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I have Seen the Future, and It Doesn’t Miss

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December 24, 2013

I have Seen the Future, and It Doesn’t Miss

By David E. Petzal

Roughly a decade ago, I spoke with a ballistician who told me that the future of riflery was in shooting at longer and longer ranges, and that the way we would get there was by the use of guided munitions that could be used in a sniper rifle, and directed, in flight, to the target through wire technology.

He was right about half of it. We are now seeing shots taken, and hits made, at distances that were considered impossible a couple of decades ago. But this shooting employs a new technology that does not guide the bullet; it predicts where the bullet will go and does so with uncanny precision.

The simpler form of this technology employs hand-held devices into which you feed highly precise information (An example: most shooters, when doing ballistic calculations, take a minute of angle to three decimal places—1.047. These new hand-held computers, however, take MOA to 12 decimal places.) Not only is the information more precise, but there’s far more of it — 14 factors, more or less.

Because even the best scope adjustments are not precise enough for ranges beyond 1,000 yards, these devices are used in conjunction with new scope reticles that don’t require you to crank in clicks of windage or elevation. Instead, they employ 1/5-mil reticle “grids” that offer scores of aiming points and can compensate for any degree of wind or elevation without touching a knob. (If you’re interested in a more complete description of how all this works, see Major John Plaster’s excellent article “Ballistic Software for Long-Range Shooting” in the December, 2013 issue of The American Rifleman.)

This system of long-range shooting requires considerable practice and skill and is designed for use by military snipers. However, there’s another system that’s even more radical and is designed for hunters — TrackingPoint. Located in Austin, Texas, TrackingPoint builds a rifle, ammunition, and sighting device that is designed and programmed as a unit. The sighting device combines a video-screen scope, laser rangefinder, and an integrated computer which serves the same function as the military’s hand-held devices.

In use, the hunter puts the crosshair on whatever he wants to shoot — the system is effective out to 1,200 yards — and pushes a button which starts the computer. When it has a firing solution it adjusts the image onscreen to set the crosshairs in the proper place. All the shooter has to do then is to place the crosshairs where they were when he hit the button and pull the trigger.

A key feature of the TrackingPoint system is, the rifle will not fire unless the crosshair is where it’s supposed to be. So if you’re squeezing the trigger, but sneeze, disturbing your aim, the rifle will not fire. You have to aim correctly to make it go bang.

The TrackingPoint system is heavy, bulky, and expensive--$22,500 to $27,500. However, Remington has announced a similar system based on its standard Model 700 rifles called 2020, and it’s far cheaper, selling at $5,500. It’s simpler than the TrackingPoint, but also employs a video screen and does more or less the same thing. (And if you’d like to read more on TrackingPoint and 2020, see Bryce M. Towseley’s January, 2014 article “Early Adopter: Remington’s 2020 System” in The American Rifleman.)

What are we to think of all this? First, the development of TrackingPoint and 2020 was inevitable. If technology is available it will be used, and if it is not available it will be invented, and there’s no reason that the breakneck pace of computer development should not be applied to shooting.

Is it “sporting”? I don’t think so. An animal that’s 1,000 or more yards away has no chance to see or hear or smell you, and has no way to save its life. In sniping, where sport has no place, this is not a factor, but in hunting, where we at least pay lip service to the concept of fair chase, the idea of certain death from afar, employing little or no skill on the part of the shooter, leaves a very bad taste.

And I see another problem. When the general news media get hold of this, hunters are going to look very, very bad. We will be asked how this technology is compatible with the idea of sport, and I can’t think what our answer might be.

There will also be the usual hysterics from the usual uncomprehending legislators who will say that placing this technology on the open market can turn any unskilled pyschopath into a super sniper. When Glock pistols were introduced we were assured that they could pass through airport metal detectors.

Legislative problems aside, I have no doubt that these two systems will become smaller, lighter, and less expensive as time goes on, and that they will be joined by others.
During the Civil War, Harper’s Magazine illustrator Winslow Homer looked through a telescopic sight belonging to one of Berdan’s Sharpshooters and said that he had never seen anything so close to murder on a battlefield, and I’m sure that hunters felt the same when fixed ammunition replaced powder and ball, and when repeaters replaced single shot rifles.

