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Thread: Annual Alaskan First Shot Survey Results are in!

  1. #1

    Smile Annual Alaskan First Shot Survey Results are in!

    Drum roll.........166 yards is the average distance from the hunter to the critter when Alaskan hunters fired their first shot in 2017.

    That is right on par with the results from the previous 4 years. It has never been over 185 or under 150. As usual we had more deer and caribou data entered because of bag limits and road/trail access.

    elk - 211 yards - 2 reported

    sheep - 187 yards - 4 reported

    caribou - 184 yards - 67 reported

    moose - 170 yards - 36 reported

    deer - 169 yards - 39 reported

    goat - 163 yards - 5 reported

    bears - 111 yards - 30 reported

    bison - 95 yards - 2 reported

    So if we are averaging 166 yards for our first shot, why did I buy a big 30 mm CDS capable 2-10 scope for my .338 when the 2.5-8 scope had worked so well for so many years? Because, I had a long winter and fell victim to all the long range hype, like many others did. I even shoot tipped boat tail bullets now!

    I know I can hit any big game animal in Alaska at 166 yards with the iron sights my rifles wear. I know any low range fixed power scope will easily handle any of the average shots. I know I don't need a fancy tipped boat tail bullet to do that. I know I should take a hard look at what zero I have my scope sighted for. I know I do my best up close, with a rest and firing at a stationary animal.

    Will any of this info change any ones ideas on equipment such as rifles, calibers, optics, scope zero or bullets? I doubt it.

    Thanks for the input guys! Have a fun, safe and successful year in 2018, hunting big game in Alaska! Also, please take a youngster hunting with you, doing that will make a better America for all of us to live in.

  2. #2
    Member KantishnaCabin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012


    Right on! Cool little informal survey. I kind of came to the same conclusion years ago and switched out my scope on my 338WM to a fixed 4X Nikon back in 2001 and I love it. I rarely shoot at anything at more than 100-150yds, the vast majority of my Moose kills are less than 100yds.

  3. #3
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Delta Junction AK


    Very cool- thanks for the work you do on this.

    It's an eye opening piece of data in light of the bombardment of advertising hype we receive.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  4. #4
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska


    Quote Originally Posted by .338 mag. View Post

    moose - 170 yards - 36 reported.
    Now that right there is pretty interesting. I don't think I've killed a moose at 200 yards in more than 30 years.....and that was the first moose I ever killed. Makes me think that a lot of forum members (at least those in the poll) possibly hunt early and don't try to call moose? Because that is usually what I do, I'd have to believe of all the moose I've personally killed, as well as those that I guided hunters to, the average shot would be around 50 yards or under.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  5. #5


    Hey 4merguide,

    The longest shot reported at a moose was 538 yards, four of them were a bit over 400 yards and four were over 300 yards.

    The longest sheep was 350 yards.

    The longest caribou was 470 yards.

    The longest deer was 490 yards.

    The longest bear was 380 yards!

    I think this is the first time a moose was the longest reported shot, but hey, big target, easier to hit!

    Now that deer at 490 yards, little target, harder to hit, at least for me, but plenty of guys have no problem doing it. I am impressed!

    I liked the brown bear at 14 yards! Would of loved to seen that on film!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska


    Nicely done sir! I appreciate your initiative and effort with this.

    Reporting the averages by animal is very interesting, as well as the number of respondents (well done!) would also be interesting to do the range of distances by animal, as you elaborated a bit above.

    For example: (fictitious)

    Sheep, 4 reporting, distances ranged 42-350, average 187

    Again, well done sir!

    P.S. My suggestion is not meant to be a wise-guy...I do appreciate what you've done!

  7. #7


    Stand by Doc!

    I think many of us could get by with a good peep sight and/or a fixed low power scope with an easy to see German #4 or similar reticle for almost all of these shots. I used a Leupold Vari X III for 12 years with the standard Duplex reticle. Didn't know I was under scoped, later I switched to a Vari X III 2.5-8x36mm and just switched to a bigger is better this year.

    What is wrong with me?

  8. #8


    I wish I had saved the stats from the previous 4 years, but I remember how similar they all are. The 1st shot distance on moose has risen slightly.

    Since way back when, I always zeroed my scopes for 200 yards. If a critter was closer I lowered the reticle, if it was further then 200 I would raise the reticle. As of last year and because of new scopes, my .338 Winny and 30-06 are now zeroed for 100 yards and I will adjust the CDS dial if shooting further.

    According to my load info my . 338 and 30-06 Barnes TTSX loads will expand at 1,600 fps impact velocity, which is a bit over 700 yards according to their muzzle velocity. Don't worry guys, I won't be posting any 700 yard shot stories.

    I know some zero scopes for their loads "Maximum Point Blank Range" and it works for them. The heart lung area is fairly big on Alaskan critters.

    I know some of the bears were taken from a bait station, so close shots are expected.

    36 reported on moose, average distance 170 yards.

    67 reported on caribou, average distance 184 yards.

    30 reported on bears, average distance 111 yards.

    39 reported on deer, average distance 169 yards.

    5 reported on goats, average distance 163 yards.

    2 reported on elk, average distance 211 yards.

    2 reported on bison, average distance 95 yards.

    4 reported on sheep, average distance 187 yards.

  9. #9
    Member Steven_JR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Anchorage, AK


    Very interesting, and thank you for compiling the data! I do believe I was under the average with all my reported kills....and I'm okay with that!


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