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Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photos)

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#16  Unread postby Ghost » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:52 am


I watched the "Bunny Rancher" videos again and I noticed that (on both captive bolt models) the penetrating bolt stays extended after the firing. This can be significant, because the extended bolt can also be used to cause additional damage.

Just remember that the brain is very soft tissue and it can easily be destroyed. The force of any captive bolt is required to brake through the hard skull, but once penetrated, the brain inside is completely defenseless. There are not even any pain receptors inside it.

When I dispatched my guinea pigs, I would hold the skull and swishes it side-to-side then up-and-down raking through the soft tissue of the brain. I know this sounds gruesome, but it is a way to speed the death along for the poor creature that will be my lunch. This way, once the guinea pig's skull is penetrated, it will have no further experiences of anything.

I know the bolt gun is $60 and you don't want to bend the tip. You might need to take care not to use it like a pry-bar against bone fragments. But, if you just probe around inside the soft tissue, it should not damage the device. In one video produced by "Bunny Rancher", it did look to me that, the operator did sweep around a bit, while extracting the bolt from the rabbit's skull.
You have to do the most good for the most. You must remember that a few won't make it. Don't be ashamed to shed a tear for the ones lost along the way, we will not hold it against you. Just remember "the herd goes on".

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#17  Unread postby averydeadbird » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:16 am


Thanks for your reply, Ghost. I actually forgot to give an update that a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to use my bolt gun again, on an adult male rabbit. I double-checked my placement and made sure to point the bolt toward the occipital bun/supraniac fossa. This time it worked perfectly!! Instant death. I think the angle of the bolt was probably the problem on my first two tries - I had been holding it too vertically.

I remember reading about people using bent wires to swish around and destroy the brain in larger animals, after using a bolt gun. It does sound a bit gruesome... but considering that I already skinned the face off a rabbit, cut open its skull, and poked at its brain, I guess it's not really a big deal. I will keep that in mind for the future.

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#18  Unread postby GBov » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:45 pm


Having used many MANY dispatch methods I started using long-handled branch loppers for everything small enough to get the jaws around the neck.

It works fantastic for rabbits, duck, geese, turkeys, chickens, guinea pigs. I bet the bigger sizes would even work for goats.

The rabbit can stand on the table while I put the jaws round its neck, right behind the head and when I gently press down so the tips are on the table the rabbit just stands there. Then I close the handles which bring the jaws together and instant death. With no way to mess up or strength needed.

There is usually a bit of blood from right behind the head where the skin is the thinnest but the rest of the skin is so tough that only the bones cut through, the skin just moves through the lopper jaws.

I did design a bolt gun once years ago - found it again when sorting papers - but had no money to take it to the trial stage. Tossed it back in the box, one day, one day. :lol:

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#19  Unread postby averydeadbird » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:01 am


GBov, do you use loppers that have straight blades? I tried cutting off a chicken head with loppers that were curved (like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Fiskars-28-Inc ... 000BX1IB6/) and the curve pushed the neck away from the hinge, so I couldn't get the head off in one cut. I switched to hedge shears (like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Corona-HS-3244 ... 007GYOYJG/) and they work well, but I have to press hard with both hands - less leverage with the shorter handles.

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#20  Unread postby GBov » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:05 am


averydeadbird wrote:GBov, do you use loppers that have straight blades? I tried cutting off a chicken head with loppers that were curved (like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Fiskars-28-Inc ... 000BX1IB6/) and the curve pushed the neck away from the hinge, so I couldn't get the head off in one cut. I switched to hedge shears (like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Corona-HS-3244 ... 007GYOYJG/) and they work well, but I have to press hard with both hands - less leverage with the shorter handles.


Yep, just like that. I place the jaws round the neck and then press the tips of the jaws against the tabletop when doing rabbits (or tree trunk when doing turkeys outside) so no chance of the jaws slipping off or the animal twisting out.

The heads never come off as skin is both tough and flexible enough to just slip through the jaws but the neck bones are clean cut through so I can´t miss my kill.

Just like all of us, it is only the botched kills that remain in my mind, not the THOUSANDS of times I have gotten it right! :roll:

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#21  Unread postby Ghost » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:40 pm


GBov wrote:Just like all of us, it is only the botched kills that remain in my mind, not the THOUSANDS of times I have gotten it right! :roll:
so true :shock:
You have to do the most good for the most. You must remember that a few won't make it. Don't be ashamed to shed a tear for the ones lost along the way, we will not hold it against you. Just remember "the herd goes on".

