While our vets are the only ones able to legally immobilise the animals we treat, we still give students a chance to observe them at work, ask questions and we also train them in how to use the equipment (such as the dart gun) in safe situations.

Using a capture gun/ dart gun/ Tranquilizer gun is a very handy tool used in game capture. With enough practice and precision it is very safe and effective to safely capture the animal aimed at. The spot to aim is around the upper leg muscles. Do you know why?

The Quadriceps and the rest of the muscles lay a perfect area to have a dart penetrate through. There is a large surface area to aim for, a bigger target the better. Another vital reason is that it is not near the abdomen, or lungs area. The abdomen is an area that is very exposed area that doesn’t have a lot of protection like large muscles or bones to protect it. If aimed at the thoracic area, the ribs may have too much protection and the dart may not be able to penetrate deep enough to administer the drugs and if the dart were to hit between the ribs, it can damage the lung. That would be devastating to the animal’s health.

This is why good practice with aiming at a target can help us get better precision and help animal welfare. Luckily, our dart guns have a nice scope to look through that magnifies and allows us to line up to our target exactly where we want to hit. Of course, there are other factors in the real life ie. wind, moving animals, vibrating vehicles, etc. But we are lucky to have vets who are experts in this field.