Animals reactions to spotting shots, your experience?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Oliveralan, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    I watched some LRH videos today, where numerous spotting shots were taken and the critters didn't react what so ever, but also seen groundhogs spook at dirt kicking up next to them at 800+ yards.

    What is your experience with spotting shots? Did they spook game? Or only if there was a visual report near the target from bullet impact?
     
  2. Topshot

    Topshot Well-Known Member

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    Last year I missed a steep shot at a deer at about 800 yards due to not inputting the cosine angle.

    Anyway the Stag I shot at took off very quick as the bullet wizzed by, two inches over his back and slammed into the dirt behind.

    However another deer feeding 20m away kept on feeding and did not react at all.
     

  3. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    A lot has to do with the weather and terrain in my area, if there is snow or heavy over cast with some wind they almost never even have an idea till he second one catches them. On a bright sunny day with little wind, it doesn't take nearly as much, though I've smoke an antelope LR and had the whole herd run to me because the sound of the echo on the hill they were on pushed them more.
     
  4. Troutslayer2

    Troutslayer2 Well-Known Member

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    I watched two idiots launch 9 rounds at maybe the biggest bull elk I have ever seen from less than 250 yards without it ever moving or them ever touching it. It was opening day of rifle season. The herd he was with was freaked out as can be but the wind was blowing in the right direction and they just couldn't figure out where the shots were coming from so they stood still.
     
  5. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Your experiences are all very similar to mine. It depends on the enviroment. As long as everything around the deer is moving a little in the wind and such they don't react, but if all is still and quiet and then some dirt blows up next to them, they know something is up.

    Keep em coming! The more we have we could almost set up a set of parameters of when you most likely can get away with a spotting shot.
     
  6. Dr. Vette

    Dr. Vette Well-Known Member

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    Monday morning (2 days ago) at 222 yards. Small buck crossing right to left in front of me, very low wind. I shot (too quickly) before he disappeared behind a big, fluffy pine tree and he acted as if nothing happened as it went below him. I fully expected him to run but I got lucky on this one.

    He sauntered about 10 yards to the next opening and I hit him right there. Walked another 20 yards and all 4 feet flipped into the air. :D
     
  7. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Dr. Vette,

    very interesting! I would have expected him to run off as well at 222 yards.

    Can everyone also include what the hunting pressure is like where these things occured? As I believe that is a factor.
     
  8. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Don't confuse close misses with spotting shots. A miss is simply that, a miss. A spotting shot is typically taken when you are unsure of the conditions affecting the potential shot and you want to see what happens with your shot at long range before taking a shot at the animal. Spotting shots are only taken at longer ranges and under conditions where you can spot your shot. The spotting shot is typically taken at the same ranges as the animal but around 100 yards or so away from the animal. Those that have commented about using spotting shots also say that if you do take a spotting shot and note the impact that you should get the real shot down range as quickly as possible before conditions change.

    I have always felt that if the conditions were so unpredictable that I needed a spotting shot then I wasn't going to attempt the shot at a game animal. This is just personal preference. I hunt in a lot of canyon country and the winds are too unpredictable to give me the comfort I want when attempting a long range shot if it can only be partially predicted by a spotting shot.

    One day, during a verrrry slow session of deer hunting in an area that had normal to heavy pressure from hunters, we spotted two does bedded in light snow in a bowl at slightly over 1000 yards. They were laying facing each other and broadside to us. There was absolutely no wind and conditions were ideal had there been a buck with them. About 100 yards to their left was an open spot of dirt with no snow on it. My buddy and I had glassed them and the subject of spotting shots came up. Since it was a day with perfect conditions for the shot, I picked a spot in the dirt to their left and put a bullet into said spot. I spotted the impact and my buddy had the spotting scope on the does. They had absolutely no reaction to the shot. At this range I think that the fact that I use a brake also makes the sound at their position less than if I didn't use a brake. In the next few minutes I put two more shots into the spot on the open dirt and the does didn't react to any of them. My buddy doing the spotting on the does said they didn't even move their ears.

    Since we got no reaction to the shots from our position into the dirt we decided the next test would be an impact on a rock at their location. At the left side of the dirt spot was a rock that was just slightly smaller than the vital area of a deer. I set up for the shot, used up the last few ounces of trigger pull, waited the normal time, saw the impact on the rock and heard the impact of the hit on the rock. My buddy was watching the does through the spotting scope and said their first reaction was when the bullet hit the rock. Their reaction was one of immediate flight away from the area and they didn't slow down for probably 500 yards and finally disappeared from sight over a slight ridge at about 800 yards from where they had been bedded.
     
  9. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Ss7mm,
    I don't know who exactly you are telling not to confuse a miss with a spotting shot, I assume it's me as I started this thread.

    I am aware that a spotting shot is different from a close miss... I thought that was obvious and therefore didn't write that. I was asking about people's experiences with animals reactions to bullet impacts at extended ranges.