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#22  Unread postby Danochka » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:57 pm


I'm so glad for these photos! I just received my bolt gun, and I really don't want to have too much trial-and-error with my first round of dispatch.

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#23  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:32 am


So glad I found this topic.

I just processed my first batch of rabbits with a neighbor, using the captive bolt gun (the larger spring-based one made in Germany). Total fail.

I made an X between ears and eyes, held the instrument perpendicular to the skull, and bang. We killed four rabbits this way, and only one of them worked right. Extremely distressing. :( I don't want to try that again until I am really sure I am doing this right.

So I saw above that the X should be drawn between the rear corners of the eyes and the backs of the ears. I'm guessing that is the center of the backs of the ears, and not the inside corners of the ears. But where should the bolt be aimed? Toward the mouth, the nose, flat against the skull?

The Rabbit Wringer/Hopper Popper/broomstick method has the advantage of being easy and fast, although it's not as fast as I'd like. I spent the money on the CBG because it is supposed to be more humane, but that was obviously not what happened.

So, can someone give better instructions? TIA!

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#24  Unread postby averydeadbird » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:24 pm


I'm sorry to hear that you had so much trouble. It definitely takes practice. I had more success when I imagined the points of the X starting at the back edge of the base of the ear. The Bunny Rancher person I spoke to said: "The "X" envisioned on the head should use the back corner of the eyes as the distal ends and the back of the ears as the proximal ones." Also: "with the bolt pointing through the cranium towards the occipital bun or supraniac fossa." I had the bolt pointing too vertically when I first tried.

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#25  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:56 am


averydeadbird wrote:I'm sorry to hear that you had so much trouble. It definitely takes practice. I had more success when I imagined the points of the X starting at the back edge of the base of the ear. The Bunny Rancher person I spoke to said: "The "X" envisioned on the head should use the back corner of the eyes as the distal ends and the back of the ears as the proximal ones." Also: "with the bolt pointing through the cranium towards the occipital bun or supraniac fossa." I had the bolt pointing too vertically when I first tried.


Thank you so much for replying! I did see that quote earlier, but the only part that was clear was the back corner of the eyes. The only references I find for occipital bun or suprainiac fossa are on humans.

Excuse me for being dense, but when you say "the back edge of the base of the ear", do you mean (1) the inside corner of the base of the ear, (2) the outside corner of the base of the ear, or (3) the middle of the base of the ear, in back? I was using the middle of the eye and (3), but that was what did not work.

I went back to the Bunny Rancher site (where I bought it,) and the larger Arbalest version I bought did not have instructions, but there is a small PDF on the small version page. That has a drawing of lines between the back corners of the eyes and what might be the outside corners of the base of the ears. It also says the device has to be placed flat against the skull, which I did. It also says that it is necessary to apply firm downward pressure, and while I don't think it ever failed to penetrate, I wasn't applying much pressure, so it's possible that caused the problem. Yet it is the bigger version, and certainly blasted through the skull every time.

I should also mention that twitching or kicking legs was not the after-effect that was the concern. One out of the four was an instant kill, just as advertised. For the rest, no. They demonstrated breathing, heart beating, whimpering, gasping, standing up and screaming, and reacting to touching a paw. It was bad, which is why I want to be sure I get this right before trying it again.

The broomstick method (or Rabbit Wringer/Hopper Popper) at least renders the animal limp and unresponsive, even if it isn't as fast a kill. But I'd really like to use the CBG correctly, if it's as effective as people claim.

Again, thank you for responding!

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#26  Unread postby averydeadbird » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:45 pm


DoozyWombat wrote:Excuse me for being dense, but when you say "the back edge of the base of the ear", do you mean (1) the inside corner of the base of the ear, (2) the outside corner of the base of the ear, or (3) the middle of the base of the ear, in back? I was using the middle of the eye and (3), but that was what did not work.

Honestly I'm not sure how to describe it in words so that we're definitely thinking of the same thing. Basically my own problem was that I was holding the gun slightly too forward (toward the eyes), and too vertical rather than toward the occipital bun (the lower back of the skull, basically). So I corrected by moving back (toward the ears) and angling more.

It would be nice if there were more demonstration videos.

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Re: Trouble dispatching with captive bolt gun (graphic photo

Post Number:#27  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:17 pm


Thanks very much for clarifying. I think I'll be trying it again this weekend (depends on the rabbit owner.) I'm pretty sure I was holding it flat against the skull, which is probably okay, but too far forward. Drawing the X between the back corners of the eyes and the back corners of the ears, pressing firmly down, and angling slightly forward (so the bolt goes more toward the back of the skull) sounds like the formula.

If we try it again, I'll post how it goes.

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