But these were incremental changes, and this is something that alters the sport altogether. Probably, in time, this new technology will be standard equipment, much as the scope sight is today, and we will wonder what all the fuss was about.
With any luck, I will not be around to see it. 

 

Comments (44)

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from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

What's next? Armed Drones? I agree this takes away any resemblance of fair chase. Hunters will become Snipers.
I would favor States restricting the use of such computer launch systems and possibly institute maximum permitted shooting range for big game animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 5280Shooter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

The advancement of technology is inevitable and these applications for shooting will continue to be more advanced, easy to use and affordable. This, we cannot change. But each of us must make our own choices on what place, if any, these technologies have in the hunting fields. I would not presume to say what is right for any of the readers here, but for me the choice is easy. We as hunters take some responsibility for developing our hunting skills and our shooting skills in balance with one another to preserve the essence of why so many of us fell in love with the outdoors, our magnificent animals, and the incredible experience of conservation and hunting that has shaped so many of our lives. Merry Christmas my friends.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I find this technology fascinating and intriguing. I would use it at the range, but not in the field. I enjoy the entire hunting experience, not just the shooting aspect.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I like to shoot the old fashioned way where some measure of skill,talent and practice are required to shoot accurately at whatever distance. Technology has already changed the sport of hunting drastically over the last sixty years or so. Finding and shooting animals has become easier and faster than ever before in history. The question (and the challenge) is: How will we legislate in the future? Or do we simply allow technology to advance unchecked in our sport as we have done in the past? An interesting topic.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from M.A.T wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I find this to significantly decrease the sport of hunting, therefore I wouldn't use it for hunting purposes. But I belive as long as it delivers a clean, effective kill, hunters should have the right to use it in the field. And you should not pick-and-choose which hunting/gun items the government should or should not prohibit the use of. If you do pick-and-choose the government will not control itself on when to stop.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I'm not a fan of technology like this. I don't think it does one positive thing for hunting.

Regardless....Merry Xmas to Mr. Bourjaily and Mr. Petzal. Thanks for the great columns over the past year and I look forward to the columns in 2014.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I don't see a use for these enhancements for hunting anymore than there's a need for a punt gun or a drone.

And I'd have no problem with state F&Gs setting limits/prohibitions on the use of these types of weapon assists. There are many instances today of regulations on ammo, max number of rounds, minimum calibers, minimum draw weights, etc. to keep the "sport" in the sport and for the best interests of game species.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I agree with your comments and am confident that in most states this technology will be outlawed for hunting,except for during muzzle loading and archery seasons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

All B.S. aside, I wish you, David, Phil, Eddie N., and all the other Gun Nut outlaws a Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Cheers,
WA Mtnhunter

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Can you imagine a generation of hunter that gets buck fever at a quarter mile?
I not sure this technology will benefit the masses of hunters everywhere. I think trees, property lines and hunting pressure are major factors that reel in the maximum range. My maximum effective range is limited more by the land I have access to rather than rifle capability.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcmesq wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

This is all going way too far, to allow for ethical hunting. No sport involved, here. I enjoy today's ballistic improvements, and hunting smart, but this is too much.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Tomsic wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

That takes all the mystery and pleasure from the hunt. Wow, ain't this point and shoot great! Pretty soon we will have fire and forget! Then use a drone to track the heat signature, send a guide to retrieve and never get our camps dirty! Sounds like great fun! Might as well stay in camp playing video games then stop by the meat market on the way home. Great for military applications but I personally would not want it in my hunting arsenal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I have the most fun hunting with flintlock, a black powder substitute and patch and round ball. Shots that I can’t guarantee with crude open sites, I don’t take. I get few deer, but I have a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Merry Christmas to Dave and all of the Gun Nuts.

I am afraid Dave is pretty close with his predictions regarding sighting technology. Look what has happened to bow hunting. I thought modern compounds could not get more advanced. Now we have the same technology or more applied to cross bows.

