Long Range Hunting: Animal Cruelty or Skilled Sportsmanship?

Long Range Hunting: Animal Cruelty or Skilled Sportsmanship?

(Josh Wayner for TTAG)

Long range shooting used to be second nature to me. I remember those days of my early twenties when I would spend whole weekends at various ranges ringing steel out past the horizon. Those days are past me now and I find that I don’t lament their loss. There’s been a change in the long-range culture in the last decade and it has many facets, not all of them are good.

This article is, of course, my opinion and I don’t expect you to agree, but I sincerely hope you’ll give it some thought before you call me crazy. I know that there are big fish to fry on the national scene, but I believe that this is one of those topics that’s akin to the problems surrounding the nuclear family today. Good basic ethics make for responsible hunters. Without those our culture degenerates in to immorality and depravity.

When I was younger I was very concerned with my ability to hit things at long-range and I was very good at it. I was able to hit game at almost any distance and I was proud of that fact. Hunting for me was something a young man just does without thinking about. My opinions began to change when I had a case of mistaken identity.

I was out hunting for fox and coyote one year and I had moderate success. I had permission from some local farmers to remove vermin that could tear up the ground and injure cows and horses, so I spent my lonely afternoons doing just that. I was familiar with all the yardages and holdovers.

I had been watching a fox for several weeks and he kept avoiding me. He was smart, but I was smarter, or so I thought. I saw his head pop up in a small washout along a stream one day and lined up on him at about 700 yards. I fired once and he instantly dropped.

When I got down there, I was surprised. What I had thought was the best shot of my life at the time had been robbed from me. In the washout lay a cat with black ear tips and a reddish-grey coat.

I would’ve bet my meager life savings that it was a fox when I pulled the trigger. Nobody in the area had a cat-like that as far as I knew and I never found the owner, if there was one.

The story was one of my favorite campfire tales for a while, but I eventually saw that the same people who were entertained by fox hunting weren’t as excited by shooting cats. That left me with the hollow feeling of having 700 yards be my best shot, but it proved I wasn’t nearly as good a hunter as I claimed to be. Some even said it was cruel.

The obsession with long-range began to bother me. I discovered that I was, in fact, a terrible hunter who had to move beyond the senses of my game to get a shot.

Another year I lined up on a coyote at over 800 yards and shot him. I didn’t find the body until the next day, but by then it had been partially eaten. I examined the body and saw that I had indeed hit him, but in the snout. He likely died in agony before being scavenged. I neither got a skull nor a pelt as a trophy, but I could say that I shot a coyote at 800 yards.

Long Range Hunting: Animal Cruelty or Skilled Sportsmanship?

(Josh Wayner for TTAG)

I repeated this process for a number of years until I became completely disgusted with myself and those around me who prized distance and not a clean kill.

My complete separation from the-long range community came when the 6.5 Creedmoor fad got into full swing. Everywhere I went and everyone I talked to became convinced that they were now snipers and badass long-range shooters and all I could do was stand by and listen to the stories.

“I shot a deer at 900 yards.” “I took a shot at 1,400 yards in Wyoming.” “The 6.5 is accurate to a mile. I want to shoot a deer that far.” I have even had names you’d recognize in the industry claim to have shot elk at long-range with a little 6.5 Grendel. It’s this type of thing that gives hunters a bad name, and, in these cases, it’s well deserved.

It is not good sportsmanship that people pursue when it comes to long-range hunting. To me it is some sort of mantle of superiority and it leaves me with the sensation that these people are all about the glory of the kill and not the responsibility of taking a life.

Glorifying the kill and not the tradition of the hunt is what drives people away from the outdoor sports. Who wants to be in the company of a bunch of traditionless bullet golfers who injure animals in their spare time?

I think the idea of shooting at long distances comes from some shooters believing that they’re inherently more skilled than the rest of the crowd. The yardage is sort of a trump card of skill, where the shooter who can make a hit further out is objectively “better” than the one who takes a shot closer in. It is a status marker to some, but to me it is the mark of a poor hunter or someone who is trying to prove something to others with an imaginary benchmark.

Because of the technological advances we have in guns, ammo, and optics, long-range hunting is actually easier than any kind of hunting out there today considering that you’re outside of an animal’s range of senses. I’ve seen deer just stand there and look around because they don’t even hear the source of the shot.

Compare that to bow hunting or using a cap-and-ball muzzleloader where the average shot is inside 50 yards. The former is long-range killing, the latter is fair chase hunting.

So should we force everyone to hunt at 50 yards with muskets? If that preserves the deer herd for the next ten generations, then I am all for it. But what if I never shoot a deer, Josh? Well, that’s life and hunting isn’t a guaranteed activity nor is it about the act of killing.

If we quantify hunting as a fair chase, one would reasonably assume that the animal has the ability to readily escape should it be alerted to the presence of the hunter. The hunt, by nature, is a gamble, not a surety.

By extending the distance between shooter and animal, you eliminate the ability of the animal to make a reasonable escape. Sure, you can kill animals from that far out, but that isn’t the goal. You may as well go to a farm and shoot a lamb point-blank if you want an unfair chase experience.

This brings me to a point in this where I have to address the continuing trends of the long-range world. I have predicted and watched as bores have gotten smaller in the competitive end of long-range shooting. The 6.5 was the first, now 6mm and .22 are the choice.

I now hear of people shooting at deer with a 6mm Creedmoor (the millennial re-branding of the common .243 Win) at 1,000 yards because it’s still supersonic or some other inane excuse. I see writers with a good following promoting this type of foolishness and it disgusts me.

Long Range Hunting: Animal Cruelty or Skilled Sportsmanship?

A typical view in Michigan. The far tree line is about 300 yards away. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

A gun reviewer you all may recognize once said something to me to the tune of, ‘Josh is consistent with his all life is precious rants’ when I was discussing the taking of game at hunting ranches. Yes, all life is precious and we as hunters are responsible when it comes to preserving that life for future generations.

If the kill is all you want, you have already failed as a hunter and have no business in the woods. You must love your quarry or there won’t be any for our children to stand in awe of. It is the preservation of life that makes hunting enjoyable. Conservationists have done more to rebuild habitats and allow species to repopulate than any radical animal rights groups could ever manage because they truly love the animals, where the latter simply hate people.

So the big question is this: is long-range hunting a form of animal cruelty? I believe the answer is yes. As hunters, we have the responsibility to kill a game animal quickly and humanely. If we don’t kill quickly by intention, it is inhumane and simply cruel. Killing game quickly involves shooting the animal in a vital area so that it dies rapidly. Simply hitting the animal isn’t the same thing. There is no ‘D’ zone because animals aren’t IPSC targets.

To reduce the variables of the kill we need to reduce the ranges from which we shoot. The closer the animal, the greater the likelihood of making a fast, clean kill. By willingly extending the distance to an animal, you are intentionally increasing the likelihood of a hit on a non-vital area.

This can’t be argued as it’s a function of distance, environmental factors, and the potential accuracy of a given rifle. This extension of distance will, by simple math, result in avoidable suffering and is cruel.

So what distance constitutes long-range? Good question. I believe that long-range is any range that exceeds the senses of the animal. The maximum range I shoot deer at is about 200 yards, but prefer it to be inside of 75 yards if I can help it.

For coyote I look at 300 yards as a reasonable maximum with any distance shorter being ideal, preferably inside 50 yards. Those rules change a bit depending on terrain, but that is what I typically work with.

Long Range Hunting: Animal Cruelty or Skilled Sportsmanship?

A deer shot by the author. This one was taken at 100 yards with the 450 Bushmaster in the photo. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

I hear often that we need more calibers and new guns to drive the industry forward. I do not believe that’s true. What we have is an idea being marketed because of the prestige culture we have developed around it.

The cult of long-range shooting has pushed the gamer mentality into the field with his playthings for shooting steel plates. This shooter isn’t a hunter, he’s a gamer little different from those on Fortnite or whatever games they play these days. Gone are the traits of patience and the attitude of perseverance. Replacing them is instant gratification, underpowered ammunition and low recoil.

For many, the hunt is about the kill, not the beauty of nature or the life of the quarry. It’s a sad day for sportsmen when the future of hunting is in the hands of the irreverent and impatient. I can say this as someone who’s from that generation and I was once one of those I criticize.

I was as guilty as any when it came right down it. Now I hope I’m in a position to change some minds on the subject. Put away that gaudy 6.5 Creedmoor and pick up your granddad’s old .30-30 before you head out into the field. I’m sure he could teach you a thing or two about what hunting is really about.

comments

  1. avatar frank speak says:

    all antelope hunting involves making a long shot…it just seemed to me that no matter how far away they were…when viewed through a scope …they were always looking directly at me…

    1. avatar rob says:

      That could be.
      My last antelope was taken at 85 yards.
      I make no claims to be a great hunter. I’m just slow.

    2. avatar Kenneth says:

      Pronghorns have eyesight that cannot be believed. I think they can count the hairs on the back of your hand from a mile out. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to shoot them from <25 yards. They have an intense curiosity that can get them to come right up to you, so long as they don't know what you are or smell you.
      Good for Mr. Waynor. We need more responsible people and less foolish ones. I, too, took long shots in my youth. I now like to see how close to the game I can get, instead of how far away. As stated, it doesn't take much of a hunter to shoot something from the next County over, at game that doesn't even know you're around. It's something else again to sit still and quiet enough that a whitetail comes over from 10 yards to sniff you to figure out what you are. Now that's a hunting trip.

      1. avatar LARRY Yaklich says:

        I am a disabled Veteran, above knee amputee, I started big game hunting after I lost my leg. I am part Native American Indian and my wife FULL BLOOD NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN . we waiste nothing and it is really hard to track animals. So I only do neck shots! and if I can’t do a kill shot I take a picture.

