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Long Range Hunting (long text)

hawk18hawk18 Senior MemberPosts: 742 Senior Member
This article was in the local paper last Friday. Not the best representation of either side but good enough to get the discussion going at Saturday nights get together with friends. In case the link doesn't work, I posted the text of the article too.

Hawk

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20140926/NEWS/140929820/101052/LIFE

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune
Posted Sep. 26, 2014 @ 2:00 am
Updated at 5:07 PM

When Bill XXXXX hunts deer or elk, he strips down to the basic essence of what "fair chase" means to him.
His rifle is equipped with only old iron sights, no optics. He carries no range finder. He relies of cover, wind and his five decades of hunting to pick out his target and put a big sneak on to get close enough for a good, clean shot.

Though it's legal and well celebrated, squeezing off a shot at an animal 700 yards away is never part of Leever's arsenal. Not by a long shot.
"I've always gotten a lot of satisfaction in matching my wits and skills against whatever animal I am hunting," Bill says. "A lot of things can go wrong with a 700-yard shot. It has to be a good, clean and close shot. We owe it to the animal.
"It's the ethos of hunting," he says.

Technological advances are now inviting hunters to take substantially longer shots in the field, spurring a public debate about whether relying more on improved weaponry over field skills is blurring the lines of hunting's historic fair-chase credo.
The Boone and Crockett Club this spring weighed in on the debate, saying long-range shooting threatens that fundamental relationship between predator and prey that is at the core of what hunters dating back to Teddy Roosevelt have considered the ultimate respect given to animals.
The club states in its paper that long-range shooting takes unfair advantage of the animal, eliminates the chance for the animal to sense danger, and it "demeans" the predator-prey relationship.
In short, it can transfer what most know and cherish as hunting into simply shooting at live targets.
"If your intent is just to turn animals into targets, you've moved into something else," says Keith Balfourd of the Boone and Crockett Club, based in Montana. "It's not hunting. This celebrating the shooting of animals at extreme range that you see on TV and YouTube, this isn't fair chase."
There is no set standard for how long is too long. A combination of factors come into play, ranging from the type of weapon, ballistics, environmental conditions, the animal being hunted and, most importantly, the skills of the shooter.
The ultimate arbiter is whether the distance and type of shot increases or decreases the likelihood of wounding the animal, and longer shots are widely accepted as increasing that risk.
There also exists, however, a set of highly skilled hunters in more open country who understand maximum effective range of their weapons and run through thousands of rounds at the range specifically so they can pull off these shots when they present themselves.
But the general public more and more is enticed to buy into new gun and optics technologies as a short-cut around long-term investment in honing personal shooting skills.
"There's this 'buying skills' thing that's at play here, and the public is being tempted by these new technologies," Balfourd says.
That's why Boone and Crockett weighed in on long-range shooting as it relates to fair chase, focusing on intent and imploring hunters to work on getting closer to their quarry for better shots and eschewing the celebrating of long shots for shots' sake, Balfourd says.
"Ethics have always united hunters," Balfourd says. "There's a lot of historical precedence where a code, call it 'fair chase' if you want, brought people together. It's taught in hunter-education. That's how fair chase has stuck.
"The 'Hail Mary' shots have been around forever, but it's never been an acceptable practice," Balfourd says.
It's a personal message that hunters like Duane Dungannon know they have to be honest with themselves about.
Dungannon, who is the secretary of the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association, says he regularly debates with himself over what the effective length of his deer and elk shots can be. Most often, the "get closer" side in him wins out, but he knows "close enough" differs for everyone.
"You have to know your range," Dungannon says. "It's different for everybody, and it depends upon what you're shooting.
"If you shoot 60 yards with a bow, they can hear the string before the arrow gets there," he says.
Mental exercises like this became starkly concrete for XXXXX on Sept. 13, while on a short dove-hunting foray on property he owns north of Medford.
While walking around one of his ponds, he discovered a seven-point bull elk dead in the water, with an arrow protruding from its left rump.
A mistake, but not a crime.
"I immediately put two and two together," XXXXX says. "Obviously, it had been stuck by some hunter, it ran onto my property and died from its wound.
"Who's to say it was too long a shot? But it sure points to someone indiscriminately loosing arrows at an animal to see if he can hit it," XXXXX says. "That's not sound to me."

