setting up a long shot on a steep slope - anybody done it?

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Timber338, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

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    Was wondering if anybody has any tricks to pass along for setting up a cross-canyon shot on a steep downhill shooting position?

    On my elk rifle backpack hunt, I've got a spot in mind that I want to setup for a long cross-canyon shot. The shot itself will not be an extreme angle, only the terrain I will be standing/sitting on... The shot angle likely will not vary more than maybe 20 degrees from horizontal worst case, but that's shooting downhill over the trees. I will be looking at a major elk crossing area, and this spot is just about the only area that has a clearing, but is covered in low gamble oaks. It is a hillside that is very steep downhill to a canyon/creek, and there is nowhere to lay down prone. So I'm thinking of something like cutting some limbs to make some kind of rifle rest where my back will be to the mountain, and gun out in front... but wondering if anybody has already skinned this cat? Any advice on techniques that you've used successfully?

    Here's a pic that shows a good portion of the terrain, I was standing when I took the pic, even when you sit down you lose a big portion of the lower shooting lane, and lyig down prone not an option. Most of the oaks patches across the canyon in the pic are shootable except to the high right, and of course super distant ridges. Closest shot is about 400 yards , while some of the oak clearings where elk cross could reach out to 1500 yards. This pic shows about 50%, or the right half, of what I'll be looking at. There's more clearings down and to the left that I do not have a picture of, but the elk would very likely move out to what you can see in the picture. So anyways, just trying to figure out if this spot is realistic to set up for a long shot without a true prone position? Thoughts?
     

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  2. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

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    A tripod with a rifle rest with support for both the forearm and butt may work for you.
     

  3. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

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    Gotcha. I just read Len's bear hunt story and he was doing some shooting like this with a bipod up front and the butt of the gun supported by arm/ground/pack/etc. Doesn't look like that would work much further than maybe 600 or so. I'm guessing/speculating here.

    I think I need something like you are talking about that supports the entire forearm and butt. I will look around and see what I can find. I usually don't like to pack in extra gear like shooting stix/tripods, but if I want to make this spot work I may have to change that up.
     
  4. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

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    Caldwell makes a tripod that might work, but I don't have any experience with it.
     
  5. Idaho Sawyer

    Idaho Sawyer Well-Known Member

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    Couple tricks I have used in the past. First is I always carry ski poles, 2 fold reason, really take stress off the knees on the steep down hills, and when you get to your shooting spot I have a strap that connects the 2 poles, just below the handles, they then become tall shooting sticks. Second is I alwys carry a small folding saw. IF you find that perfect spot to go prone you can do some brush clearing to make it shootable.
     
  6. moombaskier

    moombaskier Well-Known Member

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    I have a similar situation here on the coast range. The hillside I shoot from is very steep and I shoot across the canyon up hill about 30 degrees. I ended up digging out a spot so I could lay prone while angled uphill. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. The shot is 825-925 yds. and being able to have a solid and comfortable rest is what makes that shot possible. Take your time and do it right. It will payoff bigtime.
     
  7. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

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    It's really funny that you just wrote this response... as I've been thinking the past couple of days that unless i figure out a way to get prone, I just cannot take the shot in this spot. I think you are right on, and excellent advice. Thanks for sharing this as we never want to take unethical shots, and I think without some major work like you are talking about, I just need to pass.

    I'm going to try and get out to this spot over the summer, and see if I can dig in a prone shooting setup. And like you say will probably pay off. there is really no other spot on this section of the mountain that gives a clear view across the canyon, and this section of the mountain has very well used trails with lots of animals. I don't have time to get out there until later in the summer, but I'll try and report back with what I'm able to figure out.
     
  8. moombaskier

    moombaskier Well-Known Member

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    It was a lot of work. There was always a small group of bulls that would hang out on this hillside during the rifle season. They were good mile away and there was no way to get on them. Lot's of hunters could see them, but no way to get to them....until I joined this site!! I had a rifle built and went to work on my technique. My buddy and I hiked over 200 miles one summer trying to locate a closer vantage point. There is a reason those bulls hang there! No roads across from them because of how steep and rocky it is. We finally found an opening in the timber that would allow the 825-975 yd shot, but we were on a very steep downhill shooting uphill 28-30 degrees. I practiced with all sorts of contraptions and none were stable/consistent enough to make an ethical shot. So we packed in lumber and built an angled platform to shoot prone from. We made the impossible possible and have harvested 2 bulls there in the last 3yrs. The best thing about it is that it's all to ourselves. Good luck in your ventures!