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Thread: How far is too far?

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default How far is too far?

    Ok, here is the scenario -

    Moose hunting with a 30.06 (your choice of optics) with your favorite 180 gr. You spot a 60"+ class bull and begin the stalk. What is the absolute furthest you would shoot at this animal comfortably? Wooded area but a clear, level shot, light breeze and lots of daylight left.

    I know personally I am not comfortable with shooting more than about 250 yds. on average, but on a big animal I may be tempted to try shooting a longer distance. The way I look at it, if I am 400 yds away, I should be able to close the distance considerably, so no need to take the long shot.

    At what point do you guys say to yourself "I have to get closer."?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    At what point do you guys say to yourself "I have to get closer."?
    ....until I say to myself, "I can't get any closer".

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I always tell myself that I have to get closer if it is at all possible. Well....I guess that I should qualify that statement. If I'm outside of 100 yards, I'm always going to try to get closer if I can. That being said, I feel comfortable taking shots with my '06 out to about 300 yards. I took my first sheep at about 400 yards with my '06, but I don't think I would do that again. I stalked inch-by-inch for 4 hours to get that close, so it was a tough call.

    Anyhow, with a moose I would be comfortable out to 250-300, but prefer to be in the 100-150 range. My last moose was taken at 35-40 yards, but I didn't even see him until I was 50 yards away.

    -Brian

  4. #4

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    It doesn't matter to me if its a 60 incher or a spike. I try to keep everything close, 150 yrds or closer but that may be the bowhunter side of me.

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    Default Ummm

    Tempted to try a longer distance at a larger animal? I'm with deerhunter, why does the rack size make a difference? If it was a sketchy call for a spike...why is it worth it for a trophy....that's messed up. Taking a marginal shot on any animal can go three ways, a story of the miracle shot, a story of the miss on a big un, or the story of the short blood trail and a lost animal. Maybe it's the bowhunter in me too, but there is no way I would risk wounding an animal by stretching my limits. If you live in this state....you will have other opportunities to take large bulls cleanly. I had a nice (50 plus) bull with my bow at 40 yds last year but told myself before the hunt I wanted 30 or it was a no go...he didn't come any closer...and I didn't release. It hurt, but it was a sound decision, and I still got the most exciting part of the hunt.

    In the scenario you depict, for my shooting ability he would have to be 200 or less, I know this. But, for my sense of fair chase and making it seem like a real hunt, I'm shootin for 100, and if I can see the whites of his eyes.....even better.

    I guess the question is what's more important, taking the animal...or how you take it?

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    Default You owe it to the Animal

    I beleive we owe to the animal to get as close as possible. I know that leaves it up to your own personal decision but heres the way I see it.
    Just because my gun might be able to shoot 500 yards doesnt mean I have to. I have practiced out to 300 yards and if I had to I would do it. In my own beliefs I feel I should hunt the animal not just shoot it. At what point do we take sniper rifles and plunk caribou a mile away. I know there are lots of guys that are very excellent shots and I am not telling anyone how to hunt, I just feel the art of stalking is more important than the art of shooting.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Tempted to try a longer distance at a larger animal? I'm with deerhunter, why does the rack size make a difference? If it was a sketchy call for a spike...why is it worth it for a trophy....that's messed up.
    Size does matter... The kill zone on a spike is considerably smaller than that of a 60"+ bull which leaves a larger margin for error.
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    Default blah blah blah

    That doesn't fly with me Mud, if it's past your comfortable shooting zone, you are doing a disservice to the animal...no matter the size. The farther something is away, the greater the effect a flinch, twitch or twittering heart has on the bullet's path and will most likely negate any increase in target size....and past a certain range that kill zone will actually shrink when the bullet loses enough energy to not be as devastating on the periphery as it would have been 100 yards closer.....it's not shooting, it's hunting. Maybe this is my bitter feelings at not having much skill at long ranges, but I truly believe in the stalk as someone mentioned above and have seen and heard too many stories of guys extending their comfort zone because of an opportunity at a tropy and wounding it with no recovery...getting closer helps everyone....us as individuals, us as a hunting community....and the animal as it is more likely it will die well. Hunt as if you have an anti with you and you may not shoot as much game....but you will kill it cleaner, lose less animals and preserve our right to do it just a little bit longer.

