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bitmasher's picture
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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

Recently I read a piece that suggested that shooting game (elk in this case) while they are relaxed results in more one shot kills (and less lost game) than when they are shot hopped up on adrenaline (agitated).

Relaxed meaning that you have stalked in on them and they are grazing away without a care in the world.

Agitated meaning you shoot them when they alert that something is "not right" in the immediate surrounding and are about to bolt. Or perhaps a bull comes over a ridge into your draw making his escape from another hunter, when the bull comes to a stop you tag him. Or of course you blew your cover and shoot at one as it makes its break.

In your experience is there any difference or does it even matter?

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-11-18 23:10 ]

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Location: Powderhorn, Colorado
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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

are you talking about the hunter or the hunted? just kidding! I don't think it really makes any difference. A letal shot placement is what counts.

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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

Bullfeathers! The onliest reasin I been packin' 20 miles into the high country all these years is to shoot at unpressured game. Its a hell of a better hunt, and yer odds go way up. Asides they taste better.

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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

Personally I don't think it makes any difference except maybe that if it's unaware you might get a better shot.

bitmasher's picture
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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

I guess I should have phrased that a bit better. The article suggested that, everything else being equal, a relaxed animal (elk in this case) would succumb faster than one that is aggitated.

I completely agree that if the game is relaxed and not aware of danger you are far more likely to get/take a better shot. Simply because they are not jerking their heads around and on the verge of bolting. Your more likely to hit your target if ones chomping away standing broad side without a care in the word, than one that has just smelled you and is starting to clear the deck.

Anyway the statement in the article seems kind of hard to verify to me, since in practice it is hard to seperate the physiological state of the game at the moment it is hit with all the other variables. Just figured I'd lob it on the board and see what folks thought....

Location: Utah
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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

I understood your point originally bitmasher and I DO think than an agitated elk anyway is much tougher to bring down. Elk have an iron will and they are not easy to bring down. When I stalk close to an elk and put a good shot on it when it is not alerted at all they generally go down a lot easier. I've shot a couple of bulls that were riled up and they can be very resiliant. In fact I've never dropped an agitated bull right in his tracks. Most of em only go a few yards but they are tougher. Not so much tougher it makes much of a difference, we're talking running 20 - 30 yards as opposed to dropping in its tracks. And like BJ said there is a difference in taste also.

mcb
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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

I would say that an agitated animal will certainly be a bit tougher to bring down than a relaxed animal. If for no other reason then his system will be flooded with adrenalin as bitmasher mentioned. If you have alerted a prey animal then the first thing his body does as part of his fight-or-flight instinct is flood the muscles with adrenalin in preparation for action. Adrenalin along with a lot of other thing can extent the time muscle can function in an anaerobic state. With the critters muscle not require as much oxygen you can plow a bullet thought his heart and lungs and as long as you have not disconnected the brain from the muscles then those muscle are going to operate a bit longer then if the animal had not had a good dose of adrenalin. I would also suspect that it’s the adrenalin that you taste.

Later
mcb

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Shooting relaxed game versus agitated game

The taste difference is more than likely do to lactic acid build up. Adrenaline flips cells into high gear quickly due to a cascade reaction that cause cells (muscle cells included) to start burning their little store of glycogen (a little energy pack that cells store themselves). This is why if you have ever been shocked into frightenment (I mean really shocked), the quickening of senses, heart rate, and energy burst is nearly instaneous. The reaction time is blasted fast, way faster than diffusivities.

Anyway the glycogen gets burned so fast there is not enough O2 to keep up and the reaction goes anerobic ($10 word for "burning without oxygen") the result is lactic acid build up in your muscle cells way beyond normal. Lactic acid is partially the cause of that soreness and stiffness in muscles the day after a hard work out (packing out an elk!). Also high lactic acid content in fresh killed meat, makes it too acidic and prevents (good) bacteria growth while the meat is hanging that do their work on the meat to make it less tough and mellow out the flavor.

That is just a long winded way of saying, yes, I agree that stressed dead game tastes worse than happy go lucky dead game. As Expatriate has said many times (in reference to PETA's habitual moaning about the cattle industry), the beef industry goes to great lengths to assure that your burger came from a relaxed cow, because stressed out cows taste worse.

I also agree that relaxed game should snuff it faster than agitated game. It makes sense. Although in practice I have never noticed a difference since I have never had two hunts where the only difference between them was the physiological state of the game. Just my experience.

I guess this is just another reason (as if there weren't enough already) not to take a one off shot at one that is galloping off. 'Cause if you do hit it, it ain't going to fall over as easy and if by chance it does go down, it ain't going to taste so great. Chewy elk: its what's for dinner.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-11-24 21:43 ]

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