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Old 05-17-2004, 10:54 AM
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Normal shot distance of deer

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I would like to find out the average shooting distance for deer, the rifle used (or bow), and the method used. Last year I killed two deer. One at about 18 yards (30-30) and one at about 40 yards ( 50 cal muzzle loader). I like to hunt tickets. And, I like to hunt from the ground.
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Old 05-17-2004, 12:49 PM
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Come out to this country pardner, and they'll be anywhere from 50 yds to 400 yds.
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:03 PM
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Depends...but in the deep stuff I like to hunt, 40 to 85 yards is most common (and moving isn't all that uncommon).
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:14 PM
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Like Kdub said, I think average range depends on what kind of counry your hunting.
I have done most of my hunting in North Idaho, and although there can be some long shots, the farthest ive ever taken a deer was about 125yds. Most are under 60yds. but thats only because of the thick, brushy $#!t holes that I end up hunting. The deer around here are pretty smart, they get hunted alot, and rarely get caught out in the open, atleast by me.
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Old 05-18-2004, 04:39 AM
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Terrain is definatly the range setter. My deer country has laurrel so thick you can crawl on hands and knees to see five yards. Crest a wooded hill and walk out onto a powerline to see 1/2 mile .

Most of the hunting,(posted on a stump),in the woods is under 75yds. Western Penn. deer are pretty savy, and seldom give you more than one shot.

Most of the guys in camp have tagged deer over the years with everything from 6.5's>>>>>8mm sporters. But the .30-30,.35Rem, and the .30-06 still seem to find a place on the gun racks of most deer camps.
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Old 05-18-2004, 06:28 AM
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Don't think there is a good answer for this one as to many variables. Terrain and tree growth as previously mentioned and especially the type of hunting you're doing. Sitting on the power lines, or trying to sneak through the brush??
If I had to put numbers on mine, I'd say it would be about 100 yards, as I've only gotten 3 deer in my life (usually working away from home during the season). But two have been within 50 yards. (still hunting along old tote roads) and one 200 yards across a field where I had plenty of time and a good rest on an old fence post. (just walking back to the truck and happened to be at the right place at the right time, deer was too busy looking behind him at something in the wood to enven notice me)
Up my way, the 30-30s, .35 Rems and 30-06s bring in the most meat. I use a BLR in .308, just because I like it and have a few .308 "target rifles". I'd thought about going to a .44 lever gun gun or auto after the first two close ones, but would not have been able to take the one longer shot with confidence if I'd done so. So for me it's better to carry something a little flatter shooting than needed for those rare instances when luck happens.
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Old 05-18-2004, 07:49 AM
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I have killed a good number of deer, a few more with the bow than with the gun. My average for bowkills is less than 15 yds, with the farthest being just under 25 yds. For rifle hunting I'd say my average is in the 60 yd range with a long of 225 yds(measured).
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Old 05-18-2004, 07:51 AM
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The many variables are what makes deer hunting interesting. Here in California the conditions can also vary from manzanita and deer brush that you can't see or crawl through, to open canyons with nearly unlimited vistas. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the seasons are way too early in California. We are forced to hunt when temperatures can hover above the century mark for days on end. That's another interesting variable.
i have only shot one buck at a 300+ yard distance. I was shooting my scope sighted Browning B-78, 30-06. Most of our shots are taken at 150 yards or less. The last buck i killed was only 80 yds away. Also, I usually hunt with an open sighted 1886 Winchester, the caliber of which is determined by the terrain and conditions of the day. Understanding your rifle's capabilities and not exceeding them is a key component to a successful outing.

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Old 05-18-2004, 08:14 AM
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I'm a youngster when it comes to deer hunting and I've only killed 3 in my day, all with a smooth bore shotgun and slugs, the first was at 75 yards, the last two about 50 yards each.
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Old 05-18-2004, 09:24 AM
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Interesting post!

During my younger days, I killed 7 or 8 deer with a bow at about a 15 yard average. They do get nervous at that range.

But with rifle, I set up my shots at about 200 yards. The reason is that the deer, especially bucks are skidish, and the farther away they are, the calmer they are. Since I hunt the same 5-6 stands all year, by the end of season the bucks usually have you patterned. That's why I set up my shots a long way out.
I need: A good rifle, good scope, great rest, even at 200 yards.
My average shots at deer and pigs are about 150 - 200.

A few doe have been shot at past 300 yards but that was just
fooling around, "field testing a rifle"

I would prefer a 40 yard shot but if the right buck stepped out at 400 yards, I would take the shot. That is no guaranty of a hit for me at that range but I try to control all of the variables that would go against me.
Know your rifle, and have a good rest, and say three Hail Marys!

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Old 05-18-2004, 10:17 AM
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I hunt woods, fields, pipelines...and shots can range from feet to as far as you can shoot. In 35 years of deer hunting, longest shot has been under 50 yards.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:21 AM
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Well, when I'm hunting green fields with my Grandfather the shot distance ranges from 100 to about 250yds so I use a Browning BAR in .270 with a Leupold 3x10x50mm scope. My grandfather and uncle both swear by their 30-06's one a Browning A-bolt and the other a semauto remington. Here we are hunting from shooting houses or climbing tree stands.

