How close do you hunt?

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shaman
 
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How close do you hunt?

Postby shaman » Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:46 am

It used to be that "troll" was an Internet verb.  It meant posting a controversial topic on a website and waiting to see what sort of flame war you could start.  Nowadays it's morphed into a noun referring to those nasty cyber-vermin that get on forums and say stupid things just to make trouble.

I'm going to put out a deliberate "troll" in the classic sense. I am trolling for opinions here, and I am doing it to spark some meaningful discussion. 

This is a somewhat narrow question for whitetail deer hunters east of the Mississippi:  At what ranges do you normally shoot deer?

Here is  my answer:

One of the things that is usually a sure tip to me that the deer hunter I am  talking to is newbie or a poser is when he gets to talking about distance. A few years ago, I had a guy come up from Georgia to help with an install at the plant. We got to talking about deer hunting. He was all set. He was going to be hunting at his club-- all thickets and swamps. He had a brand new bolt gun in 300 WIN that "was going to give him the extra reach he needed."

In the back of my mind, I got to wondering how he was going to need a 300 Win to go hunt in the swamps, but I let it pass. I'm sure there are plenty of places in Georgia where a 300 yard shot is not out of the question. That was the range he was talking about.

A few months later he left the company and one day I was gossiping with one of my compatriots. Turns out our buddy did own a 300 Win . Yes, he did have a membership in a club, but he spent most of his time drinking at camp and had never gotten past firing a few shots with his rifle and never gone beyond just having it bore-sighted. The kick had been too much for him.

Now, I'm not calling anyone who hunts with a 300 Win Mag a poser. I'm not saying guys who talk about shooting deer at 300 yards are liars and sofa jockeys. However, I am saying that most real deer hunters who live in the real world see real whitetail deer at really close distances. In real woods east of the Mississippi, you can be hard pressed to get a shooting opportunity past 100 yards, and you can go your entire real hunting career never needing to shoot much beyond that. I'll take one more step out onto the limb and say that if you regularly hunt deer at ranges over 100 yards, you are passing up huntable deer that can be shot closer than that.

I have hunted in the Ohio River Valley and its tributaries all my career. My longest deer shots to date:

[ul][*]  With a rifle -- 80 yards[*]  With a bow -- 15 yards[*]  With a muzzleloader -- 65 yards[*]  Longest shot ever while deer hunting -- 165 yard coyote kill with a 30-06[/ul]Things that make me wonder:
[ul][*]12 power scopes on deer rifles that have superior performance starting at 300 yards.  [*]Muzzleloaders that can shoot to 200 yards[*]Slug guns that shoot 200 yards[/ul]I'm not saying they're wrong or unethical. I happen to have a 4-12 power scope on my Model 70, but I keep it cranked back to 4 power. I'm just saying that I wonder about spending all that money and  bench time, working up a 200 yard load for a muzzleloader or slug gun when ol' Mossy Horns will be poking his head out of the bushes a stone's throw away. 
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JPH
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby JPH » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:09 am

Why is your question only for those east of the Mississippi?

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Woods Walker
 
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Location: Northern Illinois

RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:47 am

FURTHEST SHOTS:
 
 
Rifle: 150 yards.
 
Sabot Slug Gun: 145 yards
 
Bow: 22 yards
 
 
"AVERAGE":
 
Rifle: 80 yards
 
Shotgun Slugs: 50 yards
 
Bow: 18 yards
 
 
I've always considered myself more of a hunter than a shooter, in that I pride myself more on how CLOSE I can get, as opposed to how far I can shoot.
 
A comment on scopes.......
 
