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Tim Frazier

So it occurred to me the other day that I have never shot a deer over 100yards.  89 paces I believe.    I’ve never even had a shot over 100 yards except one or two when we were still a shotgun state.  Those deer were sky lined and shots I would not take any way.  

 

So so I got a range finder I’ve been messing with and I’m not gonna lie, 400 yards might as well be the next county over for me!!   Yet I know some reputable guys who have made those shots. 

 

Im thinking there are some who have taken the majority of their deer OVER 100 yards out west and such.  I don’t know though.  How odd is my experience?  FWIW we’re talking about ~30 deer with 4 of those the last two years.  

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I find there is more accomplishment with a 15 yard shot then a 400 yard every day of the year.  At 400 yards, an animal is just a living target.  

To me the "sporting" element of the hunt lies within the range of an animal's senses. There's always an acceptable distance that an aware animal could/should have recognized danger. Shooting within th

Ethics (as opposed to legality) are a personal thing. I find as I get older, that ethics have become more of a factor in the way that I hunt - indeed, in the way I live my life.    I try try

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I've killed a few animals at the 400 yardish mark, more between 200-300 yards, a good many between 100-200 yard, quite a few inside 100 yards and one that I remember that was less than thirty feet away.

 

A lot of things have to be in place to take a 400 yard shot. I doubt, I'll take one that far again.

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I shoot 400+ yards at my club all the time but I have never shot a deer over 75 yards away in the places I hunt in that is a long shot.  I would not have a problem taking a shot at that range but there is a lot that goes into it.  One of the reason I shoot at 400+ yards is that if I can keep it on target at that range anything less is that much easier.  My target at 400 in a 8 inch steel plate with a benched bolt action 308 I have no problem hitting it each shot.

 

I do the same practice with a handgun only I shoot 100 yards knowing that I limit myself to 50 yard shots if I can hit it at distance I know I can hit it up close.

 

For what it is worth I dont think your experience is odd at all I would bet that 90% of all deer taken are under 100 yards away

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I find there is more accomplishment with a 15 yard shot then a 400 yard every day of the year.  At 400 yards, an animal is just a living target.  

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Samuel Hoggson

Many variables. 

 

Our stands are set out back so 250 yds would be max.  My son has yet to take one at less than 100 yds.  Last three of mine were 75, 150, 100 yds.   

 

Looking at my records as a kid, behind Dad's place in Guilford, ME.  Few at 75-80 yds, but three at 175, 175, 225 yds.  

 

Bulk of my whitetails were taken in NYS, open fields.  Only three at less than 100 yds.  The long was 325. 

 

OTOH, the CT deer were between 25 and 60 yds.   

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1 hour ago, Tim Frazier said:

So it occurred to me the other day that I have never shot a deer over 100yards.  89 paces I believe.    I’ve never even had a shot over 100 yards except one or two when we were still a shotgun state.  Those deer were sky lined and shots I would not take any way.  

 

So so I got a range finder I’ve been messing with and I’m not gonna lie, 400 yards might as well be the next county over for me!!   Yet I know some reputable guys who have made those shots. 

 

I'm thinking there are some who have taken the majority of their deer OVER 100 yards out west and such.  I don’t know though.  How odd is my experience?  FWIW we’re talking about ~30 deer with 4 of those the last two years.  

 

Not odd, same experience here.  Many deer (Between one and five deer a year for the last 20 years) all under 100 yards, probably a third to half with the bow under 20 yards, the rest with a 12 gauge or muzzle-loader.  I've never even killed a deer with a rifle.  Most of the deer I shoot are in barely legal zones with houses or paved roads just over 100 yards in every direction.

