How to change the mentality of hunters.....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fiftydriver, May 26, 2008.

  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Jun 12, 2004
    I was watching a couple big game hunting vidoes this weekend while at a family BBQ and I must say how suprised I am at the lack of preparedness of most of the hunters on these videos.

    Just a couple examples, there was one guy hunting pronghorns and had one lined up at what they said was nearly 400 yards and he was sitting there shooting the rifle off his knees. After he missed the first two shots he somehow connected on a running shot on the third try and was then congradulated for an AMAZING shot.

    Then there was a sheep hunter, I believe it was in Arizona and the hunter planted two shots on the rock just to the right of a big ram. The ram barely moved at the shots impacting the rocks right in front of his face. Seemed like really wild rams but thats a side point.

    Anyway, A total of 4 shots were taken and the last one hit the ram in the neck and dropped him. Again, high fives all around for the AMAZING shot. The guy was shooting prone but shooting off his elbows, no bipod. THen after several minutes of talking things over, one guy said, "how far do you think that was?". ANother said, must be over 400 yards, "LETS RANGE IT AND SEE!!" Turned out to be in the 450 yard range.

    Now there are not many rifle/load combos that will let you reach out to 450 yards with a conventional sight in without significant hold over.

    You hear them say all the time that lightweight is the upmost importance with these types of rifles. How much does a bipod weigh? If you have a rangefinder, WHY WOULD YOU NOT USE IT? Now if the guy had hit the ram on the first shot, you could say he obviously did not need it but only on the 4th shot did he connect.

    From what I have seen, most conventional hunters will tell you they can shoot out to 500 yards on big game but when you look at their equipment list, very few have the proper equipment to make these shots a truely viable option to shoot out to on big game. THe sad thing is that it would not take much to get them capable of doing this, a good bipod would be a huge help.

    Now surely I admit that a well trained and practiced marksmen with a rifle and good shooting sling can do amazing things. Those are not the general rule of hunters in the field, including myself.

    If you think you MAY have an opportunity for longer range shooting, why would you not have the simple equipment to make this a realistic thing to do.

    Another thing that really annoys me, why are most of these guys in the videos so afraid to get down in the dirt. I would say less then 25% of them are laying on the ground for their shots. Personally, if I can, I hit the dirt every chance I get. In fact, if I have to look for a different spot so I can get on the ground for a clear shot I will take the time to do that.

    Now I am not talking about extreme range shooting, 300-500 yards. For most of us here that is a bit of a chip shot and well it should be with the time we put into it and the equipment we use but for most this IS long range hunting.

    How do we get these guys to use the right equipment to make their consistancy DRAMATICALLY better then it is shooting from a sitting position with no rear rest, no bipod, not using rangefinders(except after the fact).

    I will admit I am so wedded to my rangefinder, bipods, rear bags and ballistic reticles that they have to be there for me to feel comfortable in the field. Many would say I am to dependant on accessary equipment but I can say that my hit to miss ratio has increased 10 fold since I started using this equipment.

    I just do not understand that mindset, saving weight is fine but doing so and sacrificing consistancy and first shot hit potential, I see no sense in that, in fact I personally call that fool hardy.

    Just ranting. Anyone else have any experiences dealing with this type of hunter that claim they are long range hunters but have no idea what equipment they need to be using. I have several local hunters give me hell all the time for the amount of equipment I take and use in the field, so be it. I prefer to hit what I shoot at, not try to hit.

    Another pet peive, it makes me FUME when you see some one almost loose control because they are so excited(spell that SUPRISED) they made the shot on a big game animal. If you are suprised you made the shot, you made a bad decision to take the shot, even though you made the shot. The only suprise should be if you miss in my opinion.

    OK, really I am done ranting.

    Your thoughts.