  2. avatar Daniel Silverman says:

    I won’t hunt anything I won’t eat unless removing predators to livestock.
    Having said that, distance is based on need.
    If you are hunting goat in the Rockies good chance you will be making a longer shot. This is based on terrain and the fact that you probably won’t be able to get that close.
    Here in California, a lot of the deer hunting is closer, between 50 to 250 yards roughly.
    Know your target and what’s behind it.
    I would shoot longer if I needed to, and yes being proficient long range isn’t a bad thing.
    We also want to be practical, harvest our catch humanly and cleanly.
    As we get older, and aren’t quite as good, or out of practice we need to align our skill level to the situation.
    I wouldn’t take a 700 yard shot right now even if it was as clean as could be because I am not in practice.

    1. avatar DDay says:

      Good post

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      “I won’t hunt anything I won’t eat unless removing predators to livestock.” I very much agree but I’d also add environmentally-destructive critters like feral hogs, the python explosion in FL, and things of that nature. (Maybe I should try shooting the damn Zebra mussels that have invaded the MN lakes.)

      A lot of the long shot mistique is for bragging rights. In this day and age where we aren’t hunting for our daily sustenance it often shows a lack of respect for the activity/sport and the animal itself. If I were on the verge of starving and had a doe standing at 500 yds that might be a different matter.

  3. avatar Roh-Dog says:

    “If the kill is all you want, you have already failed as a hunter and have no business in the woods.”
    Killing means food, so someone trying to put meat on the table on the last day of a season is a failure…?
    We all have responsibilities, journos have one to use the right words and logics.
    And hogs have no right to live. Period.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Need vs want. if I have to take a 1400 yard shot to secure food for my family through winter then so be it.
      hunting for sport…don’t take the shot, hunting for survival i’ll do what i have to.

      1. avatar Quartier LeBlanc says:

        I call this statement about as BS as it gets

    2. avatar Deliverance says:

      Hogs have earned they’re right to live by Right of Conquest. They’ve beaten us through sheer numbers and now cannot be stopped. Soon they will outnumber us, then the hogs will be in Congress and… oh… I suppose that’s already occurred…

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      If you’re hunting because you need the meat then I don’t think ‘If the kill is all you want’ applies to you.

  4. avatar Jr says:

    Anytime hunting ethics comes up I compare it to typical factory farmed meat. A hunter would have to do a lot wrong to be worse than that.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “factory,” but modern livestock production involves scientifically designed facilities, nutrition and veterinary care designed to keep animals healthy, minimize stress, and protect them from predators, parasites and disease.

      Stressed animals don’t gain weight efficiently or produce as much milk or eggs. Animals on well-managed farms are actually pretty content until slaughter. It would be unprofitable to raise them any other way.

      Good livestock farmers have always known this, but the left wingnuts refuse to recognize the obvious.

      1. avatar rip_vw32 says:

        Being around the live stock industry, and more specifically the Buffalo industry, I can tell you that there is a lot of stuff that goes on that ‘looks’ inhumane. Take the stud gun and hanging cow for example, I can’t count the times that I’ve seen a stud gun only stun the cow, and not kill it – proven by the next step where the animal is gutted hanging and the blood is still pumping. Or how about feed lots? Graining the animals just to make heavier weights on the scales (even though most of it is fat)… I think that we’d all like to believe that we’ve ‘fixed’ the system since Upton Sinclair and the Jungle, but the honest fact is – most processing plants that do the live kill for you, just ain’t that great. hunting by far is the more human/decent/moral/ethical thing even at long range, when the goal is meat in your belly!

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          The Jungle was a wholly fabricated piece of fiction written by a devout communist. – https://www.history.com/news/7-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-jungle

        2. avatar WhiteDevil says:

          @Gov Hey gov, I read through that list. Not thoroughly, mind you. It said that the Sinclair’s veracity and reports were confirmed. I’m just asking, but what do you mean when you say it was entirely fiction?

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Yea, I kind of skimmed through it myself, but it was a work of fiction that was supposedly based on real events that he personally experienced. However, from what I’ve heard the veracity of those claims are highly disputed. The fact that he was a communist should garner a great deal of suspicion, as the ends justify the means, don’t cha know.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘After the book’s publication, Roosevelt wasted no time in directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate Sinclair’s claims. It reported back that “The Jungle” was mostly lies and exaggerations. But because Roosevelt distrusted its close ties to the meatpacking industry, he secretly instructed Labor Commissioner Charles P. Neill and social worker James B. Reynolds to likewise take a look.’

          Well yes, the USDA investigated and disputed his claims so Roosevelt sent in a Labor Commissioner and a social worker who claimed otherwise.

  5. avatar Defens says:

    I tend to agree with all of your article. Back in the days of my ol’ ought-six with a Bausch & Lomb scope, a 400 yard shot was pretty long, and I brought down a few deer at that range in the canyon country of central Oregon. That was the norm in those days – hunting on a friend’s wheat and cattle ranch, and surrounded by my family and a group of folks with whom the tradition of hunting went back for generations.

    Now, I have rifles that would easily double that distance, and I seldom hunt. If I do, it’s at shorter ranges with a Ruger Gunsite Scout. I don’t see much honor or tradition in sniping deer, and the experience I want is far more about walking in the woods and tuning my senses to a high level – heightening the experience.

    I think part of this new trend is the suspicion that social media has replaced the tribal aspects of hunting. As a youth, I would sit – rapt with attention – as my Dad and his friends would spin hunting and fishing yarns. The ones captured; the ones that got away. Nobody dragged out photos of bloody carcasses to show – the story WAS the trophy.

    Now? That tradition appears to be busted, and the “tribe” is replaced by the eleventy thousand “friends” that follow your latest posts on FakeBook. It’s not a tradition, it’s a semi-profession and most definitely a competition, with the critter at far end of the trajectory being the loser. Even worse are the “red mist” videos – basically prairie dog or marmot snuff films. Where’s the tradition, honor, or even human decency in those?

    Am I a Fudd? Hardly. I like all guns, great and small and put my money where my mouth is in protecting our right to hang on to them. I have zero issues with the legal harvesting of game, and I like a fresh elk steak as much as the next guy. My issue is watching the real-life activity of hunting turning into the virtual reality of first person shooter games or fake, staged reality TV hunting shows; as entertainment, not as an honorable tradition.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Couldn’t have said it better, and didn’t.

    2. avatar Ken Shabby says:

      Agreed. Great article.

    3. avatar napresto says:

      I’m not a hunter, but this post spoke to me. If I were to take up hunting, it would be about the experience of being in the woods and attuning myself to that environment far more than I ever could on just a hike.

      1. avatar Defens says:

        I’ve gone hiking and mountaineering with a variety of different friends over the years. Almost without exception, the ones that spotted the far-off critters, noted and identified the animal tracks, or observed and analyzed their surroundings, were hunters. Most of the hikers were just plodding along for the exercise. I do more birding than hunting lately, and serious birders are really into all aspects of the natural world as well.

    4. avatar Gadsden says:

      Good post. And anyone that thinks you’re a fudd doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase. A fudd is someone’s willing to sell out gun rights to the anti’s for a few more years to keep their bolt action, that the antis come for anyway. Having a moral code and using the appropriate gun/round for hunting is far from that.

  6. avatar Mad Cow says:

    So, you’re saying it’s OK to hunt deer with a .243 but not a 6mm Creedmore? Or that you’re more likely to hit vitals holding 6 MOA at 50 yards with an iron sighted 30-30 than you are a 100 yard shot with a 1/2 MOA chassis rifle?

    I get the intent of the article, and agree with it mostly, but you come off as rather “holier than thou” in a lot of this. I don’t think you should be taking shots a deer at 1000 yards, but honing your skills (and equipment) to hit a target at that range will make you a better hunter inside 200 as well.

    You can make your point without denigrating a rapidly growing shooting sport (which is bring new people into shooting in general) and equating them to Fortnite players. You already established that what you were saying might be controversial, no need to start name calling to ramp up emotions further.

  7. avatar RidgeRunner says:

    I agree with this article, but it’s more a function of where I hunt; on my property a 100-plus yard shot opportunity would be a rarity on deer and turkey by nature is an “inside 40 yards” game for me (new longer-range loads notwithstanding). Even so, as a hunter of more than 40 years, I’ve found that the challenge I enjoy most is getting them in close, hence my love of bowhunting. I only picked up a bow less than a decade ago and yet my biggest buck ever was taken that way, a beautiful 14-pt at 30 yards. To me, the reward is in all the prep it takes to get them in close; my quantity of kills has gone WAY down, but I just ain’t mad at ’em no more.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      I am a believer that long-range shots on game should be apologized for, not boasted about.

      Cooper’s rule 4: Always be sure of your target.

      Years ago I had a talk to someone who shot at game at 600-800 metres. I asked would they hunt with a .38 caliber resolver? They said they wouldn’t because that would be cruel. I asked them to check a ballistics chart showing the velocity and energy of their cartridge at long distances. It was less than a .38.

      All my hunting is within 250 metres, and I’m confident I can make good placement out to that distance.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      I’m in my 60’s and just bought my first bow not to long ago. I’m hoping to buy a new, heavier bow soon. My goal is to hit the first day of rabbit season here in CA without my gun. The goal is not to limit out. I’ve done that.

      The goal is to get back to the basics and enjoy what time I have left in the boonies to the fullest.

      1. avatar azprof says:

        I’m past 60 by a couple years and after a 20 year or so span of not hunting I picked up a fairly new compound bow at a garage sale. In AZ we have to enter a “draw” for big game tags so getting drawn for big game in rifle hunts are fairly hard to come by – too many people too little game, but managed well by Game and Fish. I wasn’t drawn for rifle or archery elk last year and not for rifle deer either. But I am able to just get an archery deer tag without having to go through the draw. Twenty some years ago in my third or so archery elk season I was able score my first elk, a nice medium sized cow. Got a nice clean kill at 35 yards – elk ran 20 yards, fell over, and stopped breathing within a minute. My old Bear compound bow put the arrow through both lungs and heart, taking out a 2 inch semi-circle of rib upon exiting. So the hunt is the thing – it took several years and in those years I found almost nothing as exciting as trailing the elk herds, trying to call in the bulls, walking within 10 yards of 400 pound plus cows in a herd to try and get close enough for a shot at the bulls. Several years after that did a couple years rifle deer with my father in law. Was great to get out in the woods but getting a buck 3 years in a row with rifle was anti-climatic. Now with my new bow last season getting into hunt again is refreshing. I saw some bucks, some does and a crapload of elk, but didn’t score and it didn’t bother me. Again – the hunt is the thing, getting out in nature, tracking down the game, etc. I don’t plan on giving up rifle hunting – fresh venison makes for great meals, but my on my draw applications I will be submitting several archery hunts in the top of the list followed by some rifle hunt units (in AZ we get to apply for 5 hunt units in our draw applications). This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy target shooting, I have a CCW and practice every other week. As soon as winter breaks I’ll be hauling out my rifles to make sure they’re all still sighted in. Building a .308 for hunting and just long range fun – some people like to slam a golf ball at a flag a couple hundred yards out – I enjoy flinging lead out a couple hundred yards at some steel.
        Overall a good article. Shot straight and clean. Enjoy the hunt and all aspects of our shooting sports.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Yes. I will keep practicing in hopes of getting to bow hunt. I also still use my guns. But I want to branch out.

