View Full Version : At what range do you typically take deer?

Deja vu
April 3, 2012, 09:44 PM
I am from Idaho but the area I hunt is heavily forested so a long shot is about 100-120 yards and typical shots are between 20 and 75 yards.

I have been reading a few hunting forums and out there are there are people talking about getting deer at 700+ yards. To me that seems crazy. I can see hitting targets at 700 yards if you have a bench, but shooting from the shoulder I doubt I could do much past 250 yards on a good day even with a rest such as a tree.

how far do you shoot when shooting at game?

April 3, 2012, 09:51 PM
I'm from southwestern Pennsylvania so most shots are between 50-150 yards for me. Not many opportunities to take something out at 500 even if I trusted myself to.

April 3, 2012, 10:38 PM
I hunt power lines & cutover timber by choice. Here in GA. Its one of the best ways to see a good number DEER so there is a big yardage spread in a given hunt. Most of the time theyre between 150 & 400 yds. These shots are off either tripods or bench with the rifle set up for that reason.

At the same time I do carry another rifle for hogs at longer range while i'm in the blind set ups I have taken hogs @ 700 & beyond a few times the 300WIN MAG is good for that. The 270 Win & 25-06 REM are the Deer rifles.

April 3, 2012, 10:43 PM
30-45 yards. I like them close. 'Not that hard to do here in the thick bottoms in AL.

April 4, 2012, 12:17 AM
About 200 yards is the longest shot I've made on our wooded land in Wisconsin and most are around 50-100. I've shot a muley in Wyoming at 300 yards but that was in the open.

April 4, 2012, 01:02 AM
Here on central Texas, alot of oaks and open fields too. I like to hunt half and half and usually take all head shots at 100 to 200 yards. Don't really shoot at deer further because I don't shoot then in front shoulder and don't like tracking. But shoot hogs at 0 to endless yards. I sometimes hear ones out there who shoot deer at 700 yards or beyond and not saying they can't but who almost have to see it to believe it. I wouldn't want to attempt it for wounding the animal. There are deer everywhere here so if they're too far for a safe shot wait 10 minutes and others will be there. I almost always shoot does or young bucks anyway because of better eating and wouldn't give you 15 cents for a wall hanger. Just me

April 4, 2012, 01:09 AM
I live in east texas, so normally it's no longer than 100 yards for me, unless i'm hunting on a pipeline right of way. On the right of ways, i sometimes take 200-450 yard shots with my 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.:cool:

April 4, 2012, 05:05 AM
Close.......usually less than 50, and often less than 25.

We've got some open areas, chops and the like, but I find it much more rewarding to be close up in the thick stuff......creek bottoms and swamps. Don't see as many deer because you can't see as far but there is something about having one up close, even if it's a doe, where you can hear the acorns getting crunched and closely observe all their activities.

Just adds to the experence of being in the woods to get close. Beyond that when it is time to shoot one it's a rare thing to not have the bullet go exactly where it's suposed to.

All that said we've been pheasant hunting in the Dakotas a couple of times and in driving about the West I can see where you'd have to do things differently there. And it's also worth admitting that the rifle skills necessary for that long-range hunting are something me and my old .35 Rem do not possess.

April 4, 2012, 05:17 AM
Most often its 100yds thereabouts or less. We do have 1 stand thats a buck and a quarter at its furtherest point. A few years back we had a lease with a bean field and a cutover so there was distances further than I cared to try. But man I miss that bean field in the early season.

April 4, 2012, 06:27 AM
50 to 150 yards at my hunt club. Every so often I hunt a beanfeild or two with shots possible to 6-700 yards but have yet to trigger one at that distance and doubt I would.

April 4, 2012, 08:49 AM
In my home state of California the area I hunt is National Forest and to date I have never even shot at a deer over 100 yards away. Most shots are in the 75 yard range and my shortest shot was a whopping 5 yards!

