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Sniper Deer Hunt


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PartridgeCartridge

I know of this group you are referring to. They are on the fringes of mainstream riflery. I can't speak for them but I do admire the skill.

I have attended two long range workshops. My goal was not to become a better 1000yard shot. It was to become a surgical shot at half that distance. Its amazing at how much better your short game gets when you practice your long game.

I also feel that this group's collective mentality is not about taking the skill out of the hunt or creating bad hunting images/press, but more about pushing the envelope in sporting rifle performance. Similiar to speed/racing or other things that have a very dim and hard to reach edge.

I think it would be safe to say that anybody that tries long distance target shooting or just shooting paint cans in a quarry at 500+ yards might just find it to be about as much fun as any other shooting sport.

Certainly more fun that a trip to the dentist.

It takes all kinds to make up our world of hunting.

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Its regional. I racked my brain about the deer I have shot in ME. The longest was maybe 170 yards across a blueberry barren. It was a small doe I shot with my .300 Savage before I put a scope on it. All the rest were within 100 yards--most within 50ish with my scoped 7mm-08. Go figure. I dont have a clue about long range shooting so will shut up now.
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I agree that it's a regional thing.  A lot of the elk hunting around here is watching one ridge from another.  I glassed a ridge this fall for elk and though it was about 400 yards away - until I ranged it at 600 yards.  I moved farther down the ridge until it was within 400.  I had the same thing happen with antelope.  I was getting ready to shoot a buck I thought was around 400 until I ranged it at 600.  I blew the stalk trying to get closer.  I shot a buck at 400 the next day.  Hunters who can't shoot 300 to 400 yards out here are at a real disadvantage.
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Michael Stenstrom
I have not spent a lot of time out west, but enough to know there are lots of areas that you had better be good at 4 - 500 yards or go home empty handed every season.  I know as a New Englander I would be handicapped if I had the opportunity to hunt out there.  I belong to a rifle club that is one of the few in the area with a three hundred yard berm.  That is considered long range shooting here.
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Not in my neck of the woods (or lack of big woods).  I'd say an average shot is between 200 and 300 yards.  The closest animal I've killed in the last four years was at 100 yards.  The rest were between 200 and 400 yards.
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Out west thats been about where my experience has been also even here in Ga I've had 3-400 yard shots but 950 yards is farther than I can see :D
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Almost Heaven GSP's
Here is a thread of mine from Last Years Deer Hunt With My Brother in WV.  Depending on the tactic we choose on any given day, I may have shots from 25 yards still hunting with my Bro, to as far as I can see out the valley when glassing from the cliffs. My self imposed limit on range is 600 yards and I've yet to see a buck that would tempt me to shoot further, but I think the groups shown suggest that it would be well within my skill levels and when it comes right down to it, you still have to know where to look for them and where to find them.
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A shot at 40 yards where a 4x scope is filled top to bottom and left to right with hair is not target practice?  I do not understand this target practice objection.  

We stalk game to get within range of our equipment and skill, not to get within X yards.

If you're within 40 yards of a deer, you've done a good job hunting. The deer has a chance to hear you, get a whiff of you, see you, whatever. The fair chase thing.

An animal dropped at 600 yards has no chance to figure out what's up.

I am not objecting to the practice, per se, and understand that the application of technology (i.e. camo, electronic calls, scent lock clothes, pop-up stands, etc.), is a slippery slope. I just would tend to agree with Brad, as far as he's expressed his head scratching. It doesn't really seem like hunting, as I would identify it.

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I admit I am provoking discussion here-because its an interesting subject since this long range shooting is getting more popular. But, one thing I have learned from this board is that many attitudes and situations are regional. I have never hunted out west-only in the northeast so have no direct experience with this other than sitting on my ass watching hunting TV shows. From what I am seeing on TV with hunters taking shots over 750 yards is a separation between the animal, the hunt and the shooter. That separation isnt just measured in yards but in the hunter prey dynamic itself. These shooters are jumping up and down and high-fiving not over the animal they shot but the long range shot itself. Target practice.

:devil:

It is your Board!

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"Long range shooting" seems to get alot of bad press for some reason.

But it is an acquired deep skill, for those that study and practice it. And make no mistake about it, skillfull Long range shooting is an art no different than wingshooting.

I am a firm believer in approaching big game as close as possible before shooting. But the fact remains that in some types of hunting, especially out west, long shots are, sometimes the only shots you may get.

I suspect some will flame me for this but I think some seasoned western hunters have seen this too.

Sometimes, especially in open country, especially canyon country, the ONLY shot you will get is a long one with NO chance for a closer stalk or any chance at even seeing that animal again.

By long, I mean over 300 yards. And very often the best examples of the species is also the most difficult to kill.

As an example:

We tried for a week to get within 500 yards of this B&C goat.

It never happened. I finally dropped the hammer on him at 410yards.

270 Wtby  Pre' 64 Hill Country Rifle

P9180028-1.jpg

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This goat missed the "book" by 1" but it took a 450+ shot to put him on the ground.

257 Wthby Jarrett.

hunt905008-1.jpg

This Prairie Buck in Alberta was simply the king of his environs and not approachable within a quater of a mile.