    I'm asking because at extreme rnages, if there is no ill effect in taking a spotting shot at a target near (relative) the animal to double check a wind call, make a quick adjustment then send it through the animal, what's the reason not do it? While I am confident in my wind calling ability, I rather double check it than injure an animal, everyone misjudges the wind now and then.
     
  10. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Oliverlan:

    It was a general statement. Had it been directed to anyone in particular I would have either quoted, or mentioned, that person. This is a good way to not get your typed word misinterpreted on the web.

    You asked for an example of animals reactions to spotting shots and I gave what I thought was a good example.

    And, like I said previously, I personally feel that if I have to take a spotting shot because of conditions then, given the country in which I hunt, conditions can change so quickly that I personally wouldn't take a shot.

    Didn't mean to disrupt your thread. Just gave my thoughts and an example of animals reactions to shots at long range.
     
  11. Oliveralan

    Oliveralan Well-Known Member

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    Ss7mm,

    in that context alright, maybe I just misinterpreted the first time. And thanks for adding your experience to the thread.

    Maybe in the area you hunt spotting shots are not a good option however in mine they are.

    We seem to be on a different bandwidth as to the purpose of spotting shots. You seem to think it is a flailing attempt to correct for wind in unpredictable conditions. I see it as a way to double check wind calls before potentially wouding an animal at ranges where 1mph of error can put you near the edge of the vitals.

    Out to 700yards or so, I will shoot first round at fur with my .308win 190vld combo. I'm talking about using spotters for 1200yards or further where the wind drift of ultra mags and such is almost or equal to the radius of the vitals on a deer.
     
  12. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Never said they weren't an option where I hunt. I only said I don't choose to use them.

    I see you're in Virginia. Sometime you need to come out west where you may be shooting across 2 or 3 canyons with winds twitching in all different directions and changing faster than you can keep track of. Then you might better understand my position.


    I fully understand the concept and purpose of spotting shots and probably knew what they were before you had even heard of them. I never mentioned "flailing attempts" I simply gave personal experience and personal hunting conditions. It's simply a matter of choice for me given the conditions that can exist where I hunt.


    Again, it's just my decision and opinion. No wind stays exactly the same and if it's a wind that we know will vary, then especially at 1200 yards and farther, for me, it's not worth the risk to the animal. You mentioned the "potential for wounding an animal at ranges where 1mph error can put you near the edge of the vitals". Where I hunt winds can, and do, vary by 5-10 mph and I've seen them vary more than that. Hope that helps explain my reasoning for not using them. If you hunt where the winds stay steady and never vary more than 1mph then you're extremely lucky.
     
  13. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    I've seen guys take sighters on elk in the 1200yrd range and the main problem is not the animals reaction but getting good feed back. It's hard to see spotters unless you put them on something like a rock which will usually get things to stand up and then your GTG if the spotter caught it. I don't use them much for many reasons, mainly I have to shoot in a narrow wind range that I've predetermined so to taking the sighters seem to just compound the problems unless they are laying down or the senerio is just that the shot may just wake them up but not blow them out or get them milling around, then your SOL cause you then have a yardage changes to deal with also.
    The times I've had it work were in high but steady winds and the sound was drifting so far down wind that they don't catch it, I have had one time I was able to take a sighter drop a doe then take another sighter and dropped another, the conditions were perfect and I was getting great feed back that was reliable and they were mule deer which will usually give you the time you need without moving around.
     
  14. Kevin Cram

    Kevin Cram <b>SPONSOR</b>

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    I'm not positive on rules and regulations of many other states but here in PA taking a spotting shot would be considered shooting at random and would be deemed illegal here. I must agree with ss7mm, if the conditions are so bad or if your that unsure of your drop that you feel the need to take a sighter shot first you shouldn't be shooting. This game is all about knowing your equipment and proving how good of a marksmen you are, that's why we hunt long range.

    Don't mean to rain on your thread so I'll at least give a example of a deers reaction I had last year with a near miss. I had found a buck bedded at 1489 yards. We had about 8 inches of snow with a crust on top. I dialed in for the shot and after the first shot the deer didn't react at all. My spotters said they didn't see a hit. I re-checked my dope and range, I was good. I fired another round...nothing. Another round....nothing. The deer never got up nor did either of my spotters see the hit. One thought it appeared the bullet was dropping in a laurel bush about 10 feet below the deer. I dialed down to the bush, put the cross hair back on the deer and fired again. This time my shot went about 10 feet over the deer and must have hit a rock under the snow and the round exploded leaving a black hole. That definitely got the deers attention and he was out of there. I video tape all my hunts and after we got home and reviewed the video on the big screen I could see a very subtle lift in the snow about 6-8 inches in front of the deers chest on all 3 shots. The spotters had 25x and 32x optically but the camera was running a little over 100x optically and could capture the subtle impact that they couldn't see. The snow just swallowed the bullet up without making any disturbance a mear 6-8 inches right in front of a bedded buck.