Long Range Shooting- What’s Your Intent?

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Posted October 24, 2014 by Dan Turvey, Jr. in General


The evolution of hunting and its equipment is inevitable. New gear, gadgets and doo-dads come out all the time; each one promising to make you a better hunter, more accurate shot, or whatever. So it stands to reason that with the advent of more advanced equipment in the hunting world (we’re talking rifles and optics here), people will begin to experiment with the extreme outer limits of their performance. It’s human nature to, see what this baby can do – we can’t help it.

With over a decade of war and advancement in weapons platforms behind us, it seems we are experiencing the carryover into the hunting world. Hunters seem to not want to hunt, they want to shoot – they want to be a sniper. If by being a sniper they want to be a more accurate shot that’s great, but if by wanting to be a sniper they want to harvest game at extreme ranges – well that’s for you to decide.

I have a friend, Chris who is a sniper team leader in the United States Army, and an avid hunter. He summed it up well one day when we were discussing this very topic.

He asked me, “Do you know the difference between hunters and snipers?”

I had a pretty good idea where he was going with it but asked him to explain more.

He continued, “Hunters have to be more accurate than snipers. As a sniper I only have to hit a target and he’s out of the battle, as a hunter I must cleanly kill with each and every round.” When you sit back and think about that, it makes total sense.

He went on to further elaborate, “I think we are on the precipice of a paradigm shift in the hunting community and I am not here to legislate morality. Just remember, each and every round you fire at a game animal is on you. As such, don’t be surprised when your decision to shoot is brought into question by your peers.” Now there’s some heavy thinking.

As we all know a poorly hit animal can go a very long ways and in some cases are unrecoverable. So why as ethical hunters would we push the envelope and exponentially increase the wounding/loss odds by extending our range on animals? Has the result of a hunt become more important than the pursuit? Is having bone more important than memories?

The Boone and Crockett Club recently released a position statement on the issue of long-range shooting and it states, Regardless of these capabilities, sportsmen have historically held themselves to an ethical standard of not taking excessively long or risky shots at the big game animals they pursue. New shooting technologies now being developed and promoted for use in hunting are encouraging hunters to shoot at substantially increased distances. These new technologies, while not illegal, are tempting hunters into taking longer and longer shots, which is raising significant ethical questions, including those of fair chase and intent.

The club goes on to further explain that. “long-range shooting takes unfair advantage of the game animal, effectively eliminates the natural capacity of an animal to use its senses and instincts to detect danger, and demeans the hunter/prey relationship in a way that diminishes the importance and relevance of the animal and the hunt… If the intent of the individual is to test equipment and determine how far one can shoot to hit a live target and if there is no motivation to risk engagement with the animal being hunted, this practice is not hunting and should not be accorded the same status as hunting.”

So there you have it. Are you a hunter, or are you a shooter?

 

 

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About the Author

Dan Turvey, Jr.
Dan Turvey, Jr.


172 Comments


  1.  
    Bob H

    Excellent article. Shooting at long distances can be a lot of fun when you are shooting at a target. However, the very idea that anyone shooting at an animal at 550, 750, 1,000+ yards is “hunting” is a bunch of bunk. While people will say I only feel that way because I have only used a bow since I was a teen so what do I know… Yet, what I know is that fair chase hunting is partially about outsmarting your quarry. There is no “outsmarting” to shooting at long distances. Frankly, the shows on TV where they promote this type of “hunting” are in my mind doing all hunters a disservice. You see them kill an elk at 700 yards and they are jumping up and down like they are great hunters (or think they are in Iraq on a sniper mission) when all they have done is show that they can hit something at long distance and never gave the animal a chance. Come on you guys who do this…shoot targets not game animals. And to you manufacturers who are promoting your weapons get a life and promote long range shooting at targets or sniping NOT at our game animals.




    •  
      Tom H.

      Couldn’t agree more Bob. This is not hunting it is shooting or worse just killing. You buy our (insert name) scope,rifle,ballistic calculator, you too can kill an elk at “beyond belief” ranges. “Don’t let that trophy of lifetime get away”. Well sometimes they are supposed to walk away. Unfortunately I believe this is going to stay with us and will become another talking point for anti hunters down the road.




    •  
      gseinc#@sbcglobal.net

      You are a complete IDIOT! you should take up paint ball shooting not hunting. I have taken several 30-inch plus mule deer over 45 years of hunting and could have taken many more had I have had a long range gun in my early years and I consider my self a good hunter and at 63 I would challenged you any day.

      Edward F




      •  
        Dorran L

        @gseinc#@sbcglobal.net (Edward F) – classy response. You unwittingly verified Bob and Tom’s stance that without the long range gun you were not able to outsmart many big bucks even though you are a self proclaimed good hunter.




      •  
        noneya

        Yet you couldn’t manage the many more without the equipment to do the hunting for you.




      •  
        G Kelsey

        I agreed with Edward having the ability to shoot long range is not a bad thing. They story talks about long range shooting that’s away from fair chase. What is the difference between a 500 yard shot and a 150 yard shot to the elk. Range has nothing to do with fair chase. The animal knows you are there or it doesn’t. Fair chase in not about range of a shot and never has been.




    •  

      Bob, I do agree, an excellent article. On the other hand I don’t necessary agree with you on rather long range hunting is considered hunting. All though I have never hunted with long range equipment, I do intent to. I think that ever hunter has a responsibility to make a ethical shot on their game, rather that be your weapon of choice (bow) or a long range shooting rifle. With that being said I think that if a person takes the time to learn and hone their shooting skills at long ranges it is every bit as ethical as a skilled archery hunter. It is my opinion that their is nothing easy about hunting deer and elk, rather it be with a bow, and or a rifle that can shoot at long ranges. Their is much preparation required to be successful with either.




    •  
      CRaTXn CR Rains

      Unfortunately bow hunting wounds as much game as rifle hunting…I fought for your right to use a bow…with a rifle. Lets not get off on 550 yards rifle shots if you take 35-40 yard archery shots [ but of course YOU have the skill
      level for that …right ? ].




      •  
        Anthony Caruso

        First, let me thank you for serving. As far as wounding animals goes, that comes down to the individual being proficient with the weapon he or she chooses to use. I mostly hunt with a bow and my max distance is 40 yards. I practice shooting targets at 50-55+ yards so I’m very comfortable taking a 40 yard shoot.




    •  
      G Kelsey

      Read this and let people make their own decisions. http://hunting.scout.com/story/1520843-thoughts-on-long-range-hunting?s=77
      I say a 500 yard shot on an elk with the proper gun and bullet will kill faster than a 20 yard shot with a bow. Either way the elk doesn’t know your there so which do you call fair chase and which is. It fair chase?




    •  
      Bryan

      Exactly I think its more of an accomplishment when you can get with in 40 yds of an animal then taking those ridiculous shots.




    •  
      Terry Organ

      To Bob H. I live in Arizona where there is plenty of big country. I noticed you mentioned you are a archery hunter. I have taken many Javelina and a couple of deer with a bow and feel i can say there is nothing like harvesting a game animal at the close ranges necessary to do so. Arizona is a draw to hunt state at least for most big game. This means as a resident i might get an elk tag every few years in the less desirable units or if i was applying to a trophy area i might get that tag with my bonus points in 15 to 25 years if i’m lucky. An Antelope tag maybe 2 times in my life time. Desert bighorn a once in a lifetime tag. So let me tell you where i think long range shooting fits. Its just another TOOL for success. I have 4 sons and myself and we take hunting very seriously especially when its the moment of truth. We have hunted many years and have created many memories where we didn’t harvest any game which was just fine. But we will all tell you we don’t go hunting to go camping. We don’t go looking for the long range shot either. But as i mentioned in my fist sentence Arizona has big country. Real mountains, real canyons that you have to be in shape to hunt in or they will kick your but. It’s nothing for us to glass up game at over a mile as a crow flies. If we want a closer look we move in closer. If we want to harvest that animal we get as close as we possible can. Sometimes that is across the canyon at 500 yards. Now here is where the ethical part of long range shooting comes into play. Are the conditions right? Meaning what is the wind doing across the canyon? What is the wind doing where i am ? If it’s 10 mph have i practiced that shot under those conditions? Do i have a rock steady conferrable rest? Do i have a clear line of sight to the animal? Can I MAKE THAT SHOT? The question shouldn’t be is long range shooting ethical or not . The question should be is the HUNTER ETHICAL? If the weapon is a bow, cross bow, pistol, shot gun, muzzle loader or rifle, you choose the weapon, they all have their limitations on distances that could easily be described as unethical distances. The main factor for what ever the weapon of choice is, is how much time has been spent practicing? Real practicing under all kinds of conditions.Then as mentioned earlier are the conditions right for the ethical shot. To many people by a rifle, tactical scope and go shoot a box of ammo and hit a gong 2 out of 5 times at 400 or 500 hundred yards and think they are a long range shooter. But people do the same with all the other weapons mentioned. It comes down to the person. Are they an ethical hunter? Do they know what that even means? Now i have another question for the hunter and the harvest. I watch these hunting shows on TV and they talk about how they have spent all this time planting food plots on their property and they put out these feeders with pellets in them, or they put out corn or some other feed out of a bag in front of their blind or under their tree stand. Then they put trail cameras all the way around the food plot sometimes getting real time pictures texted to them on their phones, or they check the cameras later and see what time they are showing up so they can make sure they are in their tree stand or blind at the right time. I would like to know how the definition of ethical fits in here? And owe by the way on these same shows they say they have been sitting in a tree stand or ground blind for 5 days and make the comment on how hard they have been hunting! I just have to laugh. I am 61 years old and we back pack into the mountains so we can hunt by ourselves with a 65 lb pack on my back. Now that to me is real hunting. I don’t think they could make it up the 1st ridge. And when i have found the buck or bull that i want to harvest and the closes i can get is 500 or 600 hundred yards and the conditions are right I’m taking the shot.




  2.  
    Ben Gorman

    I STRONGLY disagree! When hunters in the past transitioned from primitive archery equipment to rifles with the invention of black powder, was this an unfair adavantage? Was the invention of smokeless powder, primers, and modern rifle cartriges futher extending the effective range of hunters not the same thing? How about rifle scopes? Was this a similar debate then? Did the B&C or others argue that this was unfair and caused unethical shots? How about compound bows or sights?These are nothing more than advancements in technology that if anything allow for MORE ethical shots, taking the average hunter who would often take a poor “hold over” shot at 300, 400, or even 500 yds and allowing the hunter to take his error out of the equation and effectivly harvest an animal. Yes, that average hunter should not be taking those shots anyway if they have not practiced them, but ethical hunting will always be left as the decision of the shooter whether or not to take the shot. Bowhunters have 7 pin sights, or the ability to add pins to their sights all the way out to 80, 90, or 100 yards, but that doesnt mean that they will take the shot simply because its beyond their abilities. If a hunter had a 200 yd pin on their bow, would they use it? No. The majority of the people I know in the long range hunting community have an extensive knowlege of ballisticts, wind drift, reloads, angles, etc that make them far more informed about their rifle capabilities over the “average hunter. Those who have hunted should ask themselves when they have seen animals wounded or unethical shots placed….and the answer will almost always be because of bad judgement, shooting beyonds ones abilities, or the hunter got too excited, not because the rifle was “too fancy.” There are informed and responsible hunters and there are the opposite and the advancements in technology is not the cause of either. While we are at it, lets ban rifle and spotting scopes, binoculars, game cameras, GPS’s, scent blocking clothing and sprays, treestands, blinds, two way radios, and camoflauge and and put a maximum range on shooting an animal at 100 yds where nearly everyone can hit it and there are no unfair advantages. Rifles, and especially long range hunting rigs belong in the hands of responsible people, just like archery equipment and if as with any item of hunting equipment, if you dont know how to use it or when not to use it, then dont use it. Dont drag down the long range hunting community because of bad apples, who are in EVERY bunch.




    •  
      Dennie Mann

      I agree with Ben.
      I have shot long range tactical matches in many western states and with the right equipment, experience, and commitment to shooting long range killing shots are normal. We use HS Precision HTR’s with Valdada IOR optics with MOA reticles. I shoot almost every week at ranges out to 1500 yards and am proficient with my equipment and shooting technique to hit targets at those ranges. Shooting and hunting are disciplines and you have to be proficient at both to be successful in the field in taking that trophy and bringing meat back to the freezer. Tactical and long range shooting are excellent sports to learn about and become skilled at long range shooting.




      •  
        Steve Jackson

        Ben and Dennie,
        I appreciate your passion for long range shooting and your commitment to practice and research. However, I believe the crux of this whole discussion is: At what point does it cease to be hunting and just become shooting????
        As a hunter who uses both bow and rifle, I have to laugh when someone justifies a long range shot by saying, “We just couldn’t get any closer.” When you are rifle hunting and run out of cover 800 yards from the animal, ask yourself, “How would I get closer if I was bowhunting?” If you really can’t get any closer, you should probably just tip your cap to the animal for wisely choosing such an inaccessible spot!




        •  
          Raleigh Whalen

          Steve put it well. I’ve been after a specific buck antelope all season during archery and rifle seasons. Belly crawling in cactus trying to get within 350 yards. If I had a long range rifle, I probably could have him at the taxidermist by now. However, I wouldn’t feel as proud of sniping him instead of making several stalks to outsmart this wise old buck. That is hunting. Bad shots can be made at 100 yards or 1000 yards but the odds of wind, animal movement, thermals, human error, etc. are compounded at long distances. With PETA assholes constantly breathing down hunters necks, I feel shooting at close range to take an ethical shot and make a quick kill is best practice. Challenge yourself to get close! If you can’t close the distance, tip your hat and try again.




      •  
        D Bochek

        You miss the point. Its not hunting, its target practice on animals. Good marks manship, yes , hunting? Not by a long shot, pun intended.




    •  

      Great reply. I will proudly stand on your side of the fence. Very well written.




    •  
      Pat

      I agree with Ben completely!! I have seen way more game lost to bow hunters at close range then rifle hunters at long range…. This being said as an ethical hunter you still need to stay within your limits and practice, taking only shots that you have verified in the field before hunting.




    •  
      Ron Roy

      Very well said sir…




  3.  
    Ken Anderson

    FINALLY, someone is addressing this issue! I have ranted (mostly falling on deaf ears) against long-range shooting for years. Many have even accused me of being an “anti-hunter”.

    My position is exactly in sync with what was said in this article: long range hunting isn’t “hunting”, it’s just “shooting”. And it isn’t fair chase. It’s undeniable that it is exponentially more difficult to try to recover an animal wounded at long-range (or even find one that dropped dead in its tracks!) vs. one wounded at short range. In many cases it will be almost impossible to locate the exact spot where the animal was standing when it was shot, much less try to locate any blood sign/tracks to follow it up.

    Hunters: Just because you CAN hit an animal at 500+ yards doesn’t mean that you SHOULD take that shot. A true test of the hunter is to see how CLOSE he can get to an animal before pulling the trigger, not how far away he can lob a bullet into it.




    •  
      Jacob Bailey

      So I’m guessing that you use iron sights on an old 30-30 instead of a scope and bolt action? Just because you can shoot 200+ yards doesn’t mean you should…
      Or maybe you use a long bow, do you use artificial scents or bait? Isn’t that “unfair”?
      Or maybe you use binoculars, I don’t know a single animal that has binoculars, so why isn’t that unfair?




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        In point of fact Jacob, about 90% of my big game hunting IS with a longbow!

        But even when I hunt with a rifle, which I do on occasion, I still try to get as close as possible. And of the last ten or so deer or elk that I’ve shot with a rifle, only one was shot beyond 100 yds.

        But I think the point you’re trying to make is: why are some tools considered “ethical” while others are not? My answer is that is you compare a naked human against a deer, it’s obvious the deer has the advantage: they can hear better, smell better, see better (in low light), and run faster. Without the advantage of some tools a human could never kill a deer.

        The conundrum is where to draw the line on “tools” so the balance of power doesn’t shift too far over to the human, to the point that all of the deer’s defenses are useless. It is my opinion that long-range shooting crosses this line. No deer (or elk, antelope, etc) has a chance of evading a human with a rifle capable of killing it from half a mile away. That is not “fair chase”.




        •  
          Jacob Bailey

          I think you underestimate what it takes to make a kill shot from that far away. It’s not like anyone who has a rifle capable of doing it. Far from it. Not only is it VERY difficult to make a long range shot hit exactly where you want the first shot, but the game usually does not stay in one place for the time it takes to make the shot. It is a unique skill afforded few, and is fair chase




          •  
            Ken Anderson

            Jacob, we are talking about two different things. You are talking about the skill it takes to make a long-range shot. I agree, it does take a great deal of skill.

            But the point I’m trying to get across is that killing animals in that fashion is not HUNTING.

            Please re-read the position statement from Boone & Crockett in the original article above. They stated it more eloquently than I am able to.




          •  
            ray

            Fair chase???? How so??? Yes I know it takes skill, but ho is it even close to fair chase




          •  
            Hardy Deming

            You’ve made the point of those opposed to long range hunting perfectly.