        2. avatar Southern Cross says:

          A friend of mine used to bow hunt (note past tense). He had enough of feral pigs running off with several $30 arrow heads stuck in them and was getting more game with the 12-gauge coach gun he kept in the quiver for backup.

          The final straw happened when a wild pig, after being hit with an arrow, charged him. He grabbed the coach gun and fired once as the pig was several yards away and the killing shot as it ran between his legs.

          After this he considered $30 for an arrowhead or (at the time) 30 cents for a cartridge. 30 cents won.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          $30 arrowhead? Was he casting them out of gold?

        4. avatar azprof says:

          Nice razor head tip and carbon fiber shafts – dollars run up fast. My S&W 629 always comes along for the ride :). Phuck bear spray.

        5. avatar Southern Cross says:

          Jim, down under things are much more expensive, and my friend told me the story more than 15 years ago and he the event happened a few years before that.

          Bow hunting is not very common in Australia, so pre-internet shopping demand was low and prices for non-target archery was very expensive.

  8. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “Yes, all life is precious…”
    Myopic, poorly thought out words to vomit over.

    For the record:
    The lives of my livestock and horses are more precious than the lives of the coyotes who eat my lambs or the prairie dogs whose holes break the legs of cows and horses. I will kill them humanely if I can, and inhumanely if I must. I will reduce their populations through any means possible that is lawful and safe.

    The same goes for the groundhogs who eat my feed, the wild hogs that destroy my crops, and a few other species I’m probably forgetting. Hell, the horn flies that bite my cows would all die an agonizing death from poison toxicity if I could make that happen.

    There are species that need to be preserved. I give $$ to Pheasants Forever for such purposes. There are also species that need to be controlled and reduced. Human life is precious. Other species are populations to be managed.

    1. avatar Jamie in North Dakota says:

      Spot on, Curtis! I couldn’t agree with you more.

  9. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Thoughtful and thought-provoking article.

    Not being a hunter, but understanding the need to cull herds, I am not one to support the elimination of hunting with firearms. Nor do I have any “skin in the game”. However, my dad formed an opinion in be about shooting vs. hunting.

    I was seven, and went duck hunting with my father. It was a bad day all around, and we saw only one duck on the lake. As we were breaking down the blind and equipment, I asked my dad to shoot the duck because we hadn’t bee able to “hunt” and we should at least take one shot. My dad said there is hunting and there is shooting. Shooting is just wrong because it isn’t done for the game take, but done for the noise and fury of the shoot. That was the last day I ever wanted to go hunting (whether that is/was a good or bad decision).

    There was also a magazine article years later (you get really bored sitting on ramp alert), about how a long-time hunter came to see that the deer captured in his scope was just too magnificent an example of God’s creation to shoot. After that experience, the hunter became a photo hunter.

    In the end, I sit comfortably in my multi-function recliner, reading TTAG about hunting, and shake my head at shooting animals vs. hunting. Sniping and hunting, to me, the uninvolved, are just not the same and seem to violate some sort of universal concept of fairness and balance. If you prefer sniping vs. hunting, fine, I recommend not legal restrictions on your activity. But at the gun range, I won’t be one of those eagerly waiting for your next report of time in the woods. As to the hunters, well, why go through all that effort when you can slip down to Whole Paycheck and pick the best cuts of meats, bring them home and impress the family by not turning the steaks to lumps of charcoal?

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      i was going to invite you for supper but i suspect that you may not like my cooking.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “… i suspect that you may not like my cooking.”

        You turn all your meats to coal too?

    2. avatar Gadsden says:

      Well that depends. There are people who I know, who’s primary source of meat comes from hunting, fishing, and even roadkill. For most people though, hunting isn’t about simply acquiring meat, just like fishing, for most people, isn’t just about acquiring fish. It’s tradition, hobby, fun, and experience.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “For most people though, hunting isn’t about simply acquiring meat, just like fishing, for most people, isn’t just about acquiring fish. It’s tradition, hobby, fun, and experience.”

        And so it is. However, I find it more fun, traditional and efficient to go to the meat market to get game, then spend the time not “hunting” to do other fun hobbies. Time is not fungible. Time spent “here” cannot be spend “there”. Time spent prepping is time you cannot doing whatever it is you are prepping for.

        “It’s about time,
        It’s about space.
        It’s about the start
        of the human race.”

        1. avatar Gadsden says:

          Well the time saving version of hunting is called trapping. Trapping is a now often over looked necessity for the purpose of collecting game.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Well the time saving version of hunting is called trapping. Trapping is a now often over looked necessity for the purpose of collecting game.”

          I wouldn’t have opened the trapping door. So many issues there to get crossways with.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      It would be easier and cheaper to hit the butcher shop, Sam. I really don’t know the right words to use to explain hunting to a non hunter. Its more an emotion than a logic. On the hunt I get a connected feeling to all that is around me that I’ve never gotten in the city.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I really don’t know the right words to use to explain hunting to a non hunter.”

        I don’t understand triathletes, jogging for fun, fishing (catch and release), or extreme yoga, either. However, it is always a good thing when people don’t turn to crime to get through the day.

        (As a side note, most everyone I ever know does not understand why I like being a voracious reader…and no, I can’t explain it either.)

      2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Even though I’m not a hunter, I understand it.

        We (some more than others) desire to hunt for the same reason we desire to eat or copulate with a fertile female. It’s in our DNA. Historically it’s part of what the males of our species did to survive. Our ancestors who had the instinct to hunt were more successful at surviving (and ultimately reproducing) than the ancestors who had no such instinct. It’s how we evolved as a species.

        Hunt. Find. Kill. Drag home for supper. When we get back to the cave, our wives are thankful for the food and submit to sex as reward (right after she does the dishes).

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “We (some more than others) desire to hunt for the same reason we desire to eat or copulate with a fertile female.”

          Wow. Such a misogynistic, hateful statement can get you sued. You can mitigate, but never erase, your sin by voluntarily entering a reeducation camp, majoring in multi-genderism, diversity and dancing with Unicorns.

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    If we quantify hunting as a fair chase, one would reasonably assume that the animal has the ability to readily escape should it be alerted to the presence of the hunter.

    Let us consider white-tailed deer for a moment. They see basically as well in the dark as we do at noon on a dreary, cloudy day. And in daylight, they see ultraviolet, purple, and blue like they are bright flashing neon signs. Of course if anything moves anywhere, they see the movement and immediately lock onto it. Then we have their hearing. White-tailed deer will hear you walking as quietly as you possibly can upwards of 200 yards away in a typical open forest if there is no wind noise. Finally, we have their sense of smell. Even if you exert a lot of effort to control your scent (using scentless soaps, shampoo, antiperspirant, laundry detergent, and keeping ALL your hunting clothes sealed in bags to prevent any unnatural scents away), deer will still smell you at least 100 yards away if they are downwind, and more likely 200 yards away. Now, add requirements to wear hunter orange, which sticks out like a sore thumb in the woods to deer who see orange as pale yellow (assuming that there are no more yellow leaves on the trees).

    In other words we have pretty much ZERO chance of ever sneaking up on deer inside of 200 yards, and it would prove almost as impossible at ranges out to 300 yards if we are exposed in open terrain. Given that reality, I don’t see how any discussion of “fair chase” even makes any sense.

    The only way that I ever see people successfully hunt deer involves being in blinds or high up in trees where deer have zero chance of seeing them and zero chance of hearing them (assuming that the hunter is reasonably still/quiet in their tree stand or blind) — and also zero chance of smelling them if the hunter is smart enough to position themselves downwind from deer movement patterns. The only exception to this rule are hunters who are not in blinds or tree stands who take bucks that are effectively blind, deaf, and have no sense of smell because they are so driven trying to breed does.

    Given those realities, I am having a hard time discussing “fair chase”.

    Instead of framing the discussion around “fair chase”, I believe we should frame the discussion around simple ethics and respect for the animals. And both ethics and respect dictates that we limit our ranges such that we have an extremely high confidence and probability of quick, humane kills.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      For reference every deer that I have taken was an ambush affair. The deer had no idea I was there because I used various methods to make me invisible to ALL of their senses. That means I used camouflage, blinds, and/or tree stands to ensure that they could not see nor hear me. I used scent reduction techniques to reduce my scent signature, including positioning myself downwind from expected deer movement. And I took advantage of distraction — bucks who are effectively oblivious to their environment because they are desperately searching for does.

      At that point, what does it matter whether I used the above methods or long distance (e.g. 300+ yards) to make me “invisible” to the deer that I was hunting? Either way, I would be going to great lengths (no pun intended) to ensure that the deer had no idea I was there.

      Rather than advancing arbitrary notions of “fair chase” or “fair hunting”, let’s talk about the non-arbitrary concept of marksmanship: either you can or you cannot put a bullet on target 98% of the time at a given range. Whatever range that is, that should be YOUR maximum range if you support ethical and humane harvesting of prey animals.

