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What do you consider an "ethical" distance for shooting big-game?

PNWguy

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In another thread regarding the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. the .308 in a rifle, I brought up the point that at the distances where the 6.5 starts to really outshine the .308 in performance, it was a moot point since trying to take big game at those distances was unethical.

My point was that the goal of every hunter should be quick, efficient, and humane kills. Most of my deer, elk, antelope, etc. have been at 300yds or less.

In my family, taking longer shots meant that you were either too lazy to properly stalk the animal, or not skilled enough to get closer, or that things just didn't work out.

My longest shot was at a deer at 550yds. I hit it in the spine and dropped it instantly. It was too far, IMHO.

I've seen animals spook and bolt for no particular reason.

When you are shooting at distances greater than 400-500yds, you are allowing too many variables into the equation to ensure a clean, quick, and humane shot.

At least that's my opinion.

Thoughts?
 

slimmer13

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I completely agree.

When I was an avid hunter, I 'always' shot at distances I knew I was competent.

Extremely long shots?

Never.
Yeah but your competent distance isn't the same as the next guys and what is extremely long distance for you may be ho hum for him.

My BIL shoots with a guy who dropped an elk at over 1600 yds last year. It never took a step. For him, on that day, under those circumstances, that was an ethical shot.
 
If the shooter is proficient with said rifle to drop an animal at the given range, drop it.
Unforunately, there are too many hunters that don't shoot their rifles any more than enough rounds to confirm zero, so they have no idea at what range they are proficient enough to ethically harvest an animal. For those that do know, take the shot. For those that don't know, don't assume.
 
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PNWguy

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My BIL shoots with a guy who dropped an elk at over 1600 yds last year. It never took a step. For him, on that day, under those circumstances, that was an ethical shot.
At 1600yds, most rifle rounds are going to take around 3 seconds to reach the animal once the shot is taken.

No one can guarantee that an animal isn't going to move in those three seconds.

I know that you can't guarantee that an animal isn't going to move when shooting at 100yds, but at 1600yds, the shooter is essentially gambling against much greater odds at that distance.

There is no such thing as an ethical shot at 1600yds. There is no valid reason for it. What? Bragging rights? Just because you can?

Hunters face enough of a backlash as it is from antis. Shooting elk at ridiculous distances is the equivalent of wearing fatigues and shouldering an AR at Starbucks.
 
In another thread regarding the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. the .308 in a rifle, I brought up the point that at the distances where the 6.5 starts to really outshine the .308 in performance, it was a moot point since trying to take big game at those distances was unethical.

My point was that the goal of every hunter should be quick, efficient, and humane kills. Most of my deer, elk, antelope, etc. have been at 300yds or less.

In my family, taking longer shots meant that you were either too lazy to properly stalk the animal, or not skilled enough to get closer, or that things just didn't work out.

My longest shot was at a deer at 550yds. I hit it in the spine and dropped it instantly. It was too far, IMHO.

I've seen animals spook and bolt for no particular reason.

When you are shooting at distances greater than 400-500yds, you are allowing too many variables into the equation to ensure a clean, quick, and humane shot.

At least that's my opinion.

Thoughts?
On paper/steel, I'm confident and consistent out to 600 yards. Would i take a 600 yards shot at a deer standing broadside to me and stock still? Nope. 350 yards is where I draw the line.
 

x2ndxall

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I'll shoot a deer or elk at 1000 meters. In the unlikely event that the first shot doesn't kill it, the second will.
I haven't lost an animal yet. Maybe I will some day and I'll have to change my tune.

Unforunately, there are too many hunters that don't shoot their rifles any more than enough rounds to confirm zero, so they have no idea at what range they are proficient enough to ethically harvest an animal.
For sure. But I wonder if these same people will have issues regardless of the range?
 
"Most" people I know, do exactly as you point out. 100/200yd zero and go.
Those in my party, we shot our rifles, so we knew our proficiency, before we "attempted" to bag a game animal.
Members of the party that were better at 300yds, were better vantaged closer in based on where we hunted at the time.

We all agreed on the type of hunt, where everyone was, and the plan if we planned a push through a particular area.
You definitely need to know the abilities of yourself and your tools.

My biggest complaint, after the animal was down, and what the game plan was to get it back to the truck! :rolleyes:o_O
One year we had three elk down in one day, way down in a hell hole. We were hunting during the week, so not a lot of other hunters. Near by there was a helicopter pilot flying out shake blocks. One of the group went (drove) to where he was dropping them. He worked out a deal with the pilot to sling up our Elk and fly them to our landing. LOL.