I don't think these sights would be allowed in my home state as the laser would be put in the same category as hunting with a light, which is controlled except for coon and varmint hunters at night. But again I am speaking or Illinois and we have a history or screwing up the most simple things.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

The whole part about the rifle not firing unless it is on zero kind of ruins the whole buck fever idea. Rifles are becoming more like computer guided missiles all the time. It really is a giant step in the wrong direction. Certainly they will not be legal for hunting if they ever become cheap enough for people to start using them for that purpose. Of course I am like Weige, none of this would do me any good anyway. Hunting hills and hollows in the Tennessee woods pretty much limits your shots to under 150 yards every time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Calls to mind what has happened with "primitive sport" hunting. Most bows and black powder rifles used today look like something out of a sci-fi TV show. Hardly primitive. No one was willing to draw the line there so I don't expect we'll see any thing conscionable happening with super-sniper rifle technology. I too hope I don't live long enough to see one of these stupid things in the field. I'd have a hard time not spitting on the person using one. Or not joining camp with the antis.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from flyboy96 wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

there is no sport in these advancements in technology...none that i can see any way. Its just asking for another accident in history.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Dave,
I wonder what Winslow Harper said about the James Rifle?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Excuse me, Winslow Homer

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Each advancement in technology will be met with higher expectations. So next season instead of missing your buck at 100 yards, you will miss him at 200 yards.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Maybe like plugged shotguns, shortened seasons/limits and other restrictions, we sportsmen will have to police ourselves and insist on these things not being allowed.

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from hueydoyle wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

The older I get the more I find great value in not being able to afford alot of things. I love long range shooting but long range for me is out to 500 yards. I take great pride in knowing that I can successfully close that distance a great deal. Merry Christmas everyone!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

We have ways in my state of restricting technology, like drones or scopes on black powder, this one is just one more.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from keithjoyner wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Boone and Crockett list the calibers for the weapons used to take the record big game animals. It it often a bow! The best hunters are getting in close with skill and knowledge. There will always be "sky-buster" types, but the true hunters don't need to reach out a thousand yards when less than 45 results in a sure, clean kill, and a real trophy.

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from kudukid wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Shooting at game animals at extreme ranges also requires extreme ballistics and extreme recoil. A 270 won't cut it.

I'd like to have such an outfit and become proficient with it - but not for hunting. There are many who are interested in extreme range performance seeing what may be coming as government continues to put the squeeze on our freedom.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dr. Killdeer wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

An interesting perspective on a developing technology. From what I've learned, a technology unnecessary for Northeast woods hunting. And perhaps even a detriment for making quick calls with even more complexity to fail in the field.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

where I live, Michigan, there are very, very few 1200 yard shot. at least on public hunting grounds anyway. the vast majority of hunting ranges is less than 200 yards. and to my knowledge, there is only one public 1000 yard range in the entire state. so these systems will not mean much. certainly, these technologies will be kept out of shooting matches. other wise it will simply be a function of cubic dollars to win. out west, these systems may work wonderfully. but i do agree, there will be plenty of debate amongst legislators and animal rights activists about this. as far as a sporting mans ethics, for the normal hunter, this would not at all be ethical. for vision impaired hunters however, this could be a godsend. of course, the flip side of this is safety. a bullet guaranteed accurate, would be much less likely to end up in the body of another hunter. however, the flip side of that is, it would be much less likely, that a hunting accident would be dismissed at that. the shooter would be much more likely to be charged with some sort of criminal charges. for my money, they can keep it. if i can not aim accurately enough to hit the critter, i do not deserve to get it.

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from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Elmer, I agree with everything you said right up to the part of helping 'the vision impaired'. I don't think any vision impaired should be hunting, with any kind of assistance. They should not fly planes or drive up to ATM machines either. If a hunter brakes his glasses and is no longer 20/20 corrected, he should unload his gun and try to find help or find his way out of the woods. The impaired need to 'know their limitations' and not exceed them.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

You need this to fill your tag, ya know? When a .30-30 Winchester '94 was the hottest number around, no one shot anything. Just not possible. Bowhunters don't exist now, either. Especially not out west. Can't be done.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

NHshtr quote "I don't see a use for these enhancements for hunting anymore than there's a need for a punt gun or a drone."

I wonder how long it will before people are using drones as game cams?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

I have been so lucky to have hunted all over the world. The adventure, the physical effort, and the mental issues are what are important to me. Dialing in a 1000 yard shot leaves me cold. No thank you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

DP, Wasn't long distance shooting a subject in 2003[?] for one of your rants? I don't recall you being terribly impressed using long distance shots for hunting in that blog, but you thought it was the way hunters would *progress*.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wittsec wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

And soon they will have a system that allows you to shoot the bullet prior to leaving for the hunt. When you arrive the bullet will have five targets picked out for you, you choose the one you want, the bullet does its job and sends GPS coordinates to your smartphone.