I'm lucky enough that I have also got to hunt a lot in Utah and Colorado but even there I would bet my average shot is less than 150 yards. I have taken one deer at 300 and one elk at 800 yards but everything was perfect for both of those shots.

April 4, 2012, 09:09 AM
I plan for, and train for, anything out to 500 Yards.

Last year deer was 300 Yards from sitting and at a steep angle. That was the closest opportunity offered all season. Different areas breed different techniques and may require different tools.

April 4, 2012, 09:20 AM
I train for shooting deer out to 500yds but to date (after 20yrs of hunting) my longest shot taken was 290yds (according to my pacing). In fact that was my ONLY shot over 125 yds. 125yds or thereabouts was my next longest shot. Most deer I've taken though were within 100yds and the closest shot was about 25ft.

April 4, 2012, 09:35 AM
10 to 100 yards most around 50 longest for me 160 yards closest about 7 yards.

April 4, 2012, 02:45 PM
Here in the Arkansas Ozarks, my longest was 72 yards. Typically about 60.

April 4, 2012, 03:05 PM
Typically, it's under 60yds. The longest shot I have ever taking was about 125yrds. Keep in mind that I started out as a Bow-Hunter and feel that it has made me a better hunter, overall. We like to get close and personal. No longer get buck fever. Was helping out a guy, at the range and he stated that the closet shot he was setting up to take, was for 200yds. Asked him where he was hunting and he said; Iowa .... :eek:

I have also hunted Alabama, SC and most of the Midwest states, same yardage. ;)

Once saw a video of a guy taking a Mountain Goat at 500yds. with a large M/L. Now that I understand .. .... ;)

Be Safe !!!

April 4, 2012, 03:50 PM
Typically within 100 yards. The longest for me is 120 yards with a Ruger .243.

April 4, 2012, 04:22 PM
Typically about 40 - 80 yards. Once at about 300 from a steady rest with my Browning A-Bolt .270, which I use to shoot a lot. I respect the game I am hunting and try to get a very quick and humane kill, as do most other hunters. Currently my favorite deer guns are my Ruger Deerfield .44 Mag. and Rem. Model Seven Stainless in .260 Rem. I can ring a 12" steel plate at 170 yards with the Ruger Deerfield .44, but when deer hunting I limit my shots to 100 yards, which is about all distances that I can muster from my woods stands. I think the .243 Win. just may be the best deer cartridge for all around whitetail hunting, but so does the wife who took mine over. lol

April 4, 2012, 04:51 PM
Like somebody else said, I keep the deer shots relatively short (inside 200 mostly), but if I see a hog I'm going to send one his way if he's inside 500 yards. Just seeing hogs in one of my pastures gets me to grinding my teeth and muttering threats.

I was at the feed store last week, buying seed to reseed what the hogs had messed up, and I got into a chat with the guys there. One of them had a special 308 caliber hog gun made up, with long range scope (and attach/detach Gen II night vision). He said that he'd just nailed a pig at 800. That's pretty impressive.

Ya know...I used to say I was a deer hunter. Now I think I'm more of a hog hunter.

April 4, 2012, 06:24 PM
Normally 200 yrds or less....I have made some over 300..but don't normally take those....We have a management lease..so best to be close in order to fully judge....

April 4, 2012, 06:54 PM
Anything under 300yrds. Hunted central Texas when I was younger. Now live in Kansas. It's usually windy here so I keep it short. Besides if you just wait a little while they're be another one around soon enough. I've killed a lot of deer under 100yrds.

April 4, 2012, 06:59 PM
Coastal Georgia hunter here. Closest shot was 20 feet using a muzzleloader while sitting on the ground and longest shot was probably 90 yards with .243. I like to see the whites of their eyes! I have never had the opportuntiy to take a shot longer than 125 yards or so.

April 4, 2012, 08:07 PM
I've taken deer between 25 and 75 yards max. I hunt in the rolling hills of Kentucky so I don't have a chance at shots any longer than that.

