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Discussion Starter #1
Mr. TIMBERWOLF brings up an interesting topic about average distance that game is shot.
Over the last 37 yrs. i have harvested a combination of 100 Antelope. Mule Deer and White Tail in Mn., Wisc., S.Dakota, Colorado and Wyo. and as i look back on my records it looks like most were shot at less then 100 yds. Even a number of Antelope were shot at under 100 yds.
Interested to here what others have found.

Pete
 

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Most critters I've shot have probably been 20 to 40 yards away...occasionally I shoot some past 100 yards but that is the exception to the rule for me even in open areas. Longest shot I've ever done on game was  with a 7 1/2" .44 Super Blackhawk at about 190 yards or so on a coyote. In college I worked at a gunshop and shooting range for a while and from what I saw, most urban rednecks who were in the Houston area at that time who claim to whack deer at 300 yards have a hard time keeping 5 shots on a 24"x24" piece of paper at 100 yards from a bench rest...therefore I suspect they can't estimate range accurately either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thats vary true about estimating range, over a period of time i hunted with a 25-06 and a 4-12 Herters scope with stadia hairs. When one of my hunting partners would estimate the distance to a aminal of say 400 yds., it would be in the area of maybe 200yds.

Pete
 

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I'd say well under 100 yards, even here in the "West".  With our open-sighted rifles, a fellow places his shot pretty carefully if he expects to make a connection, and our scoped rifles, though very capable of accuracy to 300 yards, are still most useful under 150 yards under field conditions.  You really need to practice shooting as you would shoot in the field:  sitting, standing, kneeling, using shooting sticks, etc.  Good shooters aren't born, good shooters are usually well-practiced.
 

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Scopes are neato items...they make it easy to shoot moa sized groups, they look businesslike, they add weight, they install a nice gash above the eyebrow similar to Herman Munster's 5" long beauty mark when mounted on something suitable for cleaning out the elephant pen at the zoo...I tend to leave scope sighted weapons in a closet somewhere and every gun I own wears iron sights, although I do tend to prefer iron sights of considerably better quality than most gun manufacturers seem to be familiar with.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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This is so true.  Most game is taken close, most gun magazines sell to people who want to hit something in the next county.

A friend did get some hogs with his .50 BMG at a measured 500 yards, but... this isn't ordinary hunting.  In case you were curious a 750gr. Hornady AMAX still makes an amazing wound channel at that distance, as well as a really loud WHOCK when the bullet hits.

My average would probably be around 50 yards, deer, hogs, and javelina.  Even one mule deer in CO that was just out of rock-throwing range.  Javelina in particular have been taken at sharp-pointed-stick range, cause they're not too bright, and easy to sneak up on.

Got scopes on my rifles but mostly this helps in shooting pigs in low light conditions.  Have open sights on a 1896 Swede that I intend to shoot a deer or hog with.  Do all the deer hunting that I can with an open sighted revolver, and try to get within 25 yards, 50 at max.  Hogs are varmits here (TX) and we take them any way we can.
 

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Ditto to all the above.  I'd guess this is why the 30-30 suited so long?

-Charlie

PS:  rgp - your foghorn leghorn quote kills me.
 

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Charlie is most certainly correct. Slick paper gun mags not withstanding, I doubt many real hunters ever take a shot past 200 yards regardless of the game. Now there are far too many roonies that blast away at anything visible, and wound a significant amount of game, but I don't think that should even be considered sport hunting.
 

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My experience here in Maine, the only place I've ever hunted:

deer: 15 yds to 105 yds. All but the 105 were under 40 yds

Moose: I've shot one and guided for 9: 20 yds to 125 yds. the 125 was the only one over 100 yds.

I call a yard "one step", so there's probably a bit of difference. I'd love to get another moose permit for myself and my 45-70!

"Old lobstermen never die....they just smell that way."
 

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This is a great thread!
Let's go to another level. Does the fact that most game animals are killed under 100 yards mean that so-called "short ranged," "brush busting," "blunt nosed" shooting lever guns such as the 30-30, .375, .356, .358, et. al are still very suitable for most North American hunting situations? If so, how do you explain the apparent popularity of the "flat-shooting" bolt guns?