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or [email protected]. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Replies

  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,750 Senior Member
    :yawn:
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,662 Senior Member
    The skill in shooting 700 yards is equal to the skill of stalking close. Different, but still a skill.

    People without any skill will try both. Only difference is one elk runs away before it is gut shot
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Like the article says, everyone is different and everyone has a different max range. It's up to the individual to make the judgment on the shot whether he/she feels confident enough to make the shot. I will agree with the article that the longer the shot, the more chance of something going wrong. Personally I won't try a shot at any game animal (Hogs ain't game) over 500 yards and for me to take a 500 yard shot conditions better be perfect. I'm normally not going to try a shot much over 300 yards, but if I saw a once in a life time shot I might go as far as 500 yards if I felt everything was right and I was properly armed, like with my 300 WBY or at least my 7 Mag. In short, Long shots don't give me the Warm and Fuzzy. But like I said, each shooter should make that call. And each shooter should do this ethically. In other words I feel it's a sin to try even a 300 yard shot if your skills are questionable.
    Now varmints and hogs are a different story.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 8,491 Senior Member
    So, is a sitting shot using Bog-Gear over 360 yards with a center-grip Rem XP-100 on a 110ish pound whitetail long-range or is a seated 100 yard shot with a Ruger 357 magnum revolver on a whitetail long-range?:jester:
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    So, is a seated shot over 360 yards with a SP on a 110ish pound whitetail long-range or is a seated 100 yard shot with a Ruger 357 magnum revolver on a whitetail long-range?:jester:

    I can only answer the first question. If I have a properly sighted in accurate rifle, that first scenario is double with me. The second I can't answer because I don't own a Ruger Revolver. But seriously, I myself don't possess the skills to take such a shot with a handgun. But that's just me.

    I guess I muffed that one cause you stated a specialty pistol not a rifle, in which case I think both of these would be out of my range.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,871 Senior Member
    The problem I have with articles like this is that it's advocating for a specific ethical outlook without a counterpoint. It's not even advocating well, but that's another story. The problem I have with advocating ethics is that ethics are a personal choice, i.e. what's ethical for me is not for others. In my experience, advocating ethics can become regulating ethics, either through actual regulations or negative peer pressure for non-compliers. From a management standpoint at the population level, it really doesn't matter how the animal dies, just that it dies. In advocating for certain methods, you can actually limit that aspect of the population management and get into trouble.
    I'm just here for snark.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    Since I have matured as a hunter, I will only take shots I know I can make. I figure this out in advance, and sure, if a big buck is beyond that range, or behind a bush, or moving, I'm tempted to stretch it. But, so far, I have been able to hold off if too many conditions are against me, and have always been rewarded for it, usually with another chance and a better shot. If it doesn't work out that way, I'll take a sure shot on a lesser deer.

    A long shot for me would be 300 yards, and I might try one, some day, if conditions lead me to believe I can make it. If I could improve my skills enough, I might feel the same about 1000 yards...at least until I screwed it up and knew I had wasted a fine game animal, which would make me feel bad.
  • wildgenewildgene Senior Member Posts: 1,036 Senior Member
    ...shooting's the easy part, even when you consider all the "little" things that can happen as you increase dist/ TOF. The farther away the animal is, determining exactly where the animal was, where it was hit, where it went all gets exponentially harder. If you're going to take the shot, you had better be pretty determined to make the recovery, & generally speaking, the longer the shot the tuffer the recovery is going to be...
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,032 Senior Member
    Do i feel qualified to take a 500 - 1000yd shot, at my age no, but 15yrs ago yes, If i knew the exact range and if the rifle i had was able (IMO) to make a killing shot at that distance and the conditions were right. That said long ago i decided not to shoot beyond 300 - 350yds ( PD excepted). I never carried a rangefinder. I dont have any problem with a qualified shooter with the proper equipment taking the long shot and that means hikeing the distance to check for a hit, blood etc. far and wide. As most of us know most deer and elk dont drop in there tracks.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,945 Senior Member
    There are some truths to what he is saying. IMHO he is looking at the ethics question with a microscope and missing the answer that he already knows.
    But the general public more and more is enticed to buy into new gun and optics technologies as a short-cut around long-term investment in honing personal shooting skills.
    "There's this 'buying skills' thing that's at play here, and the public is being tempted by these new technologies," Balfourd says.

