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as per mr. jack o'connor, here are some "rules" for long-range hunting. i believe that they can be agreed on by most of us here, even the long-range hunters!

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a long-range shot should never be taken if there is a reasonable chance of getting closer.

a long-range shot should never be taken if the rifleman feels doubtful of his ability to make a good, solid, well-placed hit.

a long-range shot should never be taken if the hunter cannot get into a solid position - prone with a sling, from a rest, etc.

a long-range shot should never be taken at any dangerous animal - a brown, grizzly or polar bear, a lion, a tiger, a leopard, a cape buffalo.

a long-range shot should never be taken at an unwounded, running animal.

a long-range shot should never be taken if the animal shot at can get out of sight so quickly that it would be difficult to ascertain the effect of the shot.

a long-range shot should not be taken if the range is so great that a hold on top of the shoulders will not drop a bullet into the chest cavity.


these rules may seem ultra conservative to many, and i must admit that there have been times when i did not follow them myself. however, the more i hunt and the more i see others shoot the more convinced i am that they are wise and sensible rules and if they were universally adopted the number of game animals that get away wounded to suffer and die would be greatly reduced.

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the question then remains, what defines a long-range shot on a game animal?

i believe that each hunter has to make an honest evaluation of his own abilities (not the rifle's) and let his moral and ethical judgement guide his choice when the game is sighted.
 

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I think your last point was the most important. If you have not practiced the shot and know what your capabilities are for all the variables involved, plus the pucker factor for field conditions, then don't even think about taking the shot. You need to limit the decisions that have to be made in the field so you can concentrate on safety and not your ability to make a shot.

I think the old refrigerator saying aplies here. "When in doubt, throw it out." My saying would be,"Should I shoot at it, could turn it to, Oh Sh*#!!."
 

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Good Points.

Familiarity with the gun/load and the user's frequent, RECENT practice would dictate what those personal outer limits would be.

In the late 70's and early 80's I used to do LOTS of rockchuck shooting, at something averaging between 400 and 425 yards, shooting about 300 rounds a month at those ranges, under field conditions. My kill ratios at those ranges on rockchucks was over 80%, and as a consequence, shooting the same rifle on deer and antilope, I didn't even give a second thought about shooting either to 450 yards, that was simply meat on the table and a punched tag, providing I could get a steady rest, and the wind was favorable.

However, although I shot thousands of rounds under those conditions, it was a couple of decades ago, and today, everything would have to be absolutely PERFECT for me to think of shooting much over 300, simply because I haven't been shooting those longer ranges in such a long time. The truth is, I'd feel much more at home shooting under 200 yards these days.

Too is the ethical side of this coin. Yes, I've killed a truckload of deer at 400 yards over the years, but looking back on it, many of those deer were asleep in their beds during mid-day, where we would glass canyon walls of heavy brush looking for bedded deer. Most of those kills were on animals that didn't have a clue I was even there. It was a test of riflemanship to be sure, but I can't say it was what I would today consider fair-chase hunting. As I've gotten older, my attitudes concerning the fair-chase element have changed radically, and I far prefer the test of woodsmanship and hunting skill over riflemanship.

The long-range shot is a complicated, and multi-faceted issue, that in the final assessment is a very personal decision.

God Bless,
 

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You stated it perfectly, Marshall.

Some years ago, and hunting deer/antelope in the open sweeps of eastern Wyoming, the 400 - 450 yd shot was always a possibility with my 7mm Rem Mag. Having practiced endlessly at those yardages at home, I pretty well knew where the bullet was going.

These days, with eyesight and aging body conditions, the 300 yd is maximum, and only then when every thing jells. I practice today mostly at 100 and 200 yds, with the 300 yd target butts being used to verify rifle grouping.

A person MUST know their limitations and hunt accordingly. "There's always hope when lead is in the air" isn't my cup of tea. I'm more impressed these days with the skill of the hunter in closing the distance with the hunted and making a one-shot sure kill.
 

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Gentlemen, the bottom line was stated in every reply. Practice, practice, and learn your limitations. Apply the ethics of a clean kill within your limits. I just returned from New Mexico from my first Pronghorn Hunt. I was using my favorite .257 Weatherby with 100 grn. factory ammo. Pior to leaving, I shot the 300 yard range for 40 rounds in four trips to the range. It was all brought together with a rangefinder, bi-pod, and confidence of making the shot. Two readings of 357 yds. and 358 yds. gave me the accurate distance from my finder and the finder of my companion. The steadiness of the bi-pod and the easy, steady, draw of the trigger made the perfect lung shot tight behind the shoulder. It was instant expiration for the goat. But, it was the practice which was the basis for the believing in myself to cleanly kill this animal. My father told my brother and I early on, " consider your gift of hunting the animal before you shoot." He would also say, "pass every shot you feel unsure of, there will be other days to hunt." He has gone to the great hunting land in the sky now, but his hunting ethics are still with us. Thanks.........Hoolie
 

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Long-range

I guess I'm the oddball of the bunch, because like I had posted on another forum, the farther the shot, the better....

