INTRODUCTION-THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
ETHICAL LONG-DISTANCE SHOOTER by Janice
How much would your hunting success percentage
increase if you were able to accurately and confidently place
kill shots on game animals within a 600 yard radius? How about
800 yards? Ever think about 1000 yards? Food for thought!
We have all come home empty-handed from a
hunting trip where we saw trophy animals we could not harvest
because we could not shoot that far. It is the classic ethical
dilemma of hunting--the bull or buck we were praying for, but
out of reach. Some of us have been so unfortunate as to ignore
our ethics and attempt to harvest that game animal at a distance
beyond our known shooting capabilities, only to wound it and
never find it. Compounding the problem is the fact that most
of us can not afford private land hunts, where shooting opportunities
are more predictable. Shooting opportunities on public land
can be scarce, so we MUST be prepared to capitalize on every
feasible scenario. It is tough enough just to find that trophy
animal during the scant few days we have to hunt; getting stymied
by a short shooting range limit can make a successful hunt
impossible to achieve. The final blow is the peer pressure
from other hunters to NOT "think outside the box," to
attempt to expand our shooting competency past "standard" distances.
What's left? A lot of frustrated hunters, empty freezers, and
As I write this, my husband and I are driving
home from Fall, 2002's hunt in New Mexico, towing our little
hunting trailer stuffed with the meat, hides, and racks from
our two trophy bull elk. My husband harvested his 310-class
6x6 bull with one shot at 409 yards; I took my 315-class 6x6
bull at 585 yards. There were 5 hunters in our camp; all of
us had opportunities at trophy bulls between 400 and 600 yards.
My husband and I were the only two hunters that scored; the
other three, very correctly, did not attempt to shoot, because
they all felt their effective shooting range was 300 yards
or less. All three hunters expressed deep interest to us in
developing the skills and the tools to make effective kill
shots at long ranges. They shared with us the mind set they
had all been raised with--effective shooting distance is a
maximum of 200-300 yards. They wanted to know where we got
the information and training to assemble the equipment and
skills we have to effectively and ethically kill game at such
long distances. What was our secret?!
Dale and I are NOT trained military snipers;
in fact, we have only formal firearms training from N.R.A.
shooting programs as kids. We are safe, ethical, ordinary hunters
who have managed to develop the shooting skills and figure
out the equipment needed for effective long-range shooting
from ten years of missed opportunities, trial-and-error, and
frustration. Shooting accurately and safely at long range is
NOT rocket science, does not cost a fortune, and can be done
ethically. However, it DOES require work, time and dedication.
What we want to accomplish in this article is to save other
hunters the ten-year learning curve we went through, in developing
our long-distance shooting abilities. The steps involved do
not seem to be written down anywhere, so we are going to lay
them out for you. Please click on "Long Range Shoot" to
see the entire course.