When I'm hunting with my brother-in-law on our small lease, its all hardwoods where you might have a 150yd shot from hill top to hill top, but mostly under 100yds is the norm. My brother-in-law uses a Marlin Guide gun in 45-70 with bushnell scope. Occasionally his brother hunts there and brings a Browning A-Bolt in .280 with 3-9 burriss scope. When I'm here I use my Marlin 444 with the XS leverscout mount sporting a Burris 2.5x scout scope and XS ghost ring as a back up. I look forward to getting to use my new Marlin 1894 in 44mg here this season. I won't put a scope on it though, it will stick with the factory irons or possibly a peep. In this area we hunt 90% from the ground be it sitting on a stump ontop of a hill looking over a section of young hardwoods or slowly stalking by foot. This last method is one that i'm just starting to learn, sad to say stalking by foot is almost a lost art among hunters I've been around in the south. I really enjoy quitly slipping through the woods. I feel like I am really HUNTING instead of watching and waiting. But when it comes down to it, any day in the woods with any gun or bow is better than any day just about anywhere else.

Last edited by mattpair; 05-18-2004 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:56 AM
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My closest kill was at 20 feet;the longest was 200 yards.
Most of my hunting is in the 'Woods',and the average range for a shot woud be around 60 yards.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:23 AM
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OK. So far the rifles have been 30-30, 270, 280, 30-06, 308, 444, 45-70, and muzzle loader. It is hard to tell the method, but it appears to be more ground hunters than tree stands or box stands. The people telling the actual distance for actual kills last year, appear to be mostly under 100 yards. A couple mentioned 100 yards plus. When we get a few more answers, I will try to break it down by rifle type, method and distance.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:40 AM
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Sorry for not including all the details that you wanted.
The vast majority of kills were with a sporterized Spingfield Krag 30/40.That included all the longest shots,as well as the shortest shot.
A few were taken with the 270 and the 30/30.
All shots were from the ground,and most from a 'stand'.
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Old 05-18-2004, 02:06 PM
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OK...will try to break it down farther.

.401WSL (210gr.JHP-.406"-1925fps) / apature sights / 58yards / 2 movement after shot 1, but didn't fall until shot 2...both shots through heart/lung area

.50/70 (450gr. LFP - .514" -1100fps) / open sights / 66 yards / one shot, fell at the shot...shot through heart/lung and off shoulder.

.38/55 (250gr. LFP - .380" - 1700fps)/ apature sights /80yards / two rapid shots-moving deer...both shots through lungs, too are back for heart.

.38-55 (250gr. LFP - .380" - 1700fps) / apature sights / 30yards / one shot (head)

No bullets that I think about it, seems I've been moving towards the "make sure of an exit" philosophy as the years passed.

Last edited by ribbonstone; 05-18-2004 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 05-18-2004, 03:05 PM
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Taylor, here's my results.

1. Texas Doe/75 yds/early morning/M1903A1 Springfield 30-06/Rem 150 Corlokt PSP/ 1 shot/Elevated deer stand

2. Texas Doe/300 yds/last 10 min of legal day/FN FAL .308 w/2.5x scope/Rem 150 Corlokt PSP/1 shot/Elevated deer stand (was trying a handgun hunt)

3. Texas Dall Ram/150 yds/mid day/Sauer 90 .270 w/2.5-8x scope/Win 130 gr PSP/1 shot/still hunting

4. Texas Dall Ram/125yds/mid day/ Sauer 90 .270 w/2.5-8x scope/Win 130 gr PSP/2 shot/still hunting

5. Kentucky Doe/20 yds/mid day, light rain/Browning A5 12 ga/1 oz slug/1 shot/tree stand

6. Kentucky Doe/25 yds/late morning/Sauer 90 .270 w/2.5-8x scope/Win 130 gr PSP/1 shot/tree stand

7. Kentucky Buck/35yds/sunset/Rem 870 .20 ga/slug/1 shot/tree stand

8. Kentucky Buck/50yds/afternoon/Ruger 77 30-06/Fed 150 PSP Classic/1 shot/ tree stand

All shots were shoulder shots and thru and thrus. The one Dall first shot was abit further back in the stomach and required followup.
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Old 05-19-2004, 06:57 AM
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This is a very interesting and informative thread! It is also one that should read, instead of some of the BS the rag writers push to sell the latest "whizbang" cartridges.
In 1972, while working for the gun companies, we did a long research on the subject. Some interesting facts surface! Where most had thought of the West for deer, etc.....i turned out that the Southeast had by far the largest number of deer kills. We now see most of the states in the Southeast having no season limit on deer. Most season almost three months. Another surprise was that the average distance, nationwise, was around 75 yards. We our friends have said here about where you hunt is very important! Most of the southeast, except powerlines, etc., is hardwood forest. There is little need, if any, for the longrange magnum calibers. The ever popular .308 Win. is favored in many areas. Down in the low country, the .44 Mag. Marlins are everywhere, replacing the .30-30's. I have quite a few friends that kill 5 to 8 deer a year. Many use .44 Mags., 35 Remintons, .308's, and a few .30-06. The main concern is what you can shoot best.
Keep it simple............James
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Old 05-19-2004, 07:21 AM
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Distance on deer!

The longest kill on deer I made was about 140 yds on a whitetail doe with 243, 105 gr. bullets, as I was laying on top of a haystack. Made one kill with a 58 muzzleloader (roundball), at over 90 yds offhand, (probably luck shot). Made an over 100 yd kill on a muley does at over 100 with a 54 muzzle loader (roundball)-definately a lucky head shot. Was younger then and dumber (or at least I hope so, as I would not try those shots now with a front stuffer.) Most shots however have been under 100 yds, closest under 35, on foot, offhand, rested when I could with 30-30, 243, 7x57, and 06.
Good thread.

Paul Nichols
Omaha, Ne.
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Old 05-19-2004, 09:48 AM
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Most of my shots at deer have been around 75 yards and that's hunting the creek bottoms and field fencelines in Eastern Kansas. I imagine the longest shot I've ever taken at game wasn't much over 120 yards, if that. Most shots have been with my 444 Marlin, but I've used a 300 Savage and 303 British on occasion.
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