Re: How\'d you get interested in LRH???
I started shooting long range in the mid sixties, shooting competitive centerfire stuff out to 1200 including a trip England. I was a target-weenie and had a great time with it. Drifted away from it for other types of shooting but always shooting rifles.
Had the opportunity to do a lot of hunting, killing hundreds of head of game for the game agency and my hunts, and managed to pull off some very long shots over the years. Looking back, they were more good luck than good management. I recall some deer, bucks an does, that were in excess of 500 yards and an antelope that was much farther. But they were kills that resulted from lucky guesses on the first shot or from virtually walking the bullets out to a really dumb animal that finally got flattened.
That latter situation only happened once, it was an antelope buck that was so far away that I'm not sure he heard the shooting. Got him with a 210 Nosler from an old Sako .338 with about three or four antelope heights of holdover and almost the same for windage. Not very technical shooting, wind was very severe, but we needed an antelope for a biological sample and he was the only one we saw that day.
Several years ago I met a fellow at the range and he got me interested in long range shooting, which quickly became long range hunting. Long range hunting is different thing to different guys, the .308 WIn. suits my finances and shooting interests (I like to shoot a bunch, two or three times a week if possible). So I have determined that 600-650 is my max.
I was very fortunate to obtain some training from superb instructors named Bobby Whittington and Steve Suttles at the Badlands in Oklahoma, they really fined tuned my skills and interests. Anyone in the south Oklahoma, north Texas area really should get to Bobby's place, it is great.
Getting back to hunting, we do the shooter-spotter thing for most of our long range deer hunts now. Have even setup with two shooters and one spotter and found that is deadly.
Typically in one of those deals we will have the shooters setup prone, might be hidden behind vegetation or a piece of camo netting. Rifles on Harris bipods and beanbags. We know roughly were the deer will show, which coulee they will leave to go feed. I am usually relegated to spotter, calling critters, wind and elevations. We lay on small tarps or shooting mats and wait, usually talking quietly as we glass with binocs. I like to use a spotting scope, but sometimes make do with a good set of binocs.
We used the two shooter setup on a recent chronic wasting disease cull with excellent success. The deer had been hunted pretty hard but they would stand out there at 500 yards and longer quite frequently. Conversation would typically go like this:
..got some does coming out of the east coulee
..got'em, that coulee is 550 but I will laser them to make sure
..565 yards, wind is really blowin from left to right, I get 17 mph on the Kestral.
.."X" you give me 12 and a quarter minutes up and lets go with 7 1/2 minutes left wind. "Y", you go with ll minutes even for up and 6 3/4 minutes of left. The guys each repeat what they put on their scopes.
..OK, we are taking that big doe, far left, standing broadside by that sage plant.
.."X", you got first shot, "Y" you cover that deer and if she drops I will put you onto another one.
.."X" says "Shooter ready", so does Y
..I check the wind, feeling it on my face, looking at the vegetation moving, checking for gusts and say "Send It".
..X breaks his shot and the doe drops, the rest of the deer are at attention but not sure what is going on
..you take that second from the left Y, same dope, you cover him X, tell me when you are ready
..the deer is standing alert as the guys report "Shooter Ready"
..I have been checking the wind and simply say "Send It"
Another doe bites the dust and the rest of them disappear into the big coulee.
Good work guys, that went well. Let's go get those critters so I can have a chance to shoot!!
We don't just shoot long on our hunts. But when we can we try to get interesting setups that might offer the chance to use our skills and equipment as long as we are confident that we will kill cleanly. We practice all summer out at 700 to 1000 so that our long range hunting out to 650 is doable with confidence.
I typically hunt with a GA Precision ROCK rifle and it has taken a wide variety of game from the arctic to the Mexican border. Highights have been a huge caribou at 525 in pretty strong winds, a Texas doe just under 600, a double-team on a Mulie in Sask. where we hit him simultaneously with a 165 Scirocco and a 168 XLC at 525, and a bunch of mulies and whitetails out between 5-600 on the culls.
These distances might not seem too challenging to some guys but they are what I can handle with confidence and I get a lot of enjoyment out of this hunting. Great opportunity to try new bullets, scopes, toys in general.