Annex A - Species-Specific Stunning Guidelines - Red Meat Species
6. Cervids (Includes elk, fallow deer, white tail)

6.1 Mechanical (Elk)

Important factors:

6.1.1 Handling and restraint

  • Cervids are flighty and can become stressed easily.
  • Appropriate handling, facilities and restraint are imperative. Facilities must meet current OIE and industry standards, including those for OSH requirements and sight lines.

6.1.2 Landmarks and approaches

  • Elk hold their head very high, especially when they are alert - so plan your trajectory.
  • Plan the trajectory so that the bolt or projectile travels through the brain (cerebral hemispheres, midbrain, brainstem). The most significant of these are the midbrain and brainstem, which are located in the centre of the cranium at the level of the bottom of the attachment of the ears.
  • When animals are alert, the surface of the frontal bone is almost horizontal to the ground (see below); therefore, mechanical stunning with the stunner operator standing in front of the animal is difficult.
  • Cervids have large brains with thin frontal bones.
  • The male frontal bone (1.25 cm) is somewhat thicker than the female frontal bone (0.78-0.97 cm).
"Side" of the head stunning
Female ElkMale Elk
[a]

female elk - side view with indication of stun site

[b]

male elk - side view with indication of stun site

Front or "top" of the head stunning
Female ElkMale Elk
[c]

female elk - side view wirh arrow pointing to stun site

[d]

male elk - side view wirh arrow pointing to stun site

[e]

female elk - front view with intersection of diagonal lines indicating stun site

[f]

male elk - front view with arrow pointing to stun site

Legend - landmarks for stunning cervids
ImageDescription
diagonal lines running from the inner corner of each eye to the upper edge of the attachment of the opposite ear Intersection of diagonal lines running from the inner corner of each eye to the upper edge of the attachment of the opposite ear.
Indicates the entry point for the projectile on the Indicates the entry point for the projectile on the "side" of the animal's head (temple).
Indicates the direction that the stunning device should be pointed and the entry point when the bolt or projectile is directed towards the Indicates the direction that the stunning device should be pointed and the entry point when the bolt or projectile is directed towards the "top" (front) of the animal's head.
Stunning areas according to sex of animal
SexSide of the headFront or "top" of the head
Males
  • Midway between the eye and ear, at the eye level
  • Stun perpendicular to the head
  • Easier access from normal standing position
  • OSH issue as can readily perforate the skull
  • Midpoint of the head between the pedicles or antlers
  • Must approach the animal's head from above
Females

OSH Concerns (therefore only use .22 short)

  • Midway between the eye and ear, at the eye level
  • Stun perpendicular to the head
  • Easier access from normal standing position
  • Intersection of diagonal lines from the upper edge of the attachment of each ear to the middle of the opposite eye
  • The stunner operator will have to be high enough to aim the stunning device down to the front or "top" of the almost horizontal head

Best practices include:

  • the stunner operator approaches the front of the animal's head from above; or
  • the stunner operator stuns the animal from the side of the head (firearms only).

6.1.3 Mechanical Stunning Devices

6.1.3.1 Captive Bolt (only from above head, frontal bone approach)

  • The bolt length is standard (4 ¾ in) or short (3 3/8 in).
  • All calibres can be used.
  • This is effective for all sizes of cervids.
  • Use the manufacturer's recommended charge, cleaning, maintenance and stunning protocols (daily).
  • Assess the bolt velocity daily by using the manufacturer's bolt velocity testing device, or similar means.
  • See 6.1.2 "Landmarks and approaches" for stunning problems.
Penetrating Captive Bolt
AnimalCalibreBolt LengthMuzzle Velocity(ft/s)Energy (ft/lb)
Female + male .22 Either 55 m/s (183 ft/s) Appropriate charge

6.1.3.2 Firearms

  • Ricochet is an OSH concern when elk hold their heads high and the frontal approach is used.
  • Perforation is an OSH concern when animals are stunned from the side of the head.
  • Note: Perforation occurs when the projectile exits the side of the head opposite to the entry point.
  • Use the slowest velocity and minimum energy required to effectively stun the animal. (See below.)
  • See 6.1.2 "Landmarks and approaches" for stunning problems.
Rimfire Rifle Cartridges
AnimalCalibreGrainMuzzle Velocity(ft/s)Energy (ft/lb)
Female .22 STable Note 1 29 1095 77
Female .22 LRSTable Note 2 40 1255 140
Male .22 LRTable Note 2 40 1255 140
Male .22 Winchester magnum
Note: mature males and frontal "top" approach only
40 1910 324

Table Notes

Table Note 1

.22 short (lead round nose)

Return to table note 1 referrer

Table Note 2

.22 long rifle (lead round nose)
Do not use hollow point.

Return to table note 2 referrer

Ammunition
ammunition

6.2 Mechanical (Other Cervids - fallow deer, white tail)

Important Factors:

6.2.1 Handling and restraint - similar to elk

6.2.2 Landmarks and approaches - similar to elk

Frontal bone to the skull is very thin e.g. fallow deer 0.33 - 0.48 cm (0.13 - 0.19  in.)

6.2.3 Mechanical stunning devices

6.2.3.1 Captive Bolt

See elk.

Appropriate light charge (similar to that used for calves and lambs).

Penetrating Captive Bolt
AnimalCalibreBolt LengthMuzzle Velocity (ft/s)Energy (ft/lb)
Female + male .22, .25, .33 Either 55 m/s (183 ft/s) Appropriate charge

6.2.3.2 Firearms

See elk.

Rimfire Rifle Cartridges
AnimalCalibreGrainMuzzle Velocity(ft/s)Energy (ft/lb)
Female + male .22 STable Note 1 Table Note ** 29 1095 77

Table Notes

Table Note 1

.22 short (lead round nose) Do not use hollow point.

Return to table note 1 referrer

Table Note **

Side of the head not recommended in fallow deer due to the risk of perforation.

Return to table note ** referrer

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