          •  
            D Bochek

            ITS NOT HUNTING! ITS SHOOTING. TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS!




        •  
          Hardy Deming

          Ken Anderson has it right and has laid out an excellent argument. I second his opinions.




    •  
      Glendon Moon

      So does anybody here like to eat game or are you just killing them for sporting fun. In the Alaska “HUNTING” regs it is legal to shoot a swimming caribou out of a moving boat with a 22. rim fire. Is this hunting??? It’s a way to get your meat. I do not trophy hunt, and I would not call myself a long range shooter/hunter, but if I can take a legal animal in a legal way within my skill limits I do. If you are killing an animal for the sport or horns even at 20 yards with a long bow I have no respect for that.




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        I don’t know what you mean by “sporting fun.” In all 50 states hunters are required to salvage meat from the game animals they kill, regardless of the method they used to kill it – be it 20 yds with a longbow or 800 yds with a rifle.

        After the meat is recovered from the field the hunter can decide to keep it for their own consumption, give it to friends or relatives, or donate it to organizations such as Hunters for the Hungry. However, the meat is NOT wasted.

        People who shoot animals just for sport or just for horns/hides and don’t recover the meat are called “poachers” and are criminals under the law.




        •  
          Todd Moon

          So are you shooting it out of the good of your heart to feed others, or because you think it’s fun??? My point is everybody has different values and reasons for harvesting game. Stay within the law and to each there own.




          •  
            Todd Moon

            Hunter One dedicates themselves to being a lawful proficient long range shooter, retrieves and uses all game harvested.
            Hunter Two dedicates themselves to being a lawful proficient stalker, retrieves and uses all game harvested.
            Which one is on the higher moral ground?

            The respectful one that does not judge the other. Buy the way, the anti hunters condemn both. They are the most judgmental.




          •  
            CRaTXn CR Rains

            I see a Glendon and a Todd Moon…sounds like your clan are what I am…a meat hunter. My teeth are set up to eat meat and my eyes are on the front of my head like other predators. I think these socialists trying to tell me how and when I can hunt their animals should buy a Nikon…camera not scope.




            •  
              G Kelsey

              Now Now CRaTXn they are not trying to tell you how and when! They are just telling you how far you can do it! But I haven’t seen them post a number. Just that “long range” (how ever far that may be) is unethical and it is shooting and not hunting. I think those people need to get there meat at the store where it is made. Happy HUNTING!




      •  
        CRaTXn CR Rains

        Glendon Moon you are a wonderful carnivore meat eating hunter…not some ego tripping metro man jock using the latest 330 fps compound and acting like he is caveman primitive. The % of wounded deer is not on the side of these archery sports. Lethality is a better measure of ethical hunting than equipment. The point is how long does an animal suffer.




    •  
      G Kelsey

      At what distance does hunting become shooting? All of you anti “long distance hunters” must have a number? Do you realize that you make no sense at all? Basically you are saying “oh, you shot it at 199 yards (a guess at the distance allowed to still fall into the hunter category) You are an AWESOME Hunter”. But “Oh darn you Shot it at 201 yards you are a good shooter but a crappy unethical hunter!”
      Here is a good article you may wish to read:
      http://hunting.scout.com/story/1520843-thoughts-on-long-range-hunting?s=77




    •  
      Pat H

      10-4 on that Ken do agree




  4.  
    Ron Hansen

    I am a sporting retailer, land owner and a sportsman and I dislike, no – I hate, long range “hunting”. Anyone can pick up a rifle and pull the trigger at an animal at 500+ yards out. Most will miss, some will injur/wound, and few will make a clean and honorable harvest of an animal. We ruin the heritage of hunting with this trend because hunting is not just killing an animal. It is doing things the right way – thinking, working, sweating, walking rather than just sitting down and judging the wind. Sure, it is amazing to see a guy hit a milk jug at 1200 yards but let me be clear – that is not hunting, that is shooting. How many people can close to 100 yards of an elk, deer or other wonderful animal – not many but that is HUNTING. Unfortunately, the internet and sports shows have glorified shooting long range at animals and for that all true sportsmen and women should be ashamed. Our sport demands better, the animals are more valuable than this and we should really take a long look in the mirror and see what we are turning into. I am a hunter and I respect my quarry way too much to sit 500+ yards away and pull a trigger and hope that everything was correct so that I don’t needlessly wound an animal. My son sees a deer or elk at 500+ yards and he thinks it is OK. He sees one at 100 yards and he thinks it is the coolest thing known to mankind and he understands why it is so important to help wildlife and defend the heritage of hunting rather than killing. Remember that the next time you “long range hunters” go out there that you are destroying the very thing you state that you care about.




    •  
      Jacob Bailey

      Anyone can pick up a rifle and miss at 50 yards too…




      •  
        Ron Hansen

        Jacob,
        Thanks for the pointing out the 50 yard miss but in your haste to make light of the my points you miss the issue. Long range shooting is a skill that is a great feat to watch but it is not hunting. When you miss at 50 yards then you ARE HUNTING because contrary to what you believe, getting to 50 yards on any animal is not easy. I can get to 500 yards of an elk every day of the year GUARANTEED. I can do the same with deer and antelope and I think most hunters would state that with certainty. How many people can close to 100 yards, smell the animal and make a clean, ethical kill? Folks need to realize that this type of action (long range shooting) is actually working to the anti-hunting folks advantage so wake up and pay attention to what is going on rather than making some smirky comment. If you care about the sport and heritage of hunting you might want to stop and see the big picture. You don’t realize that the skills you talk about are possessed by very few folks and I see it all the time – folks beating on their chests about taking shots over 500 yards and not being able to find the animal. Simply put the chances of hitting an animal past 400 drop dramatically and you are stating that people can make that shot most of the time? Laughable. Few can judge distance let alone make a clean kill past 300 so treat the animals with respect and dignity, along with our sport and practice good sense and restraint.




        •  
          Steve

          So, if I read this right, the guy who puts all the work and learning into being able to make a 500 yard shot and tried for hours to get closer is not hunting just killing? BUT, the guy who sits in a tree stand over a scented mock scrape and kills a deer at 20 yards is a true hunter? Quite a pompous position.




          •  
            Ken Anderson

            If you “tried for hours” and still couldn’t stalk within 500 of an animal then I suggest you spend less time at the target range and more time in the field practicing your woodcraft.




            •  
              Brett Treadway

              I’m with Ken Anderson 110%!! Where’s the challenge trying to take a animal at distance?? I once had a opportunity to harvest a nice 4×4 mule deer. When I first spotted him he was 310 yrds away. My gun of choice on that hunt was a 257 weatherby mag shooting 110 gr. Accubonds handloads. Gun shoots 1/2 in groups at 200 yrds. I could have easily gotten prone and put one behind the bucks ear and be done. But I chose to stalk with in 40 yrds of the buck only to get busted because my pack brushed up against a tree limb. Still could have tried to shoot the buck behind the ear as he trotted away. But I don’t and will not shoot at moving animals. Because of my desire to get as close as I can. I have went back to archery hunting. I absolutely love the challenge to try and get in their living room. I don’t need to kill a deer or elk!! What I want is to harvest a 300 class bull with my bow. Not saying I’ll turn my nose up at a satellite bull. But I will let a spike get bigger. Even though they are the best eating. I also still hunt. Calling and locating is good if they respond. But today the critters are educated to hunters calling them from ridge tops and roads where the hunter doesn’t put much effort into getting off the road to locate. I personally like to pursue the bugling bull and try to intercept him wherever that may be on the mountain. Get in his wheel house undetected and make a clean humane harvest weather it be gun or bow!!! Closer is better and way more of an edrinaline rush!!! Not to mention you out smarted your quary!!




        •  
          CRaTXn CR Rains

          Ron Hansen you make my point…you “can get to within 500 yards of an elk every day of the year” good for you, I am happy you enjoy such access…many hunters can not. They are lucky if they see one legal elk a season and yes they judge the hunt in part by whether or not they get meat for their family…poor bourgeoisie children of a lesser god. Perhaps if we had mandatory hunter courses [ ala Germany ] for the privilege of entering the woods { can you imagine the media’s charges of ethnic profiling and biased unfair test questions }…ethics could be enforced but by whom…the Obama regime and their tree huggers or the wonderful fish & game wardens many of whom these days are wolf spreading preservationists not ungulate conservationists. You throw the first stone but I don’t read that you have the skill set to truly judge the difficulty of ANOTHER FORM OF HUNTING. Sorry it does not conform to your socialist idea that everyone must do things the same way or be verboten.




    •  
      D Bochek

      Right on exactly!




  5.  

    Great article, Dan. I’ve been wanting to comment on this topic for quite a while, so this gives me a chance to chime in: Many of our customers at Eberlestock are in the long-range rifle community. That makes sense, because we make packs that are the best way to carry long-range rifles. Adding fuel to the fire, Eberlestock has started making a family of precision rifles… and there’s only one way to really validate one of those, which is by taking it out there to 1,000 yards and beyond. In fact, I was just doing that yesterday, and I had a blast. …But I was shooting steel, which is where my personal use of long-range weapons will forever reside, unless I find myself in a war zone somewhere.
    Eberlestock as a company, and myself as a person, are not advocates of long-range “hunting” of game. We are, however, advocates of long range hunting of bad-guys, but that’s a separate topic. When it comes to shooting, being able to hit a target at extreme ranges is a superb skill to develop, and it is a wonderful challenge to build both that skill, and the equipment that gets it done. But taking a shot at a game animal at long ranges troubles me. There is simply too much that can go wrong, whether it’s an inadvertent quiver on the shooter’s part, or one of the two things that no shooter can control during the time of flight of the bullet: an unpredictable movement of the animal, or an unpredictable gust of wind. All three of the above are the things that led me to make my own decisions about this topic, combined with the fourth: Once you’ve proven to yourself that you have the skills to shoot long range, good for you. Keep it up. But the honest truth is, the stalk that takes you close to an animal, whether it ends in filling a tag or the crackling of brush as he blows out of there, is far more fulfilling — and fun — than launching a bullet at an animal that’s basically living in another universe.
    Most of the animals that I’ve shot with a gun have been well inside bow range, and that’s something I’m proud of. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a lot of animals get away from me as I’m trying to get in there. But when it happens I always stand up and smile, and give ’em a salute to the fact that they’ve won the day. And good for them — it’s not like we’re all starving to death and “have” to bag an animal.
    –Glen Eberle




    •  
      Jacob Bailey

      So you’re saying it’s fun and fulfilling to get as close as possible. I say it’s fun, fulfilling, and exciting to make an excellent long range shot on an animal. Is it your job to decide what can be fun for everyone else.




      •  

        Jacob: nope, it’s not my job to decide what can be fun for everyone else. This is a conversation about ethics. And obviously the same discussion can be had about what is a “good” or “safe” or “ethical” shot with a bow. You can answer it for yourself, and you can decide for yourself what is fun (for you). Hopefully we’re all smart enough to ask ourselves before taking a shot what our true capabilities are, relative to the weapon, the range, the weather, and the stability of the target. Let’s just assume that none of us is so callous to “not care” if we wound an animal and don’t recover it. Now, let’s also say that you know how to shoot a rifle really well, and you’re great at nailing a 12″ target at 1,000 yards on a range. I know a lot of professional snipers, and I know a lot of competitive shooters who can do that all day long. But I don’t know very many of them that always hit the first cold-bore shot at 1,000 yards. I don’t know many of them that win every competition, and I don’t know very many of them who hit every shot. And unless you’re good enough to do that, and if doubt is in your mind about a shot at a live game animal*, then in my opinion, you should get closer. And in my opinion, it’s fun to try to get closer. And quite honestly, I just can’t think of any situation in the modern world, short of a survival situation, where killing an animal is more important than overcoming any doubts about whether you are taking a clean shot or not. At the end of the day, trophies shouldn’t be that important — they don’t make you a better person, and are not proof that you are a superior hunter. Sometimes they’re just a matter of luck, or of being in the right place at the right time. You have to decide for yourself what “in range” is, and you have to decide for yourself how important a trophy, or meat in the freezer, is. For most people I don’t think that either are really all that critical, and if we want to become better hunters, then putting out the energy, developing patience and fieldcraft, and learning how to get closer to animals, are all much more gratifying than taking a long pot-shot at an animal. *And let me further clarify that what I’m talking about is shooting at game animals. Perhaps ridding the world of various categories of vermin are reason to think about pulling the trigger at extreme ranges. So, in a sense, I think I’ll retract what I said about myself and my company not being advocates of long range hunting. Depends on what you’re hunting. Best to all,
        GE




        •  
          Jacob Bailey

          I agree with what you are saying, and I agree with the insane difficulties of long range shooting. I think people were too quick to lump 1200 yard shots into the same group as 600-700 yard shots. Long range shooting has allowed some hunters to add extended range as another tool in their chest of hunting tools. To describe all long range hunting as unethical is narrow-minded. I was playing devil’s advocate when I was picking at the “fun” comment in your post. I too enjoy the close encounter with a bow to a rifle hunt.




        •  
          Jason Carey

          There is definitely a line in the sand as to what shot is ethical and what shot isn’t. That though isn’t up for anyone to decide except the person who is pulling the trigger. If they feel confident with the shot and circumstances that is presented and decide to take that shot, its on them. they have to live with the consequences. The last thing any of us want to do is wound an animal, but it does happen, and it happens at all distances with all types of weapons. In my book if they make a long shot count, ill tip my hat. it takes a lot of practice and dedication to become proficient enough to be able to do that. I also believe it is fair chase so long as they obey all the laws and don’t hunt high fenced property. I also understand how you could believe this type of hunting isn’t hunting at all from your comments of how you find joy in getting close to the animals. I think everyone is entitled to hunt how they want to and have fun doing it. Is it considered hunting when you drive around on an ATV all day and shoot something close to the road? Or do you have to hike 15 miles in and pack 15 miles out? Both forms of hunting are acceptable in my eyes.

          The problem comes when people start making bad decisions and taking shots that they are not capable of making. With long range hunting come a great responsibility. I just hope that people do the right thing and pass on shots that they are unable to make. Anyways, have fun and shoot strait!




          •  
            Ken Anderson

            Jason, you said:

            “I think everyone is entitled to hunt how they want to and have fun doing it. Is it considered hunting when you drive around on an ATV all day and shoot something close to the road? Or do you have to hike 15 miles in and pack 15 miles out? Both forms of hunting are acceptable in my eyes.”

            Sorry buddy, but if you believe that is “acceptable in your eyes’ then you need an eye exam. The fact is the riding around on the back of an ATV all day is nothing but lazy, slob hunting. It’s not that much different than riding around in the back of a pickup with your rifle or shining a spotlight and shooting animals at night.

            Those behaviors are indicative of someone who just wants to kill and animal without putting forth an iota of effort. I have zero respect for those type of “hunters”.




            •  
              Jason Carey

              Ken, that’s fine that you have no respect for that type of hunting, but you still called it “lazy, slob hunting”, and that’s the exact point I was trying to make. Its still a type of hunting. that type of hunting isn’t my bread and butter but who am I to judge how someone else chooses to spend their time? Is it illegal to cruise the back roads in your truck and hunt close to roads? Is it illegal to hunt with a weapon that’s capable of shooting .5 moa at game that’s 500 + yards away? For the record, I don’t think that’s how hunting should be done, but am I going to come out and say that’s unethical and that it isn’t fair chase? No chance! Its hunting, and everyone is entitled to do it in which ever manner they choose. I also think blind or tree stand hunting is lazy and slob hunting, do I need an eye exam for that? Like I said before, we live with the consiquenses of our decisions. people who take long shots should practice and be educated. I have nothing against that. If they are shooting 20 rounds at an elk 800 yards away hoping for a hail marry round to connect, id have an issue…

              I think we as hunters need to stick together, there are too many people out there that want to outlaw what we do already. Do we really need to be fighting and bickering amongst ourselves?




              •  
                Pat

                Jason, you hit the nail on the head!! We as hunters need to stick together and help teach each other rather than shoot each other in the foot! Long range hunting is great for those who take the time to practice and verify their ranges and prove that they and their weapon can reach their desired target. That being said it is the same for bow hunters and muzzleloaders too. Don’t shoot beyond your capabilities!! The same goes for your choice in ammo or broadhead. You need to choose wisely and use tools that will kill the animal cleanly. The use of ballistic tips or mechanical broadheads on elk can sometimes kill the animal but on the other hand will more than likely wound an animal only for it to die an agonizing death later. As for the road hunter types well I got mad at a guy driving his truck into a huge meadow that I was hunting while 7 bulls were at the far end feeding my way. Of course the bulls heard the truck and scampered off into the woods but I was furious! I went to confront this man and as I was yelling and screaming the man in the truck rolled down his window and I saw he was wearing an oxygen mask….. Made me feel about 2 inches tall I tell you!! I guess what I’m trying to say is we all make mistakes but at the same time we need to learn from them and others without giving room for the libs to take advantage of them….




