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shooting running deer

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Random 8, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Preface...this topic has the likelyhood to get ugly. I'd prefer not, rather to discuss the subject with a scientific detachment. With that, I'll add the warning that this one may not be for the easily offended to participate, so "at your own risk and all that jazz".

    I grew up a drive hunter. We were mostly middle class folks, who counted on venison to supplement the grocery bill through the winter. Deer populations were relatively low, and terrain was brushy woods interspersed with overgrown grassland. Not food plots and oak woods like the hunting shows. Filling a tag was often a grueling and gritty business. Running deer shots were the norm, not the exception. Some hunters were very good at it, they tended to gravitate to posting on drives. Some were not, they tended to push on drives. I was fortunate to be identified as a "good shot" at a young age and got lots of experience dropping deer in various stages of "running". From a brisk trot, to a full out bound across broken brushland.

    Of the 17 deer I took from age 12 when I could first hunt to age 21 where life circumstances dissolved this group, 15 were taken "on the run". No deer shot by me were wounded and lost, 2 were long blood trails with a hit too far back in the liver. Never lost a deer until I started exclusively stand hunting after this group went away. I could add 1 more running deer hit that got an assist a few seconds later by a pusher. This one was hit obliquely in the front shoulder and doubled back into the drive. I'm sure we would have put this one on the ground, but would have fallen into the "long trail" category. Yes, I did miss some outright. I do not have an exact tally on those in the camp log, but the number is significantly less than number shot.

    All this being said, we practiced moving target shots. The local gun range had a mechanized deer trolley system set up that moved at realistic speeds and bobbed as a bounding deer will. With some practice, it was not overly difficult for a "good shot" to score hits from the front of shoulder to back of lungs, top to bottom even on the "fast" setting at 100 yards. I knew my leads, and shooting was by default generally less than 75 yards, although my longest kill on a moving deer was one trotting at 125. Would have passed the shot on a bounding deer.

    Wondering what the groups thoughts and experience on this are. Would like to hear from some who have hunted European driven game as well.
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I have never had to. I've shot them walking slow. Most time a whistle or yelp will stop game. I would rather pass on a monster then wounding and losing it.
     
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  3. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I generally don’t shoot at moving animals. The exceptions are when I suspect the animal is hit or wounded and need a follow up shot, I am still hunting, or I am part of a drive. ONE other exception was when I was in a blind and I had the biggest buck of my life going by at 10 yds. It was a high percentage shot (and it was a huge buck and was young and dumb) so I took it and it dropped on the spot.

    I will admit, I am not a practiced moving target shooter as it pertains to single projectile firearms. I am a fair shot at sporting clays though if that means anything.

    I have shot a total of two other moving targets in my life though. Once on a drive and once while still hunting. Really, both of those times the target was, strictly speaking stopped, but a fast and consequently lower percentage shot had to be taken.

    I guess that brings me to my thoughts on this subject. If you think you can make the shot, take the shot. Shot percentages take into account range, how fast the target is moving, and of course the shooters skill. You sound like a pretty good shot and experienced and practiced at shooting moving targets so you will be able to connect on a greater number of shots with greater varying circumstances.
     
  4. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    When I was in my mid to late teens I used to shoot 100 yds of 12 ga shotgun at moving targets. Got to the point that I could throw a spent shotshell mount the gun and hit it. That skill translated well into shooting at running deer, most of the shots I have taken were at moving deer. There have only been a few mishaps where I lost one, Iirc only three. Of those lost one fell in front of another hunter, the other 2 were lost to nature's Fury. Heavy snow storms that blew in and covered all signs.
     
  5. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Years ago while in Germany, I had the opportunity to hunt boar. Most done on drives.
    "Beaters" would start at one end and the hunters form at the other end. Usually big distances between groups.
    When all were in position the drive was on. No hurry. Beaters would just move through the woods at a rather slow pace .
    Yelling as they moved through.
    That activity would flush the boar out . Some at a trot. Some just walking. Some came out on the fly.
    No ,matter, you took your shot, if you had one.
    All this was done under the guidance of a jagermeister. He was the man.
    A shotgun was a good choice for this. Not the only choice but still a good one.
    As most shots were down range with the "beaters' coming at you, hence the shotgun.
    As other hunters were lined up on both sides of you that was also a concern.
    Back then that`s just how it was done.
    Hitting a boar that`s in hi-gear, running through brush/trees is more than a challenge.
     
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  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I've fired a total of 4 shots at running game in my life and missed all 4 times. The 1st was the biggest buck I've ever killed. He was 30 yards away broadside trailing a doe at a slow walk. I fired at his left shoulder, he didn't run directly away from me, but in an arc around me. The 1st shot was due south. As he ran I fired the 2nd shot toward the east, once again at about 30 yards. He continued to run in the arc, by the time I fired the 3rd shot I had turned 180* and was facing north. I saw that bullet impact a small tree between us. But after that shot the buck turned 180* and started running east. When he did that I could see a large exit hole from my 1st shot and knew he wouldn't go far. He did continue another 50ish yards before falling over.