    Kirby Allen(50)
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    The other side of the coin is the F-class results down in the competition section. A guy who much like me, had given up rifles for the bow decided to come back to the rifles. With a great rifle and careful reloading and paying a lot of attention to what he was doing he won the entire match on just his third time ever shooting at 1000 yards. I am very hopeful we will have some great stories from him this Fall. I suspect you will recognize his name.

    The equipment we have available today if used by people like him will give great results in the field. There is another forum member who hopefully will come and shoot soon.

    So, I guess my weekend was just the opposite. Several people learning how to shoot long range correctly.

  3. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

    Jun 11, 2005
    I've had several conversations over time with guys about both their version of long range hunting/shooting as well as my version.

    What I find most of the time is, if they are willing to talk, they have short range capabilities, at best, but a long range ego. By this I mean they are usually challenged at anything over about 100 yards in all reality. This doesn't stop them from taking just about any shot presented, under just about any conditions, out to 300-500 yards.

    They also seem to believe that by some sort of magic, even though they couldn't keep 5 out of 10 on a pie plate at 100 yards, using any field position they wanted, that they can miraculously hit a big game animal in a vital spot at 300-500 yards. The sad truth is they can't, they don't and animals bear the brunt of their stupidity.

    When and if I've tried to discuss field positions, equipment necessary for long range shooting etc. they tend to scoff at anything I say and tell me they can do just find with what they have, which is usually a lightweight gun of a caliber that sends them into a flinching frenzy every time they shoot it. I've learned over time that it's hard to talk to someone with an IQ that doesn't quite reach freezing on a good day.

    I have found however, that there is a small percentage of the people that actually listen, are interested and actually understand what I'm trying to explain to them. There have been numerous times, with these people that it actually led to them shooting my equipment.

    I get a bigger kick out of seeing someone else make a great long range shot than I do by making it myself and especially if that person is new at the sport. I consider myself lucky to have been able to help several connect at ranges they never would have considered possible just a day before they did it.

    With the videos you just have to grin and bear it or not watch as most of them lately are just plain junk. With the people, offer all you can in the way of help, and if they are willing to accept it, they will make you glad that you extended the helping hand. Unfortunately the grateful ones that really grasp it are few and far between but just keep looking.;)

    And, when I go shooting/hunting I take whatever I need and whatever makes me happy and comfortable. Whatever somebody else says about my equipment means pretty much nothing to me unless it's a compliment. I know what long range takes and I know what I need and what I have to do and know to make the shot. That dictates what I take, what I know and what I use.;)

    SUNDEVIL Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    The guys in those videos sound like some of the hunters that shoot at our local range. You know, the hunters that shoot once a year only if they get drawn! They zero thier gun at 25 yards and think it will be zeroed at 250. Then they shoot the 24inch steel gong at 300yds(hitting somewhere)!! Then they are ready to go hunt. Just my little rant.
  5. 9-point

    9-point Active Member

    Mar 21, 2008
    you guys are right, if you hunt you better be able to shoot. Monday i was able to shoot my new encore 300 win mag it has a leup.4.5x14 scope, once I was on paper I was able to stay in a 10 inch target but the groups were not as tight as I thought they should be at 200yds,I'm shooting factory ammo at different weights. This is my 1st hunting rifle,and I have many questions,and this place is a fountain of information, I thank you guys for your help.
  6. Coues Sniper

    Coues Sniper Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    I'm with you Kirby, 100%. It amazes me as well how unprepared the average hunter is. A good friend of my dad's has a 300 RUM that he brags about all the time and says it will shoot less than an inch at 100 yards. Well, we took him to the practice range with us one time so he could "sight in for his hunt" as he had an elk hunt in a couple weeks. He proceeds to print about a 6" group at 100 yards. Come to find out, that 1" group he was talking about was a one time deal :rolleyes: but he "normally shoots better than he was that day". He ended up killing a bull, but hit it in the neck - about 2 feet from where he was aiming at 250 yards. Another time i was on a hog hunt in California with some buddies. There was another group in camp who were rifle hunting; we were hunting archery. Well this place had a range to shoot your guns so these characters were messing around down there. I went down to watch them. They were shooting off of a picnic table with no bipod, bags or butt rest. They had hit the steel gongs they had at 100 yards (a problem in of itself) and started to shoot at the 500 yard gong as i got there. I overheard one of the ranch guys tell them it was about 28" in diameter. I watched thru my 10's as this guy spread lead all around that gong and finally hit the edge of it on his 7th shot. They all erupted and actually were hugging the guy as he shouted what a bada$$ he was and "who else wanted some" :confused:.