Have a great week-end,
TimberWolf
 

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Timberwolf,

You're baiting and that's illegal.

I answered one of those kinds of questions and got blasted (as rgp says, "fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency...").

Charlie
 

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I would agree with that statement.

All of my big game (Moose, Caribou, Blackbear) have been taken at pointy stick range with pointy sticks. There is no reason that I could not keep my family fed and well protected with two leverguns at my disposal. The Marlin GG in 45/70 will cleanly take any critter that needs taking and for most I do not need to run max loadings. My Win 94 in .22 Mag has proven itself as a meat and fur gun for over 20 years now, and is capable of dispatching a rather large critter if necessary.

While my first love is the longbow, the Leverguns are extreamly dependable for those days when meat is a priority over the pleasure of the hunt. The 45/70 is a great comfort in a land of large carnivores and a wonderfull backup when I am providing a service to a client who is using pointy sticks.

My guess is that the lure of long range sniping came in with varmint shooting and perhaps open country Antelope or Caribou and Sheep hunting. While I can see the appeal that may have for others, I enjoy getting close in.  

I see little reason that, with some patience and attention to the wind, a person can not get within a hundred yards of anything. With those two elements in place, the potential is to get much, MUCH closer.

With the pointy stick theory in mind, coupled with my personal experience, I would like to propose another thought for this discussion.

When I started hunting as a youth, I had the mindset that I needed to see the quary from a long distance and then get set up for the shot. Paralell to that, I did not develop the skills necessary to get close...I did not pay attention to wind direction, scent control or my personal stealth...I was looking for things way out there. I seemed to see little game.

As my equipment choices "regressed"  from compound bow to longbows and wood arrows, my hunting skills improved alot! I encountered much more game (although I did not kill as often since my effective range had been reduced to a stones throw) but I did find myself enjoying my time afield more. I would propose that was because I was actually HUNTING rather than looking for long range targets. I would think that the scenario would be the same for someone who deciced to use a handgun since the limitations imposed would necessatate an improvement in skills for stalking rather than long range benchrest shooting.

I have since had to re-consider how I start out my kids and grandkids in the shooting sports with an eye towards raising up some hunters. I now encourage the use of short range weapons with little or no sight enhancement. The simpler the better!

This is getting rather long so I will leave it at that for now.

All my best,

Scotty
 

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I think a .45-70 is the ideal cartridge for North America...Not sure of popularity of bolt guns, especially considering the fact that Marlin levers are generally more accurate than the average bolt action, but it may have something to do with military surplus bolt rifles for sale cheap for half a century. If I can ever hunt in Australia (in laws are Australian so I will be going there more than once) or Africa, I'll take a bolt gun and it will be a .375 and will leave the lever at home...although from what I hear in Australia a Model 94 or 336 .30-30 is entirely suitable...the only bolt gun I ever actually liked was a Winchester Model 70 in .375 H&H, and someday I'll buy that Model 70 and use it on coyotes, and hope that I can be suitably heroic and save the town with my .375 when the elephant in the Wal Mart parking lot goes berserk while giving kiddie rides; the bolt actions I have owned have had receiver sights or express type rear sights as a rule, thereby making them brush guns not suited to shooting any farther away than the leverguns. In actual practice I have packed a handgun daily while outdoors since I was in high school and I rarely use a rifle for anything at all. Come to think of it I've mentioned elephants twice in this thread which may indicate some sort of fixation.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Having hunted alot on the high plans country of North East Wyo. for Antelope and Mule Deer, this is the country where its nice to have that scoped long rang rifle when you do need it. Big Antelope and Mule Deer bucks can be hard to get close to after they have been hunted a few days and the time you have to hunt can be limited.

Pete
 

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Scotty makes a great point. We gun hunters can learn a lot from our archer brothers and sisters. Getting close to the game is, pardon the pun, THE GAME. I don't see how anyone can find a thrill in popping away at a 500 yard big game animal. Leave that stuff to the rifle range where it belongs. Getting close, so close that your quarry knows something is wrong but not exactly what or from where, is the mark of a true hunter's spirit.



<!--EDIT|Bill Lester|Mar. 16 2002,18:29-->
 

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Well, let's see...

