is why a sharp broadhead is key, they bleed out, much like when you cut yourself with a very sharp knife, normally don't realize you are cut till you see the blood. Best shot is the quartering away, sneak it in behind the shoulder blade so less obstruction getting to heart/lungs.
    Shooting a rut enraged bull moose with archery has shown me that the animal still doesn't really know whats going on once an arrow is flung. Whitetail and other "spooky" animals will take off like a rocket when something happens, be it noise or movement. A bull moose will walk on in, head swaying, eyes rolled back "wuffing" with every step, put an arrow threw him and while it will often run, you can stop him in his tracks with a quick call, and more times than not, stick another arrow in him. 2 years ago I gave this advice to the group, and they were able to put 3 arrows into a bull, while the first shot was good, it was still standing.
  9. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Veteran

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    I'm a physician and I like to hit the top of the heart/great vessels. I also want some margin of error in my shooting: if it is a bit low, it is still heart, if it is a bit back, it is still lung, a bit high gets lung or shoulder, a bit forward still gets lungs or big blood vessels.
  10. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    I agree with this Doctor!

    My best always
  11. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    Excellent advice.
  12. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    This is exactly where I aim. With bow and gun.
    Top of the heart is about totally center of the boiler room, giving the largest margin for errors and if you hit them exactly where you aim, they go down very quickly.
  13. G Skinner

    G Skinner AH Senior Member

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    I like this thread ! I have often wondered wether it made a differnce on game animals wether the lungs were full (on the inhale ) or empty (exhale ) . Do the lungs act similar to a balloon in that they pop , or in the case of an empty balloon just don't work properly ?
    Glen
  14. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Glen good question, there are many theories with regards to hitting the heart on contraction and then filled with blood a full heart theoretically should explode due to the fact that, it's filled with liquid in this case blood.
    I don't really see this happening with lungs as they do not "inflate" like the heart with liquid
    Well my theory is quite simple, the things I have no control over or simply can not determine when aiming..... they don't really bother me.... :):):):);)

    I don't think there is much of a difference really if it's in the vitals it's pretty dead ?

    My best always
  15. PHSC_Adriaan

    PHSC_Adriaan AH Member

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    I opt and recommend the the safe route, on top of the heart wins every time for bow and rifle.

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