View Full Version : Responsible long shots on game.
I was watching a hunting show tonight--i think it was Montana secrets.These guys were taking 400 hard shots on pronghorn.They missed a shot on one,then finally downed 2.They did make the shots,but one guys said,i dont know man,it seems to far,then his friend talked him into shooting.I personally would try to get a good bit closer than 400 yards.That is a long long way,and anything can happen down range--animal movement//wind..i just dont think it was very responsible.What do you guys think???
its a personal thing i guess, all depends on the gun, shooter and terrain. I will say i cant imagine a situation where you cant close the distance by more than that, but thats My opinion.
I can think of many times I would have taken a 400 yard shot on antelope; but I can remember a LOT MORE situations where 250 yards was WAY too far to be shooting. Wind, how fit/calm I was feeling, confidence in my rifle/cartridge/abilities, ALL have been shot-stoppers at one point or another. As touched-on above, there are a BUNCH of variables in this equation, but some of the basic questions I think a hunter should ask include:
DO I REALLY know the range? It's easy to miss-estimate by 10% to 20% or more under certain common circumstances, and a 20% error will almost always cause a miss (or poor hit) at longer ranges.
Do I KNOW where my rifle hits at this distance? Have I ever fired at a paper target under calm/range conditions at this distance, successfully? Many hunters have never fired at long range, and the ones that have, can count many "unexplained" misses. If this describes you, you have no business shooting at game at this distance (or farther).
Even if my shot hits perfectly, can the bullet do the job? What about a marginal hit (more likely at long range)? Does the cartridge carry enough energy/wounding power to cleanly harvest game at this distance? Taking a long shot means preparing in advance, not flying by the seat of your pants...
Do I feel "good", "right", or "comfortable" with this shot? If someone has to talk you into taking a shot, then you already know the answer to THAT question.
Originally posted by mudfootball
I will say i cant imagine a situation where you cant close the distance by more than that, but thats My opinion.
Things are a bit different out here in the west. There are times when you can literally see 100 miles. I've never hunted antelope, but the places they are in AZ you can get stuck with 1000+ yards of nothing taller than 6" grass between you and the herd. Definately not like the woodlots, fields and rolling hills back in Ohio.
I've taken, what I consider to be long shots on coyotes. I've only wounded one on a long shot and was able to track her down. After some interesting dancing in the mesquite I pulled her out. I've also wounded one on a really short shot. Sometimes they just don't die like they're supposed to. Even if you hit them right.
Anyways, I can see the need in some cases to take long shots. As long as the hunter has respect for the animal and is willing to assume the responsibility of his shot, no shot is too long. If someone is just lobbing rounds out there hoping to hit something, that's bad judgement no matter what the range.
excellent post DJ. that is a good list of questions. after thinking about it, i ask myself most of the questions that you presented in your post.
i personally take great pride in my ability to shoot at great distances. i practice long-range shooting a pretty good bit. hence the username...:). i have shot walking deer at 417yards in the neck, without feeling the least bit uncomfortable with it. i know exactly how my rifle is going to act at that range though. i feel very comfortable out to 550 yards simply because i have practiced time and again at those distances. i don't have anywhere to shoot farther than that around here, so that is about as far as i can take it.
as far as when to shoot at that range, there are a couple of different situations in which i will extend my range for game. primarily when i am in a tree-stand. you're not getting down from a stand and stalking closer to a whitetail deer. it just can't happen. another situation is when you hunting extremely weary game in a wide open space. (i.e. bobcats or coyotes.)
Even though I am confident in my shooting skill, rifle and ability to guesstimate distance, 400 yards is a long way, especially in the "field." The rifle range is completely different, I can sit there at the bench with all the necessary accessories (rifle rest, sandbags, spotting scope, etc.) take all the time I need and still be slightly off. Mistakes are amplified in the field; exhaustion, adrenaline, lack of a solid shooting "platform" all make for easily missed shots. I'm fortunate my local "free" gun range has target positions out to 500 yards, it's nice to practice for the hell of it, but honestly I would not attempt a shot that far on game, even with my .300 Weatherby. Personally, 300 yards is my limit.
I am not a military grade super sniper, nor do I play one on TV. As for long range shots, I usually pass on them if they are over 300yards (I carry a laser range finder). I am just not that good at long range shots like some, so I try and stay within my known limits.
Do you think there are any military snipers that hunt whitetail out to 1000yds?Its amazing what they can do with a 308win.
