How well does the average big game hunter shoot?

I can’t answer this question for certain. We all have our anecdotal evidence, but statistics say the average hunter is, well, average. There are a small percentage on either end of the spectrum…those that are shooting slobs, and those that are snipers. But the vast majority are average. Just look at a bell curve and you’ll understand what I mean. The better question is what is average?
I spend little to no time around “average big game shooters” unless they ask for help so I don’t know. I’ve seen things that make me shake my head in disbelief but certainly no more often than any other group.
It’s been suggested for many years that firearms noise hinders most peoples accuracy to a greater degree than recoil! I‘ll not argue that theory….as it’s pretty well proven! memtb
I have come to FIRMLY to this conclusion based on personal experiences as well over the last 5-10 years. I tell anyone/everyone I can to try it, especially involving young hunters/shooters. Wish my dad had done it with me when I was a kid. Just wasn't a thing back then... The deer come and go but tinnitus is forever!
It’s been suggested for many years that firearms noise hinders most peoples accuracy to a greater degree than recoil! I‘ll not argue that theory….as it’s pretty well proven! memtb
Totally agree. I've seen hunters go to blinds or what not with ear muffs, ear plugs, etc. Along comes suppressors and I'll be most of the guys have them just for the blast. People that have asked me for help shooting the first thing I generally do is look at their rifle and quietly take the round out, put it on safety set it back on the bench and tell show me what you can do. Well over half the people will flinch. 80%+ of the people know nothing of shooting further than 200 yards. Half of those are not comfortable shooting at 200 yards anyways. Most of the guys that can shoot I see are the country boys that grew up shooting a 22 or something from age 5 or so and just kept working their way up shooting through the years. Rarely do you get a person new to shooting (city dude) that can get on a bench and put a group together at 200 yards that most would be happy with. When I hear of people happy with their load development, or happy how their new rifle shoots at 100 yards with 1" groups or just under, it makes me want to vomit in my mouth. Sorry guys.....if you're too sensitive and that bothers you then please block me lol. If the best you can do on a steady bench is 1" at a 100 yards......then you have no business shooting very far at all on a much less steady rest. Most don't even know how to steady their rifle in the field, much less apply all Enviromental factors and shooting form into a shot quickly and then get steady. Almost all these guys try it and end up rushing a shot and missing or much worse wounding an animal that he had no business shooting at. And for some of the guides out there that push their clients to take a shot they know the chances of them making a clean kill are very low, then shame on you. For the patient guides that work them into the closest they possibly can then hats off to ya.

Now for the 5% of guys that can hold 6" or less at 1000 yards or more hats off to you. There's not as many of us, I bet, that actually can do it.

My kids 22,19 and 9 can all consistently hit 500 yards 3"-5" groups. The two older ones have been shooting something since they were 3 and 4 years old. My 19 year olds first bullseye at 3 years old was his mothers butt bent over in the flower bed with a BB gun lol. Long story. My daughter at 19 is one that does not like the "Bang". She uses ear protection when shooting game. Drove me nuts for a while. She now shoots suppressed and has gotten quite a bit more consistent. I'm going to push her to 1000 yards late summer and see how she does. My 9 year old has been shooting since he was 4 with 22's. Little terd is pretty dang deadly with a 22 on. squirrels, rabbits, turtles, etc. He was busting still last fall at a 550 yard target in the pasture several times with a 7mm SAUM. I'd just grab a rifle, dial it in for him and we would randomly drive out and let him shoot steel. He told me playing call of duty helps him. I laughed.

Traditionally, it's people that grew up like I did and my kids are doing that are very consistent long range shooters. It takes a lot of practice, skill and knowledge to shoot and it just drives me nuts with people who really think they can.

Yes this is a sore subject with me, can ya tell! And yes my ears ring constantly lol.
No offense, as a guide you don't have the answer to this? I've evolved as a hunter, it was all antler and horns young. I'm still probably young in most eyes, but the hunt means alot more now. This is lost on most imo, shows in their prep and shooting for alot. I hunt to scratch the itch, some hunt to literally feed the family, some hunt to show their pecker size. The average, is probably 300 max on a good day. I have family and friends that think a good 500 yard prone shot turns them into Hathcock.
The question, "what has been your experience?" is the one I will answer.

I used to have a range right on my property. I shot 5 days a week and fired 3 shot groups off hand as quickly as I could, after running from the bench table to the target and run back to the rifle, load 3 and shoot them as fast as I could. This was to duplicate buck fever. Most of my life I hunted alone so I can't tell about experiences of other people. I know I missed one time I called a shot over the top of a deer.
I was lucky Asa kid. I could keep a 22 on a paper plate at 25 yds. right off the bar, then 50 then 100. I started loading inthe early 80's so I could practice and get better quality ammo. Since then I'll shoot with my familiar rifle and ammo without thinking about it off of a rest of some sort. Several of the guys and kids were making way too many shots that had to be trailed. I guy wSjust too cheap to buy ammo. His dad died and his uncle was gi enough the rifle with acondition. Make Carl (fake name) learn to shoot. Before he got the rifle his uncle Mahe him learn shooting g from military discipline. I think that you can figure it out from there. Now just everybody is proficient to 300 yds. alot of us old timers out to 5/600 yds. but we practice before season. Not rules but very few get invites if someone can't vouch for. They still have to prove atleast 100 yds. and we pick his stand.
I think that having the mindset that a rushed shot is out of the question unless in self defense combined with a good system to get oneself steady be it with a tripod, bipod, or a good rest on a log, tree, or backpack is the key along with practicing in those actual positions. And welcome to LRH.
Got that right. I am not much for shooting prone, because of the brush in the way. I will get my rifle to a spot to rest it. The worst would be a sitting position. Other than that the rifle is rested. Only once in awhile I have to shoot twices. Effective to 500yds.
Most of the hunters I reload for never practice. They have me sight in their rifle and go hunting. Not just one or two but about 60 to 70 %. Their only saving grace is most of the shots are around seventy five yards on average. I'm not sticking up for any of them, but most work long hours and have kids in sports that take up most of their free time. I try to get the ones I hunt around to come over and shoot my suppressed 22 LR off the deck in early fall to get some trigger time. Some do, most don't!
Take a look at the "cold bore challenge" that is currently going on over on rokslide. Very eye opening results from guys that are "serious hunters". It's reality is what it is. Claim your maximum effective range, has to be at least 400 yards. Shoot 2 cold bore shots on seperate days with no practice before each shot or in between shots. Target is a 10" circle.

If you claim your MER to be greater than 600 yds you have to shoot 2 cold bore qualifier shots at 600 and they both have to be hits into a 10" circle, before you can shoot your actual MER shots.

At one point 32 shooters had claimed a MER of >600 yds. Only 19 of 32 were able to successfully hit the 10" circle on their first shot. 7 out of the original 32 hit their 10" circle on both shots. Interesting and eye opening results.
Well in NM your average hunter is good out to infinity cuz that's what the dial on their scope says! All they got to do get there barrel out the window and be able hold their bud light and let her fly!!! The class of the average hunter has decreased a bunch in the last 50 years, their shooting abilities is the least of concern.