      Disclaimer: my comments tend to not apply to destructive varmint/pest species where the emphasis is on eradication rather than respect and humane kills.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        One requires stalking skill, the other is just target practice

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          tdiinva,

          Have you actually tried stalking deer? It is pretty much impossible in all but the rarest of circumstances, especially if you have to stalk to within 100 yards, much less 50 yards. If there are leaves and sticks on the ground, deer will hear you coming long before you ever see them.

          I can only think of three rare circumstances where you have any chance at stalking deer. One scenario requires a fairly steep hill which enables you to approach unseen and unheard behind the hill until you are within 50 yards before popping your head over the hill. Another scenario requires mowed grass paths in a field which borders thick brush — enabling you to walk up silently on the mowed grass and then ambush deer just inside the edge of the thick brush. The last scenario involves sneaking up on deer in a thick corn field on a day that is so windy, the deer won’t hear you coming.

          Otherwise, there is no way that you are going to move through a forest or brush without deer hearing you WAY before you get within some arbitrary distance like 50 or 100 yards. Of course there is no way that you can sneak across an open field and close to within 50 or 100 yards because deer will see you and run away long before you get that close.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Yes. I have although usually use terrain to set up an ambush position and hunker down and wait. That is a legitimate technique for fair chase.

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          tdiinva,

          Let me say outright that I am not trying to be jerk. I am really trying to understand and make some headway in general.

          So, you frequently use one of the techniques that I listed where you use terrain to get into a position unseen and unheard and then wait to ambush. How is that any different than stealthily climbing into a tree stand, ground blind, or cover (with camouflage clothing) and then hunkering down and waiting for deer to step into view? Why are dirt and rocks okay for “fair chase”, and yet trees, sticks/debris (ground blinds), and brush are not okay for “fair chase”?

          As for your statement that shooting deer is merely target practice when we are not involved in “fair chase”, I beg to differ. My target practice involves shooting specific stationary targets in known directions at known ranges, in fair weather conditions, shooting off of heavy-duty benches and sand bags in optimum body positions, and shooting at my leisure. Hunting, on the other hand, requires putting accurate shots on animals that could be in any direction, at any distance, moving or stationary, at any moment (however inconvenient), often if poor weather, often from awkward body positions, and almost always off-hand or, at best, with some assistance of a rock or tree to help steady our aim. Oh, and there is no target painted on the animal. If you have hunted as you say, you of all people should know that there is a world of difference between target practice and hunting.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Hunters have been using natural terrain to ambush game since hominids have been stalking game. The key word is natural. You are not bringing any aid into the hunt. You are using what God provided.

        5. avatar tdiinva says:

          So you have never practiced against moving targets?

        6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          tdiinva,

          Nope, I have never practiced against moving targets.

        7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          tdiinva,

          Is it not obvious that trees, ground blinds, and brush are natural and God provided?

          And, unless you hunt naked, you are not hunting in “natural” clothing, although you are using what God provided to make your hunting clothing — including the substances that you (or someone else used) to color/camouflage your hunting clothing.

          Finally, unless you hunt deer with your bare hands, rocks, or sticks, you are not hunting with “natural” hunting implements, although you are using what God provided to make your archery equipment and firearms (or purchase what someone else made).

          We would also be wise to remember that God provided us with intelligence and reason, which includes the capacity to design and fashion hunting implements and develop effective hunting tactics using every possible advantage at our disposal. Using our God-given intellect to hunt deer effectively is just that, and to what extent we manipulate or exploit the environment to achieve our desired outcome is neither here nor there as long as we are not destroying our environment in the process. Using tree stands, ground blinds, brush/cover, terrain, stalking, and long range does not destroy the environment. Thus those methods should be good to go in my book.

  11. avatar Quasimofo says:

    “I have even had names you’d recognize in the industry claim to have shot elk at long-range with a little 6.5 Grendel.”

    Mark Larue That stunt has lead to many 6.5G fanbois touting their cartridge as a 400-yard elk dropper for years, but I don’t see any experienced elk hunters or guides recommending it.

    Setting aside “fair chase”, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a lot of long range hunting ends up being long range wounding more frequently than folks will admit, and Jack O’Connor wrote about this issue decades ago. Ringing steel on a square range isn’t the same as hitting the vital zone on a deer at the same distance across variable terrain on a blustery day. I’m all for taking an animal as quickly and cleanly as possible for ethical and practical reasons. Most hunters, including myself, don’t have any business taking a shot like that beyond ~300 yards. But that sort of distance isn’t typically an issue here in PA.

  12. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    “Simply hitting the animal isn’t the same thing. There is no ‘D’ zone because animals aren’t IPSC targets.”

    This is the key point that needs to be beaten into the heads of new shooters. I’ve taken a handfull of deer cleanly at 300-375yds and one thing I was really struck by was just how small the vital zone on a deer is, even that “close”.

    One of my best friend’s has 1500acres a short trip from my home town. Out there they have a shooting lane set up with steel out to 1000yds. There is a game trail that crosses the range at 500 and 800 yds, and a couple of times deer have crossed when I have been out there shooting, and it is amazing how small a deer is compared to the 12″ and 18″ gongs my friend has hung at those ranges. I can without any real difficulty, roll up to the range, lay out my stuff, hop down behind the gun and score cold bore hits at the 850yd target he has set up out there. So it’s easy to think “yeah, I could shoot a deer that far”. Then you realize, the heart/lungs of the average North Texas whitetail barely cover even a third of that target, it really puts things in perspective. A hit that would ring the gong, could very easily be a neck/gut shot without even really making any big mistakes at that range.

    That said, you are free to establish whatever range limits you want to set for yourself, you are even free to share those as a “best practice” to newer shooters, but the reality is, some people are more than capable of spotting and shooting animals humanely/ethically at ranges much further than what you might think is reasonable.

  13. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    I once spent a wonderful couple days in Cody, WY shooting with the Gunwerks guys. Aaron Davidson, in response to a question about ethical killing at long range, gave me a sage piece of advice. It was along the lines of “We take shots at distances where a miss would be an absolute surprise.”

    That’s dependent on the weather, the shooting position, the intended shot placement, and the game in question. For the guys at Gunwerks, shooting elk with 7mm LRM, it might be 1000 yards on a clear, crisp day with no wind shooting from bipod prone. But it might also be 400 yards in a blowing snowstorm from a tripod the next.

    The best thing you can do for your hunting practice is to set up a series of steel targets the size of the vital zone of your intended prey and go make a bunch of cold bore shots from odd positions. Increase the distance until you miss. Knock 20% off that distance for cushion and hold yourself to that limit. But that takes more than a box of Core-Lokts from Wally World and it’s hard, and you have to say no to shots sometimes because of that knowledge, and so most people won’t.

    Hunting should be thrilling but not surprising.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Hunting should be thrilling but not surprising.”

      Flying should be the same way. 😉

      Good seeing you again, Mr. Kee…

    2. avatar Bcb says:

      Now that’s solid. To say long shots are no good is wrong. We just have to be real honest with ourselves on what is reasonable at that exact point in time. For me 350yds in normal conditions would be a stretching it. For the Gunwerks dude 1000 in perfect weather is probably as likely to result in success as my 300. There are lots of hunters who are as likely to miss at 100yd as a practiced shooter st long range. No one complains about bad shooters trying 100yd shots.

  14. avatar Notorious TERF says:

    Whether I agree with the basic argument here or not (I do,) I am not sure of the usefulness of the continued naval gazing writings giving off half, and sometimes less, facts by this writer. I groan when I see the byline.

    1. avatar Peter says:

      I owe Rob an apology. I thought he was a bit far to the left and fluffy at times, but this guy is completely in the sissy land. This site became really lame after Rob sold it off, it’s more gay than TFB now. Everything seems to be going through some fudd filter, suddenly not enough material for a daily digest and all is way more pc. 🙁

  15. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘My complete separation from the-long range community came when the 6.5 Creedmoor fad got into full swing.’ – I’m beginning to think Josh is presidential material.

    If I had a place nearby to shoot long range I’d love to ring some steel but the application of that skill set is something I can only imagine would apply in an unlikely life or death situation, either starvation or war. Save the bragging rights for the steel.

  16. avatar Timothy says:

    I don’t hunt because I’m into the chase and need to prove my skills at tracking/sneaking/ect. This idea that a person is more moral if they give the animal a chance to get away is foolish.

    That said, to make an ethical shot, the goal is to drop the animal in one hit and minimize it’s suffering. Do you have a round, firearm, and skills to do that at 400 or 600 yards? If so, good for you. I don’t, so I keep my shots around 200-300 yards. I won’t apologize if the deer doesn’t see, smell or hear me and I don’t really care to be told that I’m somehow immoral for not trying to sneak up to it.

  17. avatar Gadsden says:

    I agree with your article for the most part, except it seems you’re in favor of arbitrary restrictions on things like caliber and distance. I don’t think it’s wise to have the government step in for yet more gun control and believe it best to teach these eithics in hunter saftey and whatnot. Spot on about 6.5 shitmoore too.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I don’t think it’s wise to have the government step in for yet more gun control…”

      I didn’t see “government” in the article at all. Only remarks about the likelihood, or lack, of immediate kill at “long distances”.

      1. avatar Gadsden says:

        “So should we force everyone to hunt at 50 yards with muskets? If that preserves the deer herd for the next ten generations, then I am all for it.“

        That’s a pretty strong pro gun control statement.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “So should we force everyone to hunt at 50 yards with muskets? If that preserves the deer herd for the next ten generations, then I am all for it.“

          That seems to be merely a throwaway line that means if the herds are so thin that dropping wildlife at extreme range, risking not being able to retrieve the carcass, then, and only then, maybe some sort of means of preserving herds should be implemented.

          However, I can see how some people read his sentence as a strong gun control statement. I just didn’t see the article as endorsing such a restriction today, only in extremis. And is there a difference between his one-line thought, and current limits on the number of game that can be harvested during a season (and why are there “seasons”, anyway?).

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Friend of mine was a Civil War reenacter. He took a deer at 300 yards with his replica pattern 1853 Enfield Minie rifle. He can ring steel with it at 500 yards. A musket doesn’t mean you are limited to 50 yard shots.

