the range?


October 12, 2010, 09:51 PM
I went out after dinner to shoot my new Savage. It was a beautiful, cool evening with the sun setting behind the trees. I had just finished up my last group and started packing my things. I went to head downrange to grab my target stand, look up and see three whitetail deer staring back at me, one of which was a buck. They were nearly in-line with my 100 yard target stand.

In the few minutes I had stopped shooting, they must have wandered onto the range. I stood there, amazed and slightly confused...they were looking right back at me saying -----> :neener: I walked back to my seat, sat down at my rifle, and sighted the deer using my scope.

At this point, I suppose it depends on what kind of a person you are that determines the decision you make. Luckily for them I suppose, I'm not much of a hunter, and all of my ammo had been put up already. So I sat and watched them, while they watched me. One by one, they slowly walked from one side of the range to the other, before disappearing out sight. Just as the last deer was home-free, out come another two does, trotting along as if they were catching up. So I eagerly watched them frolic through the grass to join their friends.

It was quite the scene, especially considering the irony of the situation. Is this common for anyone else? This actually isn't the first time I've seen deer at the range, just hanging out... I'm sure there are some of you who think I'm an idiot for not taking a shot, and I'm sure there are an equal amount of you who would tear me down for doing such a thing. Any thoughts about this? Sorry for the long rant...hours after coming home I'm still thinking about it.

To keep it THR....what are some of the ethical decisions here? I'm at the range, by myself, and out come a few deer. They were all average size...animals that could feed my family and I for many, many months. Who's gonna know? Heck, maybe you can get 2 of 'em! But I'm at the range...and I don't know how to properly handle a deer once it's been downed (hunt pheasant/quail if I do hunt). Nor do I have any way to get it home. These were some of the things going through my head.


If you enjoyed reading about " the range?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 12, 2010, 10:01 PM
No deer in my experience so far, but I did have a HUGE muskrat come out about 10 yards away from my 50 yard target while shooting my Kimber 22... he stood up on his back legs and just kind of stared back at me...I had the crosshairs on his nose and my finger on the trigger but just couldnt bring myself to shoot it. Dont get me wrong, I have shot more than a couple of critters, but one that just walks out onto the firing line... just couldnt do it..

I have heard similar stories about deer, raccoons, squirrels, and someone on here had an issue with cows chewing on his target.

October 12, 2010, 10:10 PM
....what are some of the ethical decisions here?

This isn't the Ophrah show, so there's no justification for shooting deer at the matter how hungry you think your family is or their needs may be. Besides, if they are that hungry you should be selling the gun and equipment for food.

It's more a legal issue....any game in your state is property of the state and regulated by the fish and game folks. The only way you are allowed to take one is by purchasing a hunting license....otherwise you're a poacher.

October 12, 2010, 10:23 PM
If it was deer season and you were allowed to hunt at the range I would by all means take one or two or three. There are a lot of "if's" there though. I'm honestly not much of a sporting hunter. I don't chase down big bucks, and I don't pass on does. I hunt to eat, if I see it and I can legally shoot it, it goes in the freezer, if you don't like that then you can start buying my groceries.

October 12, 2010, 10:34 PM
Some ranges are off-limits to hunting. It depends on who owns the land, what use permit there is if it's public land, or what the owner of the land decides if it's private.

But otherwise, if you have a license and a tag, a range is as good a place as any. I've never shot anything but doves over a range, but it was fun and safe (unlike public land dove hunting at times). Ground squirrels sometimes run across a local rifle range. You bet people shoot them if they can. It's not easy to hit one at 100 yards with a centerfire hunting rifle, though. They're tiny. They're hunted all over the area as varmints, so the range is no different. They tear up the land like you wouldn't believe; they're tiny, but their burrows and the desertified areas around their colonies look like they're as big as prairie dogs.

October 12, 2010, 11:35 PM
what are some of the ethical decisions here? I'm at the range, by myself, and out come a few deer.

I personally define ethics as who you are when no one else is around. Being a good sportsman means making decisions often times in the presence of no one. Just because something may not be illegal doesn't make it right. I am one of the biggest hunting fools you will ever meet. I won't do anything in the woods that I would be ashamed to tell my kids about. If yOu had taken one of the those deer and while dragging back to your vehicle another shooter arrives at the range. If this new person is a non-hunter how does that make you and all hunters look. If it were me I would watch the deer enjoy the moment and tell my kids about it later. I sure would not be proud to go home and tell my kids I Arkansawed a couple deer at the range.