Lead poisoning at 380 yards changed that.

7MM Rem McMillan

alberta003.jpg

Even this Bull, clearly the herd bull in a harem of 30 cows was a long shot even though I could have taken a 200 yard shot at much smaller bulls.

340 Pre '64 Hill Country

007_7-1.jpg

Image025.jpg

Don't get me wrong, I love to be close and hear the THUD of a good shot. And I believe in alot of situations we can get closer to our intended target.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that long range shooting is a practiced art and not to be approached by just anyone. It requires a good MOA rifle and the requisite skills to use it. And it requires alot of practice. And I regularly practice at these distances.

But it is a useful tool in some cases if you are skilled in the art. It is not as simple as putting the crosshairs on the fur and hoping for the best.

It can and does work in some situations.

If you put your time in at the range and keep your cool in the field.

JMO

you might want to print off your post and paste it too your fridge so that your son and his buddies knows the effectiveness of you marksmanship to deter any beer stealing.

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PartridgeCartridge

It is very funny that you say that. After I caught the little

Sh!ts, I marched them into my trophy room for a verbal A## kickin'.

They knew I was upset with them and one of them , in an attempt to temper the situation and change the subject, asked "Why had I killed all of those animals?"

My response was "BECAUSE THEY PISSED ME OFF TOO!!!"

My beer shrine has been hallowed ground since then.

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bosco mctavitch

We stalk game to get within range of our equipment and skill, not to get within X yards.

If you're within 40 yards of a deer, you've done a good job hunting. The deer has a chance to hear you, get a whiff of you, see you, whatever. The fair chase thing.

An animal dropped at 600 yards has no chance to figure out what's up.... It doesn't really seem like hunting, as I would identify it.

I certainly can't claim any marksmanship at range, but also want to throw a little perspective in the mix from one who has lived both in the Northeast as well as "out west"--I don't think this statement above is quite on the mark.

First, long-range rilfes have been around for a long time--this isn't anything new.  Look at the infatuation people have with black powder single-shot competitions and the old buffalo guns with the tang sights designed to be accurate out hundreds of yards.

Second, "out west" is a mistake--there's enough country west of the mississippi to encompass everything from coastal rainforests more akin to New England, all the way to dry and hot deserts, big mountains, sage flats, and everything in between.  But the bottom line is that much of it is very open and the scale has to be experienced to be appreciated.

Third, many of us make the mistake of thinking about the range in finite numbers--i.e., "I have never had to shoot past 150 yards, so shooting at 600 would be a walk in the park".  That is akin to a bowhunter saying "I've never had to shoot past 20 yards, so shooting at 150 would be a walk in the park".  It's apples and oranges, you can't make the comparison without throwing in other variables.  As Bobman pointed out there is more involved than just the tool, but the bottom line is that "out west" is different than "back east"--look at the photo that PC posted:  

016_16.jpg

I have no idea the scale, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least to hear that butte was several miles away--getting within 400 or 500 yards could be a pretty small fraction of the distance, and in relative terms could easily be "pretty darn close".  Does anyone think it would be easier to sneak up on a deer sitting on the rim of that butte a mile away than it would be to sneak up on a deer sitting in the edge of the hemlocks on top of a New England hardwood ridge 200 yards away?  It'll be watching you for a LOOOONG way...It's apples and oranges, but the relative distances have very little to do with the degree of fair chase and "hunting" involved.  The whole argument reminds me of the people who say "I see deer and turkeys at close range all the time in my car--what's so hard about hunting them?".  Put youself in their environment, and you'll find out.  When that environment involves very low animal population densities and little acclimation to humans you'll really find out.

Now, the slippery slope argument make sense to me though--seems to me the goal (and the whole fun part) is getting as close as possible, no matter what the rangefinder says--as long as it's within the range that the animal recognizes you as a threat and vacates, it's hunting.  I think that's why the same animal taken by muzzleloader (which is going the same way as this), bow, etc is accorded a higher status--so by CHOOSING to use equipment that has the potential to take away some element of this I suppose it has the potential to change what the sport is about for many people.

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OK I watched a show last night-Sportsman of North America I think.. The show was about a trip to Africa to SPECIFICALLY try out Hart long range rifles on a variety of plains game. The goal was to have the hosts shoot the rifles on the range to get use to them and then kill game at yardage over 600 yards out to whatever. This was all about the rifle and the shot not the animal or hunting the animal--sorry I just cant get past that. They talked on and on on how challenging this long range shooting is as they dropped what appeared to be specs to the naked eye. High fives all around. I can understand having a rifle that can reach out and having practiced with that rifle in case the only shot you have at a trophy animal is a long way out--but go to the field with the prime objective to try as long range a shot as you can still leaves me scratching my noggin.

My hair is starting to fall out!

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bosco mctavitch
I can understand having a rifle that can reach out and having practiced with that rifle in case the only shot you have at a trophy animal is a long way out--but go to the field with the prime objective to try as long range a shot as you can still leaves me scratching my noggin.

Me too, I don't get that--that's NOT ethical hunting IMO.

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