            •  
              G Kelsey

              You have to be a little careful there with those statements. There are many disabled people (Thousands of veterans) that cannot walk the 15 miles anymore. I have issued walking 500 feet sometimes. Then Trying to pack something that far would kill me. “Lazy slob hunting” may be all these people have left. I am lucky enough to have people who will drop me off on a 4 wheeler and pick me up later.




        •  

          Glen I sincerely appreciate you coming back for further comment. To be honest I was deeply disappointed in your early comments and found them to be quite hypocritical since your company markets it’s wares to long range hunters.

          I’ll pick up your point about not knowing many experts that always hit that first cold bore shot. I agree.

          I also know a great many “average hunters” who more often than not fail to make that first cold bore shot at ranges well under 200 yards but that certainly does not stop them from year after year attempting to do so with the same disastrous results year after year.

          I have the utmost respect however for hunters that always respect their own limitations and that of their gear who strive year after year to improve their skill set and improve the quality of their equipment to enable them to expand that range at which they are completely confident they can make that quick, clean, and humane kill.

          Thank you again for coming back for further comment.




      •  
        Clay L Hamann

        No Jacob, that is just ego getting in the way of a good decision.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      Glen, as an owner of several Eberlestock packs I’m happy to hear your opinions on this issue are the same as mine.

      At the risk of going off-topic, I’d also like to thank you for a great product. Three years ago I was in a serious accident and nearly lost both of my legs. Now, when I head afield, I have to use hiking sticks for balance and support, meaning I don’t have hands free to carry my rifle. Thank God for my Eberlestock pack! It allows me to carry my rifle out of the way, yet still readily accessible when I need it.




    •  
      Ron Hansen

      Glen – thank you. As a retailer for your brand I appreciate you standing up on issues like this. We owe it to the heritage of hunting, the animals and ourselves/children to conduct ourselves in a manner that shows that we have integrity, compassion and honor the sport of fair-chase hunting. Thanks again for choosing to put yourself front-and-center on this issue that will balloon in the future.




  6.  
    Dorran L

    I have been successfully elk hunting for over 30 years, long enough to see the evolution of long range shooting. As a youngster my dad stressed practice and follow-up, we practiced yearlong and humped up the hill even when we were positive we missed. Most hunters don’t practice enough at closer ranges and the facilities for long range practice are few, thus they rely on the gunsmith to build them a gun which allows them to do what they couldn’t do on their own accord.

    The lazy hunter is my biggest concern with the new technology allowing for extreme long range shots. The lazy hunter doesn’t practice enough, isn’t in good enough shape and doesn’t take the time to understand the ballistics and the impacts of elevation, angle of shot, wind and temperature and therefore makes poor decisions or relies too heavily on technology and luck. They don’t understand that a bullet travelling 1000 yards will not maintain the energy to put the animal down on a marginal shot and now the “hunter” has a choice. Will they walk around the head of the canyon and spend the next hour getting over to where the animal was? Will they even be able to recognize the location an hour later when they finally hump over there? The lazy hunter made his choice before setting foot in the field.

    In the field I have found wounded animals in which the “hunter” did not drop the animal within their sight and did not follow-up and see if the shot was good. The potential for long range shooters, relying heavily on technology to give a black eye to all hunters is great. With all the scrutiny and attacks from anti-hunting groups its a black eye we really can’t afford to have.




    •  
      Jacob Bailey

      Who’s to say these wounded animals weren’t shot at 100 yards.




      •  
        Dorran L

        They actually were shot at a reasonable range (under 500 yrds, one less than 200 yrds) by someone to lazy to follow-up which was my point. It really had nothing to do with whether or not I agree with or disagree with long range shooting at game but with my concern that the lazy hunter who wouldn’t practice enough to be a good shot at ranges which were considered long 20 years ago is the same idiot who won’t practice or follow-up when shooting over 500 yrds now and will rely too heavily on technology and too little on their knowledge and ability because they are too lazy to do anything else.
        Additionally, the taking of game at long ranges seams to bring out the competitive nature of people compounding the issues with long range shooting. The range which I am comfortable shooting at an elk in a hunting situation is substantially further than that of my hunting partner and much further than many people can effectively shoot. Even though I am comfortable with long range shots, I would prefer to have my bow in my hand as the rush of being 30 yrds from a bugling bull is hard to match. I still feel there are too many people who are willing to pop a shot that shouldn’t even be taking the safety off b/c they didn’t prepare prior to the shot.




        •  
          Jacob Bailey

          I agree with you 100% on this. A guy who buys a $5000 dollar long range rifle setup and takes it out to shoot a deer without EXTENSIVE practice is no different than someone who shoots 200 yards with a factory rifle if they have never practiced the shot, or a bow hunter who takes a 60 yard shot they have never taken before. It’s the easy opportunity for laziness and disregard for ethics of hunting provided by long range rifles that put people off to long range hunting. I do believe that some people feel that it is “not fair” that their hunt ends when they can’t close within 400 yds and the long range rifle hunter who has practiced years for the extra tool he has can end the hunt successfully. Its all in the thrill of the chase. Like you, for me it’s the bow in my hand and the game up close and personal, but it is also thrilling to take a long range shot on game when you are positive it’s a kill shot. It’s another form of a successful hunt and we should not look down on it.




    •  
      Jeremy

      I disagree, now yes the weekend warrior hunter out on a rifle hunt may not have a clue what energy their bullet is producing at 1000 yards, but a true hunter that knows his equipment and his or hers maximum effective range can take a game animal with very ethical efficiency at any range with any equipment. I think this discussion should be more about knowing your equipment and spending the time needed to be proficient. I am a archer and have taken deer, elk, antelope, cyotes, bears at ranges as close as 10 yards. I am very proud of the skills i have learned to accomplish this. I am also a long range hunter that has taken deer, elk, antelope, bears, cyotes at ranges even out to 1000 yards (all 1 shot kills with rifle and bow). One thing i can promise you is that making a 1 shot kill past 400 yards without relying on luck is a very difficult thing to do and requires much more than to buy the newest equipment. My goal on any hunt is to enjoy the hunt, give the game i am hunting the respect they deserve, and make the most efficient kill shot possible. This is hunting. Anyone can go out and shoot at something with a bow or long range rifle but that does not make them a hunter




  7.  
    Dale E

    are we hunting or assasinating them animals




  8.  
    Billy F

    I do like to go long range hunting but that is only for prairie dogs. When it comes to big game hunting my longest shot is 400 yards all my other shots have been 150 to 60 yards. I practice on compete on long range shooting and do well enough to get a ribbon every now then and I do believe it has made me a better shot. I love feeling you get on making your stalk and taking your time to get as close as possible. As hunters what do we consider long range for me in Nevada 300 and below is acceptable by most but for West Virgina anything over 75 yards might be.




    •  
      Jacob Bailey

      So big game deserve “fair chase”, and prairie dogs don’t?




      •  

        Prairie dogs (or any small game) are no less deserving of ethical, humane kills than big game.

        I would say that, with an animal as small as a PD, any hit, even with a small caliber at great distance, will result in a quick kill. The same cannot be said of shooting a large animal.

        At long ranges, a prairie dog hit by a slow moving 20 grain .17 caliber bullet will die very quickly. An elk hit by a slow moving, 180 grain, .30 caliber bullet will be injured and if it dies, it will probably suffer for a long time before.

        IMHO. I could be wrong.




  9.  

    Thanks for the chance to get this out there for discussion. The long range “hunting” shows fall right into the hands of the anti-hunters. There is no hunting involved when shooting a big game animal at 600-1200 yards and then showing the results on a taped television show. Granted, you are an outstanding shot, and I give you credit for that, but you are not a hunter. You are a shooter. I consider myself a pretty good shot, but will not consider a shot over 400 yards, and the situation has to be perfect for me to consider that, and yes I use a range finder. Since the long range rage hit several years ago I have had this same argument many times. Take your equipment and challenge yourself and others at the range, but do not tout yourself as a responsible hunter. You are nothing but a very good shooter.




  10.  

    Those that can do! Those who can’t bad mouth the doer’s. It takes dedication in the form of hundreds of hours on the range, hundreds if not thousands of rounds down range, and usually thousands of $$. If your not that dedicated then it is not for you! That’s okay, but don’t complain about those of us that are that dedicated.




    •  
      Clay L Hamann

      Rick, you are letting your ego control your actions. I own a custom rifle with a 25 inch Shilen super match grade barrel that will shoot one hole groups all day. It is fun to shoot at long range. But when I hunt, it is usually with an old Winchester M88 in .308. If I can’t hold the crosshair on the animal, I don’t shoot, I get closer. There are things that are a lot worse than not filling your tag. We are not at war with the game animals we hunt, and they deserve the respect of those who choose to hunt.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      Rick, you and Jacob Bailey both seem to be under the illusion that this debate is somehow over marksmanship. It’s not.

      While some have cited objections based upon sloppy shooting and failure to follow up on wounded animals, I think most of us here who oppose long-range shooting feel that way because it simply violates the spirit of the hunt. It dishonors our quarry.

      Many people who have posted on this topic, and I include myself in that group, are fine marksman capable of making those 500+ yard shots. But we don’t. And if you don’t understand why, then I feel sorry for you … and for our sport.




  11.  

    Good Dialog.

    I fall to fair chase side of the discussion and I do very much enjoy long range shooting…however, not at animals.

    My question is, at what distance does fair chase end for the rifle hunter?




  12.  

    Man has been extending the range at which he could effectively take game since the invention of the spear.

    From there we progressed to the atlatl and bow. You can bet his neighbors thought he’d developed an unfair advantage over the game they were both competing for.

    I got introduced to long range shooting as a kid on the Llano Estacado sooting prairie dogs and coyotes with an open sight Mossberg .22LR my granddad had bought in the forties. In the early seventies I graduated to a .17 Rem wearing a bushnell scope with a BDC compensating turret.

    That was followed by a 700bdl Rem in 7mm Rem Mag with the same scope.

    Before I ever joined the service I was quite experienced at taking game and coyotes out to 500yds and PD’s out to 350-400.

    There was no “ethical question” about it. I’d made the same transition early man had at extending is range and developed the skill set to so so quite effectively.

    Reading the comments here it’s obvious most of you have little or no experience at shooting beyond 250yds much less beyond 500.

    For those who have tried those longer shots you quickly learned that at long range misses are generally measured in feet and not inches so the odds of an animal getting away cleanly are much higher than at closer ranges where those misses are measured in inches and animals run off then to slowly die, eventually be killed by trailing predators, or simply wasted becoming fertilizer.

    I spent a lot of time on public gun ranges as well as military gun ranges so I understand why most people shooting at even 250yds have little chance of hitting a game animal much less delivering a clean killing shot.

    An antelope or sheep can spot you easily at over a thousand yards. A deer can smell you at a half mile and all three can hear you moving unless you have very good stalking skills at between a half mile or mile.

    If you are sitting quietly in a blind wearing scent blocker or using bait and/or attractants it doesn’t matter if the animal is fifty yards or 500yds away you are using technology to give you a decided advantage over the game being sought.

    I’ve killed game animals at five, fifty, five hundred yards and beyond. Doing so requires different equipment and different skill sets but we are all employing modern tech to give us a decided advantage over the game we seek unless we’re out there in buckskins chasing them down and killing them with knives and clubs.

    On a recent sporting show in Papua New Guinea I watched the natives hunting “the old fashioned way”. They spotted a sloth like creature in a tree so they chopped the tree down and then clubbed the poor beast to death. It was a stomach churning event to watch even for myself but there was no ethical question for me. It was game, they sought it, found it, and killed it with the tools they had to put meat on the table.

    I’m no advocate of idiots flinging Hail Mary shots “hoping to get a hit”, but whether your equipment and skills limit you to achieving a clean kill at 5yds or a 1,000yds the goal is the same and the onus is on each hunter to ensure that they are not exceeding either their capabilities or that of their gear.

    There are times when I will not take a shot at 100yds because the conditions are not right, but there are also times when I’m perfectly confident in taking shots at 1,000yds when the conditions are right because I’ve spent a lifetime and a small fortune learning to shoot consistently at long range and equipping myself with rifles and scopes that enable me to achieve sub MOA consistency at those ranges.

    I’ve also made a career of the hunting business as a guide and outfitter and before any client is allowed to shoot with a rifle, they are going to demonstrate their abilities and I will limit them to ranges at which they show competency. There have been but a handful over the years I’d give the OK for a shot beyond 250yds but those that show their competency beyond it are welcome to do so.

    When I see someone do things I’m not capable of and doing it with ease, I applaud them, I don’t judge them as somehow acting in an unfair or unsporting manner.

    Articles like these harm us all by putting us at odds with one another. which is exactly what the anti gun and anti hunting communities would like to do.

    I’d suggest that many of you should reconsider your judgements upon your fellow hunters.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      Wildrose, you wrote a pretty lengthy comment, but I’d like to address the point you made in your last few sentences regarding judging other hunter’s actions and “putting us at odds with with one another:.

      I believe that we SHOULD judge other hunters actions and hold them accountable for behavior that could potentially harm our image.

      To the non-hunting public (and this includes anti-hunters), a hunter-is-a-hunter; they don’t distinguish between the hard-working, ethical hunter who strives to follow the rules of Fair Chase, and the slob hunter who cruises the back roads hunting out of the back of his pickup and throws beer cans out the window.

      I have heard non-hunting friends and colleagues express disdain for what they feel is the unfair advantage that modern firearms give to hunters. I personally don’t believe this is true as it applies to the average hunter, but I honestly can’t defend the practice of shooting at animals 5 – 10 footballs fields away, regardless of the shooter’s skill. It simply isn’t “hunting” by any definition of the word, and adds fuel to the fire of the anti-hunter’s arguments against us.




      •  

        Actually by the literal definition of the word it is “hunting”.

        hunt·ing
        ˈhən(t)iNG/
        noun
        noun: hunting; noun: plain hunting; plural noun: plain huntings

        1.
        the activity of hunting wild animals or game, especially for food or sport.
        2.
        Bell-ringing
        a simple system of changes in which bells move through the order in a regular progression.

        ull Definition of HUNTING
        1
        : the act of one that hunts; specifically : the pursuit of game
        2
        : the process of hunting
        3
        a : a periodic variation in speed of a synchronous electrical machine
        b : a self-induced and undesirable oscillation of a variable above and below the desired value in an automatic control system

        hunting
        noun (Concise Encyclopedia)

        Pursuit of game animals, principally as sport. To early humans hunting was a necessity, and it remained so in many societies until recently. The development of agriculture made hunting less necessary as a sole life support, but game was still pursued in order to protect crops, flocks, or herds, as well as for food. Weapons now commonly used in hunting include the rifle, shotgun, and the bow and arrow, and methods include stalking, still-hunting (lying in wait), tracking, driving, and calling. Dogs are sometimes employed to track, flush, or capture prey. … .

        As I stated in my original post and as this thread has shown, these types of articles do nothing but aid those who would seek to have our sport outlawed by pitting hunters against hunters.

        No matter what the range I will not pull the trigger if I’m not 100% confident I will successfully bring an animal down. I’ve hunted since 1969 and to this day have never failed to recover any medium or large game that I have shot.

        I have however as a professional been forced to spend countless hours in attempting to recover deer, turkey, hogs, and Elk shot by others, and shot poorly at ranges those who are so loudly denigrating long range hunters would find perfectly acceptable.

        Everyone seems to have a different idea of what long range is, mostly based on their own shooting abilities and experience.

        At least 90% of the wounded animals I have had to track down for people were shot at under 150yds and the overwhelming majority were shot at 60yds or less.

        I can easily make a sound argument that bowhunting is “unethical” solely based on the number of cripples that run off to die slowly or the simple fact that we have much more modern ways of ensuring a clean quick kill every time. That however is not my place, nor my purpose.

        People enjoy the challenge of taking game with a bow just like people enjoy the challenge of shooting game with a rifle at 300, 500, or at yardages beyond that. As long as we each are not exceeding our reach, our skill level, and the capabilities of our equipment and following the applicable laws we are acting “ethically”.

        There is a far greater test of skill in shooting at long range than their is i sitting in a blind with your scent masked, hunting over bait as an unsuspecting animal comes in to grab that last extra bit of nutrition hoping to carry them through the winter. That does not make the latter hunter any less ethical than the former and both are using every means and advancement in technology at their disposal in the pursuit of their chosen game.

        We need to quit attacking one another and join together with mutual respect to educate others and bring them into the sport, not attempt to drive people away from it, and nothing drives people away like nasty internal squabbling amongst those already participating.

        I sincerely ask and encourage many of you to rethink your position and the views you express on this topic.




        •  
          Ken Anderson

          Wildrose, you seem like an intelligent and thoughtful fellow, and apparently you have a fair amount of hunting experience.

          My primary objection to long-range shooting is how it is perceived by the non-hunting public. It has been my personal experience in talking with non-hunters that they do not support that kind of activity because they feel that it is unfair to the animals to be shot at ranges beyond where their natural defenses (hearing, smell, sight) can protect them.