    With most of the videos, I am amazed at how few of them actually glass. Maybe they don't show it or something, but most of the time they just stand there with their gun/bow in their hand and glass for 20 seconds and move on. Very few times have i ever seen a tripod used.

    I try to put as much in my favor as i can, and will shoot off the dirt as often as possible. I killed one of my best Coues bucks with a rest off my tripod - at 90 yards :D

    And i think Dick has the answer - just helping guys that will listen. I've shared my limited knowledge with some buddies and they are getting as excited about long range shooting as i do. The look on my new brother in laws face as he center punched a rock at 640 yards with my 22-250 after i explained my drop system to him was pretty cool. I just don't have the patience to do it with those yahoos i don't know ;)
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  7. happylilcuss

    happylilcuss Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2008
    Kirby, Dick and others. I am gonna share a couple stories from my past. First since I am new to the forum I will explain a little about myself. Born and Raised in eastern oregon. Grew up with a ranching family. Started shooting centerfire ate age 5. My first deer/Elk season was at 11. (I will get back to this.) After highschool I started guiding at a ranch in NE oregon. (70,000 deeded acres with about 200,000 more in alotments) The terrain is very rolling open crp feilds and bluffs moving into the fully timbered high country. I started as an apprentice learning more about range management and herd management than I did about guiding hunting (kinda funny how learning one kinda gives you the other). After 3 years I became a full share guide. Went on to be the head guide.

    Ok so with that out of the way. My first story comes from an observation (or observations) built over a few years of hunters. There seems to be a trend forming that I directly corrilate with the "hunting" magazines and TV shows that people watch and read. It seems that people seem to think that in order to kill a deer size animal or bigger (Dick metcalf comes to mind)(Even though I admire him and would love to share a camp with him) that you have to be shooting a "Magnum" caliber. I would see client after client show up with huge belted magnum rifles.
    My first question to these clients was always can I see your rig? I would then question them as to how long they had had the weapon. I would also ask them how many rounds they had shot out of it. The normal answer (I mean I would say at least 85% of the time would be) its a new gun but its the best one they had, they guy at the shop told me so. Oh BTW Im shooting XX win mag caliber. Well I sighted it in.... but its a tack driver and can shoot at least 300 yards!!" My thoughts were (Yeah but have you)
    Well I would always take them to our range the night before there hunt started. We would get them set up and have them shoot at 100yds. (Sometimes I would video it, not the target but them shooting. The flinches were amazing.) I would always here this: "Thats way more than 100yds. I would hand them my Leica and prove it.... Before the Leica it was ok lets pace it off) Flat open country makes judging distance tough. We would always "get them on paper" and more times than I can count I had clients ask if I would shoot it just to make sure... Which I wouldnt do. But what I would do is ask if I could shoot a few with my rifle. I would pull out my 22-250 (nothing special just a rem 700 that I had sighted dead on at 600 for this demo i put on for them) I had a steel gong 32" diameter set up at 600 yds. If you didnt know it was there you would miss it. I would show them where it was and fire 3 rounds fairly rapid fire. "Dong, Dong, Dong" I would then get into a conversation with these clients. That conversation or the meat of it was as follows.
    me: So do you think you could do that with your XXmag?
    Them: well, no.
    Me: Why do you think that is?
    Them: Well you shoot that all the time you know exactly where to aim.. Its not a fair game.
    Me: I would then ask them if they would endulge me and take a couple shots with my rifle.
    Them: (If they would play along) Well, where do I aim? How much do I have to hold over it?
    Me: Just put the x right in the middle..
    Them: No way that little thing can get out there that far..
    Me: I just showed it can! Plus I promise it can I have taken animals from this far.
    Them: (If they would play along) Dong!! (Supremely dumb look on there face and I am sure They were wanting a high five)
    Me: Do you know why you could do that?
    Them? Well you must have your gun sighted perfectly (or something similar)
    Me: Do you mind if I shoot your rifle? (I would then pray like hell and get everything right and shoot there rifle, most times Dong! (In the case of the 338-378 it went through my gong))
    The look on these people faces was amazing. I would then give them a quick lesson on trigger control breathing and NOT being scared of there gun)
    In all the return clients I ever had I never had a deer hunter show up with a kicking mule there second year. (They would always tell me that since they got a rifle with less recoil they enjoy practicing more) So these guys would practice learn there firearms begin to learn wind and enjoy shooting again..