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from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

There was a mounted rifle, radio controlled some years ago. It would acquire the game, sight the gun in on the target and fire all from a remote radio control and monitor.

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from scorp wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

This is total BS.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

I share DEP's bottom-line determination that these kind of technology-driven sighting systems have no place in hunting. While I'm fully aware that every technological shooting advance -- whether for guns or archery equipment -- has raised howls from traditionalists about the unfair advantage they offer, simply pointing and waiting for the gun to tell you when to shoot, at virtually any distance, is a bridge too far to cross. Certainly, I'd like our military to take out bad guys as efficiently and surely as possible, so no quibbles there. The military's ultimate purpose is to break things and kill people, and I want them to have the best tools for the job. But there is a difference between hunting and sniping, and these sighting systems obliterate it.
There is simply no place for this type of system in the hunting field. If someone wants to shoot at things more than a thousand yards away, there are more than enough metal and paper targets around to satisfy his appetite. Hunting is not just about shooting. It is about woodcraft, some knowledge of and appreciation for natural history, and respect for the animal and the chase. If it was about nothing but killing, it would be easier and far cheaper to find a job at a slaughter house.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 16 weeks 22 hours ago

If we are worried about 1200 yard shooting, we don't have to be. It has been my experience that the wind at my position is never doing what the wind a quarter mile away is doing, never mind three quarters. Second, to quote Jeff Cooper, "Nothing is foolproof providing you have a sufficient fool." You'll still have to know what you are doing to make this work. It will still require an absolutely steady rifle and perfect trigger pull to send the bullet 1000 yards with any accuracy, and such are not found in field conditions. As for shooting towers, well nobody misses much from them right now.

If this strains your definition of 'fair chase hunt', there are a lot of hunts that don't need to be fair chase. There are about 20 million pigs in the south where I live, and each and every one of them needs to be shot... now. That also goes for a whole lot of coyotes, feral dogs and cat that do no good preying on or crowding out the wild game. These tools will help the working pro clean the forest floor and farm meadow of this rubbish.

Finally. Uncle Chuck, Cousin Hillary, and H.M. Barak wince at the thought of honest citizens armed with .32 ACP; can you imagine us ever getting our hands on something that would give us military sniper level hitting ability? Just don't tell them that we can already do that with our Palma rifles; that'll ruin everything.

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from CLee wrote 16 weeks 15 hours ago

No thanks. My favorite long time deer and elk rifle is a 1957 Win. Super Grade M70 in .30-06 and not fitted with a scope but rather a Lyman peep sight. If one can't hit what you are aiming at with this rifle one might as well stay home and watch the idiot box.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JamesD wrote 16 weeks 11 hours ago

Aside from the hunting ethics debate this technology like all technology will become more refined, more compact, more affordable and more available. A case can be made on how this technology could be turned against us despite legislative efforts to control it. To leave it in the hands of the authorities and the criminals isn't exactly comforting. Something to think about in the future we could be the hunted.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jdb1084 wrote 16 weeks 8 hours ago

I hunt because I enjoy the pursuit and this technology takes the pursuit out of the hunt. I know that everyone has their own thoughts on that but that's just mine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 16 weeks 6 hours ago

focusfront,
Got to lodge a protest on behalf of the pigs. Granted, they can cause a lot of destruction. I've seen fields that look like some bulldozer driver on acid had been overcome with the immediate and overwhelming need to find China. But I'd hate to see every hog shot right now. I've gotten to where I enjoy hog hunting as much if not more than deer hunting, and anyone that's hunted them very long can make a case that they're harder to kill than deer. Their eyesight's not all that great, but they've got ears like bats and their sense of smell is beyond comparison. They're also good to eat, and while their reputation for being dangerous is overblown, they're certainly capable of posing a threat. I've had to track a couple of wounded ones into thick brush after dusk and that will certainly make you more alert than caffeine. Thankfully, all were found dead, and given my druthers I'd rather have had them go down where they were shot. But in hindsight I've seldom had so much ... well, not sure if "fun" is the right word, but it will do. Anyway, I'm kind of grateful for the chance to fair-chase hunt a potentially dangerous game animal that offers a genuine challenge and some fine eating if you're successful. I've also noticed, at least here in Texas, that the same ranchers who complain about the damage hogs cause want to charge you $500 to kill them. By the most basic economic assessment, that makes them valuable to some degree.