          Hunters only make up about 10% of the population, which means we are allowed to pursue our passion only if the other 90% of the population allows it; hunting is not a constitutional right, it is a privilege that can be taken away at any time with thru the power of the ballot box.

          You call for us to avoid internal squabbling and band together. That is generally good advice. However, that does not mean that we have to close our eyes to conduct that we believe might endanger the future of our sport. It is my belief that long-range hunting is hurting our image in the public’s eye, and that’s why I’m against it.




          •  

            I have no problem with those who wish to engage in a reasoned discussion on the subject at all. I didn’t get where I am today by not asking questions and observing people who knew far more about a wealth of subjects than I do/did. That is how reasoned men can come to informed and intelligent opinions vs simply lashing out with little thought and less real information.

            Our sport is under attack every day and the anti hunters, just like the anti gunners are quite happy to take a bite here and there slowly eating the pie vs gobbling the whole thing down in one gulp.

            When they finish with the long range hunters the next will be the scoped rifle hunters, and then the open sight rifle hunters, then the muzzle loader, flintlock, bow and next thing you know the only legal means by which to take game will be with a sharp stick; but only providing you don’t throw it!

            Of course once it gets to that point it will be decided that killing in such a manner is simply cruel and barbaric and it too must be Banned!

            I’m reminded of the NRA film that came out back in the late sixties/early seventies on the future of hunting. In it the only hunting that remained legal was by draw only, for a specific square yard of ground. You had to take an arduous course in wildlife science just to qualify for the draw to begin with and if you got that lucky once in a lifetime tag you were given one hour at midday to “hunt” and you were escorted to and from the field by a game warden who kept the one bullet you were allowed until it was time to shoot. Of course it was up to him to decide whether or not the animal that walked by qualified as “legal”.

            The answer is not attacking our fellow hunters it is in educating each other and the public.

            I’m right there with you on some of the hunting programs that make it look like any fool can just pick up a custom rifle with a custom scope in a custom caliber and fling a 6mm slug 820yds to make a perfect one shot kill on an elk. I’m even more turned off when they slip up and let us see the fact that there’s evidence it took quite a few shots to put the animal out of it’s misery while bragging about the “one shot kill”.

            Those people absolutely harm us all and take away from the years of dedicated study and practice not to mention the thousands of dollars (bullets) sent down range as a hunter/shooter builds their knowledge base and skill so that in the even that long shot does appear and it’s all you’ve got, you can take that shot with confidence in a clean, efficient, humane kill.

            After leaving the service the first time I went to college and as an elective I figured to pad my GPA with I took archery.

            I borrowed a friends Bear Super Kodiak II (70lbs draw if I remember right) and by the end of the course (I already had considerable experience with a bow from my youth) I got to where I could consistently at 50 yards easily fill a 4″ circle with arrows and not worry about a miss.

            However from my own experience with bow hunters I knew that no matter how well you hit them, most animals were going to run a considerable distance and die only after bleeding out slowly over the span of several minutes or more. I found that distasteful and even though I felt fully competent with the bow I decided I’d stick to target shooting with one and that’s it.

            I don’t judge bow hunters as being less ethical or more barbaric, they just enjoy the challenges of bow hunting like I enjoy the challenges of shooting quail in heavy cover or shooting predators and game at any range I feel competent based on the current conditions. There are lots of days when even a 200yds shot is out of the question due to the wind just as there are quite a few days when I’m full confident at ranges far beyond that.

            We each find our niche as hunters. I have friends that are masters of everything from the bow to the long range rifle. I admire those men and women, I’m not jealous of them nor will I hold them in disdain for their primitive weapons hunting even though we all know they have a far better chance of a clean one shot kill with the rifle.

            Humans are predators, it is written into the very DNA that makes us human. We need to remember that ourselves and educate others who express any interest in sharing our sport.

            Denigrating our fellow hunters does nothing to further our cause.




            •  
              Ken Anderson

              Whew, that was quite the dissertation! I’ll just make a few comments.

              Regarding the motives of the anti-hunters: There’s no doubt that they would like to end all hunting as we know it. However, I can’t agree with your slippery-slope argument when you imply that putting limitations on hunting technology (such as ultra long-range shooting) will weaken our sport. I think the opposite is true: that having NO limitations on technology is the real threat.

              Let’s use muzzleloaders for example: Back when the states first started adopting muzzleloading seasons, the guns in popular use were essentially replicas of 19th century weapons. They had limited accuracy and, hence, limited range. The states agreed that because of these inherent limitations they deserved a season separate from their modern rifle counterparts.

              Now let’s go to today: hunters are going afield with muzzleloading rifles that employ in-line loading, shotshell primers for ignition, pelletized powder, sabotted bullets, and high-power optics. They are capable of accuracy equal to or better than the modern rifles that were in common use when the original muzzleloader seasons were established. Far from being a “primitive weapon” they are now efficient, long-range killing instruments. I know for a fact that because of this many state wildlife agencies are seriously reconsidering the justification for a separate muzzleloader season, and many states have already shortened the existing seasons due to the higher success/kill ratios these improved weapons are achieving.

              Next topic:

              I am not familiar with the NRA film you cited, but I had to smile when I read your description of it. It sounds very similar to how hunting is conducted in Europe today!

              During my military career I spent four years stationed in Germany. Soon after arriving I enrolled in the hunting course that would allow me to hunt there. This course was two weeks long (10 days), which is much longer than the typical American Hunter Ed. course, but nothing compared to the extensive training the Germans had to undergo. It was common for it to take 18 – 24 months for them to complete the training required so they could earn their Jagdshein (German hunting license).

              Hunting in Germany was quite an experience, and really made it clear to me how lucky we are here in the U.S. A typical day’s hunt in Germany was not all that different that what you described from the film: I would meet up with the Forstmeister (game officer), who would then take me out to the stand we would hunt from. He would tell me exactly which animals I could shoot and which I could not, including the size of animal I was allowed to shoot. If an animal of the “approved” species came within range he would look it over with binoculars and only then tell me if I had permission to shoot. I have to admit that it was pretty frustrating to have a large buck walk past only to be told I had to wait for something smaller!

              Next topic:

              You say you were able to consistently hit a 4″ circle from 50 yds with a 70# recurve bow? You must be related to Howard Hill! I have been a traditional bowhunter for over 40 years and am a much better shot than most, but I’m not that good. I’m not saying you’re lying, I’m just saying that you must have a lot of natural talent. I’ve known a few guys who were that good, but not many.

              Bottom line: Wildrose, I think we can both agree that the biggest threat to hunting is ourselves and how we conduct ourselves not just in the field, but in public.

              Like you, I watch hunting shows on TV and the vast majority make me sick to my stomach. What’s worse, is that for most of the non-hunting public, these TV shows are their only exposure to hunting. When they watch those shows they naturally assume that is the way that all hunters behave. You and I know that nothing could be further from the truth – but the damage is being done. I encourage everyone reading this comment to think about writing to the sponsors of some of these shows (the bad ones) and let them know you don’t approve of the message they are sending out. Without sponsorship, these shows can’t survive.




              •  

                The Bow was a Bear Super Kodiak II, a modern (for that era)compound bow with modern sights etc.

                I too was stationed in Europe off and on during my career and I too was exposed to the German System.

                I do not ever want anything similar forced on us in this country.

                There are two ML’s on the market that can be considered competent medium range weapons and both of them are smokeless ML’s.

                Most states are dealing with that issue by limiting their ML seasons to those using only black powder or BP substitutes.

                To ignore the slippery slope is to ignore the last 40 years of animal rights and anti gun activism in the US.




  13.  
    Jeremy

    Well said wildrose




  14.  
    Ray Davidson

    This debate is far from over. How about we all agree on this; No hunter should ever under any circumstances, with any weapon take a shot unless he or she is so well practiced as to be sure it will be a clean and safe kill, all things considered.




  15.  
    Steve J

    This echoes my comments to those who think hitting a game animal at extreme range somehow constitutes “hunting”. I use the same term “shooter” in place of “hunter” for those individuals. Excellent article!




  16.  
    Kevin S.

    One point everyone seems to be missing, is at extreme ranges, it takes a couple seconds for the bullet to arrive. In that time, the animal could take a step and the shot may now hit a non-vital area. I would compare this to the same scenerio with archery. You may be fully competant out to 100 yards with a bow but taking a shot at that distance in not ethical as in the time it takes for the arrow to reach the animal it could move and you would miss or worse, make a bad shot.

    This principle doesn’t apply with a rife at reasonable distances but when you’re talking 1,000 yards, the bullet does not get there instantaneously. We owe it to our animal to strive for a clean, one-shot kill everytime. Extnending the range to extreme distances simply is too risky and as others have pointed out, this is just shooting, not hunting.




    •  
      Jeremy

      “A couple seconds for the bullet to get there” this is a very uniformed statement from make a comment about what a person does not understand. A couple seconds for a bullet to get their i assume is 2(couple) seconds, either this bullet would be very slow muzzle velocity or the range would be 1500+yards. My rifle (7mm rem mag) shooting 175gr bullet, at 1000 yards time of flight is 1.2sec. Producing 1500+ft/lbs of kinetic energy. Yes it takes my bullet a little over a second to get there but a second is very fast, I will put a bullet in the kill zone just as efficiently at 1000yrds as most weekend warrior Hunter’s can at 100. And have a way more ethical wound channel due to lower velocity allowing All of the energy produced by the bullet to be expended in the vital kill zone instead of just penciling through and leaving little more than a hole that the game hopefully bleeds from as it is running away




    •  

      You should spend some time with a ballistics calculator.

      Look at flight times for a 300 RUM pushing 210’s and compare it to an arrow fired from a modern compound bow at 70yds.

      Run some numbers and tell us at what point the flight time or the arrow is shorter than that of the bullet.




  17.  

    Long range shooting at a living game animal is a stunt. Riding a wheelie in traffic on a motorcycle going sixty m.p.h. in a thirty-five mile zone is a stunt. Dropping your kindergartner off four blocks away from school in a bad neighborhood, because she’s tough and knows where she is going, is a stunt. An NBA team taking all of it’s shots from half court is a stunt. Juggling your plates, glasses, bowls, knives and forks in a fine restaurant, not at a circus, is a stunt…. Some stunts you just don’t ever do. Oh, you say you practice, practice, practice, have the latest, best .75 caliber rifle, the best 20-80x100mm computerized scope on the market, you’ve got NOAA weather reports, NASA launch information, FAA clearance, what the hell you got it all ‘dialed’ in. You might even practice until the cows come home and you are the acknowledged “Best shot in the county”, at a certain point not only physics, but ethics and common sense must be taken into consideration. You blow the jaw off, gut or ass shoot an elk, antelope, mountain sheep or deer, just to show you can make that 897 yard shot, you are a slob hunter. What the hell, you’ve already made plenty of 600 and 700 yard shots. Your goal is that magical 1000 yard shot, then that long sought after 1200 yard shot is sure to follow. “Why I made that shot at an even mile. Had to shoot over a shopping mall and an elementary school, but I dropped that buck’s dick in the dirt I tell you.” I’m fifty seven years old. I’ve hunted with hunters and I’ve hunted with shooters. You’ll find me hunting with shooters, and slobs, one time.




  18.  
    Jeremy

    Hunting with any weapon by any body that does not know his or her equipment, is not well practiced and disciplined, and is not a consistent “shooter” is a stunt. Yes as hunters it is our obligation to be great “shooters” and to know and hunt within our effective range. The distance at which a game animal is harvested is a personal choice that all of us have the obligation to only attempt at known effective range. If you are a hunter and do not consider yourself a shooter you should not be hunting at any range




  19.  
    Joe

    This entire thread has been frustrating for me to read. I believe that if I met most of the posters in person, I would come away with some feelings in common regarding being a hunter. You would be people I would look out for until my instincts proved false. I too am concerned with the public impression of hunters.
    I get frustrated with what I see on TV, the stars of today, full time professional hunters, going from one state to another, shooting game that has been pre-scouted with direct radio trail cameras. I cringe watching girls in short shorts hog-tying a screaming boar in a corral, with four dogs attached to its head. We could have pages of debate about high fence, but for those who have been to South Africa, did you not see the fences?
    I have gone through the typical evolution of a hunter, first just wanting to get out and see game, then wanting to fill the tag, then a trophy etc. I have been a bowhunter for 30 years, going from a Bear recurve through the archery evolution to my current Hoyt Spyder. I have finally reached the place when I don’t need to fill the tag and most often don’t.
    I am also in the process of developing the hunting career of my first grandson, trying to share the experience and ethics of those who came before. We are talking about respect for the animal and its sacrifice, which includes only taking one shot kills. We have good discussions about game laws and integrity and read Beyond Fair Chase together.
    I also own a “long range rifle” which I have taken training on for over a year to develop my understanding of what I can and cannot accomplish ethically. I always thought that I was much better than average as a shooter, but found that under hunting conditions practiced in the field, my limit is about 500 yards, prone. I purchased the rifle to assist in hunting Coues deer in Mexico, where try as I might to get closer, 500 yards seems to be as close as I can get. As much as I enjoy the long hours glassing and hiking in Mexico to finally get that one shot at a nice buck, I am now disappointed to find out that I am not a hunter. I am reluctant to tell all my Coues hunting friends the same thing.
    We will all have our personal feelings about what is good or bad for the heritage of hunting, based upon our personal experience and beliefs. The topics I mentioned above are examples. So is Ted Nugent. Is he good or bad for hunting? Can we afford to have outspoken people who don’t exactly agree with our experience? Ours is a big country with many subtleties of culture and they don’t always agree.
    Having said all of this, I would hope that if I saw any of you in a sporting goods store, looking at hunting equipment, there would be some acknowledgement of shared beliefs. If we subdivide all the hunters into preference groups who can’t stand each other, we don’t have a prayer.




  20.  
    Don

    The definition of long range and ethics resides with the individual. The last two elk harvested with two of my maximum effective range hunting rifles had prior wounds caused by previous hunters. One elk had a 6” arrow shaft lodged next to the spine. The last elk had what appeared to be a 6.5 or 7mm jacket next to a hind quarter bone. The elk with the hind quarter wound was in the vicinity of where a group of running elk were shot at earlier in the day. What would be considered more ethical for the purposes of hunting, the two elk quickly harvested within maximum “long range” effective range or the shot by the arrow or by the hunter causing the hind quarter wound? Bad shot placement is bad shot placement regardless of the method of the hunt. Is bad shot placement ethical hunting? I’ve seen more animals lost when shot less than 200 yards than over 600 which currently resides at zero.

    The argument has been made both are not ethical hunting. So where does this leave the hunting community? Long range hunters even with good shot placement time after time are not ethical, short range hunters who have made bad shot placement are not ethical. And to continue, short range hunters are the only hunters who can close the distance making their hunting pictures and memories and stories acceptable with anything else considered just shooting at the range. Grouping one form of legal hunting into a batch of unethical practice does nothing but divide conservation efforts. Responsibility with all forms of hunting should be the focus thus preserving the future of hunting. Lastly, equating military ethics with hunting ethics is a lose lose debate. Each has their own separate ethics and should not be compared with one another.




  21.  
    patriley916

    Heres my problem if i shoot to far im not hunter if i sit on corn im not a hunter. Tell you what you do what you want to do and ill do what i want to do. In the end we all have to live with decisions we make while engaged in hunting/shooting/killing. And as far looking bad to anti hunters dont worry we look bad enough to each other. Side note i small game hunt and enjoy more than big game and in europe its been a practice for a long time to use long poles to poke at a nest and then shoot what comes out to me that isnt hunting it may be providing food for the family but not hunting.




  22.  
    Ken Anderson

    There seem to be two camps here:

    Camp “A” thinks that long-range hunting is bad because it increasing the chance of wounding an animal and possibly not being able to recover it, plus not being “ethical” in that it doesn’t give the animal a fair chance to evade the hunter.

    Camp “B” believes that as long as the shot is within of their (and their equipment’s) capabilities and they are sure of making a killing shot, then distance should not be a limiting factor.

    I am personally in Camp “A”, but I would like to ask a question of the Camp “B” crowd: Is there a point where a shot is just “too far”? What I mean is this: 20 years ago few rifles (or shooters) were capable of shooting accurately beyond 500 yards. Today, thanks to increases in rifles, ammo, and optics, 500 yards is almost a chip-shot and many commenters on this site have stated that they are capable of making killing shots at twice that range.

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that in the coming years we’ll see rifles capable of shooting a full mile – and maybe even beyond that – with deer-killing accuracy. Do you still consider that ethical? Is your only criteria for “fair chase” the ability to make a killing shot, even if there’s no actual “hunting” involved?

    How are you going to explain to a non-hunter that this kind of “hunting” gives an animal any chance of survival once a hunter somewhere in the next county lines up the crosshairs on it?

    I hope I’m wrong, but I think this trend is going to put our sport in jeopardy because it will undermine the support that we desperately need from the non-hunting public.




    •  

      I consider a shot to be too far when the conditions present are such I’m not completely confident of making it with the equipment at hand.

      We are in the field to kill game unless you are a strict photographer who likes stalking up to take pictures.

