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When we put down our pony she pretty much went down right away. There was some twitching from residual nervous signals, but we're almost 100% positive that she was dead before she hit the ground, and if not, the person we had take the shot did two more right after she fell to make sure she didn't suffer.

As far as I've heard for sedation, that depends on the vet, but if you'd prefer euthanasia by injection, you can always specifically ask for sedation beforehand.

Okay, thanks for the clarification! I just assumed (which I shouldn't have, but I was much younger at the time) that sedation would occur and I had though I had made it clear that that's the route I wanted to go. I guess in a lot of cases gunshot may be much more humane.
 

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exactly why I would never ever use a vet, I have done two with the previously mentioned 44 mag and shot angle/ placement. The first horse stiffened and dropped straight down, no thrashing no movement, no nothing. The second was already down on its side, and near death. but same thing, stiffened a bit, then relaxed almost instantly.

I don't think I could personally do it, but it does seem a lot less tramatic in many cases. And obviously the same end result as injection.
 

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No such thing as over kill if you are trying to as quickly kill something. I am an extremely knowledgable student of internal and external balistics. That .22 stuff about bouncing around and causing more damage is pure marlarky. Go shoot a watermelon with a 22 and another with a 44 and tell me how much bouncing around damage that 22 does. I noticed in your 22 examples the targets lived. Regan dang sure wouldnt have if he'd a caught a 44 mag JHP at 1800 fps in the armpit. .22s are used because they are quiet not because they are effective.
An animal dies from a gunshot because it runs out of brains or blood. The bigger and higher velocity a projectile is the greater damage it will cause to the central nervous system. There is no magic no smoke and mirrow bullets traveling around shot in the pinky come out the nostril. Simple Mass/velocity/ bullet expansion/ penetration terminal ballistics. Just ask any hunter that has shot and killed big game.
I imagine a 22 with a perfect shot may work, I have strong doubts it would provide skull penetration and do any matter of significant brain damage. Dont care and I wont ever find out. I wouldnt have a problem with anything 35 caliber or larger, but if I have a 44 or 45 sitting there I am not gonna put it down and pick up a 22.
I agree with you to a point. I know a guy that does mobile butchering and all he uses is a .22 rifle. He kills bulls, hogs, sheep anything he needs to. However he sometimes misses the "sweet spot" and has to shoot the animal twice. The difficulty with his particular situation is that the animals are often loose in a pen versus a horse that would be held with a halter. If a .22 is what you have then a .22 is what you should use but like you said if you have something a little bigger then that may be a better option.

On a side note I once shot a down cow with a 30-30 at point blank range right between the eyes. She stiffened up and rolled over and I thought everything was done. About 2 minutes later she jumped up on her front legs and started slinging her head around and bellering. Scared the HELL out of me. I shot her again and this time made sure she was dead.
 

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Gun laws are strict here in Canada, I am not a hunter so do not own one, nor does my BO.
I would much rather have my horse shot than have to suffer, but unless I could get a cop out in a hurry, I don't see that I could.
A friend of mine used to live out west, and her bf at the time had a freak accident riding out in the wilderness, horse broke its leg. No gun, (again, Canadian laws) so he had to kill the horse with his knife, then walk back carrying his saddle. :(
 

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Gee Joe, I guess my 12 years as a law enforcement firearms instructor, IDPA three gun competitor and Glock/Remington/Colt armorer were wasted in not knowing the ballistic qualities of a 22 long rifle round. Even the veterinarian who wrote the euthanasia protocols who said the 22 rifle was the preferred round is, Obviously, wrong. All those wasted years........

In November 1992, South Carolina Highway Patrolman Mark Coates shot an attacker four times in the torso with his 4 inch Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. His attacker, an obese adult male who weighed almost 300 pounds, absorbed the hits and shortly thereafter returned fire with one shot from a single-action North American Arms .22 caliber mini-revolver. Coates was fatally wounded when the tiny bullet perforated his left upper arm and penetrated his chest through the armhole of his vest where the bullet cut a major artery. Coates, who was standing next to the passenger-side front fender of the assailant's car when he was hit by the fatal bullet, was very quickly incapacitated.

None of Coates' powerful .357 Magnum bullets were effective, but the bad guy's weak .22 caliber bullet was. The .357 Magnum bullets dumped all their energy into the attacker, whereas the single .22 caliber bullet disrupted vital tissue. The assailant survived the shooting, was convicted of murdering Coates and was sentenced to life in prison.