Damn, that was TIRING!!!
As we stood there all said and done, drinking a few beers :D
Best hunting trip I was ever on. ;)
 
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I think it really depends on the shooter as well as the cartridge and conditions.
practice, practice and practice.
I practice out to 400, 500 and sometimes 600+ is my furthest target shoot. I have an 8" gong I practice on. And I am pretty stoked when I hit it at 600 yards. Aim small, miss small!
While I am pretty consistent at those ranges, I am on bench sitting down, taking my time, and I know in the field it's a different story.
For me, I found out that after 400 yards the little stuff really adds up and I might have to limit my self to that distance in the field. I might push it in right conditions and solid rest
 

slimmer13

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At 1600yds, most rifle rounds are going to take around 3 seconds to reach the animal once the shot is taken.

No one can guarantee that an animal isn't going to move in those three seconds.

I know that you can't guarantee that an animal isn't going to move when shooting at 100yds, but at 1600yds, the shooter is essentially gambling against much greater odds at that distance.

There is no such thing as an ethical shot at 1600yds. There is no valid reason for it. What? Bragging rights? Just because you can?

Hunters face enough of a backlash as it is from antis. Shooting elk at ridiculous distances is the equivalent of wearing fatigues and shouldering an AR at Starbucks.
It was a .338 Snipetac. 300 grn bullet at about 3300 fps, so 2.5ish seconds of flight time. That may be too long for you to be comfortable with but how can you tell anyone else what they should do?

Everything else is just numbers. Wind etc is just data. If you have the skills or equipment to correctly input that data, how can anyone say what is too far to be ethical? My BIL has a G7 rangefinder matched with his Snipetac. I think you would be amazed how easy it is to shoot eld with that setup.
 
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PNWguy

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It was a .338 Snipetac. 300 grn bullet at about 3300 fps, so 2.5ish seconds of flight time.
The bullet isn't going 3300 fps the entire distance. You have to average out the speed over the entire distance, which is what I did for the 1600yd estimate based on a 300 WinMag starting out at 3200fps.

That may be too long for you to be comfortable with but how can you tell anyone else what they should do?
Because my point precisely is that NO ONE can predict what an animal is going to do in those three seconds. Or what the wind dope is halfway between where the shooter is and where the animal is.
 

slimmer13

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The bullet isn't going 3300 fps the entire distance. You have to average out the speed over the entire distance, which is what I did for the 1600yd estimate based on a 300 WinMag starting out at 3200fps.



Because my point precisely is that NO ONE can predict what an animal is going to do in those three seconds. Or what the wind dope is halfway between where the shooter is and where the animal is.
That hang time is calculated by my ballistic calculator, but it doesnt matter. Shooting a moving animal, shooting through brush, shooting cheap factory ammo for that manner can all end up in a potentially wounded animal getting away. Do you really want anyone else telling you the EXACT conditions you may take an animal, or do you think it should be the shooters discretion?
 
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PNWguy

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avery1.jpg

This is the 1000yd range at Ben Avery near Phoenix from my last match. You will notice that they have wind socks every 300yds. You will also notice that the wind socks are indicating different wind speeds at different distances.

That pretty much highlights my point that shooting in the wild, you are in a much less controlled and monitored environment, making such shots even more difficult.

Do you really want anyone else telling you the EXACT conditions you may take an animal, or do you think it should be the shooters discretion?
Nope. Until now, I thought most people used common sense.
 
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Seriously the 20 tags that I filled over the years I have yet to shoot at an animal further than 75 yards. It's called being a hunter and a shooter. I can see the fear in their eyes when they finally realize that they effed up & are gonna die....
Sure everybody has their different method for hunting but mine was spot and stalk in the heavy cover.
I'm dang near deaf and have spooked lots of animals but a general shot for me to fill my tag was 10-25 yds.

I do not hunt for antlers to brag about, I go for meat so YMMV.
 
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With how many other hunters that are already in the wood when I am it's not just the matter of ethical shot it's also safety in my opinion. I'll take a 400 yard shot in I'm on a high point and haven't seen a hunter in 1 hour. But if I poke out of a tree line and see a buck or elk at 400 I'll try to get closer. You have to try and be respectful while hunting too or we will end up just hating each other out there.
 
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PNWguy

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Right but not impossible, and there are people with the skills to do it. Just like there are people without the skills to ethically shoot 100 yds.
I totally understand your point.

My brother went on a mule deer hunt in Eastern Montana last Fall, near Broadus. He was told to expect long shots and be prepared.

He is a very good shot and brought his 300WSM in a Tikka T3. Had it dialed in up to 600yds. He shot at a beautiful big buck at 700yds and gut shot it. The deer ran onto private land and he couldn't pursue it. It was the first animal he'd lost in his 30 years of hunting. He felt awful and beat himself up about it for the rest of the hunt for taking such a reckless shot.

I don't think he'll be doing that again.
 

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