    You couldn't have asked for better shot placement or bullet performance from my 1st shot. But he ran over 100 yards and showed no indications of being hit until just before falling over. Fortunately I never lost sight of him. Had he ran directly away from me at the 1st shot into some thicker woods I'd have probably assumed I missed.

    The 2nd time involved a 260 lb bear that my brother shot at towards the left side, range about 50 yards. He ran in my direction and I fired twice at the left side. He turned and ran toward some thick mountain laurel in a creek bottom. But he stopped just at the edge giving me a shot at his right side at about 100 yards. I fired the 3rd shot and he went down. We found one exit hole on the left side which had to be my last shot. We checked the bear out in my name, but later when skinning the bear found one entrance hole on the left side. Probably my brothers 1st shot.

    I'm at best OK with a shotgun, but I've never really practiced shooting moving targets with a rifle. I don't judge those who can do it, but for me I probably don't need to be trying that shot unless the animal is already hit and getting away.
     
  7. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    i'm a pretty good running deer/hog shot. But i'd druther shoot a deer standing still. IME: It's relatively easy to stop a running buck: Make the doe Baaaaaaaaaaa sound and buck will stop if he don't see you.
     
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  8. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    It is a specific skill, to be sure. I have not practiced it, and thus do not do it. There is the technique of swinging the rifle and using a lead, and there is the technique where one can see the bounding deer and picks a spot where the deer will land and begin its next bound..., and the shot is taken when the deer hits that spot. It's good you had a club that saw that shots at moving deer are often used, and created a place to practice such a skill.

    I'm curious though, how does one know the difference between a hit deer that either isn't leaving a blood trail or you haven't be able to find the blood trail, and the deer that was a clean miss?

    LD
     
  9. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I have shot many running deer. A good share of them were shot with the same 870 12 gauge I had been shooting pheasant and waterfowl with for two months prior.
    I understand that some think it is unethical to shoot at running game, I feel the same way about shooting ducks on the water or pheasant on the ground.
     
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  10. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    Same way as when you shoot at a standing deer and instead of falling, it runs away
     
  11. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    It's called "trapping" and it's the technique i use. As kids my brother and i practiced throwing cans in the air and shooting them with slingshots and later air rifles. That made us good wing shots/running game shots.
     
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  12. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Often you can see where the bullets impact the ground. With inexperience hunters and those that suffer from buck fever it is usually well above and behind a moving deer.
     
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Most of the moving animals I have shot at were literally flying, thousands of them so far in my lifetime but I have also shot running, walking, swimming and slithering things too. No shame in it.

    The last and one of the best running shots I have taken, was at this little guy as he crossed an opening in the woods 88 yards away.

    C336415F-E93D-48CF-BCC8-F1D9BDF47BA0.jpeg

    I suppose I wouldn’t have taken the same shot with a deer because I don’t shoot fawns or consider them varmits.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  14. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Like Random 8, I grew up with deer drives....and no, in most scenarios, whistling or yelping is not going to stop them in their tracks and give you a standing shot. Most of us also hunted upland game, where running/flying shots were all you ever got. As a matter of fact it was considered "unsportsmanlike" to shoot a grouse or pheasant on the ground as it was standing/walking. You learned how to lead. In many of the areas I hunted, if you didn't shoot a running deer, you went home empty handed....every time. While I don't participate in drives anymore, I do still sneak/still hunt and many times, my shots are at deer jumped in their beds, at close range. You pick an opening and wait for a good shot or you pass. You swing thru with your shot like on clay pigeons. Just because some folks cannot make a decent running shot, or don't feel confident enough to, doesn't mean there aren't folks out there that can. I don't shoot at running deer at yardages I don't know. I shoot at running deer generally a ranges I would shoot a standing deer with my bow. I do not shoot at running deer with handguns. Feel fortunate if you are one of those that has always hunted a place where you have plenty of opportunities at standing deer. Unfortunately, that's not how it is in all of the deer hunting world.
     
  15. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I mainly hunt deer and the only time I'll shoot at one running is if dogs are on it.
    Other than that, I'll watch them run.
     
  16. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    As I look back on my hunting career, most of the stuff that I have killed has been moving in some fashion. I grew up hunting in the woods and don't have access to a box blind or food plot. I don't think I'd like that style of hunting if I did. So most of the game that I have taken is moving from point A to point B and I happen to be lucky enough to be somewhere in the middle.

    Most times the deer (and 1 bear) are walking and I picked an opening between the trees and waited for the animal to step in, timing my squeeze at the right moment. A few were running and I was able to make the shot. Those instances have been pretty much instinctive. I can only remember losing 1 deer that I hit with an open sighted M96 Swedish Mauser. That was many years ago and I can't remember the circumstances but it was probably walking. I followed up on it too quickly and if I had waited a half hour might have gotten it too.

