Is Long-Range Shooting Hunting?

Fred R. from Colorado writes to ask what I think about long-range shooting. “I see more and more long-range shooting on television hunting shows. People are shooting elk at over 500 yards, and I’ve even seen some African kills made at 800-plus yards. This really bothers me because it seems to put the scales highly in favor of the hunter. What are your thoughts on this growth of long-range shooting?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Whoa Fred, that’s a loaded question, but a good one! I’m a bowhunter, so I definitely (and obviously) shoot at close range. However, gun and sighting technology has increased a great deal and some hunters love to tinker with equipment. Obviously there is a growing group of hunters who enjoy working with their equipment to allow them to shoot long range. It’s legal, so they have the right to do it.

One basic ethics rule in hunting is that the prey has a chance for escape. For most deer hunters, the prey definitely has the advantage. We aren’t successful every time we hunt. Of course, the long-range shooters aren’t successful every time either, but with long-range equipment, they do seem to have an added advantage. For now, it’s all about personal choice. If excessively long-range hunting becomes the common way to hunt, there might be some changes, but I don’t see that happening. Most hunters will continue to use equipment that is not what we now call “long range.”

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, manager of Guide Outdoors & Social Content at www.sportsmansguide.com to tkachero@sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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