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from Rgw3 wrote 15 weeks 6 days ago

This isn't some great leap forward in technology. It is merely adding several existing components (laser range finder, trajectory computer, scope, and trigger control)together. The end result is a packaging of components. I am not likely to use this technology, but I don't hold it against someone who uses the latest technology. Unless you are one of those hunters who is using a stick bow, arrows with stone tips, wearing animal leathers, camping out under the stars in a leaf shelter, and packing in and out on nothing more than a horse, then you are using advanced technology and have no room to talk.

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from MReeder wrote 15 weeks 6 days ago

Rgw3,
I'll agree with you that incremental technological advances change the shooting sports all the time, and what we're talking about here does have its foundation in what came before. I also think hunters of every stripe spend far too much time setting standards for other hunters; ie, longbow vs. recurve bow, recurve vs. compound, compound vs. crossbow, flintlock vs. percussion, inline vs. traditional, single shots vs. repeaters, and lever/bolt action/pumps vs. ARs. It's a lot of wasted time and debate that does nothing but divide us and comfort the antis. However, none of those other technological advances really makes any of the weapons listed all that more effective in terms of required distance and marksmanship. You've got to draw the line somewhere, even if it's a little fuzzy. I don't think anyone wants to see drones and grenade launchers used in the hunting fields. This stuff we're talking about may not be that extreme, but it just seems to me that when we're talking about no need to stalk or to practice your shooting, then that's as good a place to draw the line as any.

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from chuckles wrote 15 weeks 5 days ago

I am pretty sure this is not what Jeff Cooper had in mind when he titled his book "The Art of the Rifle".
Why people want to spend their lives staring at screens instead of the water and the woods is completely beyond me. They may be making the shot but perhaps still missing the point.

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Post a Comment

from M.A.T wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I find this to significantly decrease the sport of hunting, therefore I wouldn't use it for hunting purposes. But I belive as long as it delivers a clean, effective kill, hunters should have the right to use it in the field. And you should not pick-and-choose which hunting/gun items the government should or should not prohibit the use of. If you do pick-and-choose the government will not control itself on when to stop.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I'm not a fan of technology like this. I don't think it does one positive thing for hunting.

Regardless....Merry Xmas to Mr. Bourjaily and Mr. Petzal. Thanks for the great columns over the past year and I look forward to the columns in 2014.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Each advancement in technology will be met with higher expectations. So next season instead of missing your buck at 100 yards, you will miss him at 200 yards.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 5280Shooter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

The advancement of technology is inevitable and these applications for shooting will continue to be more advanced, easy to use and affordable. This, we cannot change. But each of us must make our own choices on what place, if any, these technologies have in the hunting fields. I would not presume to say what is right for any of the readers here, but for me the choice is easy. We as hunters take some responsibility for developing our hunting skills and our shooting skills in balance with one another to preserve the essence of why so many of us fell in love with the outdoors, our magnificent animals, and the incredible experience of conservation and hunting that has shaped so many of our lives. Merry Christmas my friends.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

All B.S. aside, I wish you, David, Phil, Eddie N., and all the other Gun Nut outlaws a Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Cheers,
WA Mtnhunter

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wiege wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Can you imagine a generation of hunter that gets buck fever at a quarter mile?
I not sure this technology will benefit the masses of hunters everywhere. I think trees, property lines and hunting pressure are major factors that reel in the maximum range. My maximum effective range is limited more by the land I have access to rather than rifle capability.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

I have been so lucky to have hunted all over the world. The adventure, the physical effort, and the mental issues are what are important to me. Dialing in a 1000 yard shot leaves me cold. No thank you.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I find this technology fascinating and intriguing. I would use it at the range, but not in the field. I enjoy the entire hunting experience, not just the shooting aspect.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I like to shoot the old fashioned way where some measure of skill,talent and practice are required to shoot accurately at whatever distance. Technology has already changed the sport of hunting drastically over the last sixty years or so. Finding and shooting animals has become easier and faster than ever before in history. The question (and the challenge) is: How will we legislate in the future? Or do we simply allow technology to advance unchecked in our sport as we have done in the past? An interesting topic.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I agree with your comments and am confident that in most states this technology will be outlawed for hunting,except for during muzzle loading and archery seasons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcmesq wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

