I personally like getting in close- to me the challenge is being able to get that close to a big, smart old hog that has really keen senses. To get that close on a stalk, with the kind of cover we have in South Texas, it's only really possible in the dark and even with moonlight, it's nearly impossible to make a consistently good shot over 20-25 yards. It's not nearly as dangerous as a lot of people think to get REALLY close to a wild boar- they are not interested in charging you unless they are forced to; contrary to what they show on those ridiculous "Ragin' Boars" videos. Nonetheless, when you draw on a 300+ pound boar, with 5 inch tusks, from inside 10 yards IT'S A RUSH! One that's more exciting than ANY type of hunting I've ever done. That's one reason why I'm heading to Maine in August to an outfitter that specializes in hunting bear on the ground. Myself and 2 of my best hog-stalking buddies are going to do our best to get "up close and personal" with some big black bears!
As for extreme range bowhunting- I can tell you the reason why most people won't do it. They don't think it's ethical. Now, if that's what you're into- more power to you! I'm not judging any man's personal ethics, but here are the reason's why most bowhunters find extreme range (over 70-80 yards):
1. There are very few people that can be consistently accurate at that range. I shoot and hunt with several members of the Mathews Archery team and one member of the US Olympic archery team and none of them shoots out to 100 yards and none of them make hunting shots out past 75 yards; and they are some of the very best archers in the country, if not in the world- their records prove it. They certainly
have the "commitment" to learn to make 100+ yard shots consistently- if it were really possible. Not every "Challenge" can be met with pure commitment- it's dependent on the equipment available.
2. Animals have too fast a reaction time to guarantee shot placement. I have shot deer with a 300+ FPS bow at 20 yards, that have been able to duck fast enough for the arrow to pass over their back! Any bowhunter who's been doing it for a while has had this happen to them- or, at least, have the shot impact SIGNIFICANTLY high because of the deer's movement. At ranges around 100 yards, even with a fast bow, have as long as 1.5 seconds to react; and even an elk can move quicker than that. Since no man can PREDICT where an animal will move after pulling a trigger on a bow, there's no way to compensate for the movement. Most bowhunters are concerned with making an accurate shot and making every effort to harvest the animal with a shot that will put the animal down quickly and painlessly. I can't see how this mantra could be followed with an extreme range shot from a bow.
In my opinion, drawing a connection between LR hunting with a rifle and a bullet (travelling faster than sound) and long range bowhunting is ludicrous. No offense meant, but a better comparison would be to compare LR bowhunting to handing a shooting novice a perfect LR rifle and telling him to shoot an elk from the standing position at 600 yards. He'd have a MUCH better chance of making a good shot on a regular basis. It's one thing to shoot a supersonic projectile at a distant animal from a rested position with a magnified scope. It's a COMPLETELY different
thing to stand up and shoot an unsupported bow (held up with one arm) with a peep sight that's not really much better than the sight on a BB gun, to shoot a (relatively) super-SUBsonic
arrow at an animal that's within easy spotting range.
I work for one of Texas' biggest bowhunting ranches and we have over 1000 hunters at the ranch annually (we have year-round hunting) and we have a terrible
problem with people trying to shoot animals at even 50-60 yards. Nearly every animal that is taken with a shot over 40 yards requires extensive tracking. Now, we have hunters of ALL skill levels- from professional hunters filming for TV and video to rank amateurs; but this same problem exists for the "pros" who try and shoot at long ranges. Luckily, most of the professional hunters limit their shots to within 40-45 yards, WHENEVER possible; and only take really long shots when they absolutely HAVE to. I've never heard of any of them taking anything like a 100 yard shot at an animal, much less any further. Even with these guys, the subject of hunters trying to take shot's that are too
far is a common topic of conversation. And every year we find numerous animals, far too late, that died a slow and painful death as a result of people taking irresponsible shots that were simply too far.
As I said initially, I'm not trying to judge your ethics- every man has to decide for himself. I am, however, trying to address your question about why people still shoot bows at a close distance.
Most bowhunters I've heard don't see the advancements in speed and power as an impetus to push shooting distance; but, rather, as an impetus to try and make more ethical shots on animals. ALL hunters are under attack these days from the left and one of our best defences is "ethical hunting." The fact is, in spite of the high-tech nature of modern compound bows, the farther the shot the less likely a person is to make a good shot and the less likely the animal is to go down quickly and painlessly. This is simply more fodder for the canons of the anti-hunting left. Even the manufacturers don't tout their bows' abilities to make shots out at the 100 yard range- they tout the bows' ability to more
effectively execute the kind of shots typically
made by bowhunters. Maybe when, and if, bows get up over 1200 FPS people will start advocating bowhunting out to extreme ranges; but we're not there yet.
One of the things that seems to draw so many people to bowhunting in the first place is the "up close and personal" nature of the sport; and the "commitment" it takes to learn to be stealthy enough to get within traditional bow range is certainly
, comparable to the level of commitment it takes to become accurate with a bow. It just seems counter-intuitive to get into bowhunting with the intention of shooting as far as you can. It's about like getting a .338 Lapua with a Nightforce long range scope
and building handloads when you want to go quail hunting. It's not that it can't
be done (it can) but some tools, like a shotgun, are simply more appropriate for the situation.
However, we all have our own quirks and get jazzed up with our own challenges. So, if you want to bowhunt at long range, have at it! I wish you all the luck in the world.