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Old March 15, 2010, 03:50 AM   #1
phil mcwilliam
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Long range shooting ethical?

I was up at my regular hunting property recently - my mates 2,000 acre cattle ranch & I got talking to the manager who I know quite well. Feral goats & pigs are in plague proportions on this property & have to be culled continuiously.
The manager(Wayne) had told me that the local auto electrician had done some work on the farm vehicles & in return wanted to shoot a few feral goats for dog food.Wayne agreed & the electrician & his mate turned up on the next non-windy day.
Wayne was amazed when the electrician pulled out a custom 300 magnum rifle with 5.5-22 x 56 variable scope Wayne said he could just lift the rifle with one hand, & the barrel was as round as a beer can. These guys wanted to shoot goats at long range & had brought with them heaps of sand bags, & an expesive line up of spotting scopes, range finders & even a laptop with all their range tested & varified ballistic information.They even had gadgets for measuring wind speed & direction, although on this day it was not needed.
Well Wayne took them to a spot along the river looking up into some canyons where the feral goats inhabit.
These guys spent about an hour getting their basic set up. Then a target was picked. After another 20 minutes of confirming range, checking ballistics info,& trying to judge when the goat wont move, the shot was taken.
Wayne is not know for exageration, & swears the shot was over 1840 yards.
They shot another 2 at around 1,100 yards & had their supply of dog food.
All 3 goats were chest shots & all 3 dropped where they stood, although with the first one ,Wayne said he was amazed at the time it took for the shot to ring out & the goat to drop.
Ive read previous threads where people respond with how unethical it is to shoot at extreme range, but these guys were not ratbag shooters taking pot-shots at game at unknown distances & hoping for the best - they took an abundance of gear with them to help them achieve a one shot kill, which is after all what all hunters are trying to achieve, & they achieved it in 3 successive shots.
My attitude has changed towards these long range shooters once I recognised the skill & gear needed to participate in this niche sport. Wayne has said he'd invite them over next time I'm up there & I can see first hand.
Got to admit I still prefer to go out stalking.
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Old March 15, 2010, 05:09 AM   #2
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Cool, I'd like to watch these guy's shoot myself.
IMHO, If a person can regularly put a bullet in the "kill zone" of an animal, and the bullet being used has the downrange energy, velocity, accuracy required, and if the conditions are right to produce the expected results, then take the shot!
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Old March 15, 2010, 06:13 AM   #3
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ethics

It's only unethical if the shooter doesn't have the skills to make the shot and does it anyway.
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Old March 15, 2010, 06:24 AM   #4
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Agreed. Most people who talk about long-range hunting A) don't have the experience and training necessary to do it cleanly; B) don't have the necessary equipment; C) don't having the know-how to use said equipment anyway. However, there are obviously a few, like those folks you just mentioned, who have put in the time and money to do so, who take it quite seriously, and can do the job. As long as those factors are present, then more power to them.
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Old March 15, 2010, 07:52 AM   #5
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It's only unethical if anti hunters see it and judge it to be so. jd
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Old March 15, 2010, 08:42 AM   #6
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unethical

I hear guys brag about their "long range" kills all the time. As a Range Officer at our local gun range and shooting club. I get to see the actual results of these braggards all the time. Shooting from a rest with sandbags at 100 yds, most can't group within 3 inches! Unfortunately, if they begin to believe their own tall tales, at best they'll miss, worst is they'll wound an animal with an underpowered or ill -aimed bullet.

There are those who know ballistics and can judge wind and distance, and I know these guys can get the job done.
For some others it's unethical for them to hunt at short range.
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Old March 15, 2010, 08:58 AM   #7
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We covered this recently, at least in part...
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...g+range+ethics
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Old March 15, 2010, 10:51 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Three shots, three kills?

Who cares how far it was.

The results determine the "ethicacy", not the distance.


