Ethical Shots - just because your buddy can does mean you shouldn't say something

5MilesBack

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Ethics......being personal, are an individual's choice. People can choose whatever they want for theirs. And then you can choose your own, and then decide if you want to continue hunting with someone or not. It doesn't take long to figure out if you want to keep hunting with an individual.
 

bguitierez

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Susanville, California
Ethical shots should be determine by each individual. I don’t get let it go past a simple question to my friend i.e. “what’s your range?” I have to trust he knows what his limits are. We all owe it to the animals and ourselves to be proficient with our weapons. I will take 600+ yard shots with my rifle and I’ll shoot close with my rifle. I’ll take 80+ yard shot with my bow, and I’ll shoot up as close as I can too. But I shoot all year long. My limits aren’t my buddies limits. This is always a fun one. Hahaha.


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Moneyball

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Game can be lost near and far. Some shots are DRT at distance, some are chip shots that are never found. Like Ryan said know your system and know it well.

I’d rather hunt with someone taking a 700 yard shot that: shoots all year, hand loads, has quality equipment, and really knows their own system over a guy that: takes one or two shots pre-hunt to make sure their rifle is “still on” and takes a shot at any distance.

I shot a bull in the shoulder in 2017 with archery equipment that was never found. Shot was fifty yards broadside. I hated to lose the animal and still had the gut wrench, but I didn’t really beat myself up too terribly bad because I shot every single day (literally) from the day I received my draw results. I felt that I controlled everything that I could control and the results just didn’t go in my favor.

Sometimes you have to chalk it up to there are no guarantees in hunting. Control everything you can control, if it doesn’t work out laying your head down at night will be a little easier.

Just my .02...

-$
 
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AaronMColeman

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I wouldn't stop a friend from shooting any distance, but if I know it's a friend who never goes to the range, I wouldn't hunt with them again. I know a couple guys who will blast 800 yards or more...never heard them talk about going to the range (they also blast 800 yards because they won't get out of their trucks to hunt). Personal or not, I don't see how that could possibly be ethical when you have a minimal chance of hitting a quick kill shot.

I shoot fairly regularly and I'm comfortable up to 400 yards. It may be silly, but if the shot is 401 yards, I'll find a way to close a yard or two. I just have to set a limit in my head or else I'll get tempted to fire some rounds much further than I should.

Archery I'm not as good at, and my limit this year was 40 yards...I threw an arrow at an elk I wasn't able to range because he was big and I had 2 seconds to react...hit him in the shoulder and it bounced off...shot was 50 yards. I learned a valuable lesson, and it seems I just hurt the poor guy's shoulder. I felt terrible. Hopefully I won't let a big rack blind me to my ethics again.

I don't think it is ethical for 99% of hunters to shoot more than 300-400 yards. They don't train enough. But I would never say anything to one of them. I just choose to hunt with other people who hold my same ethics, and hunt the same style as me (i.e. put on some miles every day!).
 

MallardSX2

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400-500 yards with a rifle and I need a solid rest. I let the rifle do the talking after that.
50- yards on elk sized animals with my bow.
40-yards on deer sized animals with my bow
 

theleo91386

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If I have a buddy that takes shots, wounds game, and doesn't recover them on any sort of regular basis, then they aren't a hunting buddy. I'm more worried about their judgment than a number in my rangefinder.
 
OP
Elker

Elker

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Good discussion. Bringing the buddy factor in (not what is your longest shot) has made for some interesting conversations I've had with my hunting circle. A lot of it was around commitment not to put a friend in a position where they may question a choice and your willing to take input on shot when they get way out there. Ultimately it does come down the tag holder and his commitment to the animal/sportsmanship... and yes him/herself. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

IdahoElk

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I make it real simple and clear with whoever hunts with me before we head to the woods and a shot presents itself as to the type of shot(angle) and max distance we're going to take even If it means passing up a animal of a lifetime (just happened to me) after 45yrs of hunting I'm done looking for poorly shot animals.
 

Rich M

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Buddies are what they are. We have em for a reason, tho sometimes we wonder.

I'm heading out with 3 very soon. 3 of us will hunt 1 is going for the camaraderie. We all have diff skills and expectations. Gonna be a fun hunt and hopefully a successful one.