        3. avatar Gadsden says:

          I get why there’s restrictions on the physical act of hunting such as game limits and seasons, otherwise all the game would be gone in short order. But once we start allowing the government to dictate what tools we use in doing so, we’re essentially submitting to the notion that gun control works.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Gun control does work…you can’t use firesticks in and when only bow hunting is permitted. You can’t use tracer ammo in national parks when high fire danger exists.

          Gun control at its finest.

        5. avatar Gadsden says:

          Does it really “work”? No. People that don’t poach or use tracer rounds do so not because of government mandate, but because of moral character. It’s because they have been properly raised to know using a tracer round to hunt is stupid and poaching is selfish. Which brings me back to my original point, if you want to curtail people hunting at unethical distances, it starts in the home.

  18. avatar TommyG says:

    Long range shooting is for competitions. Learn to hunt with a bow. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a White Tail to walk within 35 yards of you.

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      Had it happen. There’s a range about an hour from me where deer occasionally wander across the firing line. Dunno if it’s the same one every time, but they are not particularly intelligent creatures.

      Range policy is that shooting at a deer on the property forfeits your membership.

    2. avatar John says:

      You people from back east and down south need to mind your own damn business. 2,3, and 400 yards is considered long range??? If we only took shots under 200 yards then way less would kill elk for their freezer. Where I live out to 500 yards is considered a normal shot by just about everyone. I can’t even imagine sitting in a tree stand all day for days at a time while believing that I am in some way more ethical than people who hunt where they can see more than a football field.

    3. avatar Jamie in North Dakota says:

      @ Tommyg, Bow hunting sucks, picking out socks for work is more exciting than bow hunting. I could stick a nice buck every year on my families farm but bow hunting is so GD boring I wait for gun season because it’s ten times better than Effing bow hunting.

  19. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Nature is never “fair”, and people are as much a part of Nature as anything else. And part of Nature is acquiring Trophies. Get over yourself.

    From :

    In Memoriam

    by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    “The wish, that of the living whole
    No life may fail beyond the grave,
    Derives it not from what we have
    The likest God within the soul?

    Are God and Nature then at strife,
    That Nature lends such evil dreams?
    So careful of the type she seems,
    So careless of the single life;

    That I, considering everywhere
    Her secret meaning in her deeds,
    And finding that of fifty seeds
    She often brings but one to bear,

    I falter where I firmly trod,
    And falling with my weight of cares
    Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
    That slope thro’ darkness up to God,

    I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
    And gather dust and chaff, and call
    To what I feel is Lord of all,
    And faintly trust the larger hope.

    LVI.

    ‘So careful of the type?’ but no.
    From scarped cliff and quarried stone
    She cries, ‘A thousand types are gone:
    I care for nothing, all shall go.

    ‘Thou makest thine appeal to me:
    I bring to life, I bring to death:
    The spirit does but mean the breath:
    I know no more.’ And he, shall he,

    Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
    Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
    Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
    Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

    Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation’s final law–
    Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
    With ravine, shriek’d against his creed– ”

    **********************************************************

    And this:

    A man said to the universe:
    “Sir, I exist!”
    “However,” replied the universe,
    “The fact has not created in me
    A sense of obligation.”

  20. avatar Kahlil says:

    I can see and understand the ethics of the long shot for sport vs sustenance hunting but the form of hunting that really twists my knickers is dog hunting. Here in Va the idiots can trespass on your land to retrieve their dogs they sent to flush game off your property. For people that like to still hunt, bow and arrow, or hunt using other less intrusive methods these dimwits cause all sort of mess. I was out shooting at targets back during deer season when some hounds chased a good size buck over at least three fences at my parents place before it hopped a 4th and crossed the road in front of the pick up cowboys. Had I been shooting slugs or buckshot I would’ve loved to have dropped it before their eyes and dared them to raise a stink, sadly birdshot and inability to have made a clear shot ruined that dream for me. I chased the dogs off the property and gave the “hunters” a good dressing down. In many areas there is no need for using dogs, the dogs often get hit by cars or left on their own and taken to the pound, while the owners essentially trespass legally. My county made a couple attempts to stop the practice but the bubbas in the community cried foul and that this form of hunting was a heritage issue.

  21. avatar Johnny Go Lightly says:

    Happy to have grown up reading Col Whelen who spent a year before the Army living alone in Alaska. That was in the last years of the 19th century. Jack O’Oconnor connected me to the 1930’s and 40’s. But trust me this argument goes waaayyyyy back. Gen Custer boasted of shooting antelope at 600 yds with trapdoors. Elmer Keith used to shoot at outer limits but also shot cows in his barn to test ammo. Col Askins raised the ire of the gun community when he bragged about having been the first man to use a 44mag to kill an old man in VietNam. When at the NRA annual meeting a few yrs ago I saw a vendor playing a video of someone taking 50BMG shots at 1200 yds at deer. The rds were all over the screen before one accidently hit an animal. Another booth played a loop of African hunts where the animals were less than 10 yds away and the mighty hunter blew the animals head apart. We are our own worst salesmen.

    There was a reason TR talked about fair chase. Human nature is corrupt and leads to less than honorable actions.

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    I hunt in a state that only allows shotguns and handguns. 500 yards shots are out . I’ve scoped deer at 250 to observe them but with a drop of 24 inchesI didn t think a slug would do the job.
    I’ve taken deer at 65 yards with a .44 and it did a good job. Lots of damage and the deer died right away. U would go 100 max with the .44 and that’s without crosswinds.

  23. avatar Texican says:

    Jeff Cooper said something to the effect that you should fill out an apology form in triplicate to the animal that you shoot at over 300 yards/meters. It’s not it that you can’t make the shot. It’s that the animal may move in the time the bullet takes to traverse the distance to it and you may wind up wounding it instead of humanely killing it. There are exceptions for nuisance animals and in combat. But a hunter should strive to get as close as possible before taking the shot. I’ve read of Indian techniques where they camouflaged themselves with ashes and dirt and could shoot a deer with an arrow and the fletching still be in their hand. Now that takes work and patience! I’ve also seen a video that a well known rifle company made with “hunters” taking shots at over 600 yds where they wounded the animal and had to make multiple follow up shots to finally kill it. I personally would want to ensure a quick humane kill whether hunting for food or a trophy. No matter how good your rifle or ammo are there are other factors you don’t control that can mess up a shot and cause undue suffering and loss of game.

    1. avatar John says:

      At 100 yards the time of flight for my elk round takes 1/10 of a second to get there. At 300 yards it takes 3/10 of a second. What difference is that going to make?

      1. avatar Texican says:

        A lot can happen I in that 1/3 of a second. Withun 300 yds the margin if error is manageable. At greater ranges if the creature moves at the ignition of your cartridge instead of a heart/lung shot you gut shoot it. At increasing ranges it takes longer for the bullet to get there and the chance for error increases. That’s all.

        1. avatar RetroG says:

          At top full speed a deer can manage about 30 mph. 0.3 sec means it can move about 5 inches. If you were shooting at a deer already at full sprint. So more likely much less than that, if the deer moved (for some other reason than hearing the firing pin move, which it can’t with supersonic rounds, particularly at that distance).

          It really comes down to can you hit the vitals at the distance you are shooting, and will the round you are using cleanly kill the animal by hitting those vitals at that distance.

  24. avatar tdiinva says:

    I bought a long barreled 300 winmag to go Elk Hunting out West. When I actually got out there I was humping a 11.5lb rifle/scope combo through terrain that might have needed a 200 yard shot. I could have taken my much lighter 30-06 to get the job done. Most hunting gets done in areas where 12 and 20 gauge slugs get the job done.

    My favorites round is “6mm Creedmore.” Ain’t I the hipster Hunter. /Sarc FYI .243 is actually 6.2mm

  25. avatar JMR says:

    So because you’re a terrible hunter you think you have the authority to determine what other people can do?

    I’ve heard crazy stories about stupid long distance kills forever. Go into any gun store during hunting season and you can probably find a guy who has a story about how he shot a deer that musta been 6-700 yards out there, on a full run so he aimed and the head and rolled it with a perfect heart shot. Or it was standing still so he took his trusty 300WM with his $50 made in China scope held the duplex crosshairs just a little above the shoulder and dropped it where it stood. And a lot of the stories I heard where when I lived in areas in Minnesota where you rarely could see 100 yards, but everyone seemed to be shoot deer 5 times that distance.

    People can hunt however the heck they want, if they bought the tag who the heck are you to tell them what they can or can’t do? Why is it that because you can’t do something do you think no one else can?

    I often wonder how many elitist who want to tell others how to hunt if they’ve ever been to the Midwest.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      He apparently can do the things you cannot do.

      1. avatar JMR says:

        I wouldn’t be so sure.

        However I tend to follow the rules of firearm safety, and one of those rules is to know what you’re shooting at.

        He apparently doesn’t, I fail to see why anyone would take the advice or hold his opinion in any kind of regard, when he can’t follow basic rules.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Where do you get the idea that he doesn’t follow basic safety rules?

      2. avatar JMR says:

        In the article, where he said he shot something that he thought was a fox and it turned out to be a cat.

        Know what your target it and what is behind it.

        He didn’t follow that one or he wouldn’t have shot someone’s cat.

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “So because you’re a terrible hunter you think you have the authority to determine what other people can do?”

      How did you arrive at this? Are you of the mind that anyone with an expressed opinion that is different from yours is somehow attempting to “determine” what you do? The writer noted early on that he was posing an opinion, not a demand.

      Yes, people can hunt however they want. People can opine however they want.

      In case you were unaware, it would be easy to conclude that you are simply looking to be offended. Which is fine, just not informative or helpful to others here.

      1. avatar JMR says:

        I didn’t come up with it, he literally said it in the article… did you not read it?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I didn’t come up with it, he literally said it in the article… did you not read it?”

          A single, throwaway line? It was a remark that if, in the extreme the only way to prevent annihilation of the herds then implementing rules about what can be used to hunt would be acceptable.

          How would that be different from existing regulation regarding what may be hunted when, and how many may be harvested by an individual? How is that any different from declaring that only bows may be used in certain areas (i.e. no guns at all).