      Is it more ethical to drive game with dogs till they run terrifed from cover only to be shot by a hunter standing there with a shotgun than it is to end one’s life peacefully as they are having a snack in the middle of a green wheat field never knowing they were in danger?

      Is far chase about taking game in a humane manner or is it about taking game in a manner that makes you feel like they had a better chance of getting away than being killed?

      Am I less ethical for hunting on a day that the wind is over 30mph and positioning myself downwind of the food plot I know a deer is going to come waltzing into or for laying in wait and shooting a deer who is just as unaware of my presence who is standing 300yds away in the middle of an alfalfa patch?

      Is there something “unfair” about using cover scents? Range Finders? Sights on a bow? A compound vs a long bow or recurve?

      The problem with placing ethical judgements on our fellow hunters is that usually those judgements are made without a lot of thought or consideration.

      We have all advanced far beyond our ancestors who drove game off of cliffs or into traps and then clubbed them to death.




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        Wildrose said:
        “Is far chase about taking game in a humane manner or is it about taking game in a manner that makes you feel like they had a better chance of getting away than being killed?”

        Ken says:
        It’s not an either/or choice; It should be both!




        •  

          Ken if the game always has a better chance of getting away than being killed and you are carrying a weapon vs a camera it’s time to work on one’s skills or improve one’s equipment.




          •  
            Ken Anderson

            I disagree. If the game DIDN’T have a good chance to get away I wouldn’t feel like the hunt was challenging enough and I wouldn’t get nearly the sense of accomplishment that I feel on those occasions when I am able actually take an animal.

            For me, it’s about the challenge of the hunt more than anything else. That’s why 90% of my hunting is done with a longbow, even though I know that I am putting myself at a serious disadvantage by doing so.




            •  

              I can understand that. I however am there not only for the challenge but to fill my freezer. We eat wild game at least 300 days a year.

              I enjoy and have enjoyed the challenge of putting on a close stalk as well. Some of my best hunting grounds over the years have been in places so dense a 20yds shot was impossible.

              It poses a completely different set of challenges than long range hunting but of course both are still hunting.

              I understand the “thrill of the pursuit” and the adrenaline rush of just trying to get close but for many of us, no matter our means, method, or range at which we hunt the ultimate goal is to put meat i the freezer, not to simply engage in the pursuit.

              For most of my hunting honestly, the perfect deer hunt is one where I sit and watch lots of deer and hopefully other critters and never pull the trigger. That’s the pain of hunting medium and large game, as soon as you pull the trigger the fun is over and the work begins.

              But as the season comes to a close you can bet that I’m going to fill my tags by any legal means at my disposal because that’s what we live on in large part.




              •  
                Ken Anderson

                Wildrose:
                I honestly can’t argue with anything you said. Although I consider myself a dedicated bowhunter, the fact is that I also have a freezer to fill, and if the season is winding down and it’s still empty, I’m not too proud to set my bow aside and dust off my rifle. Heaven forbid that I have to resort to eating high fat, chemically-laden, store-bought beef. Yuck!!

                I think I’m done commenting on this topic. I’ve enjoyed the thoughtful and respectful exchange of opinions. I wish everyone a successful season – however it is that you define “success”.

                As for me, I’m out to try to fill my Idaho whitetail tag. It’s still unfilled and the pre-rut is heating up. And if I’m really lucky I might bump into a wolf!




    •  
      Don

      Great questions Ken and I wish more would ask these types of questions rather than making quick judgment. As for your comment that in the coming years we’ll see rifles capable of shooting a full mile with killing accuracy. Well those days are already here. I practice quite frequently out to a mile and beyond 2k with sufficient impact energy considered acceptable for big game harvests. It is not uncommon for first round shots to hit a target considered inside the vitals of a game animal. Would I consider taking such a shot on a big game animal at a mile or longer? No. Why? Under near ideal conditions shot percentage is around 50% or lower. It makes more sense, and justly for the animal, to position a hunting harvest shot with a very high percentage for success. My preference is to position myself in a hide similar to a bow hunter in a tree stand. Each hunting platform will provide a band of ranges where the hunter should have confidence to make good shot placement time and time again.

      My response to your next question, regardless of the range any animal with crosshairs lined up on it should have no chance for survival be it 1 yard or 1000 yards. The explanation to a non-hunter is that simple.

      Let me ask you this. If a bow hunter is sitting in a tree stand and a deer is unconcerned of his/her presence because of natural instinct of having no predators from the sky and shot percentage is estimated in the 90+% at 40 yards, why is this different than a hunter shooting from a hide at a deer unaware of his/her presence with shot percentage estimated in the 90+% at 800 yards?
      I understand the concerns of extended range shooting just as I understand the concerns of shooting at running game animals along with the concerns of the hunter taking only two sighter shots a year before heading to the field. Where does responsibility fit into the above?




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        Don, here is my response to your questions:

        First, you are correct to point out that whenever a hunter puts the crosshairs on an animal, it should be with the confidence that he is going to make a 100% killing shot. But that wasn’t really the point I was trying to make. I was trying to say that I don’t think it’s ethical to shoot an animal at distances far beyond where its natural senses are capable of detecting danger.

        My answer to your second question is related to the first.

        While accuracy with a bow at 40 yards may not be any better than a rifle at 400, I submit that even from a treestand, it is not easy to fool a deer at that distance. As someone who has spent a few days in treestands and ground blinds, I can assure you that I have busted MANY times by deer at that distance and even farther when the wind shifted, I accidentally “dinked” the arrow against the side of my bow, or the deer saw my movement when I started to draw.

        At 600, 800, or 1,000 yards, you are far beyond the deer’s ability to smell, hear, or see your movements (at least if you are making a reasonable attempt at stealth). Therefore, you have a distinct and, in my opinion, unfair advantage over your quarry.

        If simply killing an animal is your goal then you probably don’t care. But, I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”. Personally, I prefer to play the “game” where I feel that either side has a chance to win. It makes the victory that much sweeter, and the loses easier to accept.




        •  

          I’m sorry but this statement simply is not true.

          “At 600, 800, or 1,000 yards, you are far beyond the deer’s ability to smell, hear, or see your movements (at least if you are making a reasonable attempt at stealth). Therefore, you have a distinct and, in my opinion, unfair advantage over your quarry.”

          When glassing from high vantage points I have many times seen deer, antelope, and sheep wind, hear, or spot a hunter on the move from over a half mile away. Often I chuckle watching them disappear long before the “stealthy hunter” has caught the first clue they were present.

          The wild game we seek survives solely on it’s senses and they have had millions of years to develop those senses into incredible efficient early warning systems.

          The only places I’ve seen this to be untrue are places where those wild animals have had little or no pressure from hunters ever and of course on high fenced game ranches where arguably the animals are no long wild because they have become so accustomed to interacting with humans.

          A Long Range Hunter Moving to a good vantage point for a shot is just as likely to bust the game out of a draw or canyon as the close range hunter whom is moving to a similar vantage point to glass and much more likely to bust them out than a short range hunger who is already in his blind wearing cover scents, scent blockers,and/or using attractants that cause the game to abandon it’s senses in favor of satisfying the urge to breed.

          In both cases the hunter is using the available advancements in hunting technology to gain a decided advantage over their quarry.




        •  
          Don

          And now place an artificial blind around the stand to muffle sounds and mask movements. See where I’m going with this Ken. Does this change your game? Responsibility where does this fit in?




    •  

      You have a fair point here.

      “How are you going to explain to a non-hunter that this kind of “hunting” gives an animal any chance of survival once a hunter somewhere in the next county lines up the crosshairs on it?”

      Take them to the range hand them a rifle capable of making such a shot and give them six shells and let them try to hit the target.

      The answer will quickly become apparent.




  23.  
    Mike

    Traditional archery equipment, modern compound bows, mechanical broadheads, lighted nocks, rangefinders, muzzleloader, bolt action, semiauto, DIY public land, gratis tags, outfitters, luxery lodges, iron sights, handguns, modern scopes, cameras, and videography. P&Y, B&C, Safari Club. They have all been debated. It is what it is. Your choice. This debate wouldnt occur if it wasnt for technology, marketing, entertainment, and a blog on the internet allowing this to happen in last 5 days. Sent from my iPhone now back to the pursuit.




  24.  
    WapitiBob

    If the article was about ALL hunters not taking the time to be proficient, not taking the time to assess the shot before taking it, I would have been impressed. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.




  25.  
    Blitz Creek

    Theres 2 sides to this topic. Having the tool or equipment to perform the job and a person that can perform the job.I have spent a number of weekends assisting on pig hunts for an outfitter. I have seen a number of guys come in with a rifle package that is capable of killing a pig at 1000 yards. However the hunter is not. I have seen guys put 2-3″ groups at 1000 yards on paper only to shoot 3 foot high on a pig at 150 yards. I also watched video of that same gentleman kill a praire dog at 800 yards. So how accurate is a hunter. The situation is ever changing. How many of us have gotten buck fever before? or Elk Fever, pig fever. You can get it when you first spot a buck at 1000 yards or at 20 yards. So what is ethical, unfortunatley it is not possible to put a number on it. Me personally I have never taken a shot at an animal over 300 yards away. It can be argued i’ve not been offered the oppertunity but i can tell you I have passed on quite a few muleys in the 170 class or larger at more than 300 yards and have not taken the shot.

    Now to my biggest point of why i hate the long range rifle packages. I have access to 10,000 acres in Oregon where i have been putting in for 6 years to get a bull tag. When i finally got drawn, i drove up to the ranch from California only to come across 6 elk carcass through out the ranch. On any given year you would see 6-10 bull elk over 350″. This year however I didnt see any. After coming across the dead elk i noticed one thing. Only the head had been taken on a 3 of them, the others were cows but they all had bullet wounds. So i called fish and Game. they did there thing and eventually caught 3 kids in town that had long range weapons that had killed 8 elk and 6 deer during the archery season which had just closed. They found that the kids had two rifles built for long range shooting, i will leave the manufacturer nameless. What they were doing was driving around on public roads. Shooting animals at 900 or more yards (it was a competition) and than coming back at night to cut the heads off. I talked to another rancher in the area that said he had found animals with bullet wounds dead on his property including livestock that had’nt had there head removed. The kids later admitted to shooting at a number of animals and if they didnt see it go to the ground they didnt bother going in after it. So for this reason alone i believe that the long range rifle package has greatly helped the poacher more than anything. I understand not everyone with a long range rifle is a poacher, and the majority of them arent. But you have to admit it has made there job easier and are lives tougher.

    So if I was going to pass on an ethical number to my kids it would be 300 yards (once there old enough to learn to shoot). I am more than comfortable at that range however I am man enough to walk away from a 50 yard shot when shaking with buck fever. So to each his own when it comes to an ethical range. As for these so called “long range” hunting shows. There is no doubt in my mind that these guys are capable of pulling of those shots. But no one can argue the fact that the farther away you are the more likely of an error, so stop waiting for the animals to get farther away and braggin about your 900 yard shot from the road. So for respect for the animal get as close as you are comfortable to shoot.




    •  

      I have a similar story as well. It happened however on my first Antelope hunt in NM in 72 (I think) shortly after NM had a population recovered well enough to open hunting again.

      No long rage rifles, not laser range finders, just a dad with a son about my age sitting on a hill shooting into a herd constrained by a sheep fence after being run into a small trap.

      Half a dozen wounded animals including one yearling running around bawling with a front leg shot off.

      We drove 90 miles to find a game warden and get him to the ranch.

      The means with which to do such things has existed since the first repeater landed in the hands of a hunter.

      These kinds of sickening examples have been occurring for many decades.

      Even before repeaters buffalo hunters shooting long range black powder rifles were piling up hundreds of kills per day.

      Specialized modern long rage rifles are not the cause of such things.




  26.  

    Well hunting is a solitary sport, what you do or don’t do is up to you since nobody is watching, unless you post it on youtube! I been hunting big game for a long time now 50+years, where I currently live, a 75 yard shot is considered a long one! My feelings on this business of long range with regard to big game is mixed fine if you are skilled and practiced and want to carry all the needed gear to do so. I am the last person to tell somebody to do as I say, Its up to you and you alone nobody else, as for me I consider 300 yards to be about as far as my field shooting skills will allow and under some conditions less than half that, its just me, from my hunting journals, I kept one from day one, I have only recorded two shots at game past 300 yards, one was a miss, shot over, closer than I had thought the other one maybe the best shot I have ever taken in the field, I even had witnesses, I usually hunt alone. These days I am more interested in the meal at the table, than I was when younger, I come to think that the game we hunt and the fish we cast to deserve a bit more than we sometimes give to either.




  27.  
    C.Jay Rosenthal

    My son started shooting when he was about 5. He is 15 now and knows the ballistics of both of his rifles out to beyond 1000 meters. My wife taught my daughter to shoot at about 8. She is now 23 and builds her own drop charts for her rifle out to 500 meters. (My wife spent a year on the Marine Corps Rifle team-far east). We will not shoot beyond our skillset. We self-regulate and do not need any help from the elite class of hunting. This progressive idea of criticizing/restricting shooting distances will damage hunting in America by allowing the anti gun left to say: “See??? Even the great Guy Eastman thinks that there is no use for civilian ownership of deadly long range sniper rifles” This is fact and cannot be refuted. Yes, there are idiots that take unethical shots, always have been. Yes there are idiots that drive at dangerous speeds in their corvettes/hotrods, always have been, yes there are idiots that take unethical 80 yard shots with their ultra modern carbon fiber/titanium/unobtanium compound bows, always have been….should we only allow 20 yard shots from catgut and willow branches??? I will continue to shoot at distances within my skillset regardless of what the elite Zumbo/Metcalf/Eastmans/Eberlestocks of the gun world proclaim. I am done with compromises. I am done with Eastmans.




  28.  

    I have been shooting cence I was 12 and I started learning how to reload at the same age I am now 43 and I have been shooting for a long time and have spent countless hours and money learning to shoot long rang I have two rifles that I shoot with a 6dasher and a 7mm mag and I am very skilled in the long range shooting 1000 yards and I understand wind and spin drift.and the problem I have with all of these hunters that go and buy these long range guns is 90%of them don’t understand the wind and the effects it has on a bullet and the spin drift it don’t matter what kind of new tools they have they have to know the basics of long range shooting and spend hours and hours practicing before they try to shoot at anything over 300 yards and most of them won’t spend the time or money in amo to learn more about there rifle or pick a bullet that will give them the energy they need at longer ranges and that is what gives long range shooters a bad name. I am a fair Chas kinda guy I am a dedicated hunter in utah and I just took up bow hunting I muzzle load and rifle hunt and I love getting close to my game Wether it be deer or elk it is a rush. But I have killed a deer at 480 yards and I had a spotter watching with the spotting scope and the conditions were almost perfect it took one shot and a clean kill but all of my other deer and elk have been shot at 150 or less. I’m not trying to rain on any one’s parade I just fill like there are too many people that think they are long range shooter’s. Fair Chas is what I got tough as boy growing up and that’s the way it should be. There are some of us that are more efficient at longer ranges and I’m ok with that as long as you do it right and know what you are capable of doing and the conditions are right and pleas don’t shoot out of your comfort zone and you know what that is as a hunter we should all know are comfort zone have respect for the game and your self that’s what ethical hunting is about. And respect your fellow hunter’s as well




  29.  
    Ross

    So the Boone and Crockett people would then be defining hunting as throwing spears!? Because even at a 100 yard shot, the animal may not see you or smell you. I’ve taken elk at under 20 yards with my bow, they had no idea I was there. The animal has to be able to detect you for it to be defined as hunting? Is the B&C going to set a defined yardage for us? Once again, someone is out to tell us what is and is not hunting, holy cow!




  30.  
    emmett galloway

    go hunt the way you would like and stay legal.




  31.  
    C.Jay Rosenthal

    The arrogance of the bow hunters is disgusting…..When I blow the heart out of a whitetail doe at 100 yards in an alfalfa field, it wasn’t because I “fooled her senses, I moved as a ninja in a mall, I am one with the animals, I hunt my prey like Ishmeal slew the fowl of the air….” blah blah blah….She was looking right at me when I got out of the truck and slammed the freakin’ door shut, she took another bite of Montana’s finest and I dropped her.
    100 years ago there were folks attempting to drop game at 350 yrds with a 30-30. 100 years from now there will be folks trying to take game at 10,000 meters with the latest laser guided Chuck-Adams Rocket assisted triple cammed flux powered bow and they will be bitch*ng about the rifle shooters taking game at 100,000 meters.
    People, don’t shoot farther than your skillset allows. If you are confident that you can make an ethical shot at 1200 meters with your 300 grn A-Max in .338 L.M., then go for it.
    Now, having said that, quit giving the anti gun/anti hunting crowd freakin’ ammo to use against our own. Sheash people, get a grip.




