Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2002
St. Louis
In a recent post, Mach V got me thinking about conversations I've had with several shooters regarding my motivation for developing the ability to kill at long range.

I've worked at it pretty steadily over the past 1.5 years, and I am confident in my system to consistently perform to 1000 yards. I haven't had enough opportunities to regularly stretch it much past 1000 as of yet.

My "system" includes, of course, my:

- rifle and rangefinder
- reloading skills
- trigger skills
- wind and relative air density compensation skills

So when I started this journey my motivation was to be able to reliably kill game animals at any range I could readily identify them as desirable to kill.

This remains my motivation to continue.

That ugly little buck at 389 and that beautiful doe at 225 were the only shots that were presented to me during the 4-day hunt. I was able to cleanly put the hammer down on these animals knowing that my system allowed me to do so with 100% authority.

I could have done exactly that with targets much further away, but I am just as satisfied to have killed at these ranges...

So, to sum up, I want to be the most effective hunter I can be in a variety of situations - short range or long - doesn't matter at all. Developing my system to perform at extended range has gone a long way toward acheiving that goal.

I guess with all the forces arrayed against us, I thought it'd be good to at least put my motivation down in writing and see how your thoughts compare...

Looks like your putting in the time and practice it takes to be successful at Long-range when the opportunity presents itself.

Good shooting.

Another twist... When we kill at 500 or less, do we feel a tinge of guilt, like we should have turned around and run away from the animal several hundred yards before shooting?

I for one don't necessarily seek extreme shots - I just love the open country and I'm prepared when a long shot is presented.

That might seem like a fine point, or just semantics, but those guys writing the anti-longrange garbage on the Net and elsewhere, they've got me stirred up today... I bet that's what the they think of us...

Like we live to only to thump our chests about the ever-increasing range of our kills rather than extolling the entire experience.

Aren't we hunters at heart, like them? Only we've learned to kill at all ranges where conditions and our systems will allow, short or long...

In fact, aren't we more so the true hunters, since we spend so much time in preparation?
I honestly don't know what has motivated me to continually strive for the longest practical kills on varmints. Naturally, what is "practical" has changed considerably with the advent of custom firearms, quality loading components, advanced loading technics, laser rangefinders, wind meters and the conscientious effort to make all these things work in harmony.

Some people would call this excessive compulsive disorder. I just call it fun.
My motivation "to kill at long range".

I see it not so much as "long range" but as precision shooting/marksmanship. I shoot to make the bullet hit a mark no matter the range, this is my personal motivation... each shot is a test that I must pass and do better than previous shots. This constant striving for precision lends itself well to furthering the distance I can reliably make kills. We all know trajectories are repeatable, what we do is match trajectory to range, 389 yards or 905 yards... The confidence I gain through quality practice with precision equipment and consistent supplies (ammo) enables me to make the make the shots others often pass on as "impossible".

I don't feel the need to make shots longer than presented... I set up to command a sufficient area to increase my odds of seeing a desireable animal. I will decide whare to shoot the animal depending on the distance, animal and environmentals. Some I may head (brain) shoot, other heart and still others double lung.... I do feel a need to add a little challenge... a double lung at 200 yards is boring shot and it wouldn't be too long before that constant hum-drum boredom would end my hunting.

Difficult to say who's more the true hunter... I will say that I have learned a lot from the many hours I've spent in the field watching animals at "long range" I'm sure that there are folks that believe the standard whitetail deer spends all of it's waking hours running with it's tail in the standard "flag" mode... probably never seen one that wasn't startled by their (the hunters') presence. I believe I personally am a much better hunter than before I began long range hunting... before I'd accidently blunder into animals, now I have a very good idea where they are most of the time and am prepared.

[ 12-01-2003: Message edited by: Dave King ]
Placing a shot well at any range is what motivates me to learn what it takes, and my limits. Game taking opportunities increasing by increasing my effective range is what really motivated me, and still does. Most areas I choose to hunt make it practically impossible to stalk in up close, but the Moose are concentrated there and the longer shots are the only option that make it worth hunting there. Otherwise it's by chance if you stumble on one, or he stumbles on you more like it. I like the area, I don't like going home empty handed, so I'm doing what it takes to make the best of the situation. They aren't to safe with me hunting there the way I do now!
Efficiency is key, and every hunter does what he can to increase his chances, and for the most part, that's what defines how good of one he really is...
STL, I am right there with you on the guilt. Its gotten to where now if they aint farther than 300yds when I'm hunting a field I probably won't shoot.
It's the other way around for me, actually. I don't feel guilt for shooting game "too close". It's about hunting for me - short or long range doesn't matter. I love archery and the shotgun sports - I suppose I'd chuck rocks at 'em if it were legal...

I practice shooting at long and very long range for the same reasons I play long tones way high on the alto sax, or way up on the neck of the guitar - familiarity with the extremes makes them possible in real world situations, and also makes playing in the middle downright mundane.

But a gigging guitarist will tell you they make most of their money in the first 5 frets!
I too share your concerns about the flaming that occurs about LR hunting. I think these people do not understand the amount of time, money, effort and practise that most on this board do.

For me LR hunting is also a byproduct of where I live. The deer I want feed in open cutblocks at extended ranges. Yes, I could learn to sneak in the bush but the season is usually hot and dry and still hunting difficult.

But, it really doesn't matter. What does is that we all shoot well and can do better at LR then most can at short. So when they critize what we do, I say, how well can you shoot at your max range? Many will shy away knowing that they can't hit even at moderate ranges. So who is more likely to spray and pray???

Distance is merely that...distance. There is no magical range where ethics change from good to bad. Just the preparation, tools and mindset of those who engage in these activities will determine the ethics and outcome.

I know where my bullet will land at 750yds. Do they know at 250yds?

I have really enjoyed all that I have learned on this board over the years and have become a better shooter both near and far. With the new equipment, practise and skill, I am capable of taking game cleanly at all ranges I wish to hunt, and that could be as close as a hundred yards...

STL_Shooter, I hunt with everything legal. I ment "shooting them closer than 300yds WITH THE TOMAHAWK" I feel guilty. But not really.
I feel that it is finding a way to challenge ourselves. Searching for more knowledge and new frontiers. It is certain that making one self effective at 1000 yards will make one more effective at 400.
Here in Colorado it is getting to where you cannot even reasonably expect to get a buck tag every year. I am still a trophy hunter of sorts, but how does one make a doe a trophy? I could try archery which would require days on end that I do not have to kill a doe, but I have chosen long range so I can spend more time learning and expanding my hunting skills instead of re-using existing skills.

I appreciate the knowledge shared on this forum. Long range hunting ethics come from proper application of knowledge and techniques.
Warning! This thread is more than 21 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.