white-tail deer query


March 19, 2007, 08:09 AM
I'm from upstate NY and I should be home for deer season this year, I really haven't thought of this before, namely never hunted with a scope before.

How tall is the average white-tail at the shoulder? for both bucks and does, I was looking at getting a laser range finder but I've decided to spend that money on another rifle or pistol instead. I'm thinking I could use the mils in my leupold scope to gauge the distance if I know the height of the animal.

Where I plan on hunting the longest shot I'd be capable of taking would be about 600 meters. Now I don't plan on taking any shots that far out, because I'll be somewhat new to the rifle I'll be using (my savage thats getting totally rebuilt, .308wim) but what would be the longest humane range to take a deer given a properly placed shot, say with a .308 round in the 168 to 180 grain ballpark? given factory hunting rounds with relocities with the given rounds.

Now I don't know how the rifle is going to shoot, but given what I'm having done to it, it should produce about 1 MOA with hunting loads. So given that, (and I am talking completely theoretically here) under ideal situations you'd be putting rounds into a 6'' circle at 600 meters, which is about the size of the vitals on a broad side shot.

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March 19, 2007, 08:25 AM
600 meters? Wow.

I've never hunted in upstate New York, but I've visited the area several times. The terrain seemed very similar to parts of the Appalachians where I do most of my hunting. Basically dense eastern hardwoods and fairly hilly, right?

Well, here's the thing - I've hunted for 20+ years, killed enough whitetail to fill a dump truck, and maybe 8 or 9 of those deer were killed at ranges over 100 yards. Now, part of that is a result of the style I prefer (stalking - I don't use treestands much) but the fact of the matter is that the terrain very rarely offers opportunities to shoot much farther than that. A shot over 250 yards would be so rare that it's barely worth the trouble of thinking about.

But anyway, to answer your question... I've never measured one, so I'm just guessing here, but a big northeastern whitetail is probably gonna run about 3.5 to 4 feet at the top of the shoulder.

March 19, 2007, 08:38 AM
200 yards is a very long shot here in KY as well because of terrain. I know out west they have much more open country, but around here, I just can't justify anything longer than that.

March 19, 2007, 09:32 AM
yeah, I'm thinking 300 meters will probably be the farthest, I'm looking at a field at my buddies thats his back yard, it sits in a depression with his house and the opposing hill looking over it. I think its about 300 meters to the edge of the trees at the far side, straight shot, however shooting onto the neighbors property (neighbor is perfectly fine with this) then you're looking at the farther shots out to 600 meters.

My biggest question is at what range does the typical .308 hunting round become too slow to delieve enough energy to make a clean kill?

Art Eatman
March 19, 2007, 10:01 AM
First off, I'd use 150-grain. That's plenty good for anything smaller than an elk.

If you sight in for two inches high at 100 yards, you'll be right at dead on at 200 yards, and about six inches low at 300 yards. Roughly two feet low at 400 and four feet low at 500.

90% or more of all deer killed in the U.S. are within 200 yards.

There are folks who specialize in shots well beyond 300 yards; "beanfield" shooters. They tend toward the higher-power, flatter-shooting cartridges. They practice a lot. The use of laser range finders is common, as is marking known distances before setting up a stand.

I've always guesstimated a shootable buck's body depth at around 18", roughly. Shoulder height? I'd guess somewhere between 3.5 and 4 feet. Roughly.


March 20, 2007, 12:10 AM
"...How tall is the average white-tail at the shoulder?..." About 36". 18" or so shoulder to brisket. Half of that is the kill zone.
600 meters is too far. Unless you can hit a 9" pie plate, every time, at that distance. Chances are you won't have time to fiddle around with a range finder when Bambi sticks himself out of the bush. However, it's not a bad idea to laze a few 18" sized objects where you think Bambi might appear.
Use a 165 grain hunting bullet, sighted in 3.5" high at 100 and you'll be on target out to about 300.

Art Eatman
March 20, 2007, 12:11 PM
Sunray, to be a bit picky about your sight-in: Your method, I'd have to think to hold low for most of my shots, particularly on a neck shot. My method seems more of a "Point it and pull; hell ain't half full." Since few shots are beyond 200 yards, it's easy enough to hold a smidgen high.

Whatever works for a fella, of course...

:), Art

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