Black Bear Shot Placement

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Black bear shot placement is a subject that doesn’t receive enough attention in my opinion.  When it comes to bears, it’s not just as simple as put the crosshair behind the shoulder and pull the trigger.

Bears are notoriously tough and will take the lead a considerable distance 9 times out of 10.  For this reason I prefer to try and catch a shoulder on the exit side of the animal.  If you can enter through the lung or heart and exit through the shoulder, typically with one wheel out of commission he may not travel quite as far after the hit.  I’m not quite as big a fan of hitting the entry shoulder, as I have seen several deflections off that heavy shoulder bone where the bullet never entered the vitals.

 

Another factor to take into consideration on black bear shot placement is the amount of shaggy hair that hangs from their brisket.  On many game animals, six inches up from the bottom of their chest is roughly where the heart lies.  Bears, on the other hand, have 4 to 5 inches of hair  hanging from their chest.  The result, if you only raise your crosshairs  6 inches up from the bottom of  their body mass is a shot that rests on the brisket bone and not in the vitals.  I’ve seen more bears lost from this particular mistake than any other in memory.  On bears of any type, I recommend dividing the depth of their chest cavity in half and placing your shot there.  Any lower becomes dangerous……

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