Tim the student
October 12, 2010, 11:46 PM
I hunt in the same park my usual range is in. Heck, of the three places I shoot near my house, I hunt in two of them.

If it was in season and I had a tag, I'd sure think about putting a nice doe in the freezer.

October 13, 2010, 02:39 AM
+1 jbkebert

It depends who owns the range and what is legal in your area. My best opinion would be is don't break the law. Ethics are up to the individual and who you are. As Rembrandt said if you are in need of food sell your equipment or simply go hunting the legal way.

October 13, 2010, 03:28 AM
That is pretty crazy, a really similar thing happened to me yesterday. I was dry-firing an old Remington 581-s bolt .22. Just playing around and aiming at a bush about 90-100yds out. I get distracted for a couple seconds looking at the bore or bolt or mag or something and when I lift the rifle back up and aim at the bush, there is literally a deer in my sights.:eek:
At first I thought I was seeing things, but it kept moving. I snuck around into the house and got the binocs and saw a small doe w/ 3 little juveniles. Big enough so they didn't have spots on their backs but not that much bigger. And mama wasn't hardly bigger than her kids.
I just watched them and eventually took the binocs and threw on some shoes and tried to stalk them by getting in front of them (due to wind direction) and getting to the their other (right) side. Just for fun. Made it around them with no probs and just kept glassing them. They just kept on eating and eventually wandered into deeper brush than I felt like slogging through.

October 13, 2010, 08:43 AM
Thanks guys for your input. I knew I would see both sides of's quite an interesting story I guess. I was just looking to start a discussion about this because I wasn't sure how common it was or how others handled the situation

Art Eatman
October 13, 2010, 11:17 AM
Assuming it's deer season and you have a license, the only ethical issue I can see is whether or not the owners of the range would allow the shot. If they don't object, take the shot. If they have said, "Don't shoot my deer," don't take the shot.

IOW, find out ahead of time. Don't play the game of, "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission." The owner might not be forgiving...

October 13, 2010, 12:05 PM
What many have said, if you are legal (have tag) and it is not against the range rules then go for it. The thing that gets me is that ethics and morals are so individual. Just because I see it as wrong does not mean you do and who am I to judge you on it. So as far as I am concerned if its legal and you want a deer go for it.

Just for reference it would take several deer to feed your family for the winter, once they are dressed out it is surprising how much is really not their. I think you only get about 1/3 of the live weight. Not 100% on the 1/3 but that should be close.

October 13, 2010, 12:30 PM
It also depends on the nature of the range, itself. Where is it? What is it?

If the deer have come to forage on irrigated landscaping, that's could be baiting, ethically speaking. Around here, baiting isn't legal and it's not considered ethical. In other places, hunting means sitting in a stand over a bucket of Purina Deer Chow, it's legal, and people don't have ethical problems with it.

If the range is just a bare spot in the middle of the woods, it's not so different from any other bare spot in the middle of the woods.

Everything is situational. That's what jbkebert is saying.

Now I have done things in the woods I wouldn't tell kids about, but nothing unethical nor involving animals.:D

October 13, 2010, 01:57 PM
Please explain the AR reference. That's where I'm from and I would like to use the term to pick on Dad when I go home to hunt in November. In context, it didn't sound like poaching in your post, but it would make sense from stories I've heard!

Sorry for thread veer, just curious.

EDIT: Well I googled enough to find "Arkansawed" refers to shooting of game birds on the ground. I see how it could mean general unsporting behavior.

October 13, 2010, 05:24 PM
If it is legal, in season and you have permission to hunt the area where you're at then I don't see where an ethical question comes in to play.

My shooting range it at family land so I would take the shot. It I was at a public range then no. FWIW, our local public rifle range is on a WMA, but the range is closed during managed hunts.

October 13, 2010, 05:47 PM
Many shooters are hunters. They will be salivating seeing that kind of opportunity. I remember back in West Tx when i was a gun club member, a benchrest shooter told me he shot a rabbit 200 yds away . Which is quite easy to achieve considering his kind of rifle of 6 PPC.