    •  
      Pat

      C. Jay Rosenthal, brutha you hit the nail on the head! I have found far more wounded deer and elk from bow hunters then any type rifle hunter. Yes it happens I myself have lost animals. I once lost a great mule deer buck that I hit a little far back with a .243 at about 150 yards in the rain. It made me sick. I also had a cow elk in Washington State jump my string at 25 yards and I quit bow hunting after that. I have rifle hunted since I was 12 years old and I am now 53 so I have had some experience in the woods. I also reload and shoot hundreds of rounds every year. That being said I am a long range freak but I also know my capabilities along with my weapons capabilities. I will not shoot an animal at a distance I haven’t shot before and as far as wind I want it calm. A hunter needs to “know” without a doubt that he is capable of making the shot before even thinking about actually making it! I shoot balloons and targets past 1000 yards but my longest shot on a big game animal was across a canyon on a great bull elk, 625 yards. 1 shot with a Hornady 162 gr SST 7mm WSM and the elk hunched and took maybe 10 steps…. Like C. Jay said above we as hunters need to help each other not give the anti-hunters more fuel as we have enough problems in this day and age. Don’t forget to pass along your hunting heritage to the next generation!




  32.  
    james

    I like the idea that boone and crocket is not recognizing these kills,I believe we all need too stick together for our sport, but I also feel it gives an unfair advantage, but on the other hand I’m mainly a bow hunter.




  33.  
    davebennett@d-s.com

    Fair Chase to me means getting in range of the animals defenses, and fooling or outwitting those defenses to the point that you can make a clean humane kill. My farthest shot on big game was 408 yards, I think. The mule deer knew I was there. Could not close in, and my cover was grass to my ankles. My last kill was a large muley, just 10 days ago..from 180 yards. How many youtube videos do you see of the wounded animals that these longshot practices did not work out so well on? NONE. Try to tell me it never happens, I will quit listening. Long range TARGET shooting would be very satisfying, if you have the means. Also, how do you know from the next zip code over who is close to the animal? I can ghillie up and be 30 yards from what you are “hunting”; and you would never know I was there!! Your long range bullet could fragment and kill me!! I am also a bow hunter, I have had a lead doe step on my sleeve. Now that is hunting. I got banned from Shooters Forum (my old user name) for expressing these opinions. There are a lot of “shooters” out there that cannot hold their own in a discussion either, as evidenced in this blog. We live in a world that even our basest words (e.g. marriage) are being re-defined. You cannot marry your rifle, and you cannot call sniper shots from long distances fair chase or hunting. Finally, how would you like to read stories of these “hunts” that leave out the majesty and skill of the quarry? No real meat in that nut. Hunt or go home.




  34.  

    I was taught a very young age how to shoot and then learned from my Dad all the factors to take in when shooting a long distance. Practiced and when I got old enough to hunt it was then my decision on what I felt comfortable with. I was told by many at gun ranges that I had a great eye and feel for shooting, and I feel I do It’s relaxing to me very natural. I shot my first buck at 600+ yds while it was at a run right behind the shoulder and droppedit dead 1 shot. I wouldn’t be afraid to do it again if I felt comfortable with the shot. So I gurss you can say long range shooting is a go for me!




  35.  

    I am along range shooter and very skilled out to a 1000 yards and I have gone to the place I like to hunt and did some practice shooting across canyons and I found that what the wind is doing where you are sitting is not what is happening in the middle of the canyon the wind swelling around so you can’t predict where your bullet is going to hit so I leave my long rang to the shooting range not on the mountain all though I have taken a deer at 480 yards but the conditions were almost perfect and it was shooting up a ridge I all so had a spotter watching with a spotting scope and was telling me what the wind was doing. What the barometric pressure was and the timpitur so I could make the shot. It was a one shot clean kill. So I’m not totally against taking a long range shot under the right conditions. But I prefer to get closer to my game. What bothers me is the people that buy long rang rifles and don’t put the time in at the rang to learn everything that goes into long range shooting and they think they can make long range shots and all they do is wound a deer or a elk and they leave it to die a slow death cause they can’t find that animal or they can’t track it down or they think they didn’t hit it cause the way it ran off so they don’t even go looking. Everything you shoot at should be followed up by looking I have found deer that I didn’t think I hit by following through and that is part of ethical hunting and that’s how it should be is everyone should follow through on there shots no matter what.wether it’s with a bow a muzzle loader or a rifle.




  36.  
    Tim Miller

    I agree with Boone and Crockett 100%. There are too many variables in long range hunting that could result in not making an efficient kill. We owe it to the game we are pursuing that we get close enough to eliminate the chances of wounding an animal to the lowest degree possible. Taking a shot at 500, up to 1000 yards is not hunting that is just shooting. I have a friend who has pretty much put up his rifle and only hunts with his bow. He loves getting ” up close and personal”!




  37.  
    Dennis Dent

    Use the rule of archery. Only shoot as far as you can hit a paper plate, EVERY TIME.




  38.  
    Derek Porter

    Totally agreed…save the long range stuff for the target range or the prairie dog towns (where I routinely shoot past 700 yards). Though it’s up to each of us to honestly determine the limits of our own personal effective range, new gear and gadgets will always tempt some into thinking that they can simply BUY the ability to shoot accurately at extended ranges, without sufficient practical experience…but where does the hunt cease, and the mere killing of game commence? Personally, I think that if you can’t get within easy rifle range of a big game animal, you’re not doing your job as a HUNTER.




  39.  
    Tyler Thies

    Admire the skill it takes but wouldn’t consider it hunting…




  40.  

    Dennis I can hit a paper plate at a 1000 yards 9 out of 10 shots but I do agree with you. Just because I can shoot 1000 yards don’t give me the right to hunt that way I firmly believe that fair Chas is the only way to go and get as close as you can and let the game you are perusing in stinks work against you and make it a challenge. That’s the way it should be




  41.  
    noneya

    It takes a great deal of skill to hit your make at these long distances but that skill is in shooting not hunting. Much of the hunting aspect is gone at those distances. You might as well spot light them. That being said, to each their own and if a person can live with that much less of a hunt and be satisfied then so be it. Some folks just do not have the passion for hunting as others. There are 2 types of people that hunt, hunters and killers. It’s up to us to decide which category we want to belong in.




  42.  
    Gerald Brunckhorst

    I started out as a rifle hunter and progressed into bow hunting – I still enjoy both but I hunt to hunt. If I could, I would slip in close enough to snip some hair or slap the animals butt (close a number of times). There are arenas where precision shooting on live animals is heralded and even rewarded such as prairie dog shooting. If we want to keep the general public working with us on the subject of big game hunting we need to remain hunters. For those shooters who want to go kill animals at long range, go buy a cow (beef) and picket it at the desired yardage. When your killing is done drive it to a butcher and the two of you decide how humane you shooting was. Nuff Said.




  43.  
    matt

    I believe that if u can’t get closer than 400yd yer not much of a hunter




  44.  
    LFR

    These long range shooting capabilities are just making piss poor hunters even worse. They won’t go 350-500 yards up a hill at game they’ve shot at now if it runs off. They sure as hell won’t go across a canyon if the animal runs off that they shot at 1000 yards or more. I see some posts about bow hunters. At least bow hunters will check on every shot to see if they hit the animal even if he did shoot further than he should have.




  45.  

    Very disappointing to see the Eastman family and associates (I’m a subscriber), Eberle, B&C and RMEF (member) and others literally dividing hunters against hunters and literally handing out ammunition free of charge to the antis. Instead, we should all encourage responsible, legal hunting of any kind (plenty of room for improvement in every kind of hunting–it’s the people that make the decisions) and seek to teach, but not divide each other, because if we do not stand together, we will fall.

    I remember one thing from a class long ago about the technology and science. The point was that technology is not good or bad, it is how it is used. The same applies here. There is no end to the ‘control’ others could have on hunting. Don’t let that control squeeze us anymore by denigrating long range hunting or any form of hunting, especially when you have not invested the time, effort and money to truly understand what you are talking about.

    Don’t yield to the progressive ‘control’ agenda. I see a great deal of that in this thread–doesn’t take much reading between the lines. It is the opposite of the ‘freedom with responsibility’ ideals this country was founded on. If you want to fight something, fight that.




    •  
      Steve

      Very well put Jon. We don’t need to divide ourselves against each other. I have wondered since this article was written; what was Dan Turvey’s intent? To divide hunters against one another?




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        It is not divisive to object to a behavior that you think is doing harm to the image and practice of your sport (hunting).

        This isn’t a disagreement over which brand of ammo is better, or whether a .243 is or isn’t adequate for big game hunting; it’s much deeper than that. There are many hunters – and that includes the leadership of the Boone & Crockett club – who believe that growing trend of ultra-long range assassination of animals (I refuse to call in “hunting”) is not only unethical and a violation of the rules of “Fair Chase”, but it is harmful to our public image.




        •  

          Ken,

          It is simply a different way to harvest an animal. You are using technology in your hunting that wouldn’t been unthinkable at some point in the past. Perhaps we should control you as well. Let’s all dress up in loin cloths and use a spear, or perhaps a spear is too much advantage. You see, as soon as you speak out against another type of hunting, you are also a hypocrite. Some folks will choose to not recognize that.

          So much of what you do hunting is all about building an advantage over the animals senses…EVERYONE does this in so many ways while hunting. Think camo, scent blocker, tree stands, blinds. Yet, for some reason, many otherwise logical people get really stuck on long range hunting when it’s no different.

          Yes, hunting, Ken. If you would come hunting with me, your idea of what long range hunting was would change, I can tell you that as it’s unfortunately clear you have decided what long range hunting is and decreed that here. The elk I shot last season was 5 miles back behind designated wilderness and we worked hard for days even to get a shot having seen many elk at 50 yards and closer. But, in my state, in my elk area, I’m limited to a spike bull, which for all practical purposes, might as well be a unicorn.

          I don’t care what artificial ‘rules’ or leadership of this or that ‘club’ or Eastmans or whoever it is saying this or that. I’ve read the books and listened to the ‘clubs’. I will take all that under advisement, but ultimately, we each need to make our own choices responsibly. Consistently, cleanly harvesting animals is the bottom line. The way you do that legally and responsibly is your business, Keep out of mine and quite trying to control me.




          •  
            Rick523

            It seems Ken has an agenda of his own.. Makes you wonder if he even hunts!




            •  
              Ken Anderson

              Your ignorance is absolutely mind-numbing. You guys literally don’t have a clue what hunting is all about. For you guys it’s all about the kill – by whatever means necessary. I have no doubt that if tomorrow morning it was declared legal to hunt deer at night with thermal-imaging scopes you guys would be out there tomorrow night shooting deer – and trying to justify it with some specious argument about how “difficult” it is and how much “skill” it requires.

              Our forefathers used to refer to something called “woodcraft”; the ability to read the terrain, weather, wind, vegetation, tracks – all the signs that told them how best to hunt their quarry with their relatively primitive weapons. Today woodcraft is nearly a lost art. Nowhere is this clearer than in the increase in the popularity of Long-Range Shooting, where all the skill that is required is the ability to use a spotting scope and have a smooth trigger pull while you launch your projectile at an animal in the next zip code that has no way of using it’s natural senses to detect your presence. That’s not hunting; it’s animal assassination by a bunch of Chris Kyle wanna-be’s.

              Rick523’s snarky comment about whether I’m even a hunter is laughable. FYI, I bought my first hunting license 46 years ago when I was 12. Since then I’ve hunted over most of North America with both bow and rifle. I have memberships in NRA (life), P&Y, PBS, and RMEF. I have been an instructor for both Hunter Ed and Bowhunter Ed. I am the president of the local archery club. Oh yeah, I’m also a retired career Army officer. You may not agree with my comments on this topic, but please don’t question my qualifications to have those opinions.

              Ken




  46.  

    Unfortunately, Ken, it’s this kind of judgmental, elitist attitude that is ‘mind-numbing’. I will not call you ignorant, because I’m quite sure your are a smart man and, I for one, am very thankful for your military service. But, because of this box you’ve put your thinking in, you are unable to see the division among hunters this kind of thinking accomplishes.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      Well John, look at it this way: All current hunting laws could be considered “a matter of opinion”, albeit opinions that are (hopefully) based on good science.

      Speaking for myself, I would love to be able to hunt big game all year around (wouldn’t we all!). But I can’t. The reason is because there is a consensus of “opinion” by wildlife experts (elitists?) that this behavior would be detrimental to the big game population. These opinion experts make laws that keep me from hunting when and where I want. That’s how it works.

      I am not a wildlife biologist, and don’t want to proclaim myself as an expert on all things related to hunting, but the experience and knowledge that I have gained over a lifetime as an avid hunter tells me that Long Range Shooting is a bad trend.

      I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I’ll just say that I agree with B&C’s position statement. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

      For what it’s worth, I only object to LRS for big game. If you want to knock over prairie dogs, coyotes, and other non-game, inedible varmints from 1,000 yards then I say “fire away!”




  47.  

    Yes, Ken, but your opinion is not law and neither is mine. Hopefully the ‘consensus’ laws that are supposed to be representative of all of us respect the concept ‘freedom with responsibility’ and don’t try to control every nuance of our lives. Fight too much ‘control’, not each other. Respect each other’s legal and responsible choices.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again: there is plenty of room for improvement in ALL choices/kinds of hunting. Work to encourage responsible, legal hunting of all kinds. THAT is what we all should be doing, not fighting each other. Give grace to those people and things you don’t fully understand, if you can and should.

    I understand what you’re trying to say and do in part of your post, but it has nothing to do with the subject at hand and trying to draw parallels between the two or comparing the two is irrelevant.

    I do have a four year degree in the biological sciences and have done some state based training/testing since in wildlife management. From much of what I’ve seen, I certainly don’t think that many states are managing their wildlife properly and I’m sure many here agree. It seems to be mostly managed by the almighty dollar to include control by the feds due to desires for federal dollars (Pittman-Robertson, etc.), and the political aspirations of the day. ‘Science’, so-called, if it even is true science half the time, which is very debatable, is often simply the political football du jour due to many instances along the way where the ingrained pre-suppositions we all have come to the forefront and are given credence over true science. In the politically charged wildlife management arena, we all need to be careful of what we call ‘science’.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      Regarding your last paragraph, I’m sorry to say that I agree with you; sorry, because I wish it wasn’t true. Alas, it has also been my observation that much of what is presented as “scientific” wildlife management is in reality nothing but thinly-veiled politics. I can think of no better example of this than the controversy over wolf hunting that is going on in my own state of Idaho. The non-native McKenzie wolves that were introduced in 1995 have totally decimated our big game herds, and yet there are still “experts” who don’t want to allow us to manage (i.e. “hunt”) these super-predators.

      Regarding accusations by others (not necessarily you) of being “divisive”. I don’t think it’s divisive to simply have an opinion about something. Nowhere in my many posts on this topic have I ever suggested that it should be “illegal” to engage in long range shooting. I merely have an opinion (albeit a strong one) that this form of hunting is not compatible with the Rules of Fair Chase that we, as responsible hunters, strive to follow.




  48.  

    Yes. Well, there is much room for interpretation and personal choice, as there should be, that goes into the B&C Fair Chase Statement where the word ‘improper’ is used.

    I backpack hunt backcountry designated wilderness areas almost exclusively and I long range hunt those areas if need be. I’m happy to take an animal at any distance that I choose and have taken some at close range with long range rifles. I spend much, much, much more time and effort over the years at my chosen hunting craft than the ‘average’ hunter does who goes and sights his rifle in the week before opener. As a result, it may be likely that I make better choices overall than the average hunter on shots to take or not take.

    Because of the extra work and effort i put into understanding the game, going deep in the backcountry by foot and knowing my craft well, I’m considered not ethical and Joe Blow hunter who takes his rifle or bow or whatever he hasn’t touched in a year hunting elk is ethical? And Joe Blow comprises a large percentage of hunters by far that long range hunters? You see, that’s what I’m saying, if you are going to rail on long range hunting, to be consistent, you need to rail on every kind of hunting encouraging them to all make good decisions. Responsible, legal hunting needs to be encouraged, without singling out someone’s chosen method of legal hunting.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      John: You say that I’m “inconsistent” by focusing exclusively on long range shooting, but that happens to be the subject of this threaded discussion. I’m merely trying to stay on topic. I’ll be happy to discuss my feelings on other hunting topics if you’d like to hear them – although I we should probably do it privately so we don’t bore the readers to death.

      If your description of yourself and your hunting abilities is accurate (and I have no reason to believe it isn’t) you need to realize that you are probably in the top 1% of the hunting population. As you noted, the average “Joe Blow” doesn’t hunt that hard or put that much effort into preparing himself for the hunt.

      I have two main objections to LRS: 1) I don’t think it gives the animal a sporting chance. 2) If done improperly it leads to wounded and lost game animals.

      #2 is almost certainly a bigger concern than #1. As you have already and correctly noted, the vast majority of hunters out there are not like you: they don’t have the skill or dedication to learn to shoot long range. And yet they see guys doing it on hunting shows or writing about it in magazines and they think “hey, if he can do it, I can do it!” In other words, they don’t realize their own limitations and thus think it’s ok to engage in something they have no business attempting.