After 42 seasons, folks telling me what I can and can't do are likely to be disappointed. You make your own decisions and I'll make mine. If that doesn't work - enjoy the solitude.

Btw, I have a range finder and a 400 yard limit - that's about 1/4 mile, far enough for me and my equipment. Don't bow hunt unless forced - 25 yard limit.
 

BullElk

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Aug 24, 2017
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Idaho
Think of it this way - what about all the elk that get lost during archery? Should we talk to all those folks archery hunting - tell em to only take closer shots or use bigger broadheads? Most guys I know who archery hunt feed the coyotes at least every other or third year, sometimes every year. I don't archery hunt much for that very reason.


I'd say, go enjoy yourself and not worry about rocky mountain elk hunters.
spoken like a true east coaster that doesn't know what they're talking about.
 

Montana Slim

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It's a good discussion, and one worth having. Not to get into the "how far do you shoot" question/competition... but how do you guys feel about the general trend in long range hunting? I do feel like there are many more people shooting farther than they are capable of these days, and I blame marketing I guess. Lots of guys are capable of making good shots at great distances... just not as many as they think I reckon. A 6.5CM is a great round, but simply owning one doesn't make you a 1000 yard shooter (or 500 for that matter).
How far you killed an animal from has somewhere along the line become much more sexy than how well you placed a shot, or made a quick kill, or how well you took care of the meat. I know this has always been around, I just feel it's more prevalent now.
I get that people make their own ethical decisions, but if the people that I hunt with do things that don't match my personal ethics I'll make it known, and maybe it would be time for new hunting partners. Distance is only part of that equation.
 

OKL

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It's funny how ethics are always on the LR shot. I just shot a bull that was moving through the trees off-hand at 300 to 400 yards. I was lucky and fired three shots and hit him all three. I would've had MUCH more confidence in an 800 yard shot with time than the shot I had on that bull. Then there are the ETHICS of bowhunters and stick bow hunters. ****, I hate the "ethics' game. Put in the time to become ridiculously proficient with your weapons system and **** what the peanut gallery has to say.
Couldn’t agree more Ryan. I would say if your buddy practices 1000 yard shots consistently in variable conditions, let him go if he is comfortable. My experience with shooters that practice long range is that it is more of an obsession than a hobby, and more often than not they are very familiar with their limits in relation to the conditions. I hit a gong a 950 yards two weeks before my hunt. Does that mean I’m gonna post up and wait for a long range shot? Absolutely not. I am going to get as close as I can get away with 100% of the time. I appreciate your consideration to the animal, but I think each man knows his limits and a true hunter loves and respects these critters more than the Peta pretenders. I think we all want a quick, painless kill.
 

Gumbo

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Long range archery and rifle will almost certainly result in more wounding loss than has been seen in the past. I shoot long range with a bow so I'm not judging, but my guess is that very few people should be taking long range shots with either weapon. Agencies will have to respond by lowering tag #s to account for the increase in mortality if the trend continues. Unfortunately there will be a lag time in response and wounding mortality will likely be skewed towards males. I'd like to see turreted sights/tick marked reticles and moveable bow sights made illegal (even though I use a moveable bow sight). Make people use Kentucky windage at least as they have in the past. Again, I'm part of the archery problem but I am willing to accept the sacrifice for the greater good.

As for the OPs original question: I am not the ethics police so if a guy wants to shoot a mile with me once...fine. But I probably won't be hunting with him again.
 

Wolverine

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How does someone decide what an ethical distance is? Is it your personal ability to hit a target consistently at whatever yards? Your personal hunting and stalking ability to close to whatever distance? Your equipment limitations? Is it what you were taught and just went with it? I know people that their only practice is when they shoot at an animal. Is their ethical range the same as someone that shoots year round? Blanket statements about ethical distance are only made by people living in their own little world. They base their opinion off their own abilities and that of their equipment.

