Contemporary long range hunting ethics ?

JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior MemberPosts: 6,102 Senior Member
20 or 25 years ago, shooting at elk that were 1700+ yards away was blasphemy it seems. Now, more and more videos emerge to the contrary. Skilled, prepared long range hunters are taking elk and other game at once ridiculous ranges--routinely beyond 700 or 800 yards...the guys shooting .338 Edge, .338-378 and things like .408CheyTac do it past 1500.

So, if you are a skilled and prepared long range hunter, have the ethical boundaries changed?

(Nothing trumps skill, so I am not referring to the bumpkin with $10,000 to blow on a rifle and reloading equipment with zero knowledge.)

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
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Replies

  • justin10mmjustin10mm Senior Member Posts: 688 Senior Member
    IMO shooting at big game much past 500 yards falls firmly into the category of "just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should".
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,571 Senior Member
    JasonMPD wrote: »
    20 or 25 years ago, shooting at elk that were 1700+ yards away was blasphemy it seems. Now, more and more videos emerge to the contrary. Skilled, prepared long range hunters are taking elk and other game at once ridiculous ranges--routinely beyond 700 or 800 yards...the guys shooting .338 Edge, .338-378 and things like .408CheyTac do it past 1500.

    So, if you are a skilled and prepared long range hunter, have the ethical boundaries changed?

    (Nothing trumps skill, so I am not referring to the bumpkin with $10,000 to blow on a rifle and reloading equipment with zero knowledge.)

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk

    My concern is that those videos do not show the misses or the wounded animals. Everybody that hunts for any length of time has made bad shots. I think taking incredibly long shots are too risky, even for a skilled marksman.

    That said, I will not suggest that range limits should be placed on hunters. But if the public or F&G start finding evidence of bad shots, they may insist on limits that will drive the ultra long range hunters out of the sport.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 4,571 Senior Member
    justin10mm wrote: »
    IMO shooting at big game much past 500 yards falls firmly into the category of "just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should".

    I was going to say that 500 yards is my personal limit for game. When I've spotted an animal from that distance, I can almost always get a lot closer.
    The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

    Ayn Rand
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    CaliFFL wrote: »
    My concern is that those videos do not show the misses or the wounded animals. Everybody that hunts for any length of time has made bad shots. I think taking incredibly long shots are too risky, even for a skilled marksman.

    That said, I will not suggest that range limits should be placed on hunters. But if the public or F&G start finding evidence of bad shots, they may insist on limits that will drive the ultra long range hunters out of the sport.

    I can tell you I've found dead and dieing Elk all over the Rockies. Sometimes 3 or 4 in a single pile. Based on the location they were not victims of some long range attempt at sniping. Slob hunters have always been with us. They sky bust ducks and geese,
    They leave meat to rot because it's too much trouble. Because the animal doesn't drop at the shot they don't even go look for evidence of a hit.

    That said, these videos and magazine articles should have strict disclaimers about what it takes to make those shots. But I've yet to see such.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,978 Senior Member
    If I am convinced I am going to kill that critter, I am going to pull the trigger. Doesn't matter whether it is a bow, revolver, specialty pistol or a rifle. Never hunt with black powder so I didn't include that.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,952 Senior Member
    If I am convinced I am going to kill that critter, I am going to pull the trigger. Doesn't matter whether it is a bow, revolver, specialty pistol or a rifle. Never hunt with black powder so I didn't include that.

    ^^^ THIS. Far too many hunters take a shot they aren't CONVINCED is going to kill their game, because they haven't the necessary trigger time to back it up. I have never taken a shot that I wasn't pretty damn sure was going to drop my game quickly, and to date, have never lost an animal.

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,492 Senior Member
    I can tell you I've found dead and dieing Elk all over the Rockies.
    . Because the animal doesn't drop at the shot they don't even go look for evidence of a hit. .
    To that I'll add deer.

    I do not like to take a shot beyond 300yds. looking thru my " kill book " I find that after 63 years of hunting I've made only 2 long shots, ( not counting PD ) one was an Elk at 290 paces ( 250 - 275yds ? ) The other was a doe at 485yds. (rangefinder) her front leg had been shot off by some hunter. Both were taken with my 30-06, 56gr. IMR4350 & 180gr Rem. Bronze Point. The Elk went about 100ft. the doe died in her tracks.

    If I think it's to far I'll do my best to sneak closer, I was taught at a young age that if you cant take pride and value from a hunt WITHOUT killing something, your not much of a hunter.

    Just my $00.02

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,482 Senior Member
    If I am convinced I am going to kill that critter, I am going to pull the trigger. Doesn't matter whether it is a bow, revolver, specialty pistol or a rifle. Never hunt with black powder so I didn't include that.

