Lesson learned

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Crane, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. Crane

    Crane Well-Known Member

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    Been wanting a laser range finder for a while now. Was going to buy one of the Bushnell 1500 models and here comes the new Leupold so I wait.

    So there I was this morning hunting a hayfield with the potential for shots in excess of 2000 yards although that's not what I was looking for. The action was hot; I actually for the first time witnessed smallish bucks breeding does. Out walks the biggest whitetail I have ever seen; intially thought it must be a horse. The wind is calm, he's standing broadside, I've got the .30/378 locked onto him. Just one problem, I can't tell how far he is. My best guess was between 700 and 800 yards but that could have been way off as I don't get much practice at ranging at that distance in Alabama. Anyway, I didn't take the shot and I'm having serious regrets about passing that one up............
     
  2. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Crane:

    You shouldn't have any regrets about your decision. With no way to range the distance to the buck, and no way to know the distance, you did the right thing. You really only had one choice and you did the right thing. Guessing at that distance could have meant a wounded and lost animal. You did the right thing.
     

  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Watching a big animal or any animal walk away from you healthy is much better then watching him run away with a leg swinging in the breeze. At this range you have to know the exact range, not within 100 yards or even 50 yards, you need the exact range or you should not shoot at all.

    You should be commended for letting him walk, many would not have done what you did. Now you can dream about that big boy as you saw him, 100% healthy instead of having nightmare about wounding and loosing him.

    You did good!! Next year you will be ready to take that shot, get that rangefinder and start practicing at long range!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  4. Crane

    Crane Well-Known Member

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    You know before finding this site, mostly lurking and reading I probably would have "lobbed" one out there. One of the things I've learned that I didn't realize before is exactly how crucial super accurate ranging actually is.

    Kirby we've conversed via email and I've been putting away the pennies for an Allen Mag, however today made me realize I currently possess more than enough rifle and scope. Shooting at known distances is one thing but outside of 500yds my range guess-ta-mating abilities suck. So until I acquire the latest and greatest (within reason) laser range finder the new rifle will have to wait.
     
  5. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

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    Crane,

    Bud don't sweat the good stuff. First of all you got the distinct pleasure of seeing a monster buck in his enviroment. Heck some folks never see anything much better than what some folks would consider culls. Next you made the best decision a "hunter" can make in that situation.

    I used to hunt every season for the biggest buck I could. Now after taking a 21" wide typical 8 from heavily hunted area, I am content to just look at them.

    Now the hogs, well thats an entirely different story. They are on the top of the vermin list for us. I am looking VERY much forward to something special arriving soon from out west to give us a little more edge on bringing home the bacon for sure.
     
  6. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

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    You get 5 from me. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    [ QUOTE ]
    ...This wolf had trotted up unto an open hill side which I had ranged previously at 600 yards. The wolf had trotted farther down the hill from the point I ranged so I guessed the range at 650 and lined up on the big wolf....

    ...I stood at the point where the bullet impacted and ranged back to my blind, 710 yards!!! As I did not have time to range the trotting dog he had covered more ground then I predicted and the misque in range pretty much saved the big dogs life.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Fiftydriver, couldn't you have wounded the wolf with this shot?
     
  8. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Not that shot. Maybe another shot would have but that one was a clean miss.

    If I would have been behind the trigger, my reasoning would have been; "Geez the wolf sure covers more ground than a coyote".

    Which was exactly what happened to me when I stepped up to elk from deer. Spike elk (I had a bull only tag) and some cows were covering ground broadside at 120 yds. No way I'm gonna pass on that shot. Made it many times on mule deer. I lined up as I normally do. Bang - nothing. Bang - nothing. This was my first shot at an elk, and then in open CRP ground.

    A lady shot that spike about a week later. I checked it for extra holes as I still couldn't believe I missed it.

    Investigating after those shots, I got a real respect regarding how much ground an elk can cover then they are just seemingly floating along. I was an old hand at deer and new to elk.

    Both cases are lessons learned.
     
  9. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Birdman
    There are shots when one reasonably believes one has the correct information but does not (most of us humans make mistakes) and then there are the shots when one knows one does not have the correct information. Kirby beleived he had decent information on the wolf. Crane knew he had no reliable information.

    It would appear that there is some belief on your part that long range hunting is about perfection. In my opinion it is about challenge. I personally love to take running shots on deer and do not care what I have in my hands either bow or gun it does not matter. I simply cannot resist the challenge of the running shot. In thirty years of taking running shots I have not lost a deer yet. I do not strive for perfection, I go hunting to have fun and challenge myself.

    Crane knew in his own mind that he did not have good data and he did the right thing.

    Kirby and others post honest accounts of what happens but there is always somebody who comes along whining and complaining. It really is hard for anyone to post the truth if people are going to whine and complain.
     
  10. sniper2

    sniper2 Well-Known Member

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    There you go Bob!The human element in any equation can put a possible glitch in motion!!I have hit running deer at 350 yds. witnesses and papers and have missed deer standing dead still closer than that. Saw my buddy kill two deer with one 250 SGK both very dead and still he missed the deer that I also missed, we never figured that one out??? As far as I know there has been only one perfect man but don't believe he owned a rifle!All we can do is arm ourselves with the best equiptment affordable, practice dilligently, keep concise records and strive to improve oh did I mention plenty of range practice.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  11. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    [ QUOTE ]
    As far as I know there has been only one perfect man but don't believe he owned a rifle!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'll agree with that.

