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Thread: How far is too far?

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Default How far is too far?

    This goes out to those hunting with rifles. I have been noticing a lot of technology readily becoming accessible to the hunting community that facilitates the taking of big game at ranges in excess of 600 yards. I also have seen more than normal a large amount of hunting videos running on TV that show these ranges as the norm. It is obvious that the technology (bullet drop compensators, range finders, ballistic computers, etc.) and the skill to use it exist, but at what point has the challenge of stalking been lost? Are we replacing hunting skills with marksmanship skills? I have noticed on the "first shot distance" thread that the majority have shot less than 300 yard, but is this the norm?

    Just curious.


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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    I do think 300yds and under would be most common. I have spoken with several gunsmiths lately that absolutely curse the TV shows that showcase long range hunting. They laugh out loud telling stories of bozos walking in with their dad's pump 06, asking for Berger bullets, and requesting it be made into a 1000yd gun. TV shows make everything look easy. Fact is it takes specialized firearms and a lot of practice/training to push and group shots out past 500yds. I was in CO on a hunt in OCT and my son and I hit the local gun club to check the gun before the opener. I was hitting a plate at 485 with my win mag with the assistance of a spotter that was calling wind. As we waited to shoot, I watched a lot of guys TRY to hit that plate that was on a steep uphill. And there was a bunch of high end artillery there that day. I do think most hunters shoot within their skill set. If a challenging 600yd shot is within your skill set and equipment set, have at it. Same thing with the high tech bows now. Lots of guys on TV throwing arrows out to 60yds. I wouldn't shoot that far at a whitetail, but obviously they can.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough- I've met a lot of guys that can't spot game at 600 yds much less shoot at it.

    The equipment and techniques to shoot 500+ is out there and perhaps 1 in a 100 of us has the skill set to leverage it in the field...but as a group we are just not up to the task. I love going to "range sight in days" a few weeks before season opens and watching guys checking or zeroing scopes.

    100yds is obviously a pretty big challenge for more of us than I'd like to think.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member pa 5-0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Interestingly enough- I've met a lot of guys that can't spot game at 600 yds much less shoot at it.

    100yds is obviously a pretty big challenge for more of us than I'd like to think.
    LMAO!!!!! Priceless and true!!!!!!

  5. #5

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    Rather than look at a specific distance limitation, I think we need to fall back on the hunting ethics. Like pa 5-0 said, if people are able to make an ethical shot (meaning something they are capable of doing both safely and competently) resulting in an ethical shot on the animal, then I don't see a problem with it. I won't be one of those trying anything like that. My longest shots have been about 350 and I don't even want to repeat that.

    Having said that, I do think we have a lot of "hunters" who do not know/understand/limit themselves to their abilities. We saw tons of that just based on the posts the last couple of years on the Unit 13 caribou hunts with long lob shots being taken in all sorts of situations. I think we need to put more focus on people sticking within their abilities rather than talking about a specific number limitation. Each person has different abilities. One person may be good to 50 yards and the guy next to him good to 300. I don't want to tell the 50 yard guy it is okay to lob a shot out to 250 yards and likewise don't want to restrict the guy that puts in hours/days/weeks at the range to be proficient at longer distances that he can't or shouldn't shoot past 100 yards.

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    That is a very subjective question! Shooting ranges are relevant to the shooters skill level, equipment, weather, wind etc.
    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

  7. #7

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    I would like to think 300yds. for me but much prefer under 200. I killed a Dall ram at 370yds. but it was for sure out of my comfort zone. Too much can go wrong at extreme ranges even if you hit an animal. It's hard to visually mark an animal at 200 sometimes, let alone 600 and then have to pick up sign for tracking. Especially in rougher country re: across acres of alder thickets and thorn bush. I think there is probably a lot of lost and wounded game from extreme range shooting that we never hear about because it's nothing to brag about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramhunter View Post
    That is a very subjective question! Shooting ranges are relevant to the shooters skill level, equipment, weather, wind etc.
    I think the question is more if long range shooting is something hunters should aspire to, or if it is the final stage of a hunter's development. Um, heck no. I won't say that it's the lazy man's way, but I think it is an act that should be taken very seriously by anyone who tries it due to the issue mentioned of wounded game, picking up sign of a hit animal etc. It opens up a great degree of opportunity for lost animals if not properly done, and no technology can make up for practice....practice.....and practice. Just cuz you bought a gun that some guy on the outdoor channel smoked an elk at 700 yards with, doesn't mean you can....and indeed, who knows what happend off camera to the hunter on the show.

    Personally the closer the better, I can't imagine taking a shot much over 200 yards, and I like hunting itself more than tweaking guns to that degree of accuracy. If I had that kind of time, I'd just be in the woods more often.