Now, 1840 yards on a goat, that I'd have to see to believe. There are probably about 5 people in the world (statement for effect not a factual number) who could make that shot. Maybe this guy was one of the 5, but I'd like to see it.
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Old March 15, 2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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It would be unethical...for me
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Old March 15, 2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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Sounds like a very responsible and ethical set-up to me. It also doesn't sound as if these are the "long range youtube warriors" that post and brag about poorly shot videos that you can barely tell the distance. As long as these guys are responsible, it sounds very ethical to me.
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Old March 15, 2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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It would be unethical...for me
What a terrific statement! It covers both the issue of ethics and of relevance to a particular hunter. Not to ride on too much on ZeSpectre's coattails, but it would be for me as well. Of course I don't carry computers and dozens of sandbags when I shoot, or have a portable weather station...not that it would help me.
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Old March 15, 2010, 12:10 PM   #12
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Shot a goat over a mile away? Now thats a shot. If your shooting that far you have to know the distance. Can't make the shot without knowing, IMHO.

If he killed the goat so be it.

That a long way to walk for dog food.
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Old March 15, 2010, 12:13 PM   #13
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I don't think the distance of the shot has anything to do with ethics. The hunt was legal (land owner gave permission), there was a definite purpose for the hunt (crop damage/food for dogs), and it appears that the animals suffering was minimal. There guys were not killing animals for the sake of killing animals and, they were well prepared.
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Old March 15, 2010, 12:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
These guys spent about an hour getting their basic set up.
Quote:
After another 20 minutes of confirming range, checking ballistics info,& trying to judge when the goat wont move, the shot was taken.
Quote:
Wayne is not know for exageration, & swears the shot was over 1840 yards. They shot another 2 at around 1,100 yards & had their supply of dog food.
So let me see if I have this right: an hour to set up, 20 minutes of ranging time, then 3 shots. Let's call it 1 and 1/2 hours for sake of ease. How long would it have taken to get within 300 yds and take 3 shots? 15 minutes? 20 minutes? They had to go there anyway to get the goats after they shot them. That would have left them 1 hour to drink beer.

Long shots are a stunt, nothing more. It sounds like they took all the precautions to make sure they got good hits to ensure clean kills (ranging, testing wind, watching the animals), but it's still just a stunt. Ethics? If you can be relatively sure of a clean kill (sounds like they were), it's not unethical. It's not hunting, it's shooting. If that's what floats their boat, so be it.
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Old March 15, 2010, 01:18 PM   #15
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It all comes down to you. What are your group sizes at 500 yds, 1000 yrds? How comfotable do you feel shooting a living moving animal at 500 yrds? What kind of experience do you have shooting at whatever distance. What is the performance of the weapon you are using i.e. are you using a .223 or a 300 RUM. This is what it takes to make that ethical shot.

For me and my rifle I have made a max range of 700 yrds for hunting. I have made a range card that goes in the pouch on the but stock of my rifle with actual range data at 50 yrd increments (very important because it is always differant than a balistics calculator). I carry a laser range finder with me to getr a range. When I go to the range I hit a 10" plate at 1000 yrds 95% of the time. My group at 700 yrds is on average 5" (depending on wind). I have taken allot of consideration and thought allot about what my max distance is that I would make a shot at. I still also believe that you have to take into acount the conditions where you are hunting. How do you feel? What is the wind like? Does this shot feel good at the time? As this as close as I can get? For one I like to make the easyest shot possible, so if I can get closer I will.

This might sound like rambling but I needed to say something.
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Old March 15, 2010, 02:52 PM   #16
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With 3 of my guns 600 yards tops, my 1000 yard days are 30 years behind me. That being said I would do everything I could to get under 200 yards. Especially goats, them suckers are small. I say kudos to these guys though, its nice to see somebody who knows what they are doing.
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Old March 15, 2010, 04:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Long shots are a stunt, nothing more. It sounds like they took all the precautions to make sure they got good hits to ensure clean kills (ranging, testing wind, watching the animals), but it's still just a stunt.
A stunt? You mean an especially difficult feat requiring unique or great skill? So it is something the average shooter would not be able to do. Okay, I will buy that. I think you meant "stunt" to be a condemnation instead of recognition of prowess.