Six other hunters and shooters that I had built rifles for and trained to shoot, have for the last nine years, made it a rule not to shoot a deer inside of 600 yards! Our furthest shot to date has been 1,380 yards and video taped and yes, it was a carefully planned and executed shot! Also, for all of the deer that has been shot, we have never lost a deer, wounded a deer, nor have we ever had to shoot a deer twice! Yes, I am bragging just a little bit, but we all take great pride in our ability to be able to make those kinds of shots and the time, equipment, preperation and practicing for thousands and thousands of rounds of ammo, til we felt confident and comfortable about shooting at those kinds of distances, where we felt we could actually make clean, one shot kills....

I will list our equipment used in this exciting sport of LONG-RANGE DEER HUNTING, if any of you guys are interested....

Right now, I've got to get back to "making metal chips".

DAVE
 

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David White, thanks for the post. I truly beleive most people hear long range hunting "can't be done"
Due to a severe back injury, that is getting much better day by day, thanks to the LORD.
I use to stalk as close as I could get. i hunted with bow-n-aro, muzzle loaders 30/30, handguns etc.
Now I can't stalk. I am lucky to walk a mile, it has improved tremendously. I have a choice, stop hunting entirely. or hunt long range. I am working with a Savage 300 RUM. I am very much in the load work up phase. and learning advanced shooting skills.
It all comes down to practice. How many times have we all heard I shot a deer at 150 yards with my 08,06,270 etc. today but lost it?
Hunting ethics? that opens a whole can of worms! I don't hunt with dogs. some do though.
I have known some guys that hung 3-4" treble hooks baited with apples from trees, the deer bit the apple was stuck to the tree, then the mighty hunter came along in a day or two, then killed his deer. this is true. I worked with this guy in Louisiana.This is the way he was taught. he was a fellow towboater.
We have all seen examples of "hunting" that has sickened us!
Practice at whatever distance you can, when you are competant, and confidant. Then you are ready to shoot at that range.
Weather it be at 100 yards with a handgun, 60 yards with a bow, or 1000 yards with a custom rifle.
Don't be too quick to define the term hunting, or to judge other hunters. Or else you just might find someone condeming your style of hunting.

John
 

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David,

I think that is just great. It's probably the 25 yd shots you would have trouble with. There is no place I hunt that I could shoot much over 100 yds and most shots inside 40 so I can't relate but great shooting and I am intriqued by long range shooting if not hunting.
 

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Chief RID,

you are right! I actually do have trouble with 25 yard shots!!!



John,

always give God the thank's and praise for the many things that He allows us to do and accomplish in life. For without Him we are nothing, and like the "plaque" above my lathe says: I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me....

I also got into long-range deer hunting because of health reasons and not being able to sit still and for very long because of having scoliosis as well as arthritis....

It took me a couple of years, a couple of rifles and thousands of rounds of ammo before I ever attempted to shoot a deer at long-range! I have shot more than my share of crows, coyotes and armadillos all well in excess of 600 yards, before I ever pulled the trigger on a deer. One year I shot a crow at the 850 yard mark and less than 30 seconds later a deer came out of a cut over and walked up to the crow and through my 50X riflescope, I could see the deer "nose" the crow but I passed on the shot because I was not 100% sure of a clean one shot kill. I just did not feel confident at that time and would not risk the shot....

You talking about "catching" deer with an apple and hook just turned my stomach and made me mad at the same time. I moved here to Mississippi in 1980 and saw "people" I dare use the word hunters, catch deer the way that you described and I'll put it this way and leave it at that, like RAMBO, I was there worse nightmare, nuff said!!!

John, I will pray for you and hope and pray that you will continue to heal and get all your strength back so as to allow you to have a better life....

God Bless you and all others who read this....

DAVID
 

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David, Thanks for the words of encouragment, and especially for the prayers. I know this is what has made such a turnaround in my back.
Your hunting long range ethics should echo very loudly through every hunters thoughts.
Practice thouroughly at whatever range you plan to shoot at. I appreciate the idea that you could shoot a crow, then have a deer walk right up to it.And yet, not shoot it, beacause you were not comfortable with it.
I use to scare the dickens out of some of the local groundhogs here. I would shoot at them with a 06/223 accelorator. this was really not a very accurate round, but it was fun. More groundhawgs died than not, but some were just scared real bad. ha,ha
I could not hardly work around this la. towboater, without thinking very ill thoughts. He knew it as well as every one else. I still don't "approve " of this. But I try to be more tolerant of others, there is no telling how far back this goes. And how many are doing it.

John
 

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David, I don't know how I missed the most important part.
You have scoliosis and arthritis. And you are still enjoying the hunt and working.
May GOD continue to bless and watch over you. and our prayers are with you as well.

