Re: Ethics of Long-Range Hunting
Len (owner of this site) is dead set against not bringing up ethics. Always has been and always will be.
That said, long range hunting has less to do with ethics and more to do with responsibility.
Responsible actions mean doing things within your personal limits. This does not always apply to just shooting. It could be staying out of country which is too rugged for your abilities so that you dont have to be rescued or out of weather for which you dont have the proper gear.
I hate to admit that I have had wounded losses. Most hunters if they have been hunting long enough and often enough have had wounded losses. Sometimes crap happens. It happens at 20 yards and it happens at 800 yards. For the record, all of my wounded losses were at less than 200 yards. Never at long range.
My theory on why is because for a long range shot to happen, variables have to be acceptable, you have time to set up, get steady and have much more control over the situation than stumbling through the brush, jumping the game and trying to shoot a fleeing or otherwise startled critter. You actually have time to think things through and execute smoothly and skillfully.
With modern gun smithing techniques for pure accuracy, ultra consistent scopes, bullet proof mounting systems, pocket weather stations, field ballistic calculators, reliable and accurate range finders, high BC bullets for minimal wind drift and so many more tools, making clean kills at 600+ yards is easier than 100 yard off hand jump shot. Sometimes those shots present themselves and it is a good idea to practice those shots as well but for the most part, guys like us park ourselves on a vantage and glass. Once we find what we are looking for, we either figure out how to get closer if out of our responsible shooting range or we set up for the shot then and there. A persons responsible range will vary from person to person and their abilities and equipment. It also will depend on the varibles during the hunt. No one can tell you what your responsible range is and no one should tell me either. That is determined by a given indavidual. For some it will be 300 yards and others it will be 1300 yards or more.
To answer your question, sure there are losses you dont hear about. Keep in mind from everything I have seen or experienced, wounded losses happen less at long range than short range. Those who dont hunt long range cant believe it and those who do cannot explain it. You just need to get out there and try it for yourself.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.