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Disturbing trend...

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    I picked up a hunting magazine the other day at the grocery store. I thumbed through it and it seems that the emphasis in the ads are these new long range "hunting" systems. One advertises "Range Point Shoot" and sells pre scoped and doped Weatherby rifles for $3,900 for big game animals out to 1,000 yards or 700 yards (depending on caliber).

    Then we have one which touts a system in which all you need to do is drop $7500 and take their big buck$$ long range shooting school and start doing the "white feather" on unsuspecting critters at one kilometer and in.

    Another takes the long out of long shots..

    Hey, I love to bang steel at long range. I've got a custom M-70 barreled with A PAC NOR in a .270 Weatherby that I've got solid dope on out to 850 yards and on a good day I can absolutely slaughter an 8" steel plate almost every pull of the trigger all the way out to 850 yards. But you add just a bit of gusty wind or heavy mirage and my hit percentage goes out the window.

    The problem that I have with all of this long range system stuff isn't that it can not deliver. It can, these are some pretty cool tools. My issues is that unless the man behind the machine is dedicated and willing to put in the trigger time under field conditions in all kinds of wind and weather it doesn't matter how cool your tool is. Just because you have a new and improved hammer it doesn't mean that you are a better carpenter! The most accurate rifle and scope set up money can but does not eliminate the shooter or environmental conditions. As Dirty Harry said, a man has got to know his limitations! The only way to know your limitations is go out and push the envelope on targets in all kinds of weather in all kinds of terrain and find out for yourself. Doing it off a solid rest at the range is a base point but that is all it is, it tells you very little about real world shooting in hunting conditions.

    Fortunately the price point of these systems will keep the average and even the above average income hunter from running out and buying one of these systems thinking that they've just become the next Carlos Hathcock of the hunting world. But my guess is that the vast majority of guys who do buy these systems are throwing their money away and are giving themselves a serious case of false confidence. Unfortunately the wounded critters are the ones that are going to pay the price.

    A 7 Rem Mag at 1,000 yards starting a 168 gr Berger VLD is producing about 1,100 ftLbs energy at about 1700 FPS remaining velocity(not much of a deer round at that distance and much less of an elk round). Time of Flight is pushing one second. Now add in an animal that decided to take a big step forward just as you touch off the trigger or a bit of wind, up and down drafts due to normal orographic and thermal deviations, by the way you don't get to know velocity and direction over mixed terrain because there are no wind flags in the wild, and you've got a wounded animal. And you've hit him with a minimal round which is not going to exit and you'll have a scant or non existent blood trail, good luck following that one up! There are a whole bunch of variations and deviations from the norm which occur in the wild that don't occur in a controlled environment. When you start shooting past 400 yards you get into a bunch of issues that are non linear and non predictable.

    I'm of the school of thought that rifleman/hunter should always take an opportunity to get closer and if able to get more steady. Why wouldn't you given the opportunity? Closing the final distance to solid shooting range is the most exciting part of a hunt. Military snipers are forced to shoot at long range because they are in combat and need to stay concealed or somebody will kill them. Hunting is a whole other deal and we are hunters not snipers.

    That's my take on it anyway.
  2. WYOMan

    WYOMan Well-Known Member

    Although I don't begrudge others what they chose to do, I agree that there is a difference. Frankly, to me, hunting is me being in their environment, trying to use stealth and skill to get close to them, without being outed by their superior senses. I really feel that "sniping" them from distance, removes alot of the challenge, and tends to put the animal at a disadvantage. I have done my share of long range shooting over the years, whether in competition, or alone just for my own enjoyment. But when I hunt I like to be closer. Not only does it make me feel better about the possibilty of making a better shot, but frankly the feeling of being close, and just being there is a redeeming feeling all it's own.
  3. powell&hyde

    powell&hyde Well-Known Member

    Well said H&Hhunter.
  4. YZ

    YZ member

    Agreed. I haven't read much lately in favor of better sportsmanship. I for one am terrified of wounding a living creature and letting it disappear in agony.
  5. My3Sons1

    My3Sons1 Member

    I agree 100% with your take on long range hunting. I live in Florida and your odds of taking a shot past 50 Yards are slim. I have always dreamt of taking a trip out west to hunt antelope or mule deer and getting the chance to shoot "out there". The years are going by faster and i'm starting to know my limitations. Great Post
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Amen, H&H. I've noticed this, too, and can't help but wonder if it's the kids and sniper video games pushing it. I'm sure that's what pushes the AR15 craze, or did in the beginning. So many people getting ARs, now, it's gone beyond the kids and it has a lot to do with politics.

    Me, I've retroed. I don't hunt out west in the open country anymore, or haven't, ain't sayin' I won't in the future. But, where I'm hunting, I've gone black powder or handgun and here, my new place, I'm going archery and handgun, but will use black powder during the gun season, too. I doubt I'll break out one of my cartridge rifles just hunting the woods here. I'd have TOTALLY no use for one of those Weatherbys. Good thing since I ain't gonna dump that kind of cash on a Hathcock wannabe rifle/scope. :rolleyes: For me, it's about the software, not the hardware. I mean, I take some pride in my marksmanship, but HUNTING is about HUNTING. Bow, or rifle, or handgun is just the tool. Different strokes for different folks, though, I suppose.
  7. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    I have talked to people who told me that they "almost got the big one today." They go on to say something like: "he was out there at about 600 yds. and when I saw he wasn't going to come my way, I slung one at 'im but saw the dirt kick up way short."