Art Eatman
April 4, 2012, 09:10 PM
The majority of my whitetail have been around 75 to 150 yards. One at 350 and one at 450. Walking hunting for mulies in the Davis Mountains, one at about 90 yards across a clearing in timber and one at maybe 25 yards in a telephone line sendero.

phil mcwilliam
April 4, 2012, 09:54 PM
Depends on what species of deer & where I'm hunting. Closest was a Sambar deer at 5 yards in thick fern/rainforest vegetation. Furthest was a Red deer stag at 320 yards, as it came out of the forest at sunset to feed in the open- I was waiting on the next hill with a fallen log as cover & rest.
I've culled plenty of Fallow deer in open farmland with rolling hills where shots are typically 125 to 200 yards, hillside to hillside.
While I've limited myself to 320 yards on deer, I will shoot at varmits & feral hogs & goats at greater ranges.

April 4, 2012, 10:08 PM
The closest Ive taken was about 6 feet from a ground blind with a a .41 mag revolver. The farthest was 502yds with a 300WSM, over beans from the loft in a barn with a shooting bench. I was shooting deer on nuisance permits and had plenty of time to identify, ( no bucks allowed) laze and make the shot.
The vast majority Ive killed with a rifle are between 100-200 yds.

April 4, 2012, 10:18 PM
The two longest were about 250yds. The closest was about 20ft.
Hunting in Western Wa. and Or. I'd average between 40yds and 90yds. Hunting on the East side I'm averaging about 125yds.

April 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
I bow hunt whitetails from trees, and have kept a pretty good "deer diary".
My bow shot average is 14 yds. My longest bow shot was 30, and I have only taken a 30 yd shot on one other occassion (missed). These days I shoot one pin set for 20 yds.

My longest deer shot was paced at 225, on a ROW (.270/130) , bamaboy has the family record at a lasered 260yds on a ROW with a .243/100. But, almost all my other rifle kills have been under 100, half those under 50. Biggest buck I will likely ever kill was at 19 paces w/ a bolt 7.62x39/135. The last rifle kill I made was at 30 paces w/ a .308/150 scout.

April 5, 2012, 08:16 AM
Mitchell County, Texas

on our ranch typical range for shots is between 80-175 yards. The furthest anybody has taken is a deer is 355 by my father using a Browning MKII BAR in 270. This range is not the norm for us however and that was only once.

April 5, 2012, 10:10 AM
I hunt with a 10mm pistol and have gotten three deer in the last four seasons. Every deer has been less than 25 yards or less. Last season was about 5 yards. Stalking and woodcraft is a must :cool:

April 5, 2012, 10:31 AM
Shotgun only state here so my ranges are 10-75 yards. Occasionaly 100. But that has nothing to do with how far I would shoot em if I could. With the open fields around here there's a good many times I wish I had a 300 yard centerfire in my hands.


April 5, 2012, 01:02 PM
It is my opinion that taking an animal at any distance over 400 yards is not impossible, but it is not a great idea. I like to hunt for trophy animals and find it very dificult to judge the quality of any trophy out that far.

I have taken animals out past 400 yards, and every time I have been dissapointed in them. What looks to be very large through the binos or spotting scope, often turns out to have major ground shrinkage.

I think that T.V. has caused many hunters to think that they can take the long shot because they saw it done on T.V. The thing with television, though, is the shows are all edited and never show the misses and the wounded animals. I suspect that they also substitute beter quality animals for the closeup shots!

I guess it is really up to the individual, what are the risks you are willing to accept?

I like them closer than further!

April 5, 2012, 01:29 PM
East Pa.-50 to 150 yards.

April 5, 2012, 03:28 PM
Closest was six yards. Farthest was 472. Depends on the situation vand the country I'm hunting.

April 5, 2012, 03:28 PM
Where I live now between 50-75 yards. I grew up hunting across soybean fields tho. If you couldn't make a 300 yard shot you best stay home.