I had a Sgt who was shot center mass with three 9 mm rounds and did fine. There are countless stories of overpenetration doing minimal damage.

You said that a 22 would have trouble penetrating a skull? Well my "bullet proof" vest will keep out a 38/357/45/44 and a 72 caliber slug. But, gee....a 22 can go right through it. So much for no penetration.
 

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Allison, my neighbor has a special permit for a machine gun. I'm thinking when the time comes I'll just call him. That should do the trick, you think?:wink:
 
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I've had three older horses euthanized over the years. I was only there for one. The first one my Dad was there for. He said my horse laid down like he was going to sleep and actually went very peaceful.

Second horse I was there for. He was standing one minute and dropped dead the next second. Like he was tipped over. Traumatic for me, but he seemed to go quick.

Third horse my best friend stayed with because I couldn't handle it. She said he went very quick.

My vet always sedates first, waits a minute or two, then gives the final injection. I would not want a vet to do it without sedation. I didn't even know a vet WOULD do it without sedation.

This is the end of the animal's life we're talking about, and the owner may witness it and have to live with it. Why not sedate first? That only makes good sense to me. For both the horse and those witnessing. I don't think it's the time to get stingy with the sedatives. :-(
 

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Most 44 mag bullets are designed for deep penetration. The self-defense ammo ought to be fine. I usually load my 44s with 44 special ammo if I'm thinking two-legged varmints.

If hit at near perpendicular, a horse skull should be able to be penetrated fine by a .22 LR. I know my son-in-law has shot horses and killed them with a single .22, although he prefers a bit larger.

For a discussion on killing a human, see the FBI below. The principle is the same with a horse, but you normally have the option of choosing a head shot.

Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness


BTW - a 22 will not penetrate as well as a 44, unless you compare rifle to handgun. But it doesn't take much penetration to hit the horse's brain. Once it does that, no one can say for certain what will happen. My representative survived a point-blank shot in the head with a 22...but she might have also done so with a 45. It depends on where the bullet travels in the brain.
 

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My boy was sedated to the point of being asleep before he was given the lethal dose. As I said earlier, there was no fighting of the drug, he just took one last breath and was still.
I think the horror stories come from horses that are hit with the needle without being sedated, or are only very lightly sedated first.
Money was not an issue for me, I was happy to pay for Hugo to go quietly and gently. Though I have always been a supporter of putting a horse down by gunshot, I could not bring myself to send Hugo off that way. And I am very glad that I made the choice.
 

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I've had three older horses euthanized over the years. I was only there for one. The first one my Dad was there for. He said my horse laid down like he was going to sleep and actually went very peaceful.

Second horse I was there for. He was standing one minute and dropped dead the next second. Like he was tipped over. Traumatic for me, but he seemed to go quick.

Third horse my best friend stayed with because I couldn't handle it. She said he went very quick.

My vet always sedates first, waits a minute or two, then gives the final injection. I would not want a vet to do it without sedation. I didn't even know a vet WOULD do it without sedation.

This is the end of the animal's life we're talking about, and the owner may witness it and have to live with it. Why not sedate first? That only makes good sense to me. For both the horse and those witnessing. I don't think it's the time to get stingy with the sedatives. :-(


While I agree with what you've written, I think if memory serves, that the OP was more about if you couldn't get medical attention/vet there in time to ease your horses suffering, would you be able to end it for them via shooting.

What you have suggested , for me is the option I want to go with. I hope that will be when the time comes the one I can choose.
 

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I've witnessed several euthanasias but never a bullet except when my uncle was killing hogs or steers to butcher. In my experience, the animals were sedated first and then the lethal dose was injected. They swayed sleepily on their feet, fell over and may have jerked once when the final meds were given. It was very peaceful and the horses didn't seem distressed at all. Mine are sedated for their spring teeth floating, so they wouldn't be alarmed by that.

On the other hand, my good friend had to call a vet to euth an old horse that was ill. The vet wasn't able to get a good vein and that caused a situation where the family was sincerely wishing for a gun to end it. So, just another argument in favor of getting the vet before it's too late; that was a horror that I never want to happen with my own herd.
 

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I'm a hunter and very savvy with a gun. I've thought about it a lot, actually. If my horse was injuried and there was no hope left for her... As strange as this sounds, I would insist on being the one to shoot her. Horses aren't afraid of death; they're afraid of pain. Freeing my horse from pain myself would bring me closure. A final favor.
 