If your abilities limit you to 100-200 yards then maybe you should practice more. If you have to shoot to kill at 600-800 yards then maybe you become a better hunter. If your equipment limits you then perhaps you should upgrade. I would bet that thousands more animals are hit and never recovered from shots under 100 yards. Who am I to tell someone what their limits are.....more importantly who the hell are you? You being anyone questioning someone else's abilities . I miss the days when people just hunted and didn't spend so much time criticizing other hunters. Focus your concern on yourself or perhaps the people trying to end hunting.
 

Quicksilver

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Oct 27, 2018
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Generally we all put in longe range time with our rifles and typically do it together. We will discuss the different scenarios before we even hunt. Once hunting if a friend wants to take a shot where his rifle is capable of, I be sure to stop and discuss all the variables. If my environmentals and wind are different than his we usually discuss it and why, and then if the shot should be taken or not.

If a buddy can consider taking a longer shot than he should have range time backing up the desire to do so and also the ability. At that point he should be understanding enough that you are his spotter, and your environmental and dope calls are even more important than his own and to expect a discussion on if the shot should be taken and have a game plan if things don’t go as well as they should.

Also don’t be afraid to call him out on a shot you don’t think should be taken. Range time is key, shoot with your buddies. Let them experience your limited and your experience theirs.
 

Montana Slim

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I agree with focusing your concern on yourself, and most of your other points. However, it's a shared resource so if there are tons of people leaving animals wounded all over the countryside, it makes it tough to just stick to yourself... obviously I'm exaggerating, but I do think hunting is changing, in both good and bad ways, and this thread seemed like a chance to address a trend in hunting I think is headed a bad direction. Not trying to be the "distance police". If you and the people you hunt with are super competent marksmen to a mile then I reckon you can pretty much ignore this post... but there are A LOT of hunters that aren't shooters and reloaders. I don't think it hurts to question what we are doing out there.
 

Rich M

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spoken like a true east coaster that doesn't know what they're talking about.
Spoken like a true @$$ on your part. You seem irritated.

So do you run around and provide ethics police for everyone?
"If I was king..." You're not.

Or are you upset about the archery thing?
How many "I shot and elk and couldn't find it" stories can you find?
Archery has a much higher lost animal percentage than Rifle or ML. Fact of life.
 

BullElk

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Spoken like a true @$$ on your part. You seem irritated.

So do you run around and provide ethics police for everyone?
"If I was king..." You're not.

Or are you upset about the archery thing?
How many "I shot and elk and couldn't find it" stories can you find?
Archery has a much higher lost animal percentage than Rifle or ML. Fact of life.
I certainly don’t. Did you see any comments from me in this thread beside the one quoting you?
I’ll be an ass all day long to the ignorant!
It’s hunting bud and happens with all weapon types. I strive for the cleanest and fastest kill as possible..always! I don’t doubt for a second that you and your yahoo buds wound a bunch of elk with bows.

My friends make me hunt archery and I hate it...boohoooo. 🤣
 

NateK

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May 9, 2017
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I think any of the guys I hunt with would actually limit themselves more having me or another guy with them. We also shoot together regularly so we aren’t going to try a shot that the other guy knows is a Hail Mary. The real question is are you hunting with guys who have to ethics to not take shots they can’t make confidently? My last two whitetail bucks were shot and killed (and shot at period) were on the run at 30 yards and 75 yards and the one before that was an offhand shot at 175. Lots of guys in my neck of the woods would call that unethical but the same guys have missed the last three bucks they shot at! I think the ethics conversation is pretty clear on the LR stuff since it’s usually pretty clear from experience what you personally are capable of. It’s really the quick intense encounters were you are forced to force something to happen (aka moving critters, offhand shots etc.) or not get a shot that are questionable. I really believe one of the traits that is required to be a top tier woodsman or hunter is capitalizing on those encounters. Is there risk? Sure, but if you are familiar with the weapon and the pressure make it happen. If you only take perfect shots you’ll never get better at the leas than perfect and I would assume you’re hit rate is 100%...

also, I bet most lost animals are either new guys who don’t have a clue how to track (besides Instagram stats) or those guys who just assume they miss if the animal runs off regardless of range. Mainly people not looking or giving up. All these YouTube videos of people shooting elk and deer in the “dead zone” that “probable survived” has people who don’t know better assuming a critter could survive a double lung hit if he isn’t piled up in 100 yards.
 
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