        2. avatar JMR says:

          I question why you asked the question, given your answer now where you acknowledge he did write that.

          In your first response you imply i’m Offended, but it seems to me you’re the one offended, you are the one asking question that imply fault even though the article pretty much said that exact same thing.

          But i’ll try to answer your questions.

          The how, what, and why may be hunted is usually answered by, animals with sufficient or to much population, in order to control population levels but also provide revenue for the continued management of all wildlife and public lands. How is often answered by a few things, for instance at one point in Minnesota a park or military base in the middle of a densely populated area, so safety is why they chose only to allow bow hunting. Similar instances can be found in many densely populated area’s where only shotguns are allowed.

          Of course in some of those places they now allow straight wall rifle cartridges, which brings us to another reason of how they got to the how one which is similar to the reason the author of the article feels about long range hunting. Feelings.

          In those states where straight wall cartridges are allowed you can get straight wall cartridges that out perform 30/30, but you can’t use 30/30… why? Well no real reason other than feeling, people feel like it’s a rifle cartridge and shoots flat and it’s powerful and people will wind up dead.

          Another aspect of feeling, in my state certain 223Rem rifle loads are not suitable for hunting medium game, they don’t have enough power, however if you shot that same exact load out of a 223Rem pistol it’s fine, even though now it has less power than in a rifle! Does that make any sense to you? These caliber limits and energy requirements are again not scientific their about feelings, the lawmakers feel that such and such is what’s adequate.

          Laws based on feelings are bullshit, I imagine in reference to firearm laws you feel that way as well, so why not hunting?

          Further laws limiting distance are not only unenforceable, they may limit who can hunt. The last time I had this argument a Veteran who can’t get around very was asking people why he should be disallowed to hunt because he is physically unable to stalk an animal. It drew some very comical responses. Would you make an exception to cases like his? And wouldn’t making those acceptions imply that you believe people are capable of doing this only that you just don’t want them too because of your feelings?

          By the way, I haven’t posted my opinion on how I feel about long range hunting, I think the vast majority of people shouldn’t be doing it, and any company that promotes it is unethical (outside of people like gunwerks who offer classes and teach you the skills necessary to do it) however I don’t ever recall seeing any company advertise as such outside of Gunwerks, I’d be curious to know what commercials and advertisements the author or you have seen in which companies do say “buy this gun in this caliber and kill things out to 1600 yards!” I have a feeling like this is an overblown exaggeration used to try and make a point, rather than being reality.

          The difference is, I recognize that what my opinion is doesn’t matter, and ahould never be used to legislate people (as you seem to be implying now) I know people who could shoot an animal beyond 1k yards and place the bullet right in the vitals, some of them don’t, some of them do. I also know people who completely miss deer inside of 100 yards. So the yardage doesn’t really seem to be the determining factor.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Do you not think it sounds extreme (as in someone being offended) to grab onto by a single sentence? You seemed quite offended that someone would support gun control related to hunting.

          Why my perception? Because the statement about regulating firearms was a single sentence in a multi para article. You did not focus on anything about hunting, only on perceived gun control. When a person ignores a thesis, focusing on only one sentence with which they disagree, why shouldn’t someone else conclude the complainer is is “offended”, even (given the totality of the instance) looking for an excuse to be offended?

        4. avatar Gadsden says:

          Well, Sam, as we have also been arguing over a single statement above, I would argue that although singular, the statement is very loaded, or very influential.

          Put it this way, let’s say you’re reading an article about something not related to this at all, let’s say it’s a scientific article. Astronomy or plate tectonics, or something. Towards the end of the article, the author casually mentions his view that the earth is flat, then goes back to the main topic of his article. Should we simply ignore the fact that he argued the earth is flat?

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Should we simply ignore the fact that he argued the earth is flat?”

          If the statement does not add or subtract to the main theme, yes, discount a statement that the earth is flat. In the instant case, the statement about protecting the herd was a statement of opinion that, like other hunting limits, if bad practice is responsible for extinction of a herd, maybe some sort of mandatory action is needed to preserve the herd for the benefit of the balance of nature, or to make sure opportunities to hunt such herds continues, or to discourage wastage of resource by people who are irresponsible in their actions, or dozens of other reasons.

          A limit on the use of guns, regardless of the circumstance, is a limit on the use of guns, i.e. gun control. If one accepts limits on the type of weapon, the time of year/day when a weapon can be used, then it is illogical to declare those limits are not gun control, but another type of limit on guns is gun control.

        6. avatar Gadsden says:

          Ok, I think we can agree they’re both forms of gun control. That doesn’t mean that because we allow one form of gun control we have to logically accept other extreme forms of gun control. I know what your doing, your arguing the logical extreme. I don’t swing that way. Because we allow restrictions in the terms of hunting seasons doesn’t mean we now have to be ok with restricting types of weapons used. The same with other forms of gun control. I get why explosives and weapons of mass destructions are banned. That doesn’t mean it’s ok we ban 30 round mags. You can make the logical argument from nuclear weapons all the way down to repeaters- that doesn’t mean it’s ok to start banning repeating rifles.

        7. avatar Sam I Am says:

          I start from the absolutist position that any and all limits are unconstitutional. From there it becomes only a matter of proclaiming those restrictions we agree with, even though we have no constitutional grounds for doing so.

          Every exception builds the support for another exception because it is all a matter of personal preference. Thus it is that allowing only bow hunting is just the same measure of gun control as limits that prohibit .50 cal rifles for hunting on government lands. Yes, a limit is a limit.

          Once you move beyond absolutes, the differences are without true distinction, just those values we want protected, while others want limits that aggravate us.

        8. avatar Gadsden says:

          Furthermore, yes, restricting all hunting to muzzle loaders is extreme. If hunting is that detrimental to a certain species then put them on the endangered species list.

      2. avatar JMR says:

        Boy you… really ignored a whole lot of what I typed.

        Why did you ask me questions if you were just going to ignore my answers?

        Again, I’m not offended, I think the article is hillarious, and I don’t think it pushes gun control, I think you were or implying it anyways.

        Although, I wonder if I’m viewed as offended because I “focused” on one sentence in an article, what does that make the person who wrote an amentore article based on one sentence?

        By the way, what one sentence did I focus on? It seems more to me that you focused on one sentence, my opening one.

        You ask why someone shouldn’t consider someone who disagrees with one point as offended, because I have no problem with people stating opinions or retelling hunting stories, even though I don’t like them and disagree with them, they don’t warrant a response. However when one start, or implies that we should change things based on their feelings, I’m going to speak up, not from offense, but from principle.

        Also why would I be offended for something I pretty much agree to? (Author should long range hunt, many people shouldn’t long range hunt) and really have a stricter version of it (many people shouldn’t short range hunt because they can’t hit the vitals at any range!

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          You are correct. Due to the limits here on the number of indents per comment, I conflated your line with another commenter/commentor.

          Please accept my embarrassed apology for the error. I should have never opened that second bottle of Bushmills.

    3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      JMR,

      Hunters, as a percentage of our population, have been steadily declining for decades. Furthermore, support in our culture for hunting has been steadily declining for decades. And there is little reason to think that those trends will ever change. Thus, we would be wise to consider how we can slow down — or better yet reverse — those trends before society has the requisite political clout to end (or radically curtail) legal hunting.

      This article covers how the public might view long-range hunting and if/how we might want to change. That is a worthwhile discussion.

      1. avatar JMR says:

        Hunter recruitment numbers are down… so why are we shunning others because they hunt differently then we perceive to be “right”?

        Most of the hunters I’ve Known can barely hit a dinner plate at 100 yards, hell they’re more likely to miss at close “acceptable” ranges then a good long range shooter at long ranges.

        There’s a reason why people keep buying magnums, they’re trying to get a big enough gun to cover up their miss! Which incessantly causes them to miss more often.

        This trash of trying to say one way is hunting and the other is killing is just trash spewed from the mouth of someone who’s trying to sleep better at night, all hunting is killing period. I question the morality of anyone that wants to try and keep the “sport” in killing, and instead of being able to recognize it as it is they try and obfuscate it by calling it something different.

        I am fully aware of everything involved, I use to raise animals to release in the wilderness to help the population, I go out on public ground and clean up the mess from “hunters” many of them bow hunters who end up scarring and killing the trees.

        Justifying the act by calling it sport and trying to keep hunting pure is questionable at best.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          JMR,

          I think you bring up good points and I think the author also brings up good points. The author’s concern that an unfavorable perception of hunting could alienate some potential hunters and public support makes perfect sense. And your concern that being too critical of how people hunt which could alienate potential hunters also makes perfect sense. Which approach will contribute a net benefit/gain for future hunting? I don’t know. That is why we need these discussions.

          If you are convinced that the author’s facts, reasoning, or conclusions are incorrect, by all means point out those errors and offer any corrections/solutions that you may have as well as your own facts, reasons, and conclusions. What is NOT productive, however, is disparaging the author for bringing up the topic. In other words be critical of the message, not the messenger.

      2. avatar JMR says:

        I’m critical of anyone who would seek or even imply that freedom should be restricted because of feelings.

        And I have yet to find anyone who believes such things capable of reasonable conversation, sometimes the messenger needs attacking.

    4. avatar Defens says:

      The author was not dictating any behavior at all. He was observing what appeared – to him – to be a decline in the overall respect for the critters and for the traditions of hunting.

      Of course, if you have a valid tag, you’re free to hunt in any manner you want – presumably safely. Just as the First Amendment guarantees your right to post tangential, misguided posts. Case in point.

      1. avatar JMR says:

        Yes he observes a decline in respect to a creature he hunts for fun… then tries to mask that by saying he’s a hunter and that doing it his way is sport.

        I don’t think you have a lot of respect for creatures if you kill them for fun and sport, I think it is decidedly the opposite.

        Oh and no the first amendment does not guarantee that, TTAG can take it down at any time, and I would have no recourse to stop it. The first amendment protects freedom of speech from government.

  26. avatar Warren Neville says:

    To me, a long range “hunter” is a lazy “hunter”.

    1. avatar John says:

      You have obviously never been around long range hunting. A lot of people refuse to learn how to shoot further because that means they will have to pack the animal that much further to the truck.