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I'm a hunter and very savvy with a gun. I've thought about it a lot, actually. If my horse was injuried and there was no hope left for her... As strange as this sounds, I would insist on being the one to shoot her. Horses aren't afraid of death; they're afraid of pain. Freeing my horse from pain myself would bring me closure. A final favor.
In all seriousness, how do you know this as a certainty.
 

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I don't. I'm not a horse, personally. :wink: But horses are animals. Animals don't plan like people do. Horses don't think ahead and dread dying. When a horse is injuried, they're scared and hurting. That's it. They want it to stop.
 

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I get where you're coming from. I don't think I'd say they're not afraid of death. They can smell "death" in that of dead carcasses, and that sure seems to scare the bejeezes out of them. Who knows for sure what they know and feel . We can only guess and analyze.

Thanks for answering me.
 

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I have shot many horses over the years for various and sundry reasons - cancer, broken legs, cronic founder, etc. Most humane way to put one down in my opinion.
Holding the halter and shooting the animal is unsafe and stupid! Good way to either miss or get seriously hurt. Best situation is to shoot the animal while in the pasture grazing, from a distance. A proper shot and they just take a bite of grass, look up, and they are dead. Get the backhoe and bury them right where they lay.
 

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I'm not a superior marksman but it's awfully hard fro me to miss a horses head when the barrel is an inch away! I also don't see how a person could get seriously hurt. Perhaps you could expound on that.
 

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not the shooter, but the bystanders. Just like any other shooting you have to be aware of the backstop. No it doest take expert marksmanship. Just a basic understanding of your gun, shot placement, angle of that shot placement and the trajectory the bullet will follow.
You have a pretty small area of the head to get it perfect. But as you stated it isnt that hard.
 

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You do have to make sure the shot is well placed. I will give two examples, one very sad, one unusual.
The first was a horse broke its leg. The owner called the vet out(I use the term vet loosely , he is a vet, but not one I would EVER use)to put the horse down. The vet said" I will shoot her, must more humane and faster". Well, the owner said okay, the vet walked up to the horse who was laying down because of the broken leg, but was on her belly so her head and neck were upright. He put the 22 close to her head and fired. Shot did not pierce the skull, the horse lurched to its feet, took off running with a dangling leg, they had to catch her and then shoot her again with a bigger gun.. Finally put her down.
I was at work one day and a hunter came in and said" could you please come out and exray my horse and make sure she is okay". He went on to explain that he and a friend were riding in some very steep country, she slipped and rolled to the bottom of the ravine and fell into the creek.She was laying there, he could not get her up, he pushed, yelled, smacked, did everything he could but she just layed there. He figured she had a broken back, as she would not even attempt to get up, but she was moving her head .. After about half hour of no change, he thought she must not be able to move so thought the kindess thing was to shoot her. It was late, cold and even after getting the saddle off, she would still not attemp to move. So he got out his 22, put it between her eyes and shot. She jumped up, shook off the water and hightailed it out of there on a run, and they followed her trail and she was standing at the trailer. We xrayed her head and the bullet was laying in her sinus cavity. He thought he was supposed to shoot between the eyes, did not know about the X...
Just make sure you know where to aim if you need to shoot an animal.
We always sedate a horse before we euthanize them.They usually lay down , then we give them the final shot.
 

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DH and I shot our QH in 2009 bc he was suffering and my Vet refused to put him down. This is the ONLY time we have ever done this. My Vet reasoned that the body might be consumed by some endangered animal who, ingesting the chemicals might die and we might be sued by the state. It's a very REAL possibility, but my friend suggested we have the University of IL Vet school medically euthanize, should we have a need in the future, instead.
I KNOW where to shoot--make a cross, eyes to ears and shoot where they meet--but we put 13 slugs in him anyway to make sure. DH wept like a child--surprised me--but we never want to do this again. It was put the horse down or watch him suffer, and we didn't want that either, so if we have to do it in the future we will.
A long time ago we bought a miltipurpose gun that takes both snake shotgun slugs and 360 magnum bullets. It fits neatly in our saddlebag and we've packed it on every trail ride out west for the past 20 years, in the case that a horse should take a fall or injury and we should have to put him down.
I've had an elderly herd. I've had 4 elderly horses--including this one--die in my care. They were 35yo, 24yo, 27yo (stroke) and 27yo. I had owned 3 of them for more than 20 years, and they were like family to me. Horses are frightened and confused when they cannot stand and don't believe they can defend themselves. It's downright cruel to let them suffer. If there is no other option a bullet is a blessing to a suffering soul.
 
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