I believe there are people who can make very long 400-500 and longer shots regularly,but there are huge numbers of hunters that sight in there rifle at 100 yards at a bench,and can keep a decent group.Get off the bench and that same huge group of shooters would be hard pressed to keep 4 shots in a 5 inch circle at that range.Move out to 300 yards or so,without a bench,sitting on the ground,maybe with shooting sticks,things change real quick.I think it has to do with practice at long ranges.It is hard to find a 500 yard gun range these days..Everybody has posted some very good information--thanks--it was very interesting. ^c
I use a shotgun for all of my currant Michigan hunting so 400 yards tain’t go’in to happen… matter of fact, a 400 yard shot is fairly rare with our landscape… HOWEVER, 200 yards is no problem with my shotgun/ammo & I! ;) (Took a doe at 162 yards, in the melon, (yup, I was aiming there) a few years back.)
It depends, myself I'd try and get close at 300 yds, but this year a good friend of mine, and military sniper took a moose running uphill at 475 yds with one round, from a 338 winmag. I wouldnt have shot, but after that, I dont doubt his ability to do it again. so I think it all depends on the shooter.
it seems that most people think that long range shooting is some sort of talent. i don't believe that is the case. it just takes practice and application of knowledge about your particular setup (rifle/scope). i certainly don't consider myself anything special being able to shoot long range, just diligent in learning properly how to do so. i don't know how to say this without it coming across wrong, but i shoot long range for the application on something i have learned and practiced considerably with. in all reality, i bow hunt more than anything else. 90% of the big-game i harvest is within 15 yards or quite often within 5 yards. long range shooting is just something i enjoy.
it seems that most people think that long range shooting is some sort of talent. i don't believe that is the case. it just takes practice and application of knowledge about your particular setup (rifle/scope). i certainly don't consider myself anything special being able to shoot long range, just diligent in learning properly how to do so. i don't know how to say this without it coming across wrong, but i shoot long range for the application on something i have learned and practiced considerably with. in all reality, i bow hunt more than anything else. 90% of the big-game i harvest is within 15 yards or quite often within 5 yards. long range shooting is just something i enjoy
Why do you not believe this is the case? There's nothing wrong with admitting you might have an inate ability or capacity to shoot accurately at long range. Talent is a great thing of admiration it shows inclination, will, disposition, desire, ability and accomplishment.
I feel the general consensus among contributors to this thread indicates personal preference and personal limitations. I for one feel you should be proud of your abilities rather then taking a defensive posture about them. I certainly didn't read that others feel your decisions to make long shots are irresponsible and I don't think they are either.
This is a very interesting thread, nonetheless.
Definitely depends on the shooter, the gun, and the conditions.
In shotgun zones of NY, there is a bad reputation of shooters taking shots outside their range.
I especially take a critical look at guys who think their rifled scoped sabot shooting shotgun is good for 120 yards because they sat at a bench and it shot well at that distance.
Ok, but then you have to:
--Know the distance and the drop.
--Be able to shoot well for the off-hand shot you are attempting.
In general, anything over 100 yards is very difficult for off-hand shooting. Little movements become magnified.
Often we hear about the spectacular hits. But we seldom hear about the misses or the wounding.
Even a 100 yard off-hand shot with a whiz-bang zero drop rifle can be quite difficult.
good point ithica. you seldom hear about the misses in long range hunting. i know that i have done it. it's been about 9 years, but i still missed...;).
editted to add:anytime i am shooting long range (>250yards) i do it with a good rest. there is no point in trying to off-hand shoot something that far away even if your the world's greatest sniper. your success rate would be significantly less than 50%.
I have never missed or not recovered a deer (or a buffalo for that matter ;)) with my slug-gun set-up. I, however, practice my butt off ($$$) with my shotgun & know what it can/can’t do. I also rarely take ANY shot off-hand in the field & have always found a hole where I had aimed.
I’ve missed 3 deer in my life… 2 were with a bow & 1 was with a muzzleloader… I missed the one with the muzzleloader @ 15 (not kidding here) feet! (I was young, it was a MONSTER buck & I got “buck fever” REEEAAAL bad… vowed for that to NEVER happen again!)
I have shot white-tail at 450 yards in open feilds no cover but my rifle was sighting in at 400 yards, good rest dead deer. the key like the others said good skill alot of shooting and have alot of fun....
Thanks for all the replies guys,its been a good discussion with some very good points!!^c ^6
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