April 5, 2012, 04:06 PM
Southeast Missouri I'd take deer out to 125 yds at the most, but as a rule under 75 yds mostly. Now up here in northern Missouri we see and can shoot deer up to 50- 500 yds. Shooting at deer at over 300 yds (for me) has to be taken from a solid rest with no wind nor distractions, It would definetly have to be a broadside heart lung area type shot. My rifles are super capable of these distances but I'm not, as I only practice from 100 yds.. My scopes are zeroed 3 inches high at 100 yds so they should be money at 300 yds, but I'm the weak link in the chain, I have to use a solid rest,, so last year I bought one of those Primos "trigger sticks" tripod, and it's super solid man, Last year I was carrying the damn thing, but dropped it when my buck jumped up and I shot him off-hand at about 75 yds or so.:) I wished I had a 300-500 yd range here to use, but I don't so I practice every weekend at the local MDC range.:)

Deja vu
April 5, 2012, 08:27 PM
I am the op in this thread and I see that every one else is posting there guns. My gun I "harvest" deer with is a Marlin 1894C in 357 magnum (the barrel was cut to 16.5 inches for me when I was a kid) Most of these shots are from my back porch at a range of about 20-60 yards.

When I have to go out and actually hunt I bring my Marlin 1895 in 45/70. These shots typically are about 50-125 yards.

I guess I am use to shooting in the brush with a "pumpkin tosser" for a gun I typically load 405 grain bullets doing about 1600FPS. To me a 300 yard shot just sounds crazy. I know people do it but probably with some thing like a 30-06 or a 300 magnum.

I can shoot "longer distance" for my gun but that is from a bench and with laser and lots of prep. but even from a bench I doubt I could make a 400 yard shot with my 45/70. There are people that could (I have seen in in CAS)

any way I dont know why I am saying all this.

April 5, 2012, 09:16 PM
about 35 ft is the furthest I have ever had to shoot, I typically sit in dense woods with very limited close shots, let alone long ones. sometimes I sit on a ridge which has some 100 yard shooting lanes but the deer I took there was about 20 ft away.

April 5, 2012, 09:27 PM
100-200 yards being the maximum distance for the area I hunt in.

April 5, 2012, 10:00 PM
For me typically between 25 and 50 yards. I like to get em in close.:D

April 5, 2012, 11:06 PM
The area we hunt for deer here, anything over 100 we wouldn't fire. Usually we are in heavy timber areas. Always try to plan for an uphill shot, but more often than not it will be an offhand downhill. Just the way it seems to happen.

April 5, 2012, 11:14 PM
I hunt on horseback and use an SKS so 40 to 70 yards, is my average.

April 6, 2012, 06:43 AM
From about 30-50 yards in a treestand. I have also stalked deer in a leaf suit on the ground to within 15 yards.

April 6, 2012, 07:27 AM
I hunt pretty thick woods, so always under 100yds. Out west I'm told there's a lot of hilltop to the next hilltop hunting, so I can see getting 500yds+, but up here I'd have to look pretty hard to find a shooting lane much longer than 100yds.

April 6, 2012, 09:05 AM
The longest shot I've made is about 350, but I've taken them as close as 50. These are elk, mind you, not deer. I long ago gave up trying to draw for a deer tag, and the last deer I got was when you could still buy the tags over the counter here. That was at 150 yards with a TC Hawken. Somehow, I hit one lung on that deer. I'm not sure how I did that. I was about 9 when that happened. Fast forward darn near 20 years, and I'm looking at moving to Florida, where the deer are numerous and I know people who have lots of land. There, the shots may be somewhat shorter, but I don't know. I have a 12 gauge and a .270...between those two I can make it work.

April 6, 2012, 10:12 AM
Usually under 200 yards. Even though I live in the woods of the Idaho panhandle there are quite a few clear cuts and such that provide the occassional long-ish (200+yds) shot. The last two deer have been under 100.

April 6, 2012, 11:29 AM
I have been hunting since I was 12. Both foul and 4 legged. I have hunted the California coast, the Sierras, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, the rocky mountains states and Alaska. I now reside in Alabama. Most of my game has been taken between 100-300yds. There have been a few that were closer and some further away, but that is the nature of hunting. One thing nice about Alabama.....now that I am 65, I dont have to pay for my license.