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    Member AKdutch's Avatar
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    Default Long range

    I believe that it is our responsibility to find out what range we are capable of shooting at before heading out on the hunt. This last year I took a long shot at a moose that I would not have normally taken, but he was already hit once by my partner and was heading into the woods. On the other hand, I had practiced out to that distance and knew where my bullet would hit with a good shot. Another point that nobody has brough up is that it is much different shooting in the field than bench shooting at the range. Don't know about you guys, but I haven't ever found a good solid rest in the woods as good as the bench at s.cushman.

    A few years ago while hunting in Kodiak, I saw the biggest blacktail I've ever seen. At 800 yards I could make out 4 distict points on each side. The problem was that it was near vertical climb to get to him. I made it to 300 yards, mostly crawling, before knocking a rock loose and alerting him to my presence. He stood up and gave me a perfect broadside shot. I had my finger taking up slack on the trigger for almost a minute before deciding not to take the shot. It was a friends rifle that I had never shot that far and it just about killed me to pass it up, but couldn't ethically take the shot and taking a chance of wounding him and not being able to recover him. BTW, he was on the very top ridge of the mountain and I didn't know what was on the other side.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    I have come to realize that we all have different skill levels, different quality rifles and optics (and bows), and that this question can't be answered across the board for all in a definitive way.

    So my answer is that we base it on our own skill levels, degree of practice and experience, and quality of weaponry, and say to ourselves: "There will be no possibility of wounding this animal and having it get away."

    Meaning, you are 100% sure about your shot. Meaning you are 100% "comfortable" with your shot. Let's not confuse "comfort" with "surety." If you ain't sure, you ain't comfortable with the shot to my mind. When we use the word "comfortable," that brings on a whole nuther set of ethics and dynamics. Some hunters are "comfortable" taking a shot with a 50% chance of a clean kill. Even less! Some hunters change their "range" depending on if the animal is a "trophy" or not.

    If you aren't sure, don't shoot. This is what I taught my kids, and what I think should be the standard ethic among hunters. "Iffy" shots are not worth the risk to the animal and to your conscience.

  11. #11

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    If I can close the distance then that is what I would do.

    If you can't, then I say it depends on your guns capability and your capability. If your gun is up to the task but you don't practise much and your comfort zone is two hundred yards then 200 is it, max, no matter what size the animal. If you shoot a lot and you can hit the hind leg off a frog at 400 yards (consitently) then have at it for 400 yds.

    I practise a lot to 200 yds and am comfortable at that range and that would be my max, period.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i think mud is asking what folks comfortable zones are..not endorsing shooting past that. if you've got a three in target 100 yards may be your max, but if you've got a 12" target 300 yards may be your max. what mud is getting as is where does everyone draw the line. never said he's shoot past his comfort zone, i think some of that might have been misinterpeted.

    Me, i'd go anything in the 300 range, out past 400 is getting out there. took several deer on kodiak in the 300 range and feel comfortable with that shot if conditions are right. bears i won't do that, under 250 for the bears and thats only in very very control circumstances..ie field of fire, lack of brush, no wind, no way to get closer, good angle..ect ect. 30-50 yards for the bears is my favorite..


    For guys that practice shooting at any distance, its the same for them at 300 yards as it is for the guy who don't practice at 100 yards...sliding scale so its hard to say.
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  13. #13

    Default shots

    All depends on the shooter. I won't shoot bears more than 200 yards. I feel pretty comfortable on moose out to 300, but have never shot one that far. Haven't shot at one more than 50 yards for about 10 years now. I will take some very long shots at sheep when it is impossible to get any closer. Have gotten them all, but one that was a clean miss. I don't like taking long shot, but will if I am "comfortable" doing so otherwise I won't shoot.

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    Wink

    200-230 Max and, I would be looking to get closer if I could. Moose are very large so range estimation would be a problem for some who are not used to (guestimating) these animals at longer ranges. Bill
    ; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 SAMUEL 2;30

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    I'm no Carlos Hathcock but I can consistently hit a pie plate at 400 yards with MY .06 all day long.

    Since the scenario is about about a moose...for me its more about the ground upon which the moose is standing then the distance of the shot (within reason). If a long shot meant keeping a moose out of the bog or waiting for the moose to get out of the bog and onto good ground meant a long shot then so be it...that's what practice is for.

    All that aside, I prefer to be under 200 yards if I can get it.