  27. avatar Conrad says:

    If you can’t make a good neck shot you’re too far away.

  28. avatar Juan Rudy VERDIN says:

    Now as I have become older and retinopathy from having type 1 diabetes for 45 + years,I e switched to much better optics but after seen shows that promote extreme long range hunting if you buy their highly custom rifles they build ,I have had to step back and re evaluate everything promoting 1400 plus yards with a 6.5 creedmoore(this is nothing new look at the swedish 6×57 mauser or .260 remington)Iam becoming more appalled if you are not hunting their products you a rent worthy, but if you use their products it has if Merlin waived his magic wand and you can no ethically shot a Mike plus and have 100% success rate?No I shoot a 300 rum and weatherby I have passed on shot exceeding 400 yards if conditions are not right and over 700 if they are right but more and more I feel it isn’t not ethically to promote eld range shot on game let’s give them the respect they deserve.Every injured animal is ammunition for they tree huggers to use against us.

  29. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Also I meant to add this in my previous post, really getting set up to hunt long range is both time and money intensive. Connecting with the game in a way to make a clean ethical kill is only part of the equation. As Josh pointed out, he made a lights out shot on what he thought was a fox at 800yds, killed it dead… problem was, it was a cat.

    We live in a great time because you can find entry level factory rifles capable of sub-MOA and I have chronoed some factory ammo that had SD’s in the teens and manufacturers are trending towards higher BC/heavy for caliber options in traditional hunting rounds. All this tilts the scales in favor of the shooter, but doesnt solve the problem with target ID.

    A $1000 Vortex will be more than adequate for banging steel and running in local comps, but I have found through owning several mid tier $700-1000 riflescopes (Vortex PST Gen1 FFP, Leupold VX3i/VX-5HD), out past 400yds they really cant be relied upon for accurate target ID on living animals. They just dont have the resolution required to tellt he difference between even simple things like a button buck vs a doe, or a Spike/3pt vs a forked 4pointer ( both shots might be clean/ethical but in both cases the button buck and 4 pointer would earn you a hefty fine from the game warden in TX). Without that level of confidence in knowing EXACTLY what you are shooting at, you have no business taking the shot.

    Tyler above mentioned that becoming this proficient is neither easy nor cheap. That is 100% right, it goes back to the whole adage of “dont practice until you get it right… practice until you cant get it wrong.” The same goes for gear, if your decision when buying a new rifle is “what the cheapest X to accomplish the minimum requirements of the task” you are setting yourself up for failure.

  30. avatar enuf says:

    If your long range shooting results in an injured critter dying a slow and miserable death, that means your marksmanship sucks. Stop shooting critters beyond the range you can make a quick, clean kill. Whatever that range is, 100 yards, a mile, whatever.

    Seriously, that’s the real boil-it-all-down answer here. If you got disgusted over time with making a mess of a game animal or a varmint, gut shot or snout shot or whatever, it means you are confused on the very meaning of marksmanship.

  31. avatar jimmy james says:

    This subject comes up at least once a year in every hunting magazine. They have to have something to write about. And my pat response is, I will quit hunting long range when all the deer maimers quit “hunting” with stick and string. The only reason I can see someone quit shooting (not hunting) long range is they can’t do it anymore or they can reliably and repeatably hit a 5″ gong at 1000yds ten or twenty times in a row on demand to where its not a challenge and has become boring. I suspect this article was written just to get the hit count up. Give me a break already.

  32. avatar JoeShmoe says:

    I broadly agree with this article.
    To me, hunting must be ethical, and there’s nothing ethical about being cavalier with the life of an animal. No matter the species, they are not ‘evil’ and do not deserve to suffer. We must always do our utmost to make a precise lethal shot that drops the animal without suffering.
    I don’t have any particular gripe about long range hunting per se…sometimes you need to be able to take long shots in certain terrain…but I do think that the hardware is fooling inexperienced people into thinking they’re better shots than they really are, and they are thoughtlessly popping off shots without consideration of the ethics of hunting.
    I generally think that you should never shoot beyond your actual sphere of competence with any particular weapon. Honestly assess your ability to make consistent hits at various ranges. If you can put rounds into a saucer at 1000 yards, good for you, you’ll be able to take game at that range.
    The rifles I use for hunting are solid performers, and I’m competent with them all…but even I will not attempt a shot at an animal over 300 yards. Almost everything I shoot is <100 yards

  33. avatar DesertDave says:

    An interesting article. The fact is that people are responsible for what they do. In any group of people there will be those that are not so responsible, over estimate their skills or just make bad decisions. You shooting that cat, well I could say that you did not follow one of the rules of gun safety, making sure of your target. You might have thought you were sure of your target, but you weren’t, were you. Lucky it wasn’t something more precious. The point is that taking that long range shot at such a small target was a poor decision. The result made you feel bad, I understand that. But you learned something from the mistake. The longer the range, the greater the risk of making a bad choice, that is the fact of the matter.

    The concept of fair chase has always amused me. What is fair? If you were to ask the deer, maybe fair would be hand to hand combat, no weapons involved. Is a gun fair? What about a bow and arrow, or spear. Should you have to make your own weapon, napping a flint arrow or spear point. Was the atlatl fair? The whole concept is ridiculous and based on what someones own preferences in weaponry are.

    I have seen vids of people hunting with spears and commenters whining about how cruel using a spear was. Yet it was much more of fair chase and gave the animal a much better chance of getting away. What about wearing camo, fair or not? I have also, personally missed a clean kill with a 50 yard shot and had clean kills much further out, but I seldom take a shot past 250 yards, generally I don’t get a shot that far off that I personally feel I can make, so I don’t.

    Finally, the suffering question. Anytime you kill something, there is suffering. It may be a short time of suffering or a long time of suffering, but there is suffering. that is the fact. Short of a head shot that destroys the brain, a clean shot through the heart is going to leave several minutes maybe upwards of 10 minutes where the animal is still alive, and suffering. As long as there is sufficient oxygen in the brain there is suffering. Get over it! That hamburger suffered while dying. They actually tested plants and they suffer exactly the same as animals. Death and suffering is part of life, we have just become so overly sensitive to suffering, because causing this perceived to much suffering makes up feel bad!

    It all comes down to responsibility of the individual and their sensibilities. Believe me, to a vegan, any death of any animal for any reason is abhorrent. But they gladly eat those veggies, and the veggies have the same response as a deer being killed. Hunters that say they do not hunt for the kill, well I just don’t buy that. I’ve hunted and killed and I’ve been with others hunting and killing. there is a certain feeling of accomplishment in the act. You may not feel like you want to admit it, but it is there. That, and the fact that you did kill. That is the ultimate result of the hunt. It is not the same feeling as taking a picture of a deer, at least not for me. there is more reward in venison and a picture of a deer.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Your 2 cents is worth far more than 2 cents. 🙂

      People, as a rule, tend to ascribe human attributes (ethics, morals, etc.) to animals which is ridiculous. Nature provided us with only one weapon – our brains – which we use to substitute for all those, massive muscles, speed, teeth, claws, hoofs, poisons, senses, camo, etc. that animals are born with. For some strange reason, many people think that we should be ashamed of our ability to “outgun” every other creature on the planet. I’m not. I’m damn glad of it. 🙂

      1. avatar Timothy says:

        Brains and opposable thumbs.

    2. avatar JoeShmoe says:

      Nice comment 🙂

      Although, regarding ‘suffering’…when you destroy the pump (and bellows), blood pressure craters and loss of consciousness follows in seconds. The animal barely has time to register what has happened to it before blacking out. Nothing I have shot has ever twitched or shown signs of consciousness after 5 or so seconds max…usually faster than that.

  34. avatar possum says:

    I do not hunt anymore . When I did I got pretty good at making long range shots, one rifle one load. After a few long walks to dead , it dawned on me, the closer to the pickup the better.

  35. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Meh, people miss at 200 yards also. The whole give them a chance to run away thing is also kind of Meh.

  36. avatar Far Sickle says:

    This is why I only hunt with landmines

  37. avatar Juanrudy Verdin says:

    I have become proficient up to 780 yards as far out I can stretch my rifle and test loads I ve rolled . My self and a nice minox zxi5x25x56mm, but I still dont feel comfortable as o used to be or maybe iam finally realizing limits,And oam not blaming poor marksmanship I get inde 3/8″at 200 meters ,I just feel I want a deer but I don’t want a wounded animal, this is a touchy subject along the lines of what’s the best cartridge

  38. avatar former water walker says:

    I’ve never hunted but have 2 very old friend’s who do…one told me his neighbors in Kankakee co. pay him to shoot coyote. He told me he got one at 300yards with his .243. He shoots lots of duck’s too.. The other shoots deer. Cool with me😄

  39. avatar daveinwyo says:

    Good article. I don’t agree with all in it but thoughtful. As far as I care, the only animal worth shooting at “long” range can shoot back. Otherwise close is better for me. To you people/hunters east of Wyo, kill more white tail. They have started to take over mule deer range. IMO white tail are very tasty vermin. But still vermin. I do enjoy popping gophers out as far as I can, but I only use a 10/22 with a moderate scope.

  40. avatar Edward Dunnigan says:

    Being a long-range fanatic, I surprised myself by agreeing with you. If someone puts in the time and enough practice to be confident in shooting animals at long range, I say go for it. But the guy that buys a rifle, tops it with a $150 scope with a BDC reticle, and thinks he’s going to harvest a deer at 1000 yards is the problem.

    In any endeavor, attempting something far beyond your capabilities is a recipe for disaster.

  41. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Another case of ego. I can’t do it so no one can.

  42. avatar UpInArms says:

    I’ve heard far too many hunting stories that include the words “cold” and “wet”. Up close or long distance, not my thing.

  43. avatar enuf says:

    I see long range shooting as valid a means of taking game as any other method. Like any other method, sportsmanship and giving a damn about the kill is important. If your shot placement is lousy or just unreliable at a distance, that means you are not as good as you thought you were and you best take a lesson from that fact. Hunting is not simply about making an extra hole in the animal, you have to put that hole in the right place. If you can do that reliably, well okay then. If not, you are lying to yourself about how good you are with that gun at that distance.

