I feel like I'm becoming a life advocate and that's a strange feeling. That coyote at 500yds or the prairie dog are both going to give you time to set up for a reasonable shot. You guys are making it sound like you just jump out of the truck and start blasting hoping for the best. I believe hitting a coyote and especially a prairie dog at those ranges is fine shooting, if its done by design.
Honestly Don, in most cases concerning coyotes, that's usually how it is with me. Of course, if they're 500 out, you have to take time lining them up. With the p-dogs, I'll already know where they are, and I don't ever jump out of anything if I don't need to.
Having returned recently from Wyoming, I thought I would put my 2 cents in on this subject. Our group went 7 for 7 on antelope bucks with shots ranging from 50 yds. to almost 400 yds. While the 50 yard shot is probably the exception, I did not see a need for any one to have to shoot at over 500 yds. I know there are people and guns fully capable of performing at this range and even farther,the variables of elevation,wind currents, movement of the animal during bullet travel, etc. make it very difficult for the average hunter to make a clean ethical kill. I am not talking about people who train and practice for just this type of shot, these hunters are the exception not the rule (IMO). The ability to make a clean kill not just a hit on target, should be the goal and the logic behind the decision on whether or not the trigger is pulled. Here in the south where I hunt, we are seldom put in a position to have to make such a decision, but having now experienced the large open spaces out West, I can see where someone would be tempted to push their ability to make extreme long range shots.Some times that hill on the other side of the draw is a little further than you might think. I realized this when it took longer to walk across that distance than I had anticipated,I would have sworn the truck was only a 1/4 mile or so away but it took 15 minutes to get there. Any that is just my take after having been out West for the first time.
Southernsportsman- I concur, that's why I bought a range finder. I do my deer hunting in the Texas panhandle, so it can be pretty flat, but I still try not to shoot anything much past 250 that I want to keep. I've already mentioned this, but pigs, coyotes, and varmits are the exception.
I think a key point is knowing your limitations - both your and your equipment's.
What is that magic distance that is unethical? It depends on the hunter and their ability.
I just shot an antelope at 253 yards. Perfect shot, but I have practiced regularly and I have good equipment so it was really a "chip" shot for me. Maybe for someone else it is too long of a shot for them to take.
Would I have taken a closer shot if I could have? Definitely, but that is as close as I could get. No cover between the goat and me so why shouldn't I take that shot?
Would I take a 500 yard shot? No, because I am not confident that I can make that shot - it would be luck if I did. Now, if I knew I was going after game that required longer shots I would prepare and I might take that shot if I knew I could make it and there was absolutely no way to get closer and that might be the only chance I got on an animal.
I think long-range is a relative term. Again, it depends on the person, their ability and their equipment.
When I bow hunt, I limit myself to 30 yards. Yes, I can shoot a target farther, but I am not confident that I can make that shot consistently.
I believe that anytime you start shooting beyond the MPBR of you equipment at game animals, Your shooting to far. Where the problem comes in is the chocie to walk away is always there, it never leaves. But to many feel they have the skills and are going to do it reguardless if they feel comfortable. Well much closer shots get flubbed by very good shooters without having to add in for bullet drop, range judgment wind drift and animal movement.
I admire thoes people that shoot well at greatly extended ranges. But hunting is about killing, not shooting a paper target or a steel gong. Hunting is a sport where success means only an animal dies, recovered or not. The world is not going to stop if a shot is passed up; and more good shooters pass up those shots than bad shooters! And of course anyone that can afford to travel to shoot an animal will not go hungry because he/she passed up a shot. If that were the case and the hunter relied on the kill for winter meat, he'd hunt closer to home and never risk a winter meat supply on a very long shot. It's sport, sport where success often means something died, usually an animal just minding it's own business.
We need to be as clean as possible! Just as I feel we should not be using lever action 30-30's to shoot animals at 300 yds, I don't think we should shoot any animal beyond the MPBR of the cartridge we're using. I would relent on that for pests, ie sage rats. A bad shot will still cleanly kill the rat with a varmit cartridge or better. As for animals like coyotes, if your out calling coyotes and 500 yds is as close as you can call it, you need to practice calling! If your a rancher shooting and often missing at those ranges, your teaching the coyote to leave at the sight of your truck. We have a lot of jumpy coyotes around here, the product of ranchers that don't shoot anywhere near as well as they think!
Just about every hunter who has hunted big game animals has used a rope to drag his game. Over the years I have seen many kinds and sizes used for this purpose. One of my friends brought a deer to my house to hang in my garage for butchering, and he had a 1” hemp rope that was at least 12 feet long on it. It was large enough to tow a truck! Another time I saw a guy stuffing an entire 50-foot coil of that stiff, plastic rope into his pocket to use as a dragging rope.I have found that the ideal...