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    There's a lot that effects it. A couple years ago I took a caribou at 376 laser yards. There was no way to get closer, the bull was standing broad side, I had my pack as a rest and I was prone. I had my 7mm Rem Mag which I have had for 29 years and have shot a lot so I was comfortable with it. The shot hit about an inch higher than I intended. Would I take that shot under different circumstances, like sitting or standing, or windy, or a moving animal, no. Would I take it again under the same circumstances, yes. No matter what the circumstances, I would always try and get closer, the closer the better with a hundred yards or less ideal to me.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Blah Blah Blah.... :)

    I didn't figure this scenario would get such a heated emotional response. The thoughts that provoked this question were that I have relatives in the lower 48 that claim they routinely have taken 500+ yd. shots (kills) on elk. For me, there is NO WAY I would shoot this far at anything. Like Catch It said, it becomes shooting instead of hunting.

    A hypothetical question for Catch It though.... If you were looking through your rangefinder at a world record class bull and ranged him at 80yds beyond your comfort zone and were unable to get any closer without spooking him would you take the shot or pass it by because you don't want to do the animal a disservice?

    That is my quandry. If I am staring at a HUGE animal, I would probably go against my better judgement and attempt the shot. Of course I would take whatever measures available to make my accuracy as good as possible.

    Back to the original question though. I set my limits around the 250-300yd mark under normal hunting conditions.
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    I live in Arizona, I grew up in Idaho. We hunted moose, elk, and deer.

    Long shots are common where the terrain is open and the animals are fast. We never had the luxury of hunting on someone's ranch or trophy farm.... we are and were public land all the way. Sometimes 200 yard shots are necessary and we've practiced for them.

    I personally can shoot 600 yds with open sights and hit 8 out of 10 rounds... but it takes practice.

  19. #19

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    I agree with Bushrat on this one. Theres no one set answer for the forum members on this one. Theres just too wide a variance in different guys shooting abilities. I will say one thing, if a guy says he can shoot x distance, we'll call x = 300 yards, he **** sure better get out there and try it on a range of some type before he just says it cuz the federal or remington ballistics table says he can and that theres only 8" of drop. On the other hand a lot of guys would be far more confident if they actually got out and tried shooting at 300 yards in true field conditions (not a bench) like prone on a backpack stuffed with gear, or off shooting stix. Then again theres a lot of hunters that would benefit by doing this at 100 yards. I know a lot of hunters that think ammo is too expensive to fire it off in preactise? The hard part for long range shooting is for city folk theres not many ranges that allow them to shoot past say 300 yards and some ranges only go to 200, so you need to get creative and go find a SAFE place to make up your own long distance range. I have killed deer out past 300 yards and yes I have seen guys take elk out past 400 yards. In Alaska I have never had this problem cuz you usually can get closer to animals if you just try. I am an avid bow hunter and have killed lots of animals with my bow but sometimes its just fun to gun hunt and thats why I do both. Theres a lot more to harvesting something than pulling teh trigger and if a guy can do it from far off, I dont hold that against him. to each his own. This topic crests on teh issue of ethics regularly and as hunters we have to realize we dont all do things the same way and thats cool. Imagine a guy who builds his own long bow, hanb makes each arrow and has a maximum effective range of 25 yards trying to have a conversation with a guy shooting a 338 RUM with a 6-20X power scope and packing around a 85 mm spotting scope, those 2 hunters are different but theys the same too.

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    Default There I was...kidding

    AKmud, What I would do: (1) I would flick that safety back on and appreciate even seeing an animal of those proportions. or (2) I would take that risk of it running and try to get closer....because the known quantity is that I can't shoot that far....but i don't know 100 percent that he will bolt, thus, I must try to get closer...or do #1.


    Remember, I'm a bowhunter (trapped in a gun state(grin) )....that's what we do...stare at large animals just out of range....I got over it years ago. I know this may sound like a bunch of hooey and I really don't have a soapbox on this thing but, I have the distinct advantage of knowing exactly where I am still comfortable and sure in my shooting and youthful bad calls in the past have netted me some clean misses....and some bad blood trails lost...and some poorly taken animals, those memories may last longer than the trophy memories.

    I'm okay with passing if it's not gonna be clean. I've always said I'm a better hunter than I am a shooter (but that's another thread eh?)

    Apologies if some misreading went on but I am adamant about not stretching our limits. Hopefully our buddies will respect our prudence over putting the safety on more than winning a ballistic lottery. You don't have to kill, or even shoot, to have a successful hunt.

    But, like I said before, for me....200 yards, tops. Good thread, guys, lots of interesting views.

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