Long Range Bowhunting
We have access to some awesome equipment! While Iím advocating maximizing the abilities of our gear, let us not forget the limitations. Our gear has limitations, our skill has limitations, and conditions are limiting factors. Wild animals suffer brutal deaths. They die of starvation, exposure, and being eaten. Still, I wouldnít like to think this article led to careless shooting and needless suffering. Iíd like to talk about some of the things we must consider when sizing up a long shot in the field
- Wind. I shoot short range in all kinds of wind. I will shoot long in a light, steady breeze. If the wind is gusting or strong, I donít shoot far.
- Time of flight. We must consider if an animal will move during arrow flight. If an animal has me spotted and is on the verge of blowing out, I wonít shoot far. Simply put, I want an unalarmed, preferably unaware animal.
- Penetration. As archers, we all know we have to be picky about shot angles. This is doubly important when ranges get stretched. Broadside is good, quartering away is my favorite.
- Shoot your broadheads! Arrows drift a lot more with a broadhead. If your bow is tuned well, broadheads should hit the same point of aim as your field tips. Test them! Check your bow is properly paper tuned occasionally.
- If you use a multi pin sight, label your pins. Before I started labeling, I would count my pins several times when making a long shot. And, yes Iíve used the wrong damn pin!
- Be in shape. Fatigue, shortness of breath, and a pounding heart greatly reduce our effective range. My effective range is shorter on day seven of a hard hunt than day two.
I consider my max range ninety yards. I simply ran out of room for pins! Also, while I shoot a relatively fast bow Iím not confident Iíll get sufficient penetration much further. Iím also at the outer edge of my accuracy range. I have a group of friends who shoot and take game significantly further. These guys set up especially for extreme range.
Iíll tell you about how they have stretched the limits to amazing distances.
My friends have accumulated some impressive trophies at some astounding ranges. I recall kills at 95, 125, and an amazing 140 yards!
- Fast bows! My wifeís bow shoots about 245 fps. Her effective range is fifty five yards. My bow shoots 290 fps, pushing my effective range to ninety yards. These guys are running 330 fps!
- Energy and penetration. Coupled with the fastest bows, these guys have done extensive penetration testing. They have developed a system of arrow weighting providing effective results.
- Shooting rests. These guys practice shooting with the aid of shooting sticks. Iíve tried it. It takes a lot of getting used to, but the results speak for themselves.
There is a world full of people who say things couldnít or shouldnít be done. The limits of yesterday are not easily forgotten. For those willing to invest in quality gear and to develop above average shooting skill, there is another world beyond the top pin! Good luck and good hunting!
Join the discussion of this article with the author HERE at the Article Discussion Forum.
Lorenzo lives in Santaquin, Utah. He finances his hunting by shoeing horses and building homes for the fine people in Utah County. His addictions include, back country bowhunting, horse packing, and long range rifle hunting.
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