    Im sorry this got so long winded I will cut this short and post again with another situation I have learned that I think will help people.. However I am not in anyway saying big cal rifles are bad nor am I saying that they people on TV or video could ever learn anything.. what I am implying is that I think we need to shift peoples perception a little bit."
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  8. happylilcuss

    happylilcuss Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2008
    My second story goes hand in hand with shifting peoples perception. When I turned 10 in december my Mom gave me a model 94 winchester trapper with saddle ring and all. I was stoked. My dad got a side mounted scope put on it and we went to sight it in. My dad got it dialed (well as dialed as a model 94 trapper could get at 100yds) He then told me that I was going to get to go hunting for deer and Elk next year.. IF..... By september of the next year I could show him that I could make a clean kill with my rifle..
    Well as the year went on he kept me supplied in rounds and I shot every jack rabbit, ground squirrel, and rock chuck, that came within sight. I mean I shot 100's of rounds through that old gun. When school started that 11th year of my life I started to fall into the same trap im speaking of here. All of my friends dads were gonna let there sons shoot there 308 norma mags or 300 win mags or 30-06's.. I started to get a little jealous.
    So I went to my dad and asked him if I could shoot my grandpas 308 instead. (At least it had a "normal" looking bullet) My dad said to me: (and I will never forget this) Dusty you know those trappers you love to read about? I said yeah. He said well, I can promise you that more deer and elk and critters have been killed by all those trappers and cowboys and setlers with there model 94 30-30's than there has been deer and elk killed with any other rifle.. I thought about that and kinda beamed with pride.
    It wasnt long after that and dad said well son lets go out and do some shooting. He brought his 300 savage and I took my 30-30. He filled up 8 milk jugs with water. We got a picnic table set up and the sand bags out. We then both took 2 milk jugs and started walking. He counted off 100yds. Then I put my jugs down. I looked at him and he said lets take these a bit farther. So I figured sure. We walked another 50 paces. He put his down. We went back and I got set up to shoot. 2 shots and 2 blown jugs. (I was the happiest person in the world when I saw why we filled them with water) I just looked at dad with a huge smile. He then said well you gonna sit there with your teeth in your mouth or are you gonna shoot the other 2? What? Thats too far dad. He says, give it a try. (I was hard headed). 3 shots later and I had both splattered. He then proceded to tell me if I could hit a milk jug with consistancy I could hit vitals on a deer or Elk. Next came the paper target he made me put 3 right near the center or it was a no go for hunting this year. I made the shots.
    That year I killed a 27" 4X3 right at daylight on opening day at probably 25 feet. Opening day of Elk season dad sat me in a canyon and said that clearing is as far as those milk jugs were. Well, right at daylight I look up and there is a 4 point bull standing in the meadow he showed me. I sat behind a log with my gun rested on it and let one fly. He stumbled and by the time I found the clearing again in my scope he was standing fine but pointing the other way. Well, I let him have another one. Down he goes. When we skinned him both shots were within 1" only coming and going.. My first year, I kill 2 respectable critters with a 30-30. (In later years I have lasered the spot the elk fell and its right at 185yds. When dad finally got to me I was so excited but dad being the dad he is walked up and said. Well I guess making you shoot up $100 and all the critters on the ranch paid off. Practice makes perfect son never forget that!!