    "You have to know your range," Dungannon says. "It's different for everybody, and it depends upon what you're shooting.
    :that:
    People have done that since they have had disposable income. Look at the Mag-du-juor in the latest gun rag that you NEED to take the same animal that people have been shooting with a medium game cartridge for a hundred years. Because its "flatter shootin" the article says that it will reach out there. Well, it might. That isnt the right question though. The question is can the shooter do it, every time, well enough to make a good shot.

    There is some bogus stuff written also.
    "The 'Hail Mary' shots have been around forever, but it's never been an acceptable practice," Balfourd says
    Well a Hail Mary for one shooter might be a shot that the next guy can make every day of the week.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,227 Senior Member
    Interesting topic, but one that's been hashed and rehashed in this forum. Why not broaden the scope of this, and discuss hunting ethics in general? For instance, what about the ethics of shooting game over a feeder, a food plot, or some other enticement? How about chasing deer with hounds? I would even throw in whether or not it's ethical to use trail cams to determine wildlife movement and patterns.

    Some of these issues have been around for a long time, and some are new due to advances in technology. One man's green light is another man's red.

    JMHO, of course.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • gatorgator Senior Member Posts: 1,746 Senior Member
    Well a Hail Mary for one shooter might be a shot that the next guy can make every day of the week.

    :agree:

    A shot that Ernie can make is one I wouldn't try...1) I don't have the equipment. 2) I don't have the practice.
    USMC 80-84
    -96 lbs
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Interesting topic, but one that's been hashed and rehashed in this forum. Why not broaden the scope of this, and discuss hunting ethics in general? For instance, what about the ethics of shooting game over a feeder, a food plot, or some other enticement? How about chasing deer with hounds? I would even throw in whether or not it's ethical to use trail cams to determine wildlife movement and patterns.

    Some of these issues have been around for a long time, and some are new due to advances in technology. One man's green light is another man's red.

    JMHO, of course.

    If you're gonna take on that discussion, you have to decide what limitations to accept, such as opportunity.

    Some places don't lend themselves to 'purist' hunting. Texas allows hunting over bait, food plots, suppressors, and several other advantages, yet still has an increasing deer population. In brushy country, a dent can't even be made in the deer populations by spot and stalk methods. So, while folks from the mountainous areas where spot and stalk is the sensible way to go and get to claim higher ethics, the folks who can't hunt that way, locally, adapt to what they are allowed to do and still call it ethical hunting. The alternative is to pay a minimum of about $2000 a gun, and walk noisily around in the woods and hope some city slicker doesn't send a .30-30 round through the brush in your direction when he hears you coming from 50 yards away.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,750 Senior Member
    bisley wrote: »
    If you're gonna take on that discussion, you have to decide what limitations to accept, such as opportunity.

    Some places don't lend themselves to 'purist' hunting. Texas allows hunting over bait, food plots, suppressors, and several other advantages, yet still has an increasing deer population. In brushy country, a dent can't even be made in the deer populations by spot and stalk methods. So, while folks from the mountainous areas where spot and stalk is the sensible way to go and get to claim higher ethics, the folks who can't hunt that way, locally, adapt to what they are allowed to do and still call it ethical hunting. The alternative is to pay a minimum of about $2000 a gun, and walk noisily around in the woods and hope some city slicker doesn't send a .30-30 round through the brush in your direction when he hears you coming from 50 yards away.

    You pretty much nailed it. I've hunted the jungles of north Louisiana and the wide open mountain parks of Colorado. In Louisiana, we mostly hunted from box stands over food plots and corn feeders. Out of ~30 deer I killed there, one was actively seeking out corn from one of the feeders. A couple were crossing food plots, but showing zero interest in their contents. Most of the deer I killed were either crossing pipelines or overgrown logging roads. There's so much stuff that grows year-round there that the corn-feeders and food plots we put out were rarely used by the deer. We were really only kidding ourselves.

    I remember one season in particular......I hunted a box stand overlooking food plots in three different directions, and it had two corn feeders within 100 yards. I hunted the morning and afternoon of 17 different days before I saw the first deer. And this place was crawling with deer. But they were either nocturnal, or they completely ignored our offerings.

