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Big Game Hunting => Elk Hunting => Topic started by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 08:28:45 AM

Title: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 08:28:45 AM
I've been waiting until things slowed down a little to post this and get some input from the peanut gallery. When I started quartering the elk I killed a couple weeks ago, I had something happen that I've never seen before. The shot was about 350 - 360 yards. One shot, in and out, clean exit, right in the pocket behind the should. An obvious double lunger. The elk then rolled in an unknown manner a couple hundred feet down hill, ending up on top of a downed tree. We moved him off that and down another 100' or so to where we processed him. That was a pretty controlled descent.

When we took the first front quarter off, it was the exit side. There was a fair amount of what appeared to be gut material coming out of the exit wound. Obvious browse, it smelled gutty, and was greenish in color. When we rolled him and did the other side, it was the same story there, now that he had been on his side for some time. The stomach was fully distended, clearly not hit by any stray fragments. I trimmed a lot of meat off on the spot, and ended up trimming a lot more off at camp that had a gutty smell to it.

I'm trying to figure out how with a clean pass through in the lung area, I managed to get so much gut material in the chest cavity. The only thing I can envision is the bullet pierced the esophagus and during his tumble gut material regurgitated up and into the chest cavity? Anyone ever experience this? It was a real bummer to lose so much meat after a seemingly perfect shot.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: Stein on November 04, 2019, 08:37:35 AM
Throat hit would be my guess, assuming it wasn't already wounded when you shot it.  Depending on how it is laying and how full the stomach is, there can be quite a bit of stuff come out of the throat when you cut it.  I always zip tie it below the cut after learning this the hard way.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: KNOPHISH on November 04, 2019, 08:41:18 AM
Could it have punctured on a stick rolling down the hill? I would have just cleaned the meat with vinegar.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: KFhunter on November 04, 2019, 08:43:46 AM
(https://hunting-washington.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Filc.royalsaskmuseum.ca%2Filc2%2Fimages%2F23ep7p1elk.jpg&hash=72cf54be35f96f1c202ad28f18018e8a)
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 08:46:23 AM
I didn't take any pictures of it as it was pitch black, but the elk was definitely not wounded beforehand, and again, one shot right in the pocket, in and out. Nothing to do with the throat/neck area. No way to know anything was going on until I started cutting.

Could it have punctured what while rolling down the hill? A lot of stuff could have happened while he was rolling but nothing was obvious.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: pianoman9701 on November 04, 2019, 08:48:24 AM
This is very interesting info. I've never seen this before but with that diagram, it seems that a double-lunger could also easily pass through the esophagus. Thanks for the info.  :tup:
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 08:50:21 AM
One more detail comes to mind after looking at that image. He had been bedded before hand, clearly chewing his cud. So maybe it's possible there was material in that forward reticulum? Interesting, I've never seen that diagram before, and that provides a lot of info on their digestive tract.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: Stein on November 04, 2019, 08:55:19 AM
Could be, if I don't cut the throat way up high, I zip tie both sides before cutting as I have had stuff come from that way as well.

Did he land head down?
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: KFhunter on November 04, 2019, 09:10:55 AM
Did this elk eat alfalfa?

green alfalfa creates a good bit of gas in the rumen (and pressure) all the tumbling and falling I could see regurgitation from the rumen into the espohagus, and if your bullet passed through that blam, full chest cavity.   


Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 09:32:26 AM
No alfalfa, no cutting of throat in any way, 100% gutless quartering. He was not head down when we got to him, he was basically hung up broadside on a down tree. It was quite steep. All said though, he rolled down hill in one fashion or another a couple hundred vertical feet. Most of which I didn't see so for all I know he was head down sliding some or all of that.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: Dhoey07 on November 04, 2019, 09:40:17 AM
Broken rib punctured the guts on the roll down is my guess
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 10:07:13 AM
Broken rib punctured the guts on the roll down is my guess

I don't think so. Stomach was fully intact, and distended. No punctures.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: DOUBLELUNG on November 04, 2019, 01:35:41 PM
My guess would be a fragment or the bullet clipped the esophagus, and in the tumble GI content was forced back up?  I had similar on a double lung shot on a mule deer buck that tumbled 30 yards down a steep bank - actually had gut content come out his mouth, and gut content in the thorax.  The diaphragm wasn't penetrated.
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: 7mmfan on November 04, 2019, 02:38:00 PM
My guess would be a fragment or the bullet clipped the esophagus, and in the tumble GI content was forced back up?  I had similar on a double lung shot on a mule deer buck that tumbled 30 yards down a steep bank - actually had gut content come out his mouth, and gut content in the thorax.  The diaphragm wasn't penetrated.

That sounds exactly like what I had minus the gut content out the mouth, never made it that far. Thanks for the confirmation
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: huntnfmly on November 04, 2019, 03:20:14 PM
I'm thinking the Tumble after the shot could of created like the hymlick pushing it out.
Thats alot of dead weight rolling
Title: Re: Gut material in elk chest cavity, cause?
Post by: NOCK NOCK on November 04, 2019, 06:43:59 PM
I had pretty much the same thing happen with my 2nd deer this year. Long hard tumble turned the insides to a mess.