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    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    I must agree with ohunter. I am comfortable shooting out to 350 and 400 is pushing it, but I' ll only take those if I have a spotter that can help mark the animals spot after the shot. I'll take a shot out to 250 while hunting alone in open terrain, but in brushy country I prefer to keep shots at 100 or less. Extreme long shots require rifle calibers that are up to the task of making clean kills, meaning they need to have the minimum retained energy for a humane kill at the ranges being shot. Those calibers are usually magnums or medium bores that are not that fun to shoot in the first place, thus making the task of long range shots even more complicated. Medium to long range shooting, 400-1000 plus yards takes specialized equipment, lots of practice, and solid understanding of shooting fundamentalls and ballistics. The average hunter doesn't possess those skills or the equipment that are capable of consistantly making accurate shots beyond 250 yards.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Agree with the comments above. I personally don't agree with super long range hunting. Shooting or just target shooting? yes fine.
    I understand everyone will have their own limitations, but the risk factors of losing or not recovering an animal is much greater when one shoots beyond their capabilities.
    I'm sure the BOTW folks catch a lot of flack over their shows, and (IMO) some are going out there thinking with some practice with their own rig they can do the same. I do like their shows but a couple episodes upset me to say the least, especially when J. Porter shot the moose here from I believe it was something like 788 yards. Lot of flaws they failed to cover up, but I'm not going to go into it. And I know he wasn't shooting a 338 Lapua. An animal that size doesn't deserve that. I do say they cover their butts by offering a supreme rig, but they also require folks to go to their school in Cody at their state of the art facility for a price.
    I know my capabilities, And it all depends on what the elements present me at the time, I read up on the art of shooting (not long range shooting) and took up reloading 3 years ago, and in the most ideal conditions, I won't go past 500 yards with any of my long range cal. rifles.
    I understand technology has gotten better, with new bullets, long range rifles, scopes, doping the wind with a laptop etc etc.....but, the targets we are shooting at have not changed. It's called Hunting, get closer and do a clean quick kill !!!
    Great thread by the way....on a very key subject.

  11. #11
    Member Ryan J's Avatar
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    That has always been my concern and consideration. 500yds is over a quarter of a mile. That is going to take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to walk depending on terrain. If the animal wasn't DRT from the first shot I feel like the difficulty of the recovery is increased greatly. I've had that sick feeling when the wounded animal disappears, I didn't like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohhunter1 View Post
    I would like to think 300yds. for me but much prefer under 200. I killed a Dall ram at 370yds. but it was for sure out of my comfort zone. Too much can go wrong at extreme ranges even if you hit an animal. It's hard to visually mark an animal at 200 sometimes, let alone 600 and then have to pick up sign for tracking. Especially in rougher country re: across acres of alder thickets and thorn bush. I think there is probably a lot of lost and wounded game from extreme range shooting that we never hear about because it's nothing to brag about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt-Hunter View Post
    and the skill to use it exist, but at what point has the challenge of stalking been lost? Are we replacing hunting skills with marksmanship skills?
    I think if you're good enough to take a 400-1000 yard shot on game, you're also good enough to know when it's better to get closer. I practice and shoot competitively at 1000+ yards, but I've never come across a potential shot on game that far where the variables weren't obviously biased towards getting closer. Time of flight, wind, trajectory variation… if you're seeking a 100% chance of a successful shot, it's rare (but possible) that getting closer isn't better.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    I missed an opportunity at a nice bull caribou on the Tier I hunt opening day because I felt he was out of my range. I've never shot at an animal 400 yards out and didn't want to wound/chase it if it wasn't a clean shot. Had my kids with me... plus I hadn't ever shot that far. I'm a moose hunter... most shots are 25-150 yards... so for ME, 400 is too far.

    Tim

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Many refuse to be beaten or out witted by game and pull their technology card.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Killing an animal over 500 yards is good shooting, under 100 yards is good hunting...

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    My deal is the targets we shoot at are moving not sitting still, at this range if animal moves a little bit thats the difference between a perfect hit and a miss or gut shot animal.... I bow hunt alot so close is better for me....

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    My son and I watched a guy off the Denali highway this past fall shoot 9 times at caribou before hitting one on the 10th shot…at about 180 yds, obviously this was “too far” for this guy!

    Long range shooting/hunting has been debated for as long as I can remember, and always comes down to if it is ethical or not. I know guys that a 500 yard shot is just a clip shot, while others…well…a 180 yards is way out of their range! The guy shooting 9 shots before hitting a bull seems un-ethical to me, but maybe not to others!
    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

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    Member Hughiam's Avatar
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    Alot of those shows are commercials for their shooting schools and guns, as well as the associated gear that goes along with it. They are selling a product, and I guess its arguable, that IF you buy their gun and IF you go to their school and IF you shoot their ammo and practice a bunch, you might be a long range shooter. But most dont have the resources to go to that school and buy that gun(for grins, look up the cost).

    But I did hit an oil can with a snub nosed .38 at 100 yards once!

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Many refuse to be beaten or out witted by game and pull their technology card.
    When you start using more than your hands and wits, then the technology card is on the table...........
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Supporting Member Hoyt-Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Many refuse to be beaten or out witted by game and pull their technology card.
    I agree. This subject really parallels the thread on "fair chase". Just because you are fortunate enough to afford the technology and skilled enough to use it, does it make it right?


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