    Box stands, food plots and corn feeders don't automatically equate to shot opportunities.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Linefinder wrote: »
    You pretty much nailed it. I've hunted the jungles of north Louisiana and the wide open mountain parks of Colorado. In Louisiana, we mostly hunted from box stands over food plots and corn feeders. Out of ~30 deer I killed there, one was actively seeking out corn from one of the feeders. A couple were crossing food plots, but showing zero interest in their contents. Most of the deer I killed were either crossing pipelines or overgrown logging roads. There's so much stuff that grows year-round there that the corn-feeders and food plots we put out were rarely used by the deer. We were really only kidding ourselves.

    I remember one season in particular......I hunted a box stand overlooking food plots in three different directions, and it had two corn feeders within 100 yards. I hunted the morning and afternoon of 17 different days before I saw the first deer. And this place was crawling with deer. But they were either nocturnal, or they completely ignored our offerings.

    Box stands, food plots and corn feeders don't automatically equate to shot opportunities.

    Mike

    :that:

    It's what i keep telling people on here. I will say that i don't totally agree with your point in that at least here in Texas we use feeders and food plots to keep deer and game in general on the property and their value is not questioned. It's just that you will seldom kill a trophy hunting over feed. Like I've said a hundred times on here, good shootable bucks don't hang around feeders and in food plots in plain view during shooting hours. The shootable bucks didn't get big being stupid. And like Bisley said, even if they did, shooting them isn't hurting our deer herd any. I guarantee we are as ethical as anybody else. In my mind if you obey the laws you are ethical. If you take shots you are not sure you are capable of making, I'd say you're unethical. If you are a game hog and kill over your limit you're not ethical, if you poach on another's land without permission, you are not ethical, if shoot game out of season, you are not ethical. But I don't see where a food plot or feeder is unethical when you obey the law. Hunting around a feeder is no different than hunting during rut. In fact rut WILL draw big dominant shooter bucks out in the open a whole lot quicker than a feeder or a food plot will.

    And one other thing, yes I think the shooter bucks do go nocturnal. This is evidenced by the several game cams I've seen on here and around my lease. You gotta catch the big boys when they have OTHER things on their mind.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • hawk18hawk18 Senior Member Posts: 742 Senior Member
    I suppose I should weigh in on this, since I started it this time.

    Breamfisher hits it on the head when he points out how poorly the article deals with the subject. Advocating ethics progressing into regulating ethics is very common in Oregon. You can bait deer and elk but you can't bait bear. And, you can't hunt couger with dogs while our deer numbers plummet and our elk numbers are stagnant, at best. "My ethics prevent me from doing that so I will pass a law that prevents you from doing that".

    If you are going to argue "buying skils", you have to establish a point of reference, or a time to compare to. Whether it be scopes, iron sights, smokeless powder, black powder, muzzle loader, breach loader, cap lock, flint lock, on and on until you get to knife or rock.

    This article ignores that the "ethos of hunting" changes with society and time. The original hunters could care less about ethics, they were hungry. If they needed 30 bison to make it through the winter, and 50 ran off the cliff, they didn't feel bad. And, some of those 50 didn't die quickly and ran off and were never tracked down because everyone was busy butchering those that couldn't get away. I recognize that we have evolved from that, but, we all evolve differently. Referring to Teddy Roosevelt in an ethics discussion is kind of interesting. The public television show on the Roosevelts describes Teddy's safari to Africa to kill a rhino. He had 200+ bearers and 20 or so white hunters as guides. Five or so only job was to be back-up riflemen in case Teddy missed the rhino, he didn't. He didn't hunt anything. They took him out and sat him down and he shot the rhino.

    All this discussion, past and present, just further points out that hunting ethics are a deeply personal thing. And, should probably be left alone somewhere between religion and politics.

    Oh, and one more thing, apparently, none of the guys in this article have ever missed a shot and every animal has been one shot, one kill. I think I'll look them up and find out their secret.

    Hawk
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    I see it all as a "straw man" argument. They build up a fictional "unethical hunter" made of straw so they can burn it down and pat themselves on the back for being morally superior.