Quote:
It's not hunting, it's shooting.
Personally, I would call it sniping. I figure a lot of hunting is sniping. Few folks put on their loin cloths and run down deer, goats, mountain lions, and bears with a sharpened rock in their hand anymore.

I tried running down a cottontail once. I got about 50 feet until I stepped on a sharp stick and went down. After a lot of swelling, infection, tetnus shot, and antibiotics, my venture into "primitive" hunting came to an abrupt end.
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Old March 15, 2010, 05:15 PM   #18
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If you can make a 1840 1 shot kill 3 times in a row, forget about the ethics of it, ask those guys if you can be their financial manager then send them to the competitions. They're prolly already there though.

But it's completely ethical. It may not be sporting/hunting, and some people may not like it, but that's personal opinion, not ethics. Also I'm not entirely sure that they didn't save a boatload of time. If you can get to a place where you can see a mile away in most directions, take your 3 shots then go down with the ATV or SUV and pick up the meat, it sounds like it would take alot longer to actually go down on foot, find the animals, and get a good shot, then drag the carcasses back.

I certainly wouldn't try a hunting shot over 500 yards, but I'm working on it
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Old March 15, 2010, 05:51 PM   #19
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Long range shooting ethical?

I think the op summed it up in his narrative.

Yes, for these guys and very few other people, it is ethical. As several other members have pointed out. No, it is by no uncertain means, IMO, ethical if you do not spend the time, effort and money to get as good as those men and make 3 separate shots and 3 separate kills on animals at those distances.

Truth be told, many of the people, men mainly, that I know, have no business shooting out past 300 yards. And that is with a laser rangefinder knowing the distance.

My hat is off to those men, whether the stalk would have gotten them closer or not, they made clean kills.

As for the stalk, sorry guys, (visual image here), thinking about carrying the gun with the barrel the size of a beer can for more than 50 yards! They made their stalk from their position and made the necessary calculations before a single shot was fired.

I really like distance shooting myself, and liking it, there is no way I would ever presume that I was in the same caliber as these guys!
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Old March 15, 2010, 07:52 PM   #20
horseman308
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I think that just once in my life, I'd like to see this done in person. It doesn't even have to be on a live target. Just to see someone hit something at that distance consistently would be really cool.

I don't think too many of us here have ever had that chance, and so it's hard to imagine how it might be done.
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Old March 15, 2010, 09:01 PM   #21
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Interesting story. Sounds like these guys were training. That's a long walk for dog food.
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Old March 15, 2010, 09:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
Wayne said he was amazed at the time it took for the shot to ring out & the goat to drop.
That's the part that worries me. Flight time for an 1800 yard shot would be up around 2.5 seconds or so even from a really hot .30 cal.

Maybe I'm good enough to make the shot. Maybe I have the knowledge to set everything up perfectly and the skill to execute the shot with precision. But no matter how good I am, if the range is long enough there's time between the trigger pull and the bullet's arrival for the target to move and turn the perfect kill into an ugly wound and a lost animal.
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Old March 16, 2010, 07:15 AM   #23
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Me too.....

Quote:
I think that just once in my life, I'd like to see this done in person.
Waiting 2.5 seconds for a bullet to hit it's target....yeah, I'd like to see that.
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Old March 16, 2010, 09:07 AM   #24
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long range shooting can and has been done alot the thing i don't like is all the variables. If any of you have ever noticed they will show misses but not how many animals are wounded and never found. My biggest pet pieve is when they shoot in heavy winds and at 1000 + yards not ethical, but can be wait for the stars to aline no wind and tons of practice and a good range finder is more on the ethical side in my opinion.
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Old March 16, 2010, 09:17 AM   #25
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Since this is in the hunting forum I'll chime in and say that I understand that the philosophy of hunting and the human instinct for it are complex subjects with no consensus. But, I question shooting at an animal that far away when a target will serve the same purpose.
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