October 13, 2010, 05:58 PM
I can remember shooting a 1000-yard regional highpower rifle match at Quantico back in the 90's while two gigantic groundhogs pigged-out on the clover in front of the 900 yard line.

Most ranges disallow any shot that does not land in the designated backstop.
Willful disregard will get you permanently un-invited from the range.

I got nothing against killing every deer you see.
They are overpopulated to the point of being a nuisance species.
Obey the safety rules.

October 13, 2010, 06:28 PM
Once upon a time long ago in North Carolina, I was on a machine gun range learning to use a T&E mechanism on a tripod mounted .30 cal Browning light machine gun. About 60 of us were using the Brownings to make range cards. That is a card holding the T(raverse) and E(livation) numbers of all the likely infiltration paths the machine gun covered. We did this by shooting at the likely infiltration areas and noting the T&E numbers when we got the points covered. We knew we were on target because the tracers were bouncing off it.

After we had made up the range cards, the NCOs were debating about what to do with the partial belts of ammo left in the guns. We had all used less than 100 rounds to sight in for our range cards. As we sat behind the guns and the NCOs debated, a rabbit ran across the range about 100 yards out.

An NCO shouted "Get him". We flipped off the T&E mechanisms and free fired at the rabbit. A black cloud of smoke from the smokeless powder obscured everything right after we started. All I could see were tracers going into the cloud.

Somebody called "Cease fire" when we were about done using up the belts. When the smoke cleared, there was no trace of the rabbit. All the grass was gone in an elliptical pattern about 25 yards around the spot where I last saw the rabbit. There were secondary fires here and there from the tracers. A couple of guns that still had ammo in the belt cooked off a last round or two.

I'm not sure if that was shooting or hunting, but if you might need a firing line defended from rabbits, I have experience. :)

October 13, 2010, 07:17 PM
We've had deer, woodchuck, and coyote come out onto the range. No shooting allowed though.
A couple of guys with benchrest rifles were getting some trigger time in once. One guy said "Hey, there's a fly on my target!" From 100 yards he swatted the fly, you could see the smear on the target. A few of the shooters had their spotting scopes out and witnessed it.

Carl N. Brown
October 13, 2010, 08:41 PM
At our range, we have deer and wild turkey that are used to the sound of gunfire to the point that they wander across range between match rounds. It would be so unsporting to shoot them, we just suspend firing til they wander off range.

October 13, 2010, 09:01 PM
It has been pointed out several times during this thread it would depend on the rules of the range you were shooting at. I agree with that completly as a deciding factor in whether or not to take a shot. A 2006 study indicated that only 5% of americans consider themselves hunters. Yet 78% of american said that hunting is a legitimate practice while done humanly folks overwelmingly do not have a problem with hunting. Wether or not something is legal or illegal yes is a part of the equation. With only 5% of the population being hunters we need the support of those 78%. If we as hunters do things to ruin our image as hunters and engage in practices that might just upset out supporters. That 78% can go away quickly and with that loss goes the loss of our rights as hunters, sportsman and very possibly gun owners. most of this country is made up of non shooters of any fashion not just non-hunters. Granted I have no scientific data to back up my claims of loss of support. I have no doubts that I am very close to a possible reality. Who we are when no one is around is what defines us as sportsman.

October 13, 2010, 09:46 PM
Joemyxplyx... I'm not sure if that was shooting or hunting, but if you might need a firing line defended from rabbits, I have experience.

OMG!!! That was funny!

October 13, 2010, 10:41 PM
To many years in Buddhist countries which was probably good for my heathen ways. My golden rule now is if I am gonna skin and eat it then go for it providing it is legal.

Last Gator I saw I did not shoot even though they are good eating. Last hog I saw did not shoot for I was not in a vehicle or had the stuff to transport the meat. Yes I know they are harmful etc etc pest.

Friend of mine was shooting at a Lizard a couple of weeks ago. The little fellow was fast and made it into the brush. I just remember thinking run Lizard run. I like anything that eats bugs.

Rabbits breed so fast that it does not bother me popping a few of them. Probably a good survival critter. Get a pair and have more than you can eat in a year?

Golf course used to have Deer so friendly it was like a mutual respect thing.