    So stop lying to yourself. I mean how hard can that be anyway?

  44. avatar nimrod says:

    Someone takes a mt lion after post holing 5 miles thru snow chasing his song of hounds by shooting it out of a tree. We hear, “how unsportsmanlike to shoot something out of a tree!”

    Another guy gets camo’d and painted and crawls thru poison oak to take an elk with a bow at 40 yards. We hear “that poor elk took 1/2 hour to die from the arrow, how unsportsmanlike!”

    Grandpa, with bad knees, sits in a stand with a salt block not far away– you guessed it,
    “how unsportsmanlike”
    Guy with spear gets a bear over bait——
    Woman takes an antelope at 450 yards with her 338 lapua——
    Young fella gets a boar with dogs and a knife—–
    10 year old gets his first grouse on the ground with a 410 shotgun—–
    Farmer uses an AK to get 6 pigs out of a drift on the run that have been rototilling his vineyard—–

    There are many reasons to hunt and many ways.

    Hunt your own hunt.

  45. avatar Bill says:

    I hunt because I like to eat wild game. I don’t hesitate to take a long-distance shot at a deer but I also use equipment suited for that purpose. My preferred hunting rifle is a custom bolt action chambered in 7mm STW, shooting my own handloads that have premium hunting bullets.

    The authors article reminds me of the episode of Southpark where everyone suddenly became better than anyone around them because they bought a Prius. The Prius drivers ( who are better than everyone else) began pontificating to people when they spoke and they spoke with their eyes closed. They also developed a strange habit of enjoying the smell of their own farts.

  46. avatar 22winmag says:

    Out past the horizon?

    Hyperbole… or you were an were an artilleryman?

    I have my doubts regarding the latter.

  47. avatar Cj says:

    I hunt to eat. That means i hunt to kill. Those who wish to eat what they hunt, are in the woods for a kill. I aint there to jerk off a deer with a reach around and stick my finger in its butthole to admire its beauty. Im there to kill it. And i dont care if my kill comes from point blank or 800 yards. And if shooting a slab of meat that i now have to pay for in licenses, and limited draw lottery permits,and my only shot happens to be at 1000 yards to gaurantee my kill, I will not hesitate to do it. Hunting is not sport. Government bureaucracy has done its job indocrinating so many to believe it so ,in modern day.

    This author is caught in the vicious spiritual drum cycle , that was created and fueld by a controlling government bureaucracy thats called “game and fish “, that legislatevly labels hunting a ” sport ” while at the same time,gaining revenue from those who hunt.
    this form of long term indoctrination was meant to suppress natural mans rights,and now control him with government legislation, and essentially profit from the taxation of an autonomously natural right .

    And, this author snubs his nose at others with some kind of bastardized narcism, for the very fact that since he feels bad about an animal dying slowly, there for alright to dismiss those who hunt only to kill at range, to justify calling them bad hunters. A hunter who gets his quarry, is adaptive and successful. Quite oposite of being bad at what they do. And furthurmore, A person who cant get over shooting a coyote in the nose,probobly shouldnt be on the plains hunting in the first place. …..or maybe we should start talking about how predators mame thier prey at close range. …and the prey dies slowly and painfully evertime.

    1. avatar 22winmag says:

      I get where you are coming from, but I’m not sure that’s 100% accurate when you say hunting is not a sport… and forget about humans for a minute.

      Orcas and I believe, some other mammals, have been shown to stalk (hunt) and either attack or kill prey for fun (sport) or at least for some other reason than nourishment, in that they discard the prey without eating it. Do Orcas kill seals and other sea life and spit out the corpses to stay sharp and hone their hunting skills? Perhaps. However from what I gather, they seem to occasionally hunt and kill just for the fun and satisfaction of it, and if that’s not sport, I don’t know what is.

  48. avatar cg123m says:

    I think the idea of ethical hunting has unfairly shaped the OPs opinion of long range shooting.

    He is absolutely right, though, at least in regards to utilizing PRS/NRL type calibers and weapons to take game at unnecessarily long distances. He is also right in that there is a SMALL sector of PRS/NRL shooters who believe themselves to be equal to or at least competent in comparison to military snipers or trained marksmen. Laser Range finders, the Applied Ballistics app, and a 3000$ Vortex Razor means you can indeed take a steel target reliably at a mile. But all you have done is close the skill gap with money and modern technology. You are only slightly more skilled than the children taking 25yd shots with .22s at an Appleseed match. In some cases, not nearly as skilled.

    Those long range shooters new to shooting only know they can hit a coyote size target at 800yd and get that hit call. They don’t know they are lucky to have hit the tail of it because they didn’t properly account for wind, or that the velocity of that 6.5 at 800yd is hilariously slow. They don’t know that the round was never designed to take game past 400yd.

    But let’s not just bash a popular shooting sport that is bringing fresh faces and new money into shooting sports. Long range competitive shooting is popular for a reason. It IS incredibly satisfying to hit a target at 1400yd. It is fun to learn how complex and dynamic long range shooting is. By necessity, any shooter will learn a great deal by participating in those matches, if they stick around after their first humbling match. I would argue that any shooter would benefit from borrowing some gear and doing a few matches. Even if they never intend to shoot anything past 300 yards. If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball. If you can hit moving steel at 1000yd, imagine how much better you will be at hitting the critical zone on a deer at 150.

    Some of the more interesting matches these days prohibit excessive gaming and gear and encourage skills like size/distance estimation using the milradian method. In fact, I once taught a family member to use their cheap rifle scope to estimate the size of a Moose’s rack to determine whether they could shoot it or not. It is a simple skill but not one you would pick up or comprehend without context. Long Range shooting is fun, there are a lot of great people doing it. It is bringing new shooters, sponsors and products to the market. The skills that shooters learn in training and competition make them better shooters in all disciplines. My experience with this crowd has been overwhelmingly positive. I have actually had the ethical hunting conversation with many local PRS/NRL shooters and they all say roughly the same thing as the OP. There is more comfort in taking a deer a little past 200, but no one I know hunts at the ranges they compete at. Very very very very few hunt in the same caliber they compete with. Most target shooters know 6.5 Creedmoor is not a hunting round.

    The answer to preventing the type of behavior that the OP rightfully stands against comes in education. If this type of behavior is truly that common with PRS/NRL contestants, then there may be a niche for some sort of hunter education within that community perhaps as part of those competitions. New shooters may legitimately not know there is an ethics to hunting. They should, but they may not.

    Apologies for the supplementary article, but I just feel the rants against PRS/NRL and other long range shooting competitors/competitions is reminiscent of hunters in the late 80s hating on AR15s or 1911 guys hating on polymer semi autos. Everyone can have their preference, but we should all be happy to see new shooters and more passionate shooters. If there is a problem with the hunting ethics of our community, it is our responsibility as a community to address it and fix it in a manner which retains the enthusiasm and passion for shooting, not pushes it away.

    Those damn kids and their leupolds are the future of our Second Amendment advocacy and gun culture. If we turn them away when they are passionate, we could lose them forever

    1. avatar 22winmag says:

      Those damn kids and their leupolds are the future of our Second Amendment advocacy and gun culture. If we turn them away when they are passionate, we could lose them forever

      Who is the “we” you are referring to? Older folks 55 and up? Babyboomers?

      The babyboomers who got the country into the mess it’s in now and who now claim to have the solutions?

      Another commenter once said “When the last babyboomer is dead and buried, it will be a great day for America.”

  49. avatar cg123m says:

    There have been some great responses on here and I did want to say I agree with the consensus that the idea of fair chase is a little absurd. It is like rules of engagement in combat. US Army doctrine is that we don’t fight fair, yet we constantly insist on absurd terms like “appropriate amount of force” or “suitable munitions”. I am in an Apache helicopter, it was never fair to begin with. Anyway.

    Particularly if your mission is to put food on your table, if you have a caliber that will kill the animal and you can make the shot, who am I to tell you how to do it?

    That being said, the OP’s grief isn’t really with seasoned hunters or people putting food on the table. It is very much with competitive shooters who hunt as a hobby.

    Anyway, my grief with the piece was a little different than most here, but I like the discussions

  50. avatar Taylor C LeBlanc says:

    So basically you suck at target identification and ballistics is not your friend. In turn that makes anyone who shoots at targets, game animals in this case, a bad person?

    How about NO.

    There always going to be those idiots that take shot they shouldnt. Hell, I’ve seen a vitals miss on an elk at 100 yards from a guy shooting a 300 RUM. Someone else had to kill the beast. That someone else hit it with a 6mm Dasher and dropped it in its tracks.

    In short, your article, though well written, was chocked full of emotions based on your bad experiences and opinions rooted in “Fudd” type mentality that serves no purpose. We should be more inclined to provide education and caution before emotion!

  51. avatar James W Crawford says:

    You make an interesting and cogent argument.

    I once shot an Elk that was at 950 meters and running. It knew dang well that I was there but it wasn’t concerned and didnt start running until my hunting partner failed to sneak up closer than 300 yards with a .338. I consider that a fair chase. I was shooting a bolt action rifle chambered in .50 BMG so lethality was comparable to 30-06 at normal hunting ranges.

    In contrast, I know hunters who are obsessed with doing head or neck shots at moderate ranges of about 100 yards. Given the physiology of the head and neck, the margin between a clean kill and a negligent, inhumane wounding is very small. A 1,000 yard shot at center of mass is more certain and more humane.

    Another group of “hunters” believe that .300 Blackout is appropriate gun for deer and even elk. A .300 Win Mag has far more energy at 500 yards than a 300 Blackout at 50 yards. Hunting with any AR-15 derived rifle is animal cruelity.

    Know how to shoot accurately, hunt within your ability to shoot accurately, and hunt with a gun that has the bullet mass and energy to make a humane kill.

  52. avatar James W Crawford says:

    BTW, Governor Palin hunting Caribou with a .225 Winchester is IMHO a bit iffy, but it beats the .223 Mini-14 which is extremely popular in Alaska.

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