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Old 04-09-2008, 12:11 PM
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Default Ethical Range

As a beginning bowhunter, can you tell me what you believe is an ethical range for taking a whitetail? Keep in mind, I'll be hunting from a ground blind.

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Redeye
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:35 PM
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Redeye, you have to make that call as you are the one taking the shot. my first few years out, never wanted anything more than 20 yards. the more I learn about deer, the closer I want them to be to me. has nothing to do with ethical shots, but it shows what kind of job that I have done to be in the best position possible to take that deer. in my opinion, the reason you hunt with a bow is to get the game in close. if you want to shoot at something thats 50-60 70 yards away, use a gun. too many things can go wrong with that long of shot with a bow. remember that bowhunting has as much to do with your woodsmanship skills as it does with your shooting skills. after all the years I've been bowhunting, have never taken a shot of more than 20 yards. and some as close as under my tree stand.
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:48 PM
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For me I won't shoot anything over 50 yards.I practice at that and even then some times feels to far.

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Old 04-09-2008, 01:12 PM
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I believe a bowhunter's ethical range depends on multiple factors. The biggest factor is yourself and your capabilities!

1. Comfort & Accuracy - Do you feel comfortable shooting at these distances? Are you accurate at these distances? I would never recommend hunting at a distance that you aren't comfortable, confident, and accurate at shooting at. Otherwise you may just be setting yourself up for failure or a wounded animal. Stick to your comfort zone and your accurate zone at all times. Don't push the limit while out hunting, it's just not worth it.

2. Kinetic Energy & Penetration - Does your arrow have enough kinetic energy at these distances to kill your game? Kinetic energy is a big factor in having the ability to deliver a killing shot to your game. Certain species of animal have tougher hides than others and need more power behind the arrow to penetrate. Here's a calculator with recommended kinetic energy for certain species of game. [LINK] Another factor in delivering a killing shot is penetration ability. This mainly is influenced by kinetic energy, but how sharp and the style of broadhead you use can hinder or help penetration, too on certain bow setups. If you are on the borderline of kinetic energy with your arrows at the distances you are shooting, considering a cut-on-contact broadhead might help allow you to lose less of that kinetic energy on impact and allow you to deliver more of it into your game and penetrate better.

3. Other Factors - Keep in mind the longer your shot is the more chances the animal has at jumping the arrow and for things to go wrong. It's always best to wait for a closer shot when possible. The weather, and wind in particular, is another factor to keep in mind as this also can affect your arrow flight.

With that said, no one can really tell you what distances to hunt with, only you can answer that question. As far as ethical distances goes, take the time with a chronograph and the kinetic energy calculator and find out if you have the ability to kill your game at those distances if you are concerned about it being ethical or not. Chances are if you're above 60# draw weight and shooting a suitable hunting arrow you're good to go at most reasonable hunting distances. However, having the kinetic energy doesn't mean instant kill at those distances, a lot of that is on your shoulders at being able to place a well aimed shot in the killzone on the game and to have the game itself not counter your shot any!

For me with a 45# draw weight, 350-grain hunting arrow, and my current bow setup my kinetic energy places my max hunting distance for a Whitetail Deer at around 30-yards. I however, personally am not comfortable with that distance, so limit myself to 20-yards or less with 25-yards being my absolute max if all conditions are absolutely perfect, which in most cases they won't be perfect enough.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:52 PM
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40 Yards for me. That is what I practice and that is what I'm comfortable with. You have to make sure you are consistently grouping well within a vitals area to be able to make that call. If you are shooting consistently good groups at 20, 30, and 40 yards then your range would be about 40 yards. It really depends on what you are comfortable with. I know guys that are good and consistently put animals down at 60+ yards but again they practice, practice, practice, and they consistently hit the right spot.

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Old 04-09-2008, 05:53 PM
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Moon hit the nail on the head! Great advice Moon!
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:07 PM
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I'll second what Moon has already posted.

Matt
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:09 PM
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I've been bowhunting 20+ years and still like to keep it at 20 or less. I feel very confident shooting out to 60.....but the targets in my backyard don't move.

With that said.....I guess 35 to 40 is the max I will shoot at a whitetail. For me to shoot at 40....the conditions are gonna' have to be perfect.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:31 PM
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i personally dont go over 55yds...

but here is the question...


what accuracy should one get before saying i am at "this" distance.


a rule of thumb for me was 1inch for every ten yards out to 30 yds and after that a five inch group. ie/ i need to have a 2inch grouping at twenty yards.

what does everyone else think...
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:24 PM
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One thing to remember, even though you may not feel comfortable shooting at an animal at longer distances.....don't forget to practice at the longer yardages.

You will be surprised how much better you get a the short distances after practicing at 50 to 60 yards....or longer.

And remember....practice doesn't make perfect.....PERFECT practice makes perfect.
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