    My point to all this is he was right on so many levels. These days I am saving up to buy one of Kirby's master peices and I think big guns are the cats meow. But I also paid my dues and have spent a lifetime shooting over and over and learning how to read the wind and how to shoot. I know now that everything has its place. My 22-250 sucks after going through transonic speeds (which aint that far really) BC means everything in the wind and all of the lessons I am still learning everyday from all of you guys. I know that with how I shoot, a big rifle with a good brake wont bother me.. But I have shot these kinds of weapons so I know. So the moral of the story is whatever you hunt with you need to practice with. Only shoot as far as you know you can make 1 shot hits.. Take your time, come prepared and use the equipment for what its made for. We are all saying the same thing. People need to learn to hunt ethically within THEIR abilities, and we all need to leave our jugments at home as much as we can!!! Shoot straight and be safe!! Keep em tight guys!!
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  9. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2005
    It's not just hunting


    I agree with all your observations and feel your frustrations. However, the attitude that you describe is alive and well in nearly every human endeavor. I've seen Softball/baseball coaches that didn't believe the statistics and had always went with their 'gut feel'. I've asked people at work, "why do you do it this way" their answer "because, thats the way we've always done it."

    In my experience, the larger the ego a person has, the more closed minded and defensive they get if you don't do things the way they do it. I think this behavior is worse in the shooting sports, since many guys view guns as macho and any discussion that doesn't match their pre-conceived notions seems like a challenge to their manhood. I've taught kids and adults shooting from time to time. The woman/girls were almost always the best students.

    I remember in one of Capsticks books (Death in a Lonely land, or Death in the Long Grass or Death .....) he talks about hunters not wanting to use riflescopes because they were new and it was different. I think the Rangefinder, bipods, drop charts etc. are just new and different and most people are too close minded to embrace new concepts.

    Good post and topic Kirby.

  10. Lightvarmint

    Lightvarmint Guest

    Another interesting topic similar to this is reloading and what is really needed and what is "good enough"............

  11. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2002
    well, my observations
    The main thing is total lack of any kind of ballistic knowledge.
    I'm pretty much an average shot, pull off a 100 yard group in the .2's on occasion, but I've studied ballistics alot, and once it all makes sense it seems simple. And with my mediocre skills I can just flat out amaze average hunters. I've had guys who considered themselves expert markman, stand in awe after watching me connect at less than 600 yards, and had guys almost pi$$ they're pants after letting them use my rifle and helping them adjust the scope and set up to connect on a deer at 700 yards and less, its like they have no clue as to how a rifles trajectory works.
    And I agree with kirby, I don't care if a deer is 50 yards if I'm gonna shoot I'm eatin dirt if possible, and without a rangefinder, I may as well stay home.
    Tell a guy you can take a deer at 500 yards and he says, ok, cool, show him and he'll be blown away.
  12. Charles A

    Charles A Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2001
    While I understand the frustration, one needn't a 15lb rifle, 40x scope, handheld ballistic computer, and a bipod to make 600 yard shots. I say this as the former poster-child for that. Eventually I came to the realization (in large part due to being forced to use a 308win) that the 22lb 300Tomahawk didn't really offer me anything over the 12lb 300WinMag under 800yds, except the stupid weight, clumsiness, and 30lbs of gear I "thought" I needed, and then that the 12lb 300win didn't do much more then an 8lb one.

    A normal rifle, normal scope w/turrets, good data, a rangfinder, backpack, and a good shooter can wreck havoc WAY past 600 yards, while being MUCH, MUCH more effective under 600...