    When I was younger I hunted every weekend during the small game season that preceded deer season. Game, grouse, rabbits, and pheasants, were relatively abundant and me and my hunting buddies got a fair amount of shooting. After 6 or 8 weeks of that you were conditioned to hit a moving target. Alas, I've lost those places to hunt, along with a couple of my buddies, and small game is is hard to find nowadays.
     
  17. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    Man, they love to pound the woods for deer, bear and bobcat with hounds here in eastern NC.

    Most use a high powered rifle. Many are killed by poor shots or mutiple shots. But thats what the dogs are for. I am not a big fan of running shots but I prefer 12g 00buck if that is going to be the game plan.
     
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  18. Skoghund

    Skoghund Member

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    I really like driven game shooting. I do put a lot of practice in over the summer on the running moose range. Most towns here have a running moose range. I also shoot a lot with the .22 on the running boar range and several visits to the shooting cinema before the i start the driven season. I had a good day on Tuesday killing a 60kg boar with the only shot i fired on a running boar. I should have loosed of a few more shots if i had been paying attention. I hope to get the barrels warm on the driven boar and red hinds in Hungary in two weeks time and we may be out after a moose calf next Wednesday.
     
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  19. hq

    hq Member

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    Something like that was a part of mandatory shooting test in Finland. By mandatory I mean that you'll have to pass before getting a license to shoot any deer, by putting three consecutive shots in 7-ring or better with your deer/moose rifle, at 82 yards on a target that moves at 12mph. Approximately a 1½-2½' lead depending on the caliber. It's easy once you understand the principle and have had some practise.

    I think I've shot approximately half of my deer while they've been running, some of them twice, and never had to track one more than maybe 100yd. Most commonly they've been DRT. My son started his big game hunting career when he was a teenager, with an one-shot kill of an impala at full speed, at 200yd+. Some luck was involved, definitely, but a combination of confidence and plenty of practise paid off. Nowadays they've changed the shooting test to a smaller stationary target, which IMO was a mistake. People don't practise shooting at moving targets like they used to.

    I mostly don't care if they're standing or running, it doesn't really matter. Whenever there's a window for a good kill shot, I feel confident to take it.
     
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  20. caribou

    caribou Member

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    I live in the 'wide open' and Caribou very rarely stop walking and after the first shot, they all run.

    When leading them, as you shoot at them on the move, you carry through just like using a shotgun and swinging through.

    For me, tracking is as easy as following blood on snow and thats rare...... as we can see for miles, we simply keep them in sight and follow them.
     
  21. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Same here. Shot several deer running over the years but I would rather stop them. I even quacked at one last week and it stopped.
     
  22. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Member

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    The one deer I shot while he was trotting... It was about a 90yd shot from a steady rest, so not quite like wingshooting. I held the crosshair on his shoulder ahead of the crease. The bullet caught him behind the crease... direct hit to the heart. Although he ran, it wasn't a tracking job as I watched him crash. Although running shots are doable with practice, I generally prefer things as calm as possible.
     
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  23. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I've only shot running coyotes, rabbits and squirrels.
    Deer have always been walking it standing.
    My brother in the other hand does it quite often. I'm not good enough at it to want to risk a bad hit.
     
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  24. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    In our case, you either observed the deer bound across 1/2 mile or more of open grass and brush land watching for signs of injury and landmarks to track for blood, or watched it hole up in the next patch of thick cover and go drive that. In either case, trails were followed looking for blood (usually with snow cover in this part of the country), especially if the shot(s) were called "good". More often than not, a running deer hit with a .308 or .30-06 SP will show an obvious sign of impact even with a poor hit. With a good hit, you often get them in the shoulder or muscle nearby, they somersault a few times and flop around on the ground a bit, sometimes giving opportunity for a headshot to finish them if needed. But no, one can never "know" the difference with absolute certainty anymore than one can know the difference with a standing deer missed for any number of reasons. Speaking of such reasons, the only deer I've ever lost with a rifle was standing stock still, but a small, unseen twig intervened in the trajectory to send my bullet slightly off course. I found the twig after some searching as I couldn't understand the lack of DRT on a square shoulder shot with a good call on the break at relatively close range inside 100 yards.
     
  25. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    As far as techniques go, I have never used the "trapping" or "ambush" technique. I do use a bit of a composite of it with deer moving slowly to trotting through cover. I shoot optics, open or bead sights with both eyes open. I will pick an opening where the deer will emerge from cover, glass it on low magnification, then track the target as it appears, lead if necessary and fire. I've found a 2x scope with a heavy reticle far superior to iron sights on moving big game. On deer (and waterfowl, pheasants, grouse, etc) in the open I am a dedicated swing through and track shooter. I'll pick up the target, swing through and very briefly track and lead the target before firing. This has served me well from my youth in the cutover pinelands of MN through many years of venison, small game, trap and skeet with a scattergun and some truly amazing (to myself) shots on various vermin in the yard with my .22. One of my favorite sports is picking off mice and voles from the seat of my riding mower with a .22 automatic in the late summer.
     
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