 

I was playing musical scopes with my guns and was just at the range today sighting in my Remington 700 SPS Varmint in .308 with a Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x40 on it.  I'd love the opportunity to shoot a deer at long range with it, but the only place I can think of where it would be feasible is on power lines in Maine and I just don't have the time to deer hunt up there.  I've only shot at targets over 100 yards a few times, 600 yards being the furthest.  I don't think I'd shoot at a deer over 300 yards.  With the .308, after 300 yards you really have to know what you're doing with wind drift and drop and have a rock solid rest (for me anyway).  People poo-poo long range shooting as if there's no challenge but I'd say its a fact that its much, much harder to kill a deer at 1,000 yards than it is at 10.  I've had deer under 10 a bunch of times.  I've even had a deer step over my legs as I sat against a tree.  I've spit my dip on a deer under my stand (rude, but I just wanted to be able to say I was that close).  But just because it might be easy to get a nice big dear standing calmly over a bait pile 1,000 yards away, I couldn't hold steady enough to make that shot, even if I had a spotter doing all the math for me and I had $4k glass.  Maybe if I was 10 years younger and without a coffee and Red Bull habit, but not these days.  Today I struggled (20+ rounds) to finally make a 1" three shot group at a 100 yards with a gun I know can go 1/2".

 

It takes skill to get close to a deer.  But it also takes skill to kill one from afar, just a different type of skill.

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Where I live in Maine you don’t generally get long shots. Under 100 is the usual, and within 50 even more common. It’s mostly in the woods hunting. The exception is if you sit on Powerlines or large blueberry barrens and fields. I’ve spent plenty of time on Powerlines, but even then they tend to be hilly and the shots are usually restricted to 200 maybe 300 yards before you hit a horizon line. And I try and set up at crossings within 100 yards. The longest shot I ever had to take and make was 160 yards and strangely enough that was with an unscoped /open sighted Savage .300. I was sitting on the ground up high on a barren in early AM watching a lower edge when a couple deer came out. Does, and I had a doe permit. I held high at a broadside doe and it just looked around at the shot. I literally held over its back and shot again. They both bounded to my right and out of sight. I figured I had missed again. I stayed out for another hour and then my curiosity got the best of me and I had to go look for hair or blood. I didn’t see anything but started walking in the direction they had gone and there was a doe piled up in the open. Again, strangely enough my next longest shot was another doe I shout with my muzzleloader a couple years back. First deer ever with a ML and it was an honest 150 yard poke. I hunt with scoped rifles exclusively now, and did take my biggest buck at around 100-125 yards but all other bucks were shot within 60-75 yards and most much closer with some in my lap. 

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As an easterner, almost all of my deer have been within 100 yards.  As a matter of fact I would bet the majority were under 50. There was one exception.

 

Back when PA had a separate doe season, I was on an wood line watching into the woods but every so often I would look behind me into the field.  The field had a slight rise to it and then dropped off at around 150 yards.  Anything that crossed in the low area beyond 150 yards would be out of sight.   There was another field well beyond the low area that I could see but I had not even considered it, as it seemed so far away.

So at some point after I had been on stand quite a while I turned around to check the field behind me and caught movement in the far field.  A small herd, maybe 6 or 7 deer were crossing that field.  Half way across the field they stopped. Without something in the field for scale, I would have sworn that field was 500 yards away but once there were deer to use as a scale it helped me get a better judge of range. 

I was thinking they were under 400 yards and with a solid rest, I decided to take the shot. I put the horizontal cross hair just over the deer's back just enough to see daylight, maybe two or three inches and squeezed off. To my surprise, it dropped in it's tracks. I later paced it off as 364 yards (+ or - for inaccurate pacing). I doubt I would try that shot again but back then I was a better than average shot and cocky (dumb) enough to give it a go.

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Ah, the age old short vs. long range hunting discussion. My deer have been all shot at less than 100 yards.

I have shot groundhogs out to 900 yards, my two brothers have shot several dozen deer between 600 and 800 yards.

They were both 1000 yard bench rest competitors. We always had a benchrest, battleship range finders, good scopes and rifles capable of that type of shooting. There was only one deer that was not a one shot kill, none were lost. We were young and it was exciting times.

Is it sporting? No, in hindsight. As was mentioned before, live targets. My own feeling is if you cannot absolutely place a bullet in a 5 inch circle you should not be taking the shot, regardless of the weapon you are using. Open sights at longer range, running deer are not ethical in my opinion. Kentucky drop and windage maybe the stuff of movies but not in hunting. Ah, hold higher, you hit under it.

Range estimation is quite subjective in the field. Running dogs with a Garmin just reinforces that opinion.

Ive seen too many deer in the woods with wounds caused by running deer shots and other marginal shots. 
Lucky shots abound, I would rather be sure. Then again I take shots at a flying bird?