    It's not you or guys like you that give me heart burn, Ernie. It's guys who watch the TV shows and videos who think they're up to the task just because someone else is. Like Harry said, "A man has to know his limits."
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,978 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    It's not you or guys like you that give me heart burn, Ernie. It's guys who watch the TV shows and videos who think they're up to the task just because someone else is. Like Harry said, "A man has to know his limits."

    Understood and I agree.
    "My limits" are dependent upon my physical and emotional conditions the atmospheric conditions and how much practice I have had in the recent past.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,836 Senior Member
    While I love LR shooting, when it comes to taking game, I regard shooting (this ain't hunting) at a living, breathing animal at extreme long range (for most people) as a stunt.
    Most folks (there ARE exceptions) just aren't capable of humanely taking game way out there. They don't study enough, they don't shoot enough, and they aren't patient enough. When I am taking a shot over 300 yards, everything; wind, weather, light and I, have to be right - if it's not...I'm passing on the shot. Critters weren't put here for target practice or amusement...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    I don't care how far someone else shoots at game. There are no laws in place so your opinion and my opinion regarding the subject are as pertinent as a fart in the wind.

    But, the folks posting the videos on YouTube doing so are clowns.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,482 Senior Member
    I have 3 examples, from my own personal experience, as to why I don't like these long range shooting videos. Here they are.

    Several years ago, I was talking to a friend about hunting. This guy is a bit younger than I am, and has grown up in Colorado and hunted here all his life. He told me about some of his hunting buddies who routinely shoot running elk 7-8 hundred yards away. The way he told it he seemed to think it was pretty routine. I immediately called BS on him and told him something to the effect that his friends were stupid, ignorant or both. Or something to that effect. I would be very surprised if there's a single experienced long range shooter who would try such a shot.

    Next, I have a very dear friend who is 83 years old. He has lived in Colorado since he was a young boy, and hunted elk and deer in the state ever since it was legal for him to do so. He no longer hunts, but when he did he carried a 300 Win mag. The other night he told me quite matter of factly for distances between 300 and 500 yards you only need to hold about an inch high to hit an elk. Fortunately, I have a book that shows bullet trajectory for most factory ammo, and it showed that a 300 mag, shooting 180 bullets and zeroed in at 200 yards, would have a drop of about 7 inches at 300 yards, and a drop of about 4 feet at 500. He was surprised to see this, and allowed that he learned something.

    And, lastly, another friend was telling me that his 300 Winchester short mag would shoot 'flat' to 300 yards. I let that one go, but probably should have corrected him.

    I don't know where some get their notions, but they are certainly not educated as to bullet trajectory or ballistics.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,051 Senior Member
    While I myself wouldn't take a shot at that distance, I would fight any rules about shooting past XXX numbers of yards, simply because to me the range at which one shoots is an ethical decision. If there's no biological reason to limit the range of the shots, then I can't see a good reason to justify limiting range. I don't like regulating ethics...

    That being said, I do worry about the prevalence of long range shooting on the web and its influence on slob hunters. OTOH, I feel the same about slob behavior with fishing and shooting in general. As has been said, we've always had slobs. Now they just have more visibility.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,666 Senior Member
    Longest I've ever gone on game was 240 yards or so. I don't want to call someone out for making an amazing shot, but I personally wont do it
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,102 Senior Member
    While I myself wouldn't take a shot at that distance, I would fight any rules about shooting past XXX numbers of yards, simply because to me the range at which one shoots is an ethical decision. If there's no biological reason to limit the range of the shots, then I can't see a good reason to justify limiting range. I don't like regulating ethics...

    That being said, I do worry about the prevalence of long range shooting on the web and its influence on slob hunters. OTOH, I feel the same about slob behavior with fishing and shooting in general. As has been said, we've always had slobs. Now they just have more visibility.

    Yep.

    While I am striving to be a LR shooter, I am limited in knowledge and I would not attempt anything on varmint over 500 yards, pig over 400 and deer over 200. But a lot of these yokels on youtube try it, sometimes successfully, and blabber their knowhow nonsense like they are professional amd in fact they are blindly lucked imbeciles.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,803 Senior Member
    I used to be firmly against ultra long range shooting. However, there are those (And some of them on here) capable of consistently taking game at what I would call ridiculous range. Ernie I believe to be one ofthese. However, for every Ernie on the net there's a bunch of Bubbasthat don't need to shoot at any living target over 300 yards, if that. I feel those capable of extremely long shots know who they are. I also don't believe in legally limiting range of shots. But like I said, those who are capable and have the skills and technology and know how to use that technology know full well who they are. I feel this elite bunch are in the minority. I'm not one of them. I know my limits and my longest range I'm comfortable taking a shot at live game is well inside 600 yards. There are those times when I feel justified trying to shoot something at my personal long range limits such as the opportunity of a making a shot on a trophy when I feel good enough to take the shot, but most of the time I would rather try and get closer. In my opinion, that's what hunting is all about.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    And, lastly, another friend was telling me that his 300 Winchester short mag would shoot 'flat' to 300 yards. I let that one go, but probably should have corrected him.