This is all going way too far, to allow for ethical hunting. No sport involved, here. I enjoy today's ballistic improvements, and hunting smart, but this is too much.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I have the most fun hunting with flintlock, a black powder substitute and patch and round ball. Shots that I can’t guarantee with crude open sites, I don’t take. I get few deer, but I have a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

You need this to fill your tag, ya know? When a .30-30 Winchester '94 was the hottest number around, no one shot anything. Just not possible. Bowhunters don't exist now, either. Especially not out west. Can't be done.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

NHshtr quote "I don't see a use for these enhancements for hunting anymore than there's a need for a punt gun or a drone."

I wonder how long it will before people are using drones as game cams?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

I share DEP's bottom-line determination that these kind of technology-driven sighting systems have no place in hunting. While I'm fully aware that every technological shooting advance -- whether for guns or archery equipment -- has raised howls from traditionalists about the unfair advantage they offer, simply pointing and waiting for the gun to tell you when to shoot, at virtually any distance, is a bridge too far to cross. Certainly, I'd like our military to take out bad guys as efficiently and surely as possible, so no quibbles there. The military's ultimate purpose is to break things and kill people, and I want them to have the best tools for the job. But there is a difference between hunting and sniping, and these sighting systems obliterate it.
There is simply no place for this type of system in the hunting field. If someone wants to shoot at things more than a thousand yards away, there are more than enough metal and paper targets around to satisfy his appetite. Hunting is not just about shooting. It is about woodcraft, some knowledge of and appreciation for natural history, and respect for the animal and the chase. If it was about nothing but killing, it would be easier and far cheaper to find a job at a slaughter house.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JamesD wrote 16 weeks 11 hours ago

Aside from the hunting ethics debate this technology like all technology will become more refined, more compact, more affordable and more available. A case can be made on how this technology could be turned against us despite legislative efforts to control it. To leave it in the hands of the authorities and the criminals isn't exactly comforting. Something to think about in the future we could be the hunted.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

What's next? Armed Drones? I agree this takes away any resemblance of fair chase. Hunters will become Snipers.
I would favor States restricting the use of such computer launch systems and possibly institute maximum permitted shooting range for big game animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

I don't see a use for these enhancements for hunting anymore than there's a need for a punt gun or a drone.

And I'd have no problem with state F&Gs setting limits/prohibitions on the use of these types of weapon assists. There are many instances today of regulations on ammo, max number of rounds, minimum calibers, minimum draw weights, etc. to keep the "sport" in the sport and for the best interests of game species.

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from Gary Tomsic wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

That takes all the mystery and pleasure from the hunt. Wow, ain't this point and shoot great! Pretty soon we will have fire and forget! Then use a drone to track the heat signature, send a guide to retrieve and never get our camps dirty! Sounds like great fun! Might as well stay in camp playing video games then stop by the meat market on the way home. Great for military applications but I personally would not want it in my hunting arsenal.

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from PbHead wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Merry Christmas to Dave and all of the Gun Nuts.

I am afraid Dave is pretty close with his predictions regarding sighting technology. Look what has happened to bow hunting. I thought modern compounds could not get more advanced. Now we have the same technology or more applied to cross bows.

I don't think these sights would be allowed in my home state as the laser would be put in the same category as hunting with a light, which is controlled except for coon and varmint hunters at night. But again I am speaking or Illinois and we have a history or screwing up the most simple things.

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from Tim Platt wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

The whole part about the rifle not firing unless it is on zero kind of ruins the whole buck fever idea. Rifles are becoming more like computer guided missiles all the time. It really is a giant step in the wrong direction. Certainly they will not be legal for hunting if they ever become cheap enough for people to start using them for that purpose. Of course I am like Weige, none of this would do me any good anyway. Hunting hills and hollows in the Tennessee woods pretty much limits your shots to under 150 yards every time.

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from flyboy96 wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

there is no sport in these advancements in technology...none that i can see any way. Its just asking for another accident in history.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Dave,
I wonder what Winslow Harper said about the James Rifle?

