The shoulder shot is the way to go if you have a bullet that will break bone reliably and if you are shooting something big that may object to the proceedings.” So remember, for the quickest, most effective and humane killing of a deer, aim at the shoulder, hold steady and put the hammer down. Typically from a lung shot the elk will display very little initial reaction, but it should go down within a few minutes, elk are big, and they have a great will to live. Big animals such as moose require careful shot placement. As well the lung shot offers the advantage of ruining less edible meat. But all experienced elk hunters know that no matter what the shot placement is, you instantly reload and keep firing until they go down. Only a high shoulder shot will drop them instantly. Animals such as this call for high-quality ammunition and hard-hitting rifles in addition to good marksmanship. The target area is big, but so are the bones and muscles in the shoulder. Last three bucks I killed involved shoulder shots and two were instantly killed. Shot Placement. The only reason I really don't shoot for high shoulder is because of the meat that would be ruined. One of my hunters last year shot a bull right behind the shoulder, he was likely going to go down in about 4.7 seconds, but he reloaded real quick and put one high shoulder and folded him. I zero 3 inches high at 100, which gives me about a 250 yard zero and I can put the shot aimed into the high shoulder on an elk at 400 yards and still hit lungs/heart. Today’s magnum rifle caliber’s are more than capable of breaking through shoulder bones and achieving double lung penetration. The third sort of staggered/fell down hill. Being a few inches off could result in a shot that misses the lungs entirely. I have to mention Beendare's second photo. Due to the large hip and leg bones on the rear quarter of an elk, a straight-away shot is not typically a high-percentage or advisable shot. As for elk taking 3 or 4 shots and standing there, I have NEVER seen nor shot an elk that instantly went down with a shot placed behind the shoulder. I shot and killed elk with 165 grain Fusions before I started reloading, now I shoot 165 grain accubonds. It's an extremely effective shot. So, consider the high shoulder shot whenever you have a stationary broadside or quartering-to-you shot. But the high shoulder is a great way to drop em down. I've made that high shoulder shot with everything from the 257 Roberts to the 300 Win Mag.In most cases bullets were Nosler Partitions, but have used some others as well. An elk can go a long way with a high lung shot. The high shoulder shot does 3 things that drop the deer: break the shoulder blade, damage the brachial plexus, and penetrate the lungs. Bowhunters should avoid attempting to penetrate bone whenever possible aiming just behind the should blade approximately 1/3 of the way up the body cavity from the lower chest. 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