John
 

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Last year I hunted whitetail with s new,to me 44 mag with scope. I had practiced as mcuh as possible with it, several hundred rounds. Sure enough a nice 8 point walked out in front of me at 80 yds. This was the edge of what I was comfortable. I grunted and he looked over at me several times. He even started towards me once. This went on for exactly 55 minutes, I cocked the hammer 4 times and tried to convince myself to shoot. Never did feel confident enough to shoot and didn't. When it was all done I felt I had had a great day hunting. Lots of excitement and he is still out there running around waiting for me. I just don't feel bad about letting him go under those circumstances.
 

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Bigfoot, when I was about 17, I bought a new Bear bow. I practiced for hours a day with it. I never was really any good with it, but I had alot of fun.
One day late in the evening, I was heading back to the truck, I heard what sounded like a team of elephants running through the woods.
I looked around for what seemed like hours, it could not have been more than 5 minutes. It was close to dark, but still plenty enough light to see what was going on. These two monster bucks, 1 was a 12 pointer, the other maybe a 14 pointer. They were big. Unusual, but not unseen or unheard of around here. i never raised my bow, they were about 50-60 yards away. I took great joy watching these two bucks bounding through without ever knowing I was there. they were just too far out for me to think about a shot. However if I had my .44, I would have had a freezer nearly full, and a heck of an English skull mount! I have allways seemed to know my limits, I only pushed them at practice. Practice,practice,practice.

John
 

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halfbreed,

I can't really enjoy hunting or working because of hurting so bad all the time. I work to make a living and hunt because it allows me to get in a lot of good praying time, while it is peaceful and quiet....

Thank you for your kind words and prayers. They are appreciated more than you know....

DAVID
 

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Bigfoot,

I have hunted with several scoped Ruger Super Red Hawks in 44 mag. for the last 20 years and can say that out to 125 yards, you don't give up anything to a rifle....

I make the above statement because for me, it is as simple as spitting and hitting the ground! You just do it....

I put a muzzle brake on my 44 mag. and was able to cut the recoil down to the level of a 38 spl. to make it more comfortable to shoot. Sadly though, last year was my last year to handgun hunt because of the arthritis that I have, my bones are deteriorating and if one breaks, it is unrepairable....

My favorite load for deer was as follows:

CASE: W-W 44 mag.
PRIMER: CCI-350 Large Pistol Magnum
POWDER: Win. 296 25.0gr.
BULLET: Remington 240 gr. JHP
VELOCITY: 1650 fps.
ACCURACY: 100 yards - six shots inside 3 inches, consistantly
COMMENTS: 62 deer have fallen to this gun and load in the past 18 years....

My favorite hog load was changed to 23.3gr. of Win. 296 and SPEER'S 270gr. Gold Dot Bullet. This one has accounted for 36 hogs, ranging from a 45 pound "little piggie" up to a 460 pound black boar that looked like a tank!

One good thing that I can say about Mississippi is that we have enough deer around here that if you don't get the shot you are looking for, just wait a few minutes cause another one is likely to show up....

Since I have been bitten by the "long-range" bug, I have passed on shooting a MONSTER 15 point, at 45 yards so as to be able to shoot a "nanny" at 800 yards! Horns mean nothing to me and I have yet to find a good recipe for them....

I have lost one deer in my life, many many years ago after shooting a six point and knowing I made a good and solid hit because I saw the blood and bullet holes as I was shooting the deer! That deer was found rotting a week later and it had hurt my feelings so bad that I swore right then and there, that if I was not sure I could make a clean one shot kill, then no matter the size of the deer or the range, I would not pull the trigger....

Bigfoot, just keep practicing, build your confidence and sooner or later you will be greatly rewarded for your patience....

Bless you and yours...

DAVID
 

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David White,
I am sorry to hear about your arthritis being so bad. I have heard of this brittle bone condition, but never personally knew anyone with this condition before.
I know what severe chronic pain is. And what it is like to deal with. Take care of yourself! And there are allways folks around to talk with. P.M. me if you want to talk away from the boards. sometimes it helps just to talk to someone who has been there. It has helped me too.

God bless,
John
 

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John,

I'm sorry that you too, have to live with chronic pain. It takes most of the fun out of daily life! I remember all the things I could do 20 years ago, which really was'nt that long ago or so it seems and that depresses the heck out of me....

I guess I had better just keep the "gun talk" on here or they will probably ban me from this site....

God Bless you Sir.

DAVE
 

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Hi, Dave:
There's a few more of us with busted backs here. Mine's OK now, most of the time, but some days it isn't.

Take care
Jack
 

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David,
Have to agree with Jack, my back has been broken twice and operated on once. Luckily, I've made a full recovery, though I do have problems from time to time. My problems occurred early enough and the treatment I received was good enough that it hasn't limited me in doing the things I enjoy (or don't enjoy, either!). Many of us here understand the pain and frustration (at least to some limited extent) that you are going through, and we are pulling for you.

I do hope those ailments don't take too much joy from you. May the good lord give you the strength and the ability to work through the pain.

Better Days,
 
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