    Whatever.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,321 Senior Member
    We're talking about critters who can see better, hear better, and smell much better than we can; that can jog up a mountainside in two minutes that would take most of us 45. It is this discrepancy that has prompted the optics, the rangefinders, and, in the cases of the smart, PRACTICE AT DISTANCE SHOOTING.

    Yes, ethics demand that the skills be developed, and limitations need to be known. If you suck so badly with your rifle that you need to wait to see the whites of their eyes, your ethics are as questionable as those of the guy shooting at 700 yards who has no business shooting beyond 300.

    Given my rate of sightings, I now consider "fair chase" to be cluster-bombing the mountainside, or possibly staking out the bus station when the bucks leave for Vegas the day before the opener. . .
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • mohicanmohican Member Posts: 381 Member
    Part of this type of article is divide and conquer. Us versus them. Why let others, especially non hunters determine what you feel is proper, or fair chase.

    It doesn't help when hunters cannibalize themselves. You know, Bow good, Crossbow bad. Traditional versus inline muzzleloaders. Old farts who hate the youth hunting season and so on.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    mohican wrote: »
    Part of this type of article is divide and conquer. Us versus them. Why let others, especially non hunters determine what you feel is proper, or fair chase.

    It doesn't help when hunters cannibalize themselves. You know, Bow good, Crossbow bad. Traditional versus inline muzzleloaders. Old farts who hate the youth hunting season and so on.

    There's a whole lot of truth here. I will say also, that when you pull that trigger you should have that warm and fuzzy feeling without question that what you are doing is right. If you feel that way about a 500 yard shot then take it, by all means. If you only have that feeling when an animal is within 100 yards well don't then. Wait until you have a closer opportunity.

    As far as cannibalizing our self I agree, we as hunters should stick together as much as we can stomach. Even if one discipline is not our cup of tea, we shoud put a clothes pin on our nose and let it be. I'm not really into bow hunting, but I have learned to appreciate a bow hunter making a good shot on an animal.

    I used to not be big on black powder Muzzle loading, well other than wanting to take advantage of some special seasons, but now have taken it up myself and gained a lot of appreciation and respect for that wing of the sport.

    As for youth seasons, I as an old fart say bring it on and let the youngsters do what it took me years to accomplish. There's room here for us all as long as we do personally what we know is right.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,040 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Interesting topic, but one that's been hashed and rehashed in this forum. Why not broaden the scope of this, and discuss hunting ethics in general? For instance, what about the ethics of shooting game over a feeder, a food plot, or some other enticement? How about chasing deer with hounds? I would even throw in whether or not it's ethical to use trail cams to determine wildlife movement and patterns.

    Some of these issues have been around for a long time, and some are new due to advances in technology. One man's green light is another man's red.

    JMHO, of course.

    You should start that thread. I would be interested in that
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,227 Senior Member
    bullsi1911 wrote: »
    You should start that thread. I would be interested in that

    Done.

    http://forums.gunsandammo.com/showthread.php?21406-Hunting-ethics-in-general
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • mohicanmohican Member Posts: 381 Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Any old fart that hates the youth season is a .

    You'd might be unpleasantly surprised by how many older hunters have told me that they hate Ohio's Deer Youth Gun Season because it ruins the last, tail end stages of rut for them....
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 8,491 Senior Member
    Last week I killed a couple of whitetail at 363 yards and 164 yards respectively with my 290 USA center-grip XP-100 from a sitting position, using Bog-Gear.
    Shot the 363 on one night and the 164 on another evening. Ground blind, being seated in a cheap campfire type fold up chair.
    The 363 yards shot was easier for me since I had bone support from my elbow to my knee on the longer shot, while on the shorter one I did not.
    Everything else is the same. Both were precise in the shot placement. When field shooting, many times it is not so much about the distance as it is the set-up.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Last week I killed a couple of whitetail at 363 yards and 164 yards respectively with my 290 USA center-grip XP-100 from a sitting position, using Bog-Gear.
    Shot the 363 on one night and the 164 on another evening. Ground blind, being seated in a cheap campfire type fold up chair.
    The 363 yards shot was easier for me since I had bone support from my elbow to my knee on the longer shot, while on the shorter one I did not.
    Everything else is the same. Both were precise in the shot placement. When field shooting, many times it is not so much about the distance as it is the set-up.


    That's no joke! I've missed a couple of nice deer because of a crappy set up with a not so good rest.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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