459 Yard Buck - And The Founding Of LongRangeHunting.com
By Len BackusIn 1997 I posted this story on a couple of forums or "newsgroups" and was absolutely hammered for being a good-for-nothing idiot to think that it is acceptable to shoot big game at long distances. (459 yards isn't even really very long, is it?). It was the first time I had tried to have a conversation about long range hunting on the internet.
After a couple of frustrating years I decided to start my own website to provide a sanctuary of sorts where like minded LRH proponents could safely discuss their passion.
Ten years ago, in April of 2001, LongRangeHunting.com was established. Today we have over 33,000 registered members and 260,000 different visitors each month.The article from 1997:
This past Wednesday I shot a deer at long range --- 459 yards. My equipment includes a Tikka brand rifle in 7 mm Remington magnum with a Burris Signature model scope, 4 to 16 power variable. The rifle is fitted with an after-market Boss system made by Que Industries. The handloaded cartridge consists of the 120 grain Barnes "X" bullet at 3,500 feet per second. Sighted in at 300 yards for zero, the drop at 459 yards is about 12 inches from line of sight. I use a Bushnell Lytespeed lazer rangefinder --- the new 800 yard model. My bullet drops about one inch every 10 yards at this distance. To hunt responsibly at long range you must know the distance precisely.
I practice shooting out to 400 yards and 500 yards. My normal 3 shot groups at 100 yards measure just under one inch. My best-ever 400 yard group with this combo was 3 shots in 1.1 inches --- never came that close again, though. I watch the effects of wind and don't even bother shooting if there is much velocity at all. A ten-mph cross wind causes 10 inches of bullet drift at 400 yards.
This past Wednesday was 5 days into the Wisconsin gun season for Whitetails. Bucks, normally fairly nocturnal, are even more so after 5 days of loud shooting. I had seen this 10 point buck with its 18 inch inside spread congregating with a group of bachelor bucks in the hayfields in July and early August. I also saw him 5 or 6 times during the bow season. This two or three year old buck field-dressed at 175 pounds and represents the oldest, largest, most savvy prey that we usually are challenged by in my heavily hunted neighborhood.
My closest earlier hunting encounter with him was on my first evening out during the bow season. Forty-five minutes before closing time, a nice 13 1/2 inch yearling (which my son later shot thinking it was a 2 year old) led him out of the marsh to within 35 yards of my stand. With the yearling standing relaxed and broadside at a shootable distance, I waited for his older friend to move forward just 2 yards --- out from behind some brush. No luck that night and I never got that close again. He was very wary. I saw him several more times during the bow season and twice during the gun season.