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from Jim in Mo wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Excuse me, Winslow Homer

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from ITHACASXS wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Maybe like plugged shotguns, shortened seasons/limits and other restrictions, we sportsmen will have to police ourselves and insist on these things not being allowed.

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from hueydoyle wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

The older I get the more I find great value in not being able to afford alot of things. I love long range shooting but long range for me is out to 500 yards. I take great pride in knowing that I can successfully close that distance a great deal. Merry Christmas everyone!!

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from rock rat wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

We have ways in my state of restricting technology, like drones or scopes on black powder, this one is just one more.

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from keithjoyner wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Boone and Crockett list the calibers for the weapons used to take the record big game animals. It it often a bow! The best hunters are getting in close with skill and knowledge. There will always be "sky-buster" types, but the true hunters don't need to reach out a thousand yards when less than 45 results in a sure, clean kill, and a real trophy.

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from kudukid wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Shooting at game animals at extreme ranges also requires extreme ballistics and extreme recoil. A 270 won't cut it.

I'd like to have such an outfit and become proficient with it - but not for hunting. There are many who are interested in extreme range performance seeing what may be coming as government continues to put the squeeze on our freedom.

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from Dr. Killdeer wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

An interesting perspective on a developing technology. From what I've learned, a technology unnecessary for Northeast woods hunting. And perhaps even a detriment for making quick calls with even more complexity to fail in the field.

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from elmer f. wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

where I live, Michigan, there are very, very few 1200 yard shot. at least on public hunting grounds anyway. the vast majority of hunting ranges is less than 200 yards. and to my knowledge, there is only one public 1000 yard range in the entire state. so these systems will not mean much. certainly, these technologies will be kept out of shooting matches. other wise it will simply be a function of cubic dollars to win. out west, these systems may work wonderfully. but i do agree, there will be plenty of debate amongst legislators and animal rights activists about this. as far as a sporting mans ethics, for the normal hunter, this would not at all be ethical. for vision impaired hunters however, this could be a godsend. of course, the flip side of this is safety. a bullet guaranteed accurate, would be much less likely to end up in the body of another hunter. however, the flip side of that is, it would be much less likely, that a hunting accident would be dismissed at that. the shooter would be much more likely to be charged with some sort of criminal charges. for my money, they can keep it. if i can not aim accurately enough to hit the critter, i do not deserve to get it.

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from Mark-1 wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

DP, Wasn't long distance shooting a subject in 2003[?] for one of your rants? I don't recall you being terribly impressed using long distance shots for hunting in that blog, but you thought it was the way hunters would *progress*.

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from wittsec wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

And soon they will have a system that allows you to shoot the bullet prior to leaving for the hunt. When you arrive the bullet will have five targets picked out for you, you choose the one you want, the bullet does its job and sends GPS coordinates to your smartphone.

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from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

There was a mounted rifle, radio controlled some years ago. It would acquire the game, sight the gun in on the target and fire all from a remote radio control and monitor.

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from scorp wrote 16 weeks 1 day ago

This is total BS.

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from focusfront wrote 16 weeks 22 hours ago

If we are worried about 1200 yard shooting, we don't have to be. It has been my experience that the wind at my position is never doing what the wind a quarter mile away is doing, never mind three quarters. Second, to quote Jeff Cooper, "Nothing is foolproof providing you have a sufficient fool." You'll still have to know what you are doing to make this work. It will still require an absolutely steady rifle and perfect trigger pull to send the bullet 1000 yards with any accuracy, and such are not found in field conditions. As for shooting towers, well nobody misses much from them right now.

If this strains your definition of 'fair chase hunt', there are a lot of hunts that don't need to be fair chase. There are about 20 million pigs in the south where I live, and each and every one of them needs to be shot... now. That also goes for a whole lot of coyotes, feral dogs and cat that do no good preying on or crowding out the wild game. These tools will help the working pro clean the forest floor and farm meadow of this rubbish.

Finally. Uncle Chuck, Cousin Hillary, and H.M. Barak wince at the thought of honest citizens armed with .32 ACP; can you imagine us ever getting our hands on something that would give us military sniper level hitting ability? Just don't tell them that we can already do that with our Palma rifles; that'll ruin everything.

