We're a diverse group and there are several basic ideas/theories on how to setup and become a long range hunter.
Folks come each day and ask, how about this? how about that?. I think that if we can discuss the theories and differing basic premises we will have a good "Basic How To" that could fit/work for anyone.
I'll plunk down a few "basic" ideas as I see them.
1) A flat shooting rifle is NOT a requirement. Any cartridge will work once the basic concept of altering the scope setting to make the trajectory meet the desired range is understood.
2) Hold-off's/special reticles work to about 500 yards. There are a lot of variables, having the knowledge to do the adjustments yourself is better than having a "nearly correct" crutch.
3) One MUST shoot at the desired range(s) to verify come-up (drop chart, click chart, etc) data. A computer printout is a nice go-by but it must be checked.
4) One MUST have a basic knowledge of angular measure (MOA) and how to calculate it for differing ranges. Without some knowledge of angular measure adjusting the scope for the correct(ed) trajectory is a guessing game.
5) Some understanding of wind reading and compensation is required.
6) When beginning, one MUST follow the scientific method and only change one variable at a time to discover problems/cures. If a rifle won't shoot, don't change the scope, bases, bullets, altitude, shooter, etc all at once or the offending item will be lost in the confusion.
7) Start short and work long. Zero at 100 yards then get your 200 yard data, then 300 yard, etc, etc. Once you reach a point where you've run out of planet or can't hit the target you're at your limit.
8) Be consistent in your technique. Consistent performance is a necessity, trigger technique, breathing, sight picture, cheek/stock weld, shoulder pressure, recoil/follow through, etc, etc.
9) A good scope is required. If it's not consistent and repeatable it's not any good no matter the expense or cost savings.
10) Accuracy is better than power. Animals and targets are NOT impressed by a large divit in the ground, they must be hit by the bullet to be impressed.
11) Knowledge of the quarry and their habits is a good thing. Is it going to hold still long enough for the bullet to get there?? Where's it going to go when hit, maybe it wont move at all, best to have an idea ahead of time.
Reading the wind can be accomplished in a few ways. Mirage, grass, trees and branches, leaves, dust, etc. The wind meter can give you a speed at the muzzle and help teach you what to look for. Mirage will show you wind speed and direction when focused at different ranges if you know how to interperate the patterns that result.
Do a search on wind reading, and judging wind etc, and you'll find a huge amout of info that's been posted on this. There's more info here too.