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Location: Wyoming
Joined: 08/04/2006
Posts: 38
Shooting Skills

Well, preach as I may to the group of guys I hunt with, once again I found myself finishing off cripples, thanks to lousy shooting, most of it at ranges these gents had no business considering - and yet did.

Here are what seem to be the contributors:

1. Expensive ("sexy") ammo that costs $40-plus per box (standard calibers). The guy shooting this stuff says it's too expensive for him to do anything but "zero" his rifle with. RECOMMENDATION: Switch to PowerPoints or CoreLokts - you can buy three rounds for the price of one. That leaves two "extras" to use up at the range learning how to shoot. I've never had any issues with cheap factory ammo not performing on game - unless, that is - I miss the target.

2. Range Estimation. One guy's 150 yards was my 300. His rifle should have been "dead on" at 150, since he sighted it in 1.5" high at 100 (never quite understood that). So, he held dead on, and knocked the buck's front leg off at the knee. RECOMMENDATION. Buy a decoy and see what it looks like at different ranges, forget the fancy rangefinder - by the time you unholster it, your deer is going to be gone.

3. Ego exceeds skill. Guy sees decent (i.e. "bigger than any of the other guys have shot this season") buck, so HAS to have it. First shot from 250 yards blows another front leg off (there seems to be a trend here?), second shot hits him in the back behind the shoulder blades and paralyzes him. This one stares me in the face as he's frantically trying to get back up before I put one in his neck from 10 yards.

Guys, seriously, I'm tired of hearing stories about how we're going to shoot animals from afar. Yeah, there are some of you who I'm certain are capable of that. However, there aren't that many of us who have 1) the time (patience?), 2) the cash, or 3) the facilities anymore to CONSISTENTLY be shooting at long ranges. I have ready access to a KD (Known Distance) range where I've worked with my .30-06, a .308, and a .22-250 out to 600 yards. I send a lot of lead downrange, but consider myself pretty "unreliable" beyond 300 yards. To me, it's not worth the risk of crippling a fine animal. It's shameful to boast of something so potentially wasteful.

And I'm tired of shooting terrified, crippled deer at close range for someone else.

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Location: Summit, IL
Joined: 10/22/2006
Posts: 706
Shooting Skills

Dead on correct....we all seem to be preaching that very same subject on several threads here.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Shooting Skills

I could not agree more. The irony is that 250 yds should be a chip shot. People go out and spend a ton of money to buy the gear and ammo and to take the trip. Take a week off work and can't find time or money for practice. With today's equipiment, anybody should be more than capabile of 250 yd shooting.

But I fear to many see hunting as some sort of right to do as you will with no reguard for the animal. On another site I had a guy tell me that as long as it's legal, nothing else matter's. Wanna know the good new's? Over on "Hunt Fair Chase" they took a poll on if it's legal is it ethical and something like 98% said "NO". The poll pool was very large.

I think that a big problem is that those that do shoot at long range want everybody to know it. In doing so they issue a challenge to other's to try and do it also, intentionally or otherwise the challenge is there. The new, and old, super magnums are touted as great long range cartridges and on a couple site's I've seen where a thred is asking about the longest shot with a 25-06.

I love sport hunting but I think is has turned the animals into insignificant object's that exist only for our shooting pleasure. The state's, many anyway, manage the game animals for maximum yield. That means more revenue for the state. Imagine if varmit and preditor hunting was as popular as deer and elk. You'd have to get tag's for them and then a draw! Maximumize the resourse to get maximum return.

My hunting didn't go all that well this year, wreacked my truck. But I did get my buck the other day. Nikon D 70 w/150-500 Sigma lense. Full body mount on the wall soon. Have an 8.5x11 now but might go with either a n 11x14 or a 16x20.

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Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 11/09/2005
Posts: 166
Shooting Skills

I also blame the magazines a lot. Some of those guys, who write stories about shooting animals at 400 yards, I just don't believe. Some of them I do believe, but then they spend a LOT more time hunting and shooting than the average guy.

The average guy, though, reads these stories and thinks that he should be able to take shots at 400 or 500 yards. Truth is, most hunters have absolutely no business shooting at anything past about 200 yards. Even that is probably a stretch for some.

On the other side, I will say that in some cases I blame the guides. My uncle is a licensed guide here in Colorado and he tells stories about some guides who, first encourage a client to take a shot at 300 yards, and then complain because the client didn't get a clean kill. The problem, he will tell you, is that some guides get lazy and don't want to put in the time and effort to get the client in closer. Or they'll make jokes at the expense of a client who doesn't feel confident taking a shot at 300 or 400 yards (is it any wonder the client then attempts shots he's not competent to make?).

There are several guides out there my uncle absolutely refuses to be in elk camp with because of these kinds of things.

Having said that, I still think that the great majority of the time it is the fault of a hunter who doesn't practice enough, under-estimates distances, and over-estimates his abilities.

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Shooting Skills

Couldn't agree more. I've posted here many time advising against those 300+ yard shots. Not being critical here, but it just speaks to the point when newbies to hunting often ask the question about a rifle/caliber and what will be a good one for those 400 to 500 yrds shots. Those long shots simply are not nessesary and more often are not the reality. Hunter's Safety classes should stress the importance of reasonable shot distance. My philosophy has always been if you can't get within 200 yrds to 250 yrds of your game animal, then you need to re-think your hunting strategy. And, I'm talking about on game like pronghorn and mule deer too.