April 6, 2012, 01:53 PM
This is going to vary widely based on geographical location, IMO. When I lived in CA, the farthest I ever shot was about 125 yds, IIRC. Most were 60-100 yds. Then I moved to TN, where shots were about 60-100 yds. Then to NV, where 300-400 yds was not unheard of, and my longest shot on deer was about 325 yds. Then to ID, where I usually shot at around 100-150 yds. Then to OR, where about 100 yds was average. Now I live in western WA, where I think 100-150 yds would be a long shot, I shot a little buck about 10 years ago at maybe 10 yds and another a few years later at about 80-90 yds.

April 6, 2012, 03:03 PM
Shortest, about 20 feet
Longest about 50+ yards

Big Pard
April 6, 2012, 10:19 PM
Normally from 100-150 yards but it seemed last year that everything was 350+...

April 7, 2012, 12:02 PM

bow= 15-25yds
pistol= 15-50yds
shotgun= 40-75yds
b/p= 40-75yds

April 7, 2012, 01:23 PM
I hunt in the bluff country of western WI.
Between the hills and the timber, we can rarely SEE more than 200 yards, often more like 100.
Almost all of the deer I have killed have been shot at less than 75 yards. My longest kill was a 160ish yard shot thru the engine room of a large doe a few years ago.

April 8, 2012, 12:28 PM
For the one deer I've taken in my life the shot was about 160 or so yards with a 30-06, I have missed a few deer before that some being as close as 100 yards buck fever really affects me and that's that I'm practicing a lot lol

April 8, 2012, 04:33 PM
I hunt overlooking a 10acre pasture with good clover. My average shot is 100-130 yards. Longest was 155.

April 8, 2012, 06:55 PM
Most of the deer killed in our woods are under 100 yards. However, there are enough clear-cuts and bean fields that a goodly percentage are killed over 100 yards. My deer stand look over a pipeline crossing that is a measured 130 yards from my stand. I killed three deer from that stand during the 10-11 hunting season.

Art Eatman
April 9, 2012, 07:14 AM
My daddy, he killed deer so far off he had to put salt on the bullet so the deer wouldn't spoil before he got to it.

Sorry. Just a character defect. :D

April 9, 2012, 08:58 AM
While I do not hunt anymore due to medical reasons, when I did hunt, 50 yards was a long shot with a shotgun & deer slugs. With a 243 centerfire rifle, my longest was 175 yard headshot.

As a 50BMG owner and competitor of long range, I hear all kinds of reports of shooting game animals at extended ranges out to 1400+ yards. I do NOT agree with this type of hunting! Too many misses, too many injured animals, too many assumed misses with injured animals crawling off to die miserably.

Now some will strongly disagree with me, because they use a 5 man crew and a special benchrest piece of equipment setup for long range shooting and have 3 very powerful scopes setup to find and verify shots are properly made. BUT the vast majority of shooters do not know their ballistics properly to know where the bullet will impact at that range.

With modern rifles, scopes, and cartridges, the range YOU shoot is determined by the range YOU know YOU can make a safe humane kill.

Art Eatman
April 9, 2012, 10:25 PM
By and large, I doubt that many hunters who are not dedicated shooters can figure the range and the wind--or trajectory--beyond 300 yards.

FWIW, Jeff Cooper wrote that he didn't want to have to take a shot on a game animal out beyond 300.

April 9, 2012, 11:41 PM
It's always best to take the closest shot possible,but the plan doesn't always go that way.I hunt some very large bean fields with fence rows, draws,and creeks on a large farm,the shots might be 20 yards on out to 506 for my longest shots taking 2 deer in the same field. I try and set up for the closest shots possible within 100 yds,but have taken many in the 300-400 yard range...Did I say I love my 7mm mag. :D

April 10, 2012, 02:55 AM
My daddy, he killed deer so far off he had to put salt on the bullet so the deer wouldn't spoil before he got to it.