      I’ve seen many TV hunting shows where skilled hunters have taken long shots (over 300 yds) on animals such as antelope or mountain goats. I grudgingly admit that there are cases where shots like that are justified. But I’ve also seen WAY too many shows where a hunter is taking ridiculously long shots at deer, elk, or other animals that could easily be approached much closer. These hunters almost seem to take pride in seeing how far away they can hit an animal, rather than how close they can get before pulling the trigger. I can’t help but think that there are rookie hunters out there seeing this behavior and thinking “that’s the way it’s done!”

      And that saddens and frustrates me.




  49.  

    Yes, well the fact remains that every person and situation, to some degree, must be dealt with on it’s own merits. Be careful not to lump the guys that don’t know and haven’t prepared in with the guys that have in any given area of hunting.

    A very good argument regarding your #1 and #2 points could be said about ANY form of hunting. There are bad hits and misses that, unfortunately, will occur with any form of hunting. That’s reality and that’s my point. There is no reason to single out long range hunters. Many single out long range hunting, when, done properly (the issue any form of hunting can have) all forms of hunting have the same issues and could be argued reasonably for.

    I realize you say you don’t just single out long range hunting, but I think most here that don’t agree with your stance on long range hunting would be hard pressed to see that.

    Some just wish to say that their form of hunting is superior/better/more eithical in some way or aspect to others. It isn’t. It’s about respect for hunting in general, the game, the habitat, etc. and making sure that is most important to us.

    The issue here is ‘sloppy hunters’, for lack of a better term, and you’ll find those in ANY form of hunting. That’s what we need to work on and I do what I can, but I’m not going to denigrate the guy who chooses another way because we all have the same or similar issues and types of ethical choices to make no matter what kind of hunting we choose.

    In terms of TV shows…I don’t spent the money to have access to ‘premium’ channels and could care less, so I haven’t seen too many of these shows. However, some of what I have seen has definitely been very poor. Still that has and shouldn’t have any effect on the choices I make. There will always be ‘bad apples’ in any sport, endeavor, etc., whether they are on TV or not. There will always be folks on TV or otherwise that make a bad name for this or that, unfortunately. I wish it weren’t true, especially for hunting–which is one reason I appreciate most of what Eastman’s puts out in that regard. I own several of their DVDs and enjoy watching them. Even they aren’t perfect and that’s where a little grace comes in, ’cause neither am I.




    •  

      I take issue with Turvey/Eastman’s in another couple of things:

      1) I take issue with Turvey’s statement here: “With over a decade of war and advancement in weapons platforms behind us, it seems we are experiencing the carryover into the hunting world.” Having been involved to some degree with learning about and knowing what’s out there in terms of knowledge, equipment, training, etc., and practicing long range shooting for over the time period Turvey is talking about, he’s wrong. Yes, I think long range hunting has grown, but it was around long before the timeframe Turvey mentions. The NF NSX scopes I use and custom long range rigs I use have been in production and use much longer than Turvey’s decade timeframe. In other words, war had nothing to do with it. This equipment was in development and being used long before the last decade or ‘over a decade of war’. and would’ve been developed further, war or not. I may be wrong, but I feel like Turvey doesn’t approve of long range hunting (still not sure he knows what it really is) and is attempting to equate ‘the weapons of war’ over the last decade with long range hunting. In effect it has the appearance of saying that that the equipment used in long range hunting is really equipment that only snipers in wartime should have. There is at least an undertone of that, I think. I think he’s historically wrong and just plain wrong to try to equate the two if that’s what he was trying to do. It appears to be an effort to take a side swipe at long range hunting by incorrectly and negatively defining it’s origins. If that was what Turvey was trying to do with his statements regarding the military, etc., does he also then think that hunters should not be using the many derivations and hunting uses of modern sporting rifles that exist? Something that seemingly has a much more direct relationship to the battlefield? I don’t know about you, but my spider senses are starting to sense a ‘control’ mentality.

      2) I’ve seen video choices by B&C in their negative video on long range hunting and I see it here in the picture at the top of this page. In the B&C video negatively talking about long range hunting, I do not recall one time where they show someone properly ‘doing’ long range hunting/shooting, or whatever it is they are attempting to portray in the video. This puts their credibility into question. At least they should know enough about it to portray it correctly ‘to the masses’. Likewise, the Turvey/Eastman article picture above does not represent long range hunting. Why is that? Wouldn’t you want a picture that accurately portrays the issue of the article? If anyone thinks shooting offhand is how you shoot long range…that couldn’t be more incorrect. Prone off a stable, high quality bipod is really, for the most part, the only or best way to do it. There’s always caveats, but few here. Typically, a Harris notched leg ‘S’ series in 6″-9″ or so or the Atlas bipods are some of the most popular for those that know long range hunting and know how to shoot in the field off of them. You do NOT shoot offhand long range as a long range hunter for obvious reasons. The Turvey/Eastman picture above could easily be construed as a misleading picture and perhaps begs the credibility question once again, this time putting it in the Eastman lap, unfortunately. How much do they really know? If this is the picture that Turvey’s uses for all of his articles, well, I apologize. I could not, in a quick search, find evidence of that otherwise, but the issue still remains for the B&C video. Knowledge. Honesty. Credibility.

      Turvey and the Eastman’s should know these things and if they are going to write an article like this, some effort should be made in the writing and the pictures to be accurate and responsible, both of which are lacking here in my opinion. A military sniper, with those qualifications alone, should not be the only ‘expert’ source. Perhaps more than a few folks that truly practice the craft of long range hunting should be quoted in this article. That would greatly increase the credibility of the article,but we don’t see that, so I start to question credibility. How fair minded is this article truly? Was being fair minded a concern when the article was written? Could this article be considered ‘fair and balanced’? Yes…well…what happens then, is that folks that do know long range hunting question the credibility of Turvey and the Eastman’s as it appears they actually may not know enough about what long range hunting truly is to be writing an article about it. An article that so many will read that may also not know truly what long range hunting is. Unfortunately, their reader’s ,may come away with the wrong idea as they think, “Eastman’s know what they are talking about,” when perhaps they don’t on this issue. In the meantime, many may get or are given the wrong idea about long range hunting, further muddying the waters of the issue. Those that do know about long range hunting may then may start to question the credibility of Eastman’s and their writer’s in other areas, and why not?

      What I have found over the years is that those that often rail against long range hunting the most are those that least understand it and that phenomena is from from being unique to long range hunting. It’s human nature. Be careful what you believe and are told.




      •  
        Ken Anderson

        Wow Jon, that was quite a dissertation!

        We’ve gone back-and-forth on this debate ad nauseum and neither of us are budging from out positions.

        Let me just say this: I respect and admire those who spend the necessary time and energy to develop their marksmanship skills to the level that you say you have. I concede that you are probably capable of shooting as accurately at 500 yards as the average “weekend” hunter can at 100 yards. And by that criteria you are hunting just as ethically as the majority of hunters out there, even though you are shooting at far longer ranges.

        My beef with long-range shooting is more with what I believe is the unfair advantage it gives you over your prey; it hardly seems “fair chase” to kill an animal beyond the limits of its ability to detect danger and take evasive action.

        Boone & Crockett specifically prohibits shooting animals behind “high fences”, while swimming in water, at night with a spotlight, and in any other situation where a hunter has an unfair advantage over the animal. B&C and I both happen to agree that long range shooting also falls into the same category.

        I understand that not everyone is concerned with fair chase or ethics, they just want meat and/or antlers and will use any legal means to get them. Fine. If that’s your thing then go for it.

        As for me, I want a more complete hunting experience. It’s like the old saying: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

        Ok, I’m done with this topic. Time to move on. Happy hunting Jon!




  50.  
    Teddy Finn

    Some of you people need to get jobs and contribute to society!!!!!




  51.  
    Michael

    I have to admit I love the fact that everyone is so passionate about hunting and shooting. If I read the article and reflect on my own experience. It seems that it may be addressing the idea of just buying a long range rifle makes it okay to take a long range shot. Personally, I think it depends on the hunter. I’ve never taken a shot at a distance greater than 250 yards. I hope I never have to. But, I practice for 300 yard shots. If I practiced 500+ yard shots, and knew without a doubt that I could make a clean kill at that distance in the moment, I’d take the shot. So, if someone has the skill set for that distance and is confident, go for it. You still gotta pack it out though.

    But, all animals deserve a clean kill, even the prairie dog. You’re still taking an animal’s life.

    It’s the ethics that we have as hunters that is our biggest defense of hunting. Ethics are always the tallest rock on which to stand firmly.




  52.  
    B.Mitch

    Good Read! I want to know my rifle’s capabilities at several ranges, I’m comfortable out to 350 yards that my shot will be lethal. I won’t shoot beyond that…at a live animal. I shoot paper from 25 yds –to – 1000yds, to test myself, not to try to kill game animals. Paper does not get wounded, egos do. A wounded ego allows you to take stock of reality, learn by your mistakes and try to be a better shooter. There is no pleasure in wounding an animal…even if I retrieve it later. (case in point: my last Mule deer shot at ~30 yds: bullet 4” high)…NOT good. This was a shooting error on my part, not a hunting error as such.




  53.  
    Gerald Ross

    I am 70 years old. In the beginning I hunted several years with a smooth bore 20 gauge Ithaca Model 37 Feather light and managed to take a sizeable buck each season. This, of course, takes place in the northeast US. After moving to the southwest I started using a 30-06 and chose not to extend my range beyond 200 yards. This is not because I cannot shoot further. I practice out to 400 yards. Yet I have never shot a deer out further than 80 yards. The last big muley I shot was in 2013 at 35 yards. I consider myself a hunter and will not take a shot where the impact zone is in question. Hunting is about fair chase, respect for the animal being hunted and the confidence in ones self to get into a ethical range to ensure a clean kill. I like most hunters and gun enthusiast love to shoot and burn powder at long distances. But hunting for me is not about shooting, It is about exercising my skills to out smart my prey. If we continue to extend our hunting range where will it stop? A Texas company has already equipped rifles with equipment that will never miss at well over a mile. With a good spotting scope you might even see the animal.




  54.  

    Excellent article below. This is, in a nutshell, what I sent to RMEF President Allen last month on paper. The antis will exploit this to no end. I told Allen he and Van Zwoll are literally handing the antis ammunition in their quest for their version of ‘fair chase’. Franklin’s quote about hanging together or hanging separately is poignant. Those of us that define this ‘fair chase ethic’ too narrowly are unknowingly shooting ourselves in the foot when a 30,000 foot view is used. If we could only get organizations life RMEF and B&C to see that.

    Promote responsible, legal hunting. Period.

    From a 2011 article:
    ——————————————————————
    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Fair Chase

    By Duane Fronek

    I see this little phrase come up from time to time. What I’m about to write might infuriate some and please others and leave others thinking about where they stand on this little phrase. My thoughts on the phrase “Fair Chase” in a nutshell is basically, has got to be the most dangerous word to outdoor men and women and our pursuits in the wild when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. The phrase in my opinion is probably the most responsible for hunting, trapping and fishing rights lost over the years, pitting one outdoorsmen and women against another. Simply put fair chase is basically not just a phrase but an attitude and a tool to justify ones way of doing things, while sacrificing those of another. We see it all the time when issues come up such as the use of cross bows, high fence, hunting with hounds, trapping and the list goes on. The animal rights groups love that little phrase, because they have it figured out, and know those two words are their meal ticket for pushing their agenda. Their agenda, banning all forms of hunting, trapping and fishing, period.

    I’ve heard it said many times before, don’t know who the originator of it is but it goes something like this; “in order for a hunt to be fair chase, we would have to hunt with what we came into this world with, naked and our two bare hands.” And that would be true in my opinion. Animals survive with what they were born with, necessary to survive. Man on the other hand were born with a thinking brain, to solve problems to give us an edge. When it comes to hunting, we surely can’t run as fast as most animals, so man thought of ways to do the running for him, spears, bows, traps, guns etc. If we were to take a step back in time with our modern hunting equipment, we most likely would be worshipped on what we had to make our hunting more successful, that edge so to speak. Man has always used his most important weapon, his brain, when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. Because that’s our biggest weapon in order to survive and to equal out our physical short comings to the game we pursue.

    I’ve heard so many arguments over the years on what was fair chase, things like running coons, cats or coyotes with hounds not being fair chase, or baiting is not a fair chase practice or high fence hunting isn’t real hunting, or trapping isn’t fair chase because the animal doesn’t have a running chance. To all that I say hogwash. Hunting with dogs is more than just turning dogs loose, there’s training, breeding and basically one’s way of life or way of doing things, they have a passion for it and they’ve figured a way to use man’s best friend to aid him in hunting, using the dogs as a tool. Baiting is just another form of hunting, no different in my opinion than placing out doe in heat or sitting on a corn field, your using the animals needs and instincts against them in order to gain an edge, same as just sitting on a ridge where you can see several yards and perched on the ridge with your trusty 300 mag. To reach out and touch one. It wouldn’t make much sense to sit there with a pistol or slug gun, no, we utilize the tools we have, to give us that edge. Now a deer walks up to within 40yds and you have the 300 mag in your lap are you gonna pass up the deer because he’s not 300 yds out, I don’t think so. Same with high fence, some say it’s not sporting or fair chase. Well think about this, a lot of high fence are 100’s and even 1000’s of acres, where the deer roam where ever they will in basically in the same settings as their wild counter parts, just better taken care of. there are quite a few hunters out there that don’t have the luxury of time on their side to enjoy the outdoors the way a lot of us do, their business men and women with busy schedules or locked in a city with no land they know of to hunt on or the time, but yet have a love and a passion to hunt just like the rest of us. I’ve heard it said trapping doesn’t give the animals a sporting chance, well most of that comes from those never doing it, just like I suspect with the other claims of why this or that isn’t fair chase. Trapping involves knowing your target well, well enough to put his foot on a pan or trigger no bigger than say 3”x 3” in order to get caught, you need to know their habits, what makes them tick just like pursuing any other thing like hunting or fishing.

    So why condemn something or tactic another uses? Could be a number of reasons , jealousy, greed, or just plain stubbornness because that’s not how I do it. And each time we attack another’s legal way of doing things, we in essence are driving a nail in our own coffin for future use by the anti’s. Take for example your on the front lines in a war, and all the tall guys are getting killed. Everyone gets together and says, lets not use tall guys in this fight, it’ll eliminate anyone getting killed. So they do and go back into battle and now the medium height guys are getting waxed. So they have another meeting and decide, ok lets just use short guys, to prevent any further damage and fatalities. Now the enemy has the advantage of less troops in the ranks and basically over runs the troops and wins the battle. And in essence that’s what we are doing to ourselves when we start acting under the guise of fair chase. We essentially are sacrificing another’s way of doing things in order to preserve our own, but in reality we are destroying ourselves and our numbers in the ranks that allows us to be over run by the opposition..

    We may not agree on everyone else’s way of hunting or pursuits, but know this, everyone of us that hunts, traps or fishes has a love and passion for what they do, just as much as the next guy or gal, even if his/her way is different than ours.. Ben Franklin once said; “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” No truer words have been spoken when this country first began, and feel those words hold true for the outdoorsmen/women of today.
    ——————————————————————————————————————–




  55.  

    Excellent article to consider. That is, in a nutshell, what I sent to RMEF President Allen last month on paper. The antis will exploit this division to no end. I told Allen he and Van Zwoll are literally handing the antis ammunition in their quest for their version of ‘fair chase’. Franklin’s quote about hanging together or hanging separately is poignant. Those of us who define too narrowly, on our holy quest to promote this ‘fair chase ethic’ as we see it, are unknowingly shooting ourselves in the foot when a 30,000 foot view is used. Consider the article below. If we could only get organizations life RMEF and B&C to see that.

    Promote responsible, legal hunting. Period.

    ———————————————————————
    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Fair Chase

    By Duane Fronek
    I see this little phrase come up from time to time. What I’m about to write might infuriate some and please others and leave others thinking about where they stand on this little phrase. My thoughts on the phrase “Fair Chase” in a nutshell is basically, has got to be the most dangerous word to outdoor men and women and our pursuits in the wild when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. The phrase in my opinion is probably the most responsible for hunting, trapping and fishing rights lost over the years, pitting one outdoorsmen and women against another. Simply put fair chase is basically not just a phrase but an attitude and a tool to justify ones way of doing things, while sacrificing those of another. We see it all the time when issues come up such as the use of cross bows, high fence, hunting with hounds, trapping and the list goes on. The animal rights groups love that little phrase, because they have it figured out, and know those two words are their meal ticket for pushing their agenda. Their agenda, banning all forms of hunting, trapping and fishing, period.

    I’ve heard it said many times before, don’t know who the originator of it is but it goes something like this; “in order for a hunt to be fair chase, we would have to hunt with what we came into this world with, naked and our two bare hands.” And that would be true in my opinion. Animals survive with what they were born with, necessary to survive. Man on the other hand were born with a thinking brain, to solve problems to give us an edge. When it comes to hunting, we surely can’t run as fast as most animals, so man thought of ways to do the running for him, spears, bows, traps, guns etc. If we were to take a step back in time with our modern hunting equipment, we most likely would be worshipped on what we had to make our hunting more successful, that edge so to speak. Man has always used his most important weapon, his brain, when it comes to hunting, trapping and fishing. Because that’s our biggest weapon in order to survive and to equal out our physical short comings to the game we pursue.