I would think that most deer in East are taken at less than 100 yards.

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Everything (36 white tail, 1 elk, 1 muledeer, 1 musk ox, 2 Caribou) for me has been under 100 yards with a shotgun, rifle and muzzleloader, and under 20, probably more like 10 to 15 with a bow, which I would say are my comfortable ranges.  

 

That is, except for my moose from a few years back which was 180 yards, which I underestimated to be 140 when I shot it with open sights at the time.  I went back to the spot a year later and checked with a rangefinder and it was actually 180. I probably would not have tried it, if I knew, but I lucked out anyway, taking a slightly longer shot than I was comfortable with. 

 

They say maximum point blank range is 200 and a few more or even more, for most commonly used calibers and guns.  Since I did it once I'd now probably say my comfortable range has increased from 100 to 200 with a rifle, but where I hunt, I usually see stuff much closer than 100 anyway.  

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I'll shoot at coyotes at 400 yards if they're aware of me, but I've never shot at a deer more than 125 yards. It's not that I think less of coyotes, it's just that they're a lot like chukar, they always seem to be laughing at me.  

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When/where we rifle hunt there are often long shots. Not counting animals harvested with "primitive" weapons I've shot as many deer over 400yds as under. 

Long range shooting is technical and there is definitely a target component to it, in that you need to take the time to know the range to the animal, know wind and if there is too much of it to take a clean shot, and know your gun and optics intimately.

 

There it's a big difference between long range shooting today and a few years ago.  With today's technology, knowing exact range and angle, and measuring wind speed and direction  (at shooters location...which can change many times between shooter location and destination and cannot be measured precisely) is not difficult.  Bullet technology had also changed drastically.  Putting it all together and consistently hitting bullseye is another matter and requires lots of practice. 

 

There are several people, I have seen, that have the best tools...and they still can't shoot consistently very far out. They think they can "buy" the shot... And you can, much more than you used to be able to, but you can't buy the skill that comes from paying the price of practice and proper instruction.

 

It is nice to be able to laser range the distance, then dial scope in and hold dead on. It is very different than shooting in a bean patch with open sights or a 4 power scope. I don't own any English SxS or other expensive ones (mostly foxes and lower end uggies/ayas), but my scope cost twice as much as any of my rifles or shotguns.

 

With this hunting, the shot may not be the "sporting" part of the hunt..perhaps, but the practice and prep into that shot are immense.  The hours/days of scouting and glassing and then moving in and setting up for a shot should fulfill anybody's definition of sporting... Much more so, in my opinion, than shooting from a stand over bait or a feed plot (which is essentially bait.)

 

Now with a bow, 95% of my shots are under 20 yards.  But that is hunting at different times and places with different objectives. You can't eat horns, but I do hunt them.  With luck you can get onto  a 200" class buck with a bow. (I'm not talking about the luck that is a normal part of hunting that we want to go hand in hand with our prep work, but the luck of getting a  tag.  I can't hardly ever draw a good tag)  Any tag, where I hunt, gives a rifle hunter th chance at a good buck, but that opportunity generally comes at 200, 300, or 400+ yards.

Almost all my deer hunting is in northern AZ and southern Utah.

 

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Mostly under 100 yards, and will take a rest if any at all is available.  Had one shot possibility this past year when some does crossing a field paused halfway.  Could not get a solid rest, sat down but the grass was in line with the muzzle so no venison for me.  No wounded deer either.  Have been shooting a good amount of metallic silhouettes, both cowboy up to 200m and hi power up to 500m, a good way to find your offhand shooting limitations.

 

I've long used a spindly set of shooting sticks, need to upgrade to something heavier duty.

FlintDoe1_8Dec07.JPG

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Years ago I believe I could have taken a shot at 400 yards.  I haven't spent nearly the amount of time at the range as I did 30 years go now and that is well beyond me at this point.  I have never shot a deer over 125 yards.  About half have been with a bow under 25.  I enjoy getting close more than shooting.  

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Samuel Hoggson

Nothing has disabused me of 400 yd shots on game like our 400 meter range in Willimantic.  First time I rang steel with the .308 RPR............hit the plate adjacent to the one I was holding on.  About 18" to the right.  Windy day, yup.   

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