    I don't think that the perfect shot hasn't been born yet.

    BTW, thanks for that load data you sent many moons ago. I have a project in the works that will let me at least approach your numbers.
     
  12. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    Kirby had ranged something close to the wolf and was pretty confident he knew close enough to make a good shot. True, he was a little off. But in this case the buck walked out and he had no idea how far it was away as he didn't even have a rangefinder. I'd call that a very different situation. Nothing's 100%, I shot the hair off one's belly this year because my rangefinder batteries were going bad and it gave me erroneous readings!

    As for passing on the deer, I think that was a good decision. I've been there; passed a 20=yd bowshot on the biggest buck I ever saw (to this day) because there was a single branch across the chest and I was afraid I'd glance off it and wound the big guy. Hard to do for being 16 at the time, but I never really regretted it as it was the right choice. If I'd wounded that buck I'd regret it to this day.
     
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    FiftyDriver Said [ QUOTE ]
    At this range you have to know the exact range, not within 100 yards or even 50 yards, you need the exact range or you should not shoot at all.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    In the English language this is a called a contridiction!

    Kirby, Response?
     
  14. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Is possible to wound an animal anytime you throw a bullet in its direction? No matter what range it is at from you? All we can do is get as much information we can on the shot before we take it and then be honest with ourselves about our abilities to make the shot or not make the shot.


    I had ranged the hill the wolf appeared on earlier and it was 600 yards on the money to the point of the hill. My mistake was in not knowing the degree in which the hill ran away from my location compared to where I had ranged it at. As Roy mentioned, I am also sure that the my lack of knowledge on how much ground a wolf can cover compared to a coyote made a difference as well.

    All that said, I made a calulated estimate off the data I had previously taken and figued the shot for 650 yards. I held in the lead and used the appropriate reference hold for 650 yards and knew for a fact I could make that shot.

    Had the wolf been at 650 yards he would have been dead as the bullet landed just under his front feet.

    Had the wolf been running perpindicular to my location I would not have taken the shot at that range beacuse there would be far to high of a possiblility that I could have wounded the wolf because of improper lead. But since he was running quartering away from me I knew that if I contacted the wolf to any degree with a body hit that the 200 gr bullet would have ended things very quickly with that kind of a penetration angle.

    The fact that I know I could make a 650 yard shot on that size of a target was the reason I took the shot using this estimated range. This was proven again by punching that Russian boar at 715 yard twice in the shoulder before he made it to the bush just two days after taking the shot at the wolf.

    I believe that a well prepared hunter and shooter will generally make a vital hit at long range the vast majority of the time. That said, misses do happen and those that claim they never miss are either liars and to ego bound to admit it or simply have not spend alot of time in the field.

    I will also say that if a well preparred hunter misses at long range, generally it is a clean miss. Not sure why but that just seems to be the way it happens. I think this is generally because we are very well tuned in with our rifles and when we do miss it is generally a miscalulation in hold or range measurement. Because our rifles are finely tuned for these specific ranges, when we make an error or get an incorrect range, we generally get a clean miss, just my experience.

    The vast majority of missed shots from competent long range hunters are eith shots high or low. Windage does not seem to be a real problem most of the time for me anyway because if the wind is blowing noticably I will not shoot. If the animal is running broadside to me, again I will not shoot because I know my limits with windage estimates. On a game animal I personally would never take a shot at a severaly quartering away animal such as a deer or elk. Just the way I am. Have no desire to punch a buck or bull in the ass just to knock him on the ground even though I know my rifles and loads will do just this very efficently. Just a personal issue and nothing against those that will take these shots. I was just raised to harvest the animal with as little meat as possible damaged.

    With the wolf however or yotes or chucks or any other critter I will not eat, any angle on the animal is a good angle. To that point, any body hit on a severely quartering away yote or wolf is a dead critter with this level of power. Goal on this hunt was a dead wolf, no better way to get a dead wolf then running a 200 gr ULD RBBT from his left hip to his right shoulder!!

    Also, there is very little room for a wounding hit at this angle compared to a broadside angle. If you hit the dogs body he will go down almost instantly from an impact at this angle. Yotes simply fold up to this impact as will most big game when hit with the appropriate rifles but again I can not make myself take that shot on big game.

    So I do not feel that the shot I took was unethical. I had an established point of range in the area to work off from. I made a calculated estimate of how far that wolf had traveled from that ranged point, took the proper hold and allowed the proper lead for that calculated range an took the shot and missed.

    And missed clean which I varified by walking to that point where the bullet impacted and proving it to myself that it was a clean miss. Even though I saw the bullet impact low, I still checked for hair and blood at the impact sight and for 300 yards up the trail where the wolf ran off.

    So did I make a mistake, YEP, used the wrong dot on the reticle but now with the added experience of watching wolves, now I know more and if the chance arose again, I would be even better prepared for such a shot.

    Simply goes to prove my point that Crane did the correct thing. Had he had a reading that was within 100 yards of where that big buck was he could have easily calculated the increased hold on the feeding, calm, relaxed buck and made the shot with the 30-378 because he had practiced to those ranges and knew what his rifle would do.

    But he had no reference at all to the range of the buck and as such made a proper choice not to pull the trigger. I would have done the same thing in his situation if I did not have a rangefinder.

    Just commenting on my own experience and misses to shot another hunter that he made the correct choice and to feel good about his correct decision which is worthy of alot of respect because its very difficult to let an animal walk away like that.

    Good Shooting!!

    Kirby Allen(50)