I have a 1.5/5X Leupold on my Browning Bolt Slug Gun. It's not for making 200 yard shots, but for the type of cover that I shoot most of my deer in, which is brushy. MANY times the scope has picked up a branch that is in my line of fire that I couldn't see with my naked eye when I was attempting a shot. I wouldn't hunt without it.  Same thing goes for binoculars. I stillhunt a lot, and I use my Ziess binocs CONSTANTLY, even though I can usually see no more than 50 yards or so most of the time. The binocs let me look "through" the cover as I change the focus.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
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bckklr
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby bckklr » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:06 am

gun400 yards
smoke pole 100 yards
bow 35 yards

longest shot ever with a rifle 384 steps (doe)
longest shot ever with smoke pole 125 steps (7 point)
longest shot ever with a bow 35 steps (doe)


practice:

rifle 450 yards
smoke pole 150 yards
bow 50 yards
 
the closer the better of course 100 yards or less with rifle & smoke pole 20 yards with a bow
adapt & overcome

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shaman
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby shaman » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:35 am

ORIGINAL: JPH

Why is your question only for those east of the Mississippi?


I limited the question, because I know folks out West can have radically different situations, and I have only hunted and traveled in the eastern half of the US and Canada.  I have no problem expanding the question to include all of the Easter Whitetail's range.  I just did not want to come off as a goof making broad generalizations for conditions I know very little about.
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JPH
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby JPH » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:50 am

Okay, I'll jump in anyway.
 
I hunt rolling ag. land with a mix of hardwoods, crops, CRP and pasture. Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri.
 
Longest kill shots:
Muzzleloader = 110+ yds.
Shotgun = 80 yds.
Rifle = 60 yds.
Bow = 31 yds.

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deerhunter713
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby deerhunter713 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:05 am

I prefer to shoot deer as close as possible regardless of method...but here are my answers:
 
West Virginia: 400 yards with .270 Win, average shot is within 150 yards.
Ohio:  175 yrds with .50 cal, average shot within 100 yards.
Ohio: Crossbow, all shots less than 30 yards because that is my comfortable limit.

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shaman
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby shaman » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:15 am

I see a lot of you are answering as I did with your longest shots to date.  Frankly I'm just a little surprised at the distances. You guys are getting longer shots than me.  That's not to say I couldn't  find a place on my farm where I could shoot across several pastures at a deer at 500 yards.  What I am saying is that I am usually in a venue where they're walking under my stand.

Let me just rephrase this question a tad:  For all you Eastern Whitetail Hunters (either side of the Mississippi)  what do you think is the range in which you've taken 80% of your shots?   For me, I'd say 80% have been within 60 yards. More than half have been within 30 yards.
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JPH
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby JPH » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:19 am

Firearms = 40(ish) yds
Archery = 16 yds

allthingshunting
 
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RE: How close do you hunt?

Postby allthingshunting » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:24 am

close range shots and long range shots both require their own skill set.  Being able to successfully engage targets that are both point blank and at distance make a person a more complete hunter in my opinion.
 
longest shots:  Rifle - 386 yards on coyote and 318 yards on antelope
                     Shotgun - 80 yards
                     In-line Muzzleloader - 135 yards
                     flintlock - 110 yards
                     archery - 38 yards
 
that being said, almost evey shot i have ever taken with muzzle / rifle / shotgun has been under 100 yards, most even drastically under that.  I do like getting close to animals if possible.  But it is nice to have the skill of long range shooting.  I see no difference between taking a deer at 100 yards vs. 300 yards if one can make that shot.  I like to draw the analogy of deep water.  It doesn't matter if the water is 6' deep or 100' deep.  Once it is over you head, that's it.  ONce you are out the predominate scent / sight zone of a whitetail, what's it matter if you are 100 or 300 yards?
 
All of that  being said...i still routinely pass up shots becuase of their distance even though they aren't outside of my range.  This could be because of game movement, wind, rest for weapon, etc. And really, this could even prevent the closest shots available.
 
 I rely on that little guy sitting on my shoulder.  If i hear him at all, something is wrong and i don't shoot.  If the shot opportunity is right, i just go through the motions and don't question whether i can make it, because i know i can.  This results from practice which breeds confidence.  If before you shot, all you can think about is "I hope i don't screw this up", you are already in trouble."  I had this problem when i first started archery hunting.  My first few shots at live game didn't go well.  For the next few years i had the don't screw it up mentality and suffered because of it.  Then i had some success, practiced A LOT more and now my archery shots are just like my rifle shots.  I KNOW i can the shot becuase i have proven it to myself already.

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