Long-range hunting — is it ethical?

Long-range shooting is gaining in popularity across the nation. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it helps you hone your skills for shorter shots. But should we be hunting from long range?

 

There are a lot of shooters working on their long-range shots these days. Most of those folks confine their long-distance shooting to the range, where they try to tighten up their groups and get more and more accurate from farther and farther out.

There’s a lot to think about with long-range shooting. The slightest wiggle will throw off your aim by several inches or even feet. A breath of wind will make your bullet drift far off course. Humidity, temperature, and a host of other factors come into play, as well.

Those are some of the reasons the Boone and Crockett Club has taken a stand against long-range shooting in hunting situations. There’s just so much that can go wrong. A long-distance shot made wrong will probably result in a miss, but it could also end up with a poorly hit game animal.

But even if you’re an absolute dead-eye, who can’t possibly miss at any range, at what point does hunting from long ranges take the “fair” out of fair chase? And that’s the main reason the Boone and Crockett Club is speaking out against long-range hunting.

Keep in mind the club doesn’t specify a distance that defines long range. It’s a different number for every different shooter, and even for every situation. The cutoff, according to Boone and Crockett, is the point at which a hunter stops trying to get closer. Because that’s what makes fair chase fair. The challenge of hunting is matching your wits and skills against the senses of the animals you’re pursuing. So far, the club hasn’t said it won’t certify record-book animals that are shot from extreme distances, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do. Because as they say, if you’re not trying to get close, you’re not hunting – you’re just shooting.

 

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