I think another problem in addition to the gun magazine articles are those sniper and sharp shooter documentaries on the History Channel. A lot of new or younger hunters want to shoot like they see on TV and while some shooting skills used in hunting are borrowed from the sniping areana, hunting itself is not sniping.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 02/28/2006
Posts: 162
Shooting Skills

While I agree that shooting past your own comfort range isn't a good thing to do, I think that comfort range can be quite a bit farther than 300 yards. Also, I don't think blaming a documentary on snipers for making people terrible hunters is very smart. What the heck has the history channel got to do with hunting ethics. Since the first chinaman put sparks to powder mankind has been infatuated with how far away they can mess something up with a little chunk of lead. Wether it was an enemy soilder or a beast in the field. Hunting ethics are a fairly new concept while shooting and ballistics are not. Also many people are not sport hunters, they just want to put meat to the ground. I've seen guys blow the front legs off a deer at 50 yards. That's just bad shooting and we're all guilty of it somtimes. It you can't stomach the sight of a wounded deer, it may be the time to find a new hobby and let Oscar Meyer do your hunting for you. I guess all I'm trying to say is let people hunt the way they like and you hunt the way you like.
Hank

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Shooting Skills

Well Hank,

Would you say shooting at a Grizzly or Alaskan Brown Bear at 400yds is alright if it's within the individuals comfort zone? Befor you answer think of a couple thing's. Every year we hear of the 90# deer that was shot with cartridges and bullet's we concider suitable yet ran off a great distence befor dieing. If that happens at 400 yds and looks like a miss, how many are going over to check for blood? How many can even mark the spot well enough to do it? And if it's a dangerious animal, who is the next to come along and have to deal with some animal looking to kill him because some other jerk fired within his "COMFORT ZONE" but for what ever reason, failed to kill the animal?

Sport hunting is a priviledge, sport killing has obligation's. And "you do it your way and I'll do it mine" just don't work!

Companies make faster and faster cartridges to have something to sell. They also make better and better bullet's to gather a bigger share of the market. Hunter's look at those thing's and think it means we can now shoot farther away! Nobody ever bought a 25-06 so they could get closer. And few people really need the tuffest of the tuff in bullet's but many believe they work better for long range shooting, they don't! So many guy's with the attitude that the 150gr cup and core bullet is fine for deer in Arkansas where you might only get a 100yd shot but if it's mule deer and yuo are forced (?) to shoot across two canyon,s in gale force winds and out of breath from clining the mountain, well then nothing but a Barnsoler will get the job done. The reverse may well be true!

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Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
Posts: 1762
Shooting Skills

I shoot paper at long range and game animals at normal ranges. I personally don't see where the two sports should combined. A living creature is not the proper thing to test your long range shooting skills on. We have a responsiblity to kill our game as fast and as safe as possible and neither can be done at 400+ yds away with any certainty. If you want to brag about how far you can shoot, shoot targets not animals. I'd rather brag about how close I can get before shooting the game. Thumbs up

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 02/28/2006
Posts: 162
Shooting Skills

Don,
If the hunter is well practiced and the rifle is poweful enough and the bear is standing in the open and the shooter has a good rest then yes by all means 400 yards, I believe is close enough. With modern rangefinders and ballistics a WELL PRACTICED shooter can be very accurate at that range. I agree though that if you don't have the time to practice then no way, heck you shouldn't even be hunting if you don't have the gumtion to practice adequately. All I'm saying is that drawing a line for everybody at 200 or 250 or 300 is misguided because there are so many variables involved. I wouldn't take a shot at an elk over 300 with my 30.06 because it loses too much power. I know I would hit it out to 400 or even 500 but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't go down. But a smaller deer, I know it has the power to drop it out a little farther. I also wouldn't shoot in a stiff wind. Wether a hunter goes to check for a hit or lets a wounded animal escape is a different ethics issue. Those things can happen at any range and I agree are completely wrong.
So in short I guess I agree with you for the most part. Most people don't shoot enough to be ethical at a long range, but some do and do it well. Yes I agree we have obligatioins as hunters. I also believe a well practiced shooter can be ethical at moderatly long ranges and still meet those obligations.
Hank

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Shooting Skills

I think before any hunter attempts to test his/her long range shooting skills on a real game animal, that person should shoot varmits at long range first. If they can reliably hit those critters at 400+ yrds, then and only then should one attempt those fine long range shooting skills an edible game animal. To simply just "test" long range shooting skills on game is unethical.

In talking with newbie hunters or wana-be hunters there seems to be one common interest that they all seem to share or talk about these days. It has to do with shooting an animal from as far away as possible. I often hear new comers to the sport bring up those 700 to 1000 yrd shots Think This whole notion of attempting those impossible unrealistic shots has to be coming from somewhere!! Don't ya think?

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
Shooting Skills

Western Hunter,

The only reason I go along with shooting at pests at long range is that a near miss is usually fetal (did I spell that wrong or what?). One huge problem we have in the hunting sport is to many people that want everyone to know they can make those shot's and manufacturers that want everyone to think that by using the latest and greatest wiz-bang cartridge, rifle or scope, anyone can do it. There are few people that acutally can that don't condone it, our own Chester Golf is one. I have never heard him suggest blasting away at long range, indeed the opposite has been true.

Everywhere on the internet it is glorified and relatively few really understand what is truely involved. It goes far beyond practice. C.G. has the right answer's for it in his post. Don't understand why more long range shooter's refuse to say something. Thanks C.G. you are a rare duck! Thumbs up

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