October 13, 2010, 11:02 PM
I was told of the 8/40th Armored Reserve doing tank tables with coupola mounted machine guns down at Ft Huachuca many years ago, M60s IIRC, and a deer wandered onto the range.
They emptied every Ma Deuce they had, as my buddy told the story, tracers ripping up the range, and some irritiated first shirt yelling at them...and the deer ran off unscathed.
He said something about landscaping the range for a year, pebble by pebble, but it was worth it.
In the Ops spot, I also wouldn't shoot. That's just me.

October 14, 2010, 12:09 AM
if its legal (you have a lisence and a tag) and ok to do at the range you're at then go for it. you said you didnt really have a way to get it home, in that case i wouldnt just because i wouldnt want to mess with it.

i was out shooting one day when a rabbit decided to jump out by my target. i had a liscense and a .22 so i shot it and cleaned it and had it for supper that night. then again, my range is also my backyard...

Many shooters are hunters. They will be salivating seeing that kind of opportunity.

so true. i was out woods walking one day, scouting out good spots for squirrel season. i had .44 cap and ball with me just for the heck of it and wouldnt ya know it; a decent size doe walks out at about 20 yards and just looked at me. it seemed interested in who the wranglers-wearing intruder was and wandered within 10 yards of me. so frustrating...but at the same time it was really fun to see.

remember if you ever want to see deer, just bring the wrong gun and hunt something else. its like they know and just want to tease you!

October 14, 2010, 08:38 PM
I shot a bird at the range once. Stupid thing was sitting in the dirt behind the target stand while I was shooting .22 from 50m. It fluttered away after a shot and I went to investigate - had to finish the job.

I don't see a problem with getting the deer if it isn't against range rules and you have tags.

October 20, 2010, 12:38 AM
I lived in North Dakota last year and the range I was a member at routinely had deer and turkeys wandering about. Actually had to walk out and shoo the gobblers from out behind the berm while there alone one Sunday. +1 on Ethics being what you do when no one is looking.

October 20, 2010, 01:05 AM
I belonged to a club that had a range just outside the city limits, deer were every where! There was a sign as you came in the gate, " No Hunting At Any Time". The land the gun club sat on was owned by a local brewery. The brewery knew that lots of employee's were members of the club, so if you got busted shooting a deer, you also lost your job, especially during hunting season!

October 20, 2010, 08:35 AM
If it is on your property or in the middle of the country which hunting occurs all around and you have a license and the season is open I have no problem with you shooting the deer. Would I? No probably not. I think I would have done exactly what you did and if I had my camera with me I would have simply shot the deer with it. Frankly I think you handled it correctly but again if you had shot one and you were in a place that it was legal to hunt and you had your license and it was deer season you would have been ok with me.

I want to thank you for painting a very beautiful picture. I caused me to remember a time on my father-in-laws place where we have a shoot range set up and when we fired a startled deer came right out onto the range.

October 20, 2010, 10:35 AM
If everything is legal and kosher, drop it.

October 20, 2010, 11:21 AM
For the OP's deer: If you have the license, if it's the season, if you have permission, if you have hunting ammunition, if you have the know-how to field-dress, if you have your knife, and if you have space in the freezer; Green Light!

October 21, 2010, 03:14 PM
it seems like more and more people just hunt for the sport of it. growing up hunting and fishing were fun but they also served a purpose.and that was that it was food on the table.i never remember my dad or grandpa hunting for a trophy buck or fishing for the 5 pound bass. they went out to bring back meat and have a good tme doing was just part of life. times have changed and with more and more people hunting in my opinion it just depends on the person and their situation

October 23, 2010, 10:51 PM
The answer here would be NO. If you don't know how to deal with it or have a way to transport it when you do shoot one it would be a big waste, unless you could get it to a processing plant right away. There are simple handbooks available that could guide you threw the fielddressing process. Other than that, if everything is legal, drop it. I shoot alot at my place and I have a few times had to wait till the deer cleared my target range so I could continue shooting. They seem to get used to the gunfire and it doesn't seem to bother them alot.

October 26, 2010, 08:41 PM
It's better to do the right thing and be proud of it than do the wrong thing and regret it. You did the right thing.

If you enjoyed reading about " the range?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!