    I’ve heard so many arguments over the years on what was fair chase, things like running coons, cats or coyotes with hounds not being fair chase, or baiting is not a fair chase practice or high fence hunting isn’t real hunting, or trapping isn’t fair chase because the animal doesn’t have a running chance. To all that I say hogwash. Hunting with dogs is more than just turning dogs loose, there’s training, breeding and basically one’s way of life or way of doing things, they have a passion for it and they’ve figured a way to use man’s best friend to aid him in hunting, using the dogs as a tool. Baiting is just another form of hunting, no different in my opinion than placing out doe in heat or sitting on a corn field, your using the animals needs and instincts against them in order to gain an edge, same as just sitting on a ridge where you can see several yards and perched on the ridge with your trusty 300 mag. To reach out and touch one. It wouldn’t make much sense to sit there with a pistol or slug gun, no, we utilize the tools we have, to give us that edge. Now a deer walks up to within 40yds and you have the 300 mag in your lap are you gonna pass up the deer because he’s not 300 yds out, I don’t think so. Same with high fence, some say it’s not sporting or fair chase. Well think about this, a lot of high fence are 100’s and even 1000’s of acres, where the deer roam where ever they will in basically in the same settings as their wild counter parts, just better taken care of. there are quite a few hunters out there that don’t have the luxury of time on their side to enjoy the outdoors the way a lot of us do, their business men and women with busy schedules or locked in a city with no land they know of to hunt on or the time, but yet have a love and a passion to hunt just like the rest of us. I’ve heard it said trapping doesn’t give the animals a sporting chance, well most of that comes from those never doing it, just like I suspect with the other claims of why this or that isn’t fair chase. Trapping involves knowing your target well, well enough to put his foot on a pan or trigger no bigger than say 3”x 3” in order to get caught, you need to know their habits, what makes them tick just like pursuing any other thing like hunting or fishing.

    So why condemn something or tactic another uses? Could be a number of reasons , jealousy, greed, or just plain stubbornness because that’s not how I do it. And each time we attack another’s legal way of doing things, we in essence are driving a nail in our own coffin for future use by the anti’s. Take for example your on the front lines in a war, and all the tall guys are getting killed. Everyone gets together and says, lets not use tall guys in this fight, it’ll eliminate anyone getting killed. So they do and go back into battle and now the medium height guys are getting waxed. So they have another meeting and decide, ok lets just use short guys, to prevent any further damage and fatalities. Now the enemy has the advantage of less troops in the ranks and basically over runs the troops and wins the battle. And in essence that’s what we are doing to ourselves when we start acting under the guise of fair chase. We essentially are sacrificing another’s way of doing things in order to preserve our own, but in reality we are destroying ourselves and our numbers in the ranks that allows us to be over run by the opposition..

    We may not agree on everyone else’s way of hunting or pursuits, but know this, everyone of us that hunts, traps or fishes has a love and passion for what they do, just as much as the next guy or gal, even if his/her way is different than ours.. Ben Franklin once said; “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” No truer words have been spoken when this country first began, and feel those words hold true for the outdoorsmen/women of today.
    ————————————————————————————-




  56.  
    mike

    Hunting is an individuated experience driven by a multitude of factors, for me its an insatiable atavistic drive that keeps me deeply connected to the rhythms of the natural world in a way that no other can. Indeed it’s a form of biological intimacy that evokes a passion about ‘wild things’ in ‘wild places’ that is worth plumbing for its own treasures…

    ‘Killing’ from excessively long distances, however—even for the skilled shooter, while arguably ethical—seems more ‘instrumental’ than it does for having ‘hunted.’ And admittedly, as Ortega Gasset observed, ‘to have hunted one must have killed’ there’s a qualitative difference, a distinction, the ethical hunter draws, a level of immersion that outstrips its culmination.

    There is, however, a level of disconnect this ‘technological age’ has wrought upon the balance that has led the human spirit to a further distancing from the natural world. The ethical long-range shooter I do not take issue with; it’s those who rely—indeed even exploit—technologies for wont of dedication towards developing the skills of a deeply immersed ethical hunter.

    Consequently, the ethical hunter is ‘connected’ by closer engagement with his object: a deeply held admiration and respect for ‘wild things’ in ‘wild places’ that is more about experience, process, challenging the limits of one’s predatory instincts than the inert rudiments of one form instrumentality over another; from my low station, both can ‘peacefully coexist’ within the confines of ethics.

    ‘To have hunted is to have killed,’ is far too reductionist for the hunter-conservationist for he knows ‘life sustains life.’ Thus whether one makes the conscious choice to be ‘up close and personal’ or to have pursued at a reasonable remove from his object it all comes down to ethics: morality in action. That’s what fair chase hunting is all about:

    how we ‘choose’ to relate to the natural world is the fulcrum upon which its future rests…




  57.  
    Hal Shields

    I would like to comment on the Boone & Crockett article. First off, I myself am capable of long distance ethical shots. I think one needs to be honest to him or her self as to their capabilities, as for B&C they stated long range hunting takes unfair advantage of a game animal, it effectively eliminates the natural capacity of an animal to use its senses and instincts to detect danger. With that being said, so does Camo clothing, scent masking products, decoys, etc. does using any of these make you any less of a hunter? As for an un fair advantage, wouldn’t Archery equipment that shoots in excess of 300fps with sights fall into the same category? Maybe we all should go back to Tree limbs an vines for our weapon of choice. Again, I think it falls on the hunter as to where he or she is comfortable. We all agree the end result should be a clean quick harvest. regardless of what it was taken with or how far.




    •  
      Ken

      Hal, those are all valid questions and should be addressed individually. The point is, I think that we can all agree that hunters need “some” technology to achieve even the smallest success – no one is suggesting that we go back to hunting with clubs and spears. The question is, at what point does our technology become so powerful that it completely erases the concept of “Fair Chase”?

      Many hunters disapprove of Long Range Shooting simply because they believe that killing an animal at extreme range crosses that line and is no longer Fair Chase. It’s not a matter of whether or not the hunter can ethically “make the shot”. It’s about whether or not the animal being hunted has any chance of evading the hunter.




  58.  
    John Turner

    I agree with the article. All one has to do is go to a ballistics calculator and input some variables such as wind velocity and range in 50 yard increments to conclude that past a certain range the chances of wounding a game animal increase exponentially with distance, wind, shot angle, etc. It’s unethical taking any shot on a game animal be it mammal or bird that might result in a wounded animal. But it seems ethics take a backseat in just about every area in our society today. Still I’d like to see hunters appreciate the hunt more than the equipment.




  59.  
    John Turner

    We don’t want in the US what exists in Great Britain. You can’t hunt with archery equipment. In fact you can’t possess a broadhead. Minimum calibers and bullet weight are specified for game animals to insure that their suffering is minimal. In fact exporting trophies is under attack. Just last summer my outfitter in Scotland had to jump through hoops to get legally taken trophies on a plane home. It seems that employees in the airline industry created such a stink that certain airlines refused to transport them.
    As hunters we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard if we expect our grandkids to be able to hunt.
    That said…………I just can’t believe how many hunters can’t hit the proverbial broad side of a barn even at 100 yards and forget about getting sighted in. Pathetic. I wish they would stick to fishing or golf.




  60.  
    J Harris

    I have followed this debate for awhile, pondering what ethics really is. It has many facets, depending upon the perspective of the writer. Much has been made of the potential negative non-hunting perspective and response if the long range hunting trend continues.
    How would the public perspective be affected through learning of the damage done every year by traditional archers? One of the anti-long range advocates posting here is apparently the president of such a club. Having been to a large number of 3D shoots as a participant I know first hand that primitive archery has special problems. The bows are slow. The arrows and projectiles, be they metal or stone are less, certainly no more efficient than than modern gear.
    Now, I know that there are amazing woodsmen (and women) whose stalking skills and experience put them in a position to get close enough for a predictably sure kill with one shot. But what of the new bow hunters? How long does it take to develop those skills? What if we all threw a fit, wrote articles calling for an end to the barbaric practice of wounding game with sticks and stones?
    It seems unethical to me to use equipment that is measurably and definitively less efficient in the prevention of animal suffering than other, more ethical equipment. One only needs to attend a 3D shoot and observe how many of the shots at stationary, unusually close, life size targets miss the target entirely and many if not most of the others merely wound. If it was possible to compare the success rate on quick, humane kills by primitive bows in the real world environment to quick humane kills with long range rifles, I have little doubt what the result would be.
    Such an obvious ethical challenge deserves an article in Eastman’s. Please call for the elimination of traditional archery, before it is used as a tool by the Anti’s to end all hunting. Show a picture of a 3D target with arrows in the leg, neck and ear and other broken arrows on the ground to represent the percentage of shot off target. Better yet, include a conversation with an experienced archer, who can explain that there is nothing wrong with shooting traditional archery, provided it is not at live game animals. Rodents and targets—shoot away. But hunting game animals where the unethical wound rate is so high, well, it just reeks of people trying to channel Fred Bear.
    That should get the discussion started and then leaders of respected hunting organizations and manufacturers can add to it. It is not argumentative for us to police our own for the good of all hunters. I have heard respected outdoor people, leaders in the hunting arena express these concerns, and I am just agreeing with them. The future of hunting might hinge on this.
    For the few who may not take this letter as sarcasm, this is the disclaimer. Can’t we all just get along and enjoy the many loves that we share in the outdoors? The petty, divisive arguing will ultimately be our greatest shortcoming.




  61.  

    I went all in on the whole long range shooting fad, I had the best optics and rifle system money could buy. I spent over 18,000 on everything, I still own everything but three years ago I switched back to my Sako Finbear, chambered in 30-06.




  62.  
    Mike

    There has been much good discussion on this topic and very good points-of-view from all. However, we as hunters, whether bow hunters, long bow, compound, re-curve, gun hunters (Rifle or Handgun), muzzleloaders we all need to stick together and support each other – I’m not saying sing cuum-by-ahh and pat each other on the back. What I am saying is hunting comes in many forms and although we might not agree with everyone or their style of hunting (long range shooting vs long range hunting) the bottom line is we need to come together as one – just hunters. There are many huggers out there who would love nothing more than to take away our gun rights (It won’t stop at the guns either) and stop all hunting. Let’s pull together and support one another. It’s ok to agree to disagree. Remember we are all hunters who love the outdoors and the experiences it brings to each of us.




  63.  
    Randolph Holford

    WOW, a hornet’s nest!! I will weigh in about long range shooting. IF you spend ample time, I mean weekly, practicing and getting coaching, you may become a very accurate shot at extreme ranges whitch will make you even better out to 300-400 yards. I mean practice!! Long range shooting requires a skill set few hunters really process. I see a tremendous number of people at the range a month or so before the season begins shooting. They are not practicing, they are zeroing in their rifle. Practice is consistent year round shooting at varied ranges out of different positions. Get off the bench!! Can’t afford to shoot the 100’s of rounds of 30-06, 300 WM or whatever then get a good .22 Rifle and practice your breathing, trigger pull and staying fully engaged with your weapon, I hunt with bow and rifle, was coached with both and continue to shoot both many times weekly. Hunt birds? Shoot skeet, sporting clays, trap or 5 stand as this will make you much better. Always remember, the sniper said it best, we are not out wound or maim, we are out to make clean, recoverable kills. Our fore fathers lived on and off the land with a rifle in their hands, few of us have that opportunity today but we all have the opportunity to PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND THEN PRACTICE SOME MORE. By the way, that includes our outdoor skills so spend as much time as possible in the field watching and studying animals, their behavior and the environment. It’s fun, very educational and will make you a much better hunter/outdoorsman.




  64.  
    Cyndy Pendergast

    I hunt big game with a longbow and keep my shots within 20 yds (and I kill clean) and I believe that is pure hunting. I have been in the military and while not a sniper I could hit consistently out to 300…I still would not use a rifle to hunt big game that way as for me that is not hunting. I am sure a bunch of folks will howl about that since the article is about long range shooting. My point is that for me a truly satisfying HUNT needs to be more than fair to both the animal and to me. For me shooting to 300 yds or farther with a modern weapon is equivalent of target shooting and not hunting. I live in the mountain west and I know how hard it can be to get up close to deer and elk in dry or open terrain. I stalked up to within 30yards on a mountain muley this last week in very dry crunchy cover at 10500 ft and passed on a broadside shot as I was not quite comfortable with it and I feel quite satisfied with that hunt on that day. I wish more people would get back into the hunting part of hunting and not just be after a trophy or the kill.
    I am sure more than a few folks will get upset over my statements but I stand by them…I am into truly hunting and I refuse to support extreme distance sniping of animals. I prefer truly ethical hunts and I believe that if we want our sport to survive we will need to draw the line on all the advantages that today’s technology provides. It is supposed to be HUNTING and not just merely killing.
    For those that will argue age and such for the tech advantages I am 53 and have old injuries and I hunt that hard way in the mountains anyway because I love it that much…I am much slower than my younger self and have to take care but I still go..and will continue to.




    •  
      Ken Anderson

      I honestly can’t disagree with a single thing you said. But of course I’m a longbow hunter myself so what do I know? I’m sure that many of the sniper wannabes who also commented on this article think of us as nothing but elitist snobs. it’s really frustrating.




  65.  
    Brett Treadway

    I posted a comment earlier. And after reading everyone’s comments I felt the need to put in one more. I recently watched a hunting show with Randy Newberg. This segment can be seen on You tube and he’s archery elk hunting. He pretty much puts everything in a nut shell in the beginning of his show. Randy in my book is how all hunters should be when their out hunting. He doesn’t use BIG magnum rifles nor does he ever take ridiculously long shots at game. He uses either a 7MM-08 or a 308 for his rifle hunting. I encourage anyone who reads this to watch Randy on his You tube videos and see the way he hunts and what he believes in. If you agree with him thats fantastic!!! And if you don’t well……… that’s too bad you feel that way about our game animals!! No respect for them at all!!!!
    I also read comments on how “bad bow shots” are more common than rifle. Well I have seen both and experienced both myself. Fortunately I was able to recover my animals an both rifle and bow. The bow was a 28 yrds broad side shot at a smaller 6×6 bull. The herd bull a 7×7 came trotting up the hill grunting and bugling dropped his rack and horned the 6×6 in the butt making the 6×6 bull step forward right as I let my arrow fly. Arrow was on it’s mark to go right behind the shoulder, but even as fast as my bow was back then(285 fps) it wasn’t fast enough to hit the mark. It hit farther back in the liver. The bull went about 400 yrds and piled up under a tree.
    My rifle shot was about 200 yrds at a small 3 point mule deer using a 270 and 130 gr. partitions Broadside shot. Perfect right???? Well it didn’t turn out perfect. Another one of those deals where the deer took a step as soon as I pulled the trigger and ended up ponching him. The sickness was overwhelming!! But I did find him and hr later under a tree and finished the job.
    So here’s my point. If you never had a bad shot, well your time is coming because every hunter has had it happen to them when you spend enough time in the woods. Bad shots happen even when you know or think you’ve done everything right when you let that arrow or bullet fly. These distances that I just told you about are chip shots for people that practice. And I do practice a lot and I feel I am a pretty good shot with both bow and rifle. Also I have never shot at a game animal over 200 yrds nor have I ever shot at a game animal over 50 yrds with my bow. After my two experiences, I try to out smart them and get as close as possible with out being detected. Does it always work???? NOPE!!! I usually get busted by wind changes when I’m with in a 100 yrds. But I also get rewarded for my efforts when the wind stays in my favor.. I may go home empty handed a lot, but I’ll sleep better knowing I made the right decision to pass on risky shots. Risky meaning, shooting 50 yrds and beyond with a bow and 200 to what ever with a rifle. You have no way of knowing if that animal is going to take a step the vary instant you pulled the trigger at any distance. Point is, the closer you are the better your chances for a clean quick harvest. Our game animals deserve every bit of respect we can give them!!! And believe me!! I have gone home empty handed because I do have the utmost respect for our game animals. They don’t have nice warm homes to live in winter time. They are always looking for predators year round!! And speaking of predators. When they take down calves and fawns, and the full grown, them critters have to be scared to death running for their lives only to be taken down and going through a horrible death!! So when I see a predator you can bet your ass it’s going down! Predators hunt year round and its my opinion there are too many now. ie cats and dogs and they need to be thinned out. And what a perfect target for long range shooters to practice on!!! Not our game animals. They have a hard enough time trying to survive, then comes hunting season and thousands upon thousands of hunters hit the woods. Now there’s even more stress on the animals. So please give the game animals the respect they deserve. Which is fair chase and quick humane ethical harvests!!

    If you read all the way through my post. Thank you for your time!! Hope I made a few fellow hunters smile or agree that what I said has truth. If I offended a few, Oh well!!! I know I’m still sleeping well at night knowing I respect our game animals!!!

    Brett





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