    I don't know where some get their notions, but they are certainly not educated as to bullet trajectory or ballistics.

    Friend #3 is kinda right. It will NOT shoot "flat", however, loaded and zeroed correctly, POA will be a +3" to a -3" (about) above or below the POA. That is "flat" enough to take deer sized game from 50 to 300 providing the shooter is up to it. Its called Maximum Point Blank Range. Doesnt matter what you are shooting after 300 though, you need your come ups.

    As to ethical LR hunting? IMHO, it is up the the person. If you have the ability and the equipment to hit whatever size vital area on whatever critter EVERY TIME at whatever range you are shooting at, then it is ethical. If you cant hit a deers vitals at 100 yards every time, then the range is to long for you even if you are shooting a 50BMG.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,482 Senior Member
    Friend #3 is kinda right. It will NOT shoot "flat", however, loaded and zeroed correctly, POA will be a +3" to a -3" (about) above or below the POA. That is "flat" enough to take deer sized game from 50 to 300 providing the shooter is up to it. Its called Maximum Point Blank Range. Doesnt matter what you are shooting after 300 though, you need your come ups.

    I'm familiar with the point blank range concept. However, the friend who was telling me this probably isn't. He's a long time shotgunner, but fairly new to hunting with high powered rifles. No doubt I should have discussed this with him, but it was more of a side comment than anything else, so I decided not to make more of it. I suspect that there are a lot of hunters who aren't familiar with the PBR notion, either.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,803 Senior Member
    Max Point Blank Range is what scares me off from attempting really long range shots. When trajectory changes from simply dropping to plunging I realize the futility of such long range shots without precise range estimation.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • 1965Jeff1965Jeff Senior Member Posts: 1,595 Senior Member
    I like to hunt . I like to shoot. Hunting and shooting are mutually exclusive, meaning the hunt for me is putting my skill versus the instincts and senses of the quarry, flinging lead at ridiculous distance doesn't do it for me. But, if it is your idea of real "hunting" more power to ya, but not my cup of tea. If you have the skills to humanely shoot game at distance, then fill your tag the way you want, you paid for it.
  • gaimangaiman Banned Posts: 60 Member
    such shots, unless the game is bedded down, are by lazy slobs who play into the hands of anti-hunters. the animal can easily take a step in 1/2 second, meaning a gut shot critter. Those bullets take 1/2 second just to cover 1/4 mile. So longer ranges are for **** and azzhats. Unless, as I said, the animal is bedded down. wind zephyrs happen, too. There is just no need to risk crippling game. REAL hunters get within 40 yds of trophies all the time. So why can't YOU get inside even 400 yds, hmm? Incompetence, laziness, dis-respect for the game.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,051 Senior Member
    ...this might get good....
    Overkill is underrated.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,440 Senior Member
    gaiman wrote: »
    REAL hunters get within 40 yds of trophies all the time.

    You ever get within 40 yards of a trophy antelope on the eastern plains of Colorado?


    Hmmm......didn't think so.

    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • gaimangaiman Banned Posts: 60 Member
    yep, I just know to use a pit blind in dry areas. You don't, I take it.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,482 Senior Member
    gaiman wrote: »
    So why can't YOU get inside even 400 yds, hmm? Incompetence, laziness, dis-respect for the game.

    Hmmmmm.

    40 yards, you say. Why would you risk closing the gap to that range when you're confident at making the shot at a much longer range?

    If you're hunting with archery gear, I can see it. With a modern center fire rifle, though, I see no laziness or disrespect of the game involved when taken at longer ranges.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,440 Senior Member
    gaiman wrote: »
    yep, I just know to use a pit blind in dry areas. You don't, I take it.

    I hate to point out the obvious, but................................

    In a pit blind, you didn't get within 40 yards of the animal. It got within 40 yards of you.

    Just sayin'.

    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,051 Senior Member
    Tomato, tomahtoe....
    Overkill is underrated.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,440 Senior Member
    Tomato, tomahtoe....

    Au contraire.....................
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,051 Senior Member
    What, you call 'em 'maters?
    Overkill is underrated.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,836 Senior Member
    gaiman wrote: »
    REAL hunters get within 40 yds of trophies all the time.

    Oh God...not ANOTHER one of those....just shoot me now...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
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