    Obviously these guys have never shot a target that far much less an animal. I usually just shake my head and walk away.

    Everyone now wants to be an instant Afghan sniper ... in their minds.
  8. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    I think limitations is really the key word. A bad shot can be made by someone with a Stevens combo package and a 200yd chip shot if they are incompetent. The same flight time of that 1000yd shot equals what distance with a bow, muzzle loader or large bore handgun? The relatively new sport of distance hunting is really no different than the others since shooters have been pushing the distance envelopes with their chosen weapon for years. I hear often and also see on the TV shows hunters of the various disiplines taking shots that are marginal for their respective capabilities.
    There are probably few archers that have any business taking a shot at game over 30-40 yds and ML or handgunners over 100 or less but it happens all the time not to mention shotgunners with shot or slug.
    In the end, given good equipment and commited effort to master the task I don't see it as worse than what any other who has mastered their chosen weapon/tool. Bad shooting and ethics is bad no matter the distance. There is nothing wrong with speaking up about the need to be proficient but that should also go with all hunting.
    As to what to do with the bad ones? It's much like the debate on training to have a gun permit or requiring background checks. I sure don't want some agency telling me at what distance I can shoot or having some test that qualifies me to carry a gun or other devise with certain capabilities, we have to much of that already.
  9. snakeman

    snakeman Well-Known Member

    I consider my best shot on a game animal the closest shot I have ever taken. 12 yards 8 point buck 22-250.
  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Well said - it is called HUNTING, not SHOOTING

    When I lived out West where shots taken are typically at longer ranges than here in the East, it always amazed me to see folks coming to the range the day before opening day, firing three shots at 100 yards, and calling it good while you are hearing them talk about 3-400 yard shots.............made me cringe
  11. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Hey I hit a rock at 535y, does that count?

    I agree, while my rifle and caliber may be more than able to take an Elk at 500y, I am not. Well I am, but not on a game animal.
  12. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Well-Known Member

    I have to completely agree with the OP. While I can be confident out to 400 yds from a bench under known, measured conditions, I do NOT attempt that far of a shot on live game.

    My limit is 200 yds and closer if at all possible. That is a personally imposed limit that has nothing to do with my gear and everything to do with my abilities and the limits I am comfortable with setting.

    Mall ninjas can talk all day about long distance shooting, but to me, a real kill shot on a deer sized animal requires a certain level of certainty.
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    It might be that with all the talk about sniping in the sandbox in various websites and magazines, and with more people reading about long-range match competition, there's a "slop-over" into the world of hunting for game animals.
  14. YZ

    YZ member

    No doubt. A slop-over or a trickle-down, the civilians have caught the sniper bug.
  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Except they aren't qualified and their targets are not mere paper but living creatures that deserve our respect
  16. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    I haven't told you this because I didn't want o hurt your feelings. But......

    You hit the wrong rock.:D;)
  17. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

    Ah, the Texas Hill Country ... where 1,000 yards is on the other side of the ridge somewhere...
  18. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Well-Known Member

    Spot on H&H,

    this side of the pond we have the same but our boys want to shoot a grain of rice at the speed of light and they want headshots on Springbok at 300m plus, many quoting 500m (550yds).

    I call it a pi$$ing competition.

    Apart from all the other ethical standards most of us employ. The primary responsibility of a hunter is too ethically kill an animal, in the quickest time frame possible and with the greatest probability of success. Headshots at 550yds and Deer at 1000yds do not, in my opinion, meet the above criteria.

    Records are terrible things, they lead people to cheat. In business and sport is has become overly apparent. Hunting is no different.

    Most commercial farms here, as you well know have penalties. A missed shot will cost you US10 / 20, if you wound the animal and it is not recovered you will pay the full price for it. Impala US110, Wildebeest bull US350 (oh you will have noted these are South African prices and not prices for the unfortunate tourist hunter).

    Much of your game is on open goverment land? And I suppose it would be difficult to police, here we mostly go with a guide who "police's" the hunt.
  19. Fremmer

    Fremmer Well-Known Member

    If you've got the skill, then do what you do. Some hunters are in terrain that requires long distance shooting. If you practice and are competent, not a concern.

    Of course, you have to pack it out, so that 600 yard walk across a deep ravine will be an experience...
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    I have good friends in South Africa and have always been able to hunt at "biltong" prices. I am also a member of the South African Hunters Association. That usually takes all the questions away when I can show my South African address on my membership card, and can speak just enough Africaans to make it legit.:)

    Yes especially in the Western USA there is much hunting done on huge tracts of public land. There is also a good amount of hunting both guided and non guided on large tracts of private land. But you won't find any penalty fee's for missed shots as you do in South Africa. Usually there is a flat fee for a guided hunt with no trophy fee's however some private places do charge a daily fee and trophy fee's just like the African model.

    Non guided hunting on Public land is free of charge except that you need to purchase the proper hunting license many of which may be draw or lottery only for the better areas. However there is much fantastic hunting in the USA available with an over the counter (no draw or lottery) license which you can purchase anytime.

    Most states in the USA have some requirement for a hunter safety card which can be obtained after attending a class of between a day and three days. Your South African Hunters Association membership qualifies for most hunter safety requirements in the USA. My hunters safety card and guiding license combined qualified me for my hunting card in South Africa.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013

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