The majority of animals I've taken have been less than 200 yards.  Having said that, no, I'm not going to make my sheep or goat rifle a 45/70.  Sometimes cover gets pretty sparse above the timberline.  I have taken game just over 300 yards before, my priorities have changed now.  The hunt is the thing.  My pleasure of the hunt is the stalking or still hunting to within a reasonable distance.  Reasonable.  What's that?  Depends on who you are, where you are and what your skills are.   I don't think there are a lot of people in a hunting situation that can make a 400 yard shot. I won't take that shot.  I seriously doubt I would take a 300 yard shot anymore, even though I practice at that distance quite a bit.  Just too many things to go wrong at that distance.  Besides we are hunting, not just shooting.  If there is animal out there that I can't get to 200-250 yards of, well, he's better than me and wins the hunt I guess.  200 yards in an area with sparse cover is pretty good stalking, and if you can get closer - you should do everything in your power to, but sometimes you can't (Ever tried to stalk across a glacier?)  I've never shot a moose more than 100 yards, I've never shot caribou more than 150 yards, never took a shot on sheep or goats past 225, but I have shot deer at a little longer.  I won't anymore, but I have.  There's no need to, I feel confident enough that I can get that close to my quarry on any given day.  If I don't today, I'll try again tomorrow.

I think there are three reasons why the whiz bang magnums sell so well.
1.  That is what is being marketed.  Jack O'Connor wrote about great hunts shooting game at extreme distances with flat shooting cartridges and that has embedded itself in the American hunting psyche and gun manufacturing psyche.  Alot of people want to be like Jack.
2.  Fear.  What if?  What if that "book" buck is 350 yards away across an open field?  Too much emphasis is placed on scoring if you ask me.  I've never had animal scored, I've never turned an animal down because I didn't think he would score well.  Seems like everyone wants bragging rights.
3.  Pride.  "Yeah, I killed that deer, moose, sheep, whatever, at 600 yards."  I'm the best shot there is.  Blah, blah, blah.
 

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All deer I have taken until 3 years ago have been taken with the bow. Distances 35 yds and in. I have taken one deer at over 100 yds with the rifle.
 

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I think the "long range" bolt action rifles are popular IN SOME CASES because the user is more of a killer than a hunter/woodsman. Please don't get me wrong, I get alot of enjoyment myself from a 7 mm rem. mag (Rem. 700), and don't hold anything against a person that wants to hunt w/ such a gun. However, in my brief carreer as a part time guide, I've noticed that some of the clients are true hunters who merely rely on my ability to organize the week for them and to get them in an area that holds the game they want to hunt, while others would probably perish within 24 hrs if left on their own.My guides and I refer to the latter as"killers", who primarily are interested in filling their walls w/ trophy mounts. To each their own. I like tagging a trophy, but I'm also very interested in learning as much as I can about the specie I'm hunting. Anyway, the 200 or 300 yard rifle gives the "killer" more confidence that he'll return home w/ a head.  I also truly understand that someone who has plunked down 20 K for a western sheep hunt,for example, rightfully and practically should have ordnance that will take him out past 150 yds. I'd love to find myself in that sheep hunt situation someday( but probably never will)  and would in all likelihood carry one of the bolt action "death rays". It is not my intention to belittle the true hunter/woodsman who carries a long range rifle. See Ya
 

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Hi everyone,
     My longest shot has been pronghorn, 225 long paces - probably just over 200 yds. I made that shot with a 150 gr handload in a .308 which probably wasn't doing much more than 2700fps. I thought it was a lot faster but I didn't own a chronograph then and now have a different .308 rifle. The deer I shot this fall was 206 paces. Most critters have been much closer (most of my big game hunting until 10 yrs ago has been with bow, shotgun and muzzleloader).
      Having said that, I think Alyeska is right on target with his reasons, especially the "what if" part. I know I like having a rifle with which I can make a 300 yd shot if I choose to, just in case I do see that buck of a lifetime.
      Another reason for high velocity if you are hunting the plains is wind drift. That wind can blow my poor, pokey .308 bullets several feet at long range. I honestly couldn't believe how much wind can move your bullets til I went to my step-father-in-law's eastern Montana ranch. It was enlightening to say the least!     IDShooter
 
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