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from CLee wrote 16 weeks 15 hours ago

No thanks. My favorite long time deer and elk rifle is a 1957 Win. Super Grade M70 in .30-06 and not fitted with a scope but rather a Lyman peep sight. If one can't hit what you are aiming at with this rifle one might as well stay home and watch the idiot box.

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from jdb1084 wrote 16 weeks 8 hours ago

I hunt because I enjoy the pursuit and this technology takes the pursuit out of the hunt. I know that everyone has their own thoughts on that but that's just mine.

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from MReeder wrote 16 weeks 6 hours ago

focusfront,
Got to lodge a protest on behalf of the pigs. Granted, they can cause a lot of destruction. I've seen fields that look like some bulldozer driver on acid had been overcome with the immediate and overwhelming need to find China. But I'd hate to see every hog shot right now. I've gotten to where I enjoy hog hunting as much if not more than deer hunting, and anyone that's hunted them very long can make a case that they're harder to kill than deer. Their eyesight's not all that great, but they've got ears like bats and their sense of smell is beyond comparison. They're also good to eat, and while their reputation for being dangerous is overblown, they're certainly capable of posing a threat. I've had to track a couple of wounded ones into thick brush after dusk and that will certainly make you more alert than caffeine. Thankfully, all were found dead, and given my druthers I'd rather have had them go down where they were shot. But in hindsight I've seldom had so much ... well, not sure if "fun" is the right word, but it will do. Anyway, I'm kind of grateful for the chance to fair-chase hunt a potentially dangerous game animal that offers a genuine challenge and some fine eating if you're successful. I've also noticed, at least here in Texas, that the same ranchers who complain about the damage hogs cause want to charge you $500 to kill them. By the most basic economic assessment, that makes them valuable to some degree.

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from Rgw3 wrote 15 weeks 6 days ago

This isn't some great leap forward in technology. It is merely adding several existing components (laser range finder, trajectory computer, scope, and trigger control)together. The end result is a packaging of components. I am not likely to use this technology, but I don't hold it against someone who uses the latest technology. Unless you are one of those hunters who is using a stick bow, arrows with stone tips, wearing animal leathers, camping out under the stars in a leaf shelter, and packing in and out on nothing more than a horse, then you are using advanced technology and have no room to talk.

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from MReeder wrote 15 weeks 6 days ago

Rgw3,
I'll agree with you that incremental technological advances change the shooting sports all the time, and what we're talking about here does have its foundation in what came before. I also think hunters of every stripe spend far too much time setting standards for other hunters; ie, longbow vs. recurve bow, recurve vs. compound, compound vs. crossbow, flintlock vs. percussion, inline vs. traditional, single shots vs. repeaters, and lever/bolt action/pumps vs. ARs. It's a lot of wasted time and debate that does nothing but divide us and comfort the antis. However, none of those other technological advances really makes any of the weapons listed all that more effective in terms of required distance and marksmanship. You've got to draw the line somewhere, even if it's a little fuzzy. I don't think anyone wants to see drones and grenade launchers used in the hunting fields. This stuff we're talking about may not be that extreme, but it just seems to me that when we're talking about no need to stalk or to practice your shooting, then that's as good a place to draw the line as any.

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from chuckles wrote 15 weeks 5 days ago

I am pretty sure this is not what Jeff Cooper had in mind when he titled his book "The Art of the Rifle".
Why people want to spend their lives staring at screens instead of the water and the woods is completely beyond me. They may be making the shot but perhaps still missing the point.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 16 weeks 3 days ago

Calls to mind what has happened with "primitive sport" hunting. Most bows and black powder rifles used today look like something out of a sci-fi TV show. Hardly primitive. No one was willing to draw the line there so I don't expect we'll see any thing conscionable happening with super-sniper rifle technology. I too hope I don't live long enough to see one of these stupid things in the field. I'd have a hard time not spitting on the person using one. Or not joining camp with the antis.

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from jhjimbo wrote 16 weeks 2 days ago

Elmer, I agree with everything you said right up to the part of helping 'the vision impaired'. I don't think any vision impaired should be hunting, with any kind of assistance. They should not fly planes or drive up to ATM machines either. If a hunter brakes his glasses and is no longer 20/20 corrected, he should unload his gun and try to find help or find his way out of the woods. The impaired need to 'know their limitations' and not exceed them.

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