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The Gun Shots
October 04, 2013
Killing Energy: How Much Do You Need for Big Game? - 0
by John B. Snow
Photo by: Bill Kinney
I recently got this question from an OutdoorLife.com reader Kyle Turner:
"What is thought to be the minimum foot-pounds of energy required to dispatch anything from whitetail deer to moose humanely and ethically?"
The most common figure thrown around when hunters discuss the energy required to ethically kill a whitetail is 1,000 ft.-lb. By this logic, at 1,000 ft.-lb. and above, you’re being ethical; your shot becomes questionable when the energy drops below this level. The problem here is that energy isn’t what kills an animal, making this line of reasoning nearly irrelevant.
So don't get caught up with trying to achieve a particular level of impact energy with your hunting rounds. Instead, do some research into the terminal ballistics of the round you want to shoot and see whether the impact velocity at the ranges you plan to shoot at will give you the bullet performance you need.