George Block: Long Range Hunting Isn’t

Regular readers will remember that I headed out to Gunwerks in June to learn from some of the best about the finer points of long range hunting. If you want a long read, check out the interview I did with Gunwerks founder Aaron Davidson. I came away from the experience awestruck with what can be done with the right equipment and the right training. So imagine my surprise when RF forwarded an article from George Block entitled “Long-range shooting disrupts definition of hunting“. George reckons that long range hunting isn’t really hunting at all . . .

Becoming a skilled hunter meant familiarity with the area and the animal. On the other side of the coin, the longrange shooter – note, I didn’t say hunter – uses modern technology instead of hunting skill to attain the downing of his deer.

Ego becomes an important factor in such shooting with that “I can shoot farther than you” mentality.

My question is, should this activity be called hunting or more accurately, shooting?

George and I probably agree on a fundamental level that being in the woods is best, but his ardent opposition to a perfectly legitimate form of hunting (yeah, I said it) comes off as ill informed at best, ignorant at worst.  So I forwarded it to Aaron at Gunwerks to get his opinion. Reprinted with his permission is his response.

Many people have a problem with taking longer shots in the field. We’ve coined the phrase “Long Range Hunting” to define using equipment in the field that compensates for a bullet’s flight, generally beyond the cartridge’s point blank range.  Usually most criticisms come from a lack of perspective. It’s always tempting to allow your own interests or moral standards to become an absolute standard that should be imposed on everyone.

Our founding fathers were acutely aware of the propensity of people towards zealous behavior, and this is prevalent in modern politics—usually its liberal ideas that bleeding hearts try to cram down our throats.  For example, “let the wolves kill the elk, not people”.  Or, “let’s spend our tax money to support solar power so it can replace fossil fuels”. 

To take a long shot in a hunting situation, the shooter is limited by the same factor as any other hunter. Don’t take the shot if you can’t make it.  More deer are gut shot and/or wounded every year by “hunters” using standard gear and taking shots under 200 yards, than by animals harvested over 500 yards by “long range shooters”.  Every outfitter that has converted to precision gear reports far less wounded game when customers adopt “long range shooting” gear and techniques.

Just like liberals and their crazy ideas, some people would like to arbitrarily draw a line and try to make everyone else conform to their sense of moral certitude about the injustice of shooting game at distance, or using sophisticated equipment.  How far and what gear?  Twenty yards and stone club?  Sounds like cave man thinking to me.

Aaron Davidson founded Gunwerks, LLC. in January 2006. His background in engineering and his passion for firearms and our American tradition of hunting gives him a unique insight into product design.