I'll have to remember this un......

April 14, 2012, 09:15 PM
In the Pine Trees of East Texas ( New Salem, Good Springs, Minden) white tails can be shot with a 12 guage, 30-30, or a .243, most shots are less than 100 yards but on some occasions you can reach out to about 150 - 200 yards.

My daddy, he killed deer so far off he had to put salt on the bullet so the deer wouldn't spoil before he got to it. Lol

April 15, 2012, 02:08 PM
My deer have been less than 100 yds.

Many of those 250-400 yard shots are really in the 100-125 range if accurate measurements were made.

Powerlines can certainly be long. Why not pass on those shots and try moving closer to where the deer are crossing. Less crippling that way.

April 15, 2012, 02:15 PM
Thats a tough one to answer,,it depends on your rifle the terrrain the bullets and the weather,,i have friends that have taken deer at 300+ yards and ond friends that have taken deer at 50 feet..the best one was a buddy taking a doe on the run with a 20 guage slug while the doe was on the run. And it was a head shot

April 15, 2012, 07:46 PM
My longest shot -- was a pronghorn at around 100 yds

WT deer in IA -- 40 yds w/ a muzzle loader

WT deer in IL -- longest was 45 yds, shortest 15 yds. Muzzle loader and shotgun slugs.

Farther away than 50 yds on my buddies property and you might be able to see that it is a deer, but too many trees to see the whole thing.

April 15, 2012, 11:12 PM
I grew up in NW Michigan and I used to only take 15-20 yards for Bow, 25 yards max for Pistol (.357), 75 yards for BP (Hawken) and 100 yards for Rifles.

Moved to Arizona for 17 years and changed my mind. Mind you I've practiced and made these shots. In Phoenix the Archery butts go all the way out to 100 yards! The pistol has long range silhouettes to 200 and the rifle range runs out to 300.

So I've since made shots on Mulies out to 84 yards with my bow. Avg is 40 yards. Same pistol, practiced on the 200 yards silhouettes and longest shot ever taked out west was 135 yards. Got a new Muzzeloader (Disc Extreme in .52 cal) and killed a Whitetail in Michigan at 225 yards. Mule Deer with my 7 mag at 330 yards. And while the OP only asked about Deer, I did make one shot on a Colorado Elk at 411 yards with the same 7 mag. I only took that shot because I had a boulder for a rest and I lasered the Elk to know the exact range and my 7 mag shoots right on my ballistics table to 350 yards. so I aimed at the top of the shoulder blade and touched' er off.

But in all of these I'd have prefered to be closer. In Colorado and Arizona there isn't usually much to hide behind for a slow stalk so you move fast and take the shots that are offered when you can.

In 35 years of hunting I've only lost one Deer, a whitetail in Michigan with my Hawken at about 60 yards. Blood trail ran out after 200 yards and it died crossing the river. I tracked it to the river but didn't find it then. I did find it in the spring though.

April 16, 2012, 09:41 AM
With most people shooting at ranges less than 200 yards I am surprised so many people use small light bullets rather than slow heavy bullets.

Its not until about 200 yards that making a shot with a round like the 450 marlin becomes difficult for most shooters.

black mamba
April 17, 2012, 03:22 PM
I've killed deer with handgun, shotgun slug, muzzleloader and centerfire rifles over a 30 year period. I just went back through all my notes, and found the longest shot was 200 yards with a .270, and the shortest was 45 yards with a 44 mag handgun. The average for all of them came to a hair over 92 yards.

Last year I passed up some does walking by me seated on the ground at 6 yards, and also passed up the largest buck I've ever seen in the wild at 575 yards. I spotted him with binoculars laying in a honeysuckle thicket along a fencerow way across a large open field. I could have got to about 400 yards of him, but I was armed only with a shotgun and a revolver, so I just marked the spot for this coming year. Hope he survives to give me another chance!