June 25, 2010
Shoot Me Down: You Shouldn’t Shoot At Deer Beyond 30 Yards With A Bow
By Dave Hurteau
Last week, buckhunter shot down my half-baked notion that hand shock does not affect accuracy best by pointing out that what feels like a small amount of vibration can cause problems over time, eventually eroding your bow’s ability to shoot straight. In so doing, he won the right to offer one of his very own half-baked notions right here, as my guest.
And so, here is buckhunter:
I’ve been shooting my bow a lot lately. On any given evening you’ll find me on my back deck shooting arrows out to 50 yards. I consider myself an avid archer with decent shooting skills—not an expert by any means. My groups at 50 yards average about 5 inches. Still, I feel very strongly that my maximum range in the field is 30 yards.
The obvious reason for not shooting at deer beyond 30 yards is that they can easily jump the string at that range. If you’ve been bowhunting long, you’ve probably experienced this a time or two. Even if the deer doesn’t jump the string, just a half step in any direction while your arrow is in flight can put it out of the kill zone.
The less obvious reason is that I consider myself a bowhunter and not just a guy who hunts with a bow. The magic of bowhunting is the stalk and close-range kill. I get pumped when I’m close enough to an animal to hear it breath. I’m no elitist, but over the years I’ve watched technology transform not just the bows we shoot but the hunters who shoot them. It almost seems as though the archery industry wants us to take a step back from our prey and take longer shots with ever-lighter, faster bows. But with each step back, the magic of bowhunting gets more distant.
I have made several good kills at over 50 yards. But through the years I can also relay as many horror stories of long shots gone bad. I’ve decided that 30 yards is as far as anyone should shoot at an animal, and for the record, yes, I have passed up shots at some very big deer at just over 30.
So there it is: You shouldn’t shoot at deer beyond 30 yards with a bow.
Stand with me or shoot me down.