Long range shooting is the new rage, although it is great to challenge yourself to see how far out you can hit a target, is it ethical to do this while hunting a real animal just for bragging rights of shooting an elk at 1000 yards. I am a big proponent of being proficient in shooting for hunters. I believe that you do not just owe to yourself, but you owe to the animal that you are hunting. I hunt for the challenge of the hunt not the kill, and I don’t enjoy seeing an animal suffer.
My goal ever summer in preparation for hunting season is to shoot 1000 arrows, 1000 shotgun shells and 1000 rifle shells. Not to brag, but I am a decent shot although I still place boundaries on myself. I set maximum range for my shots. I know that with bow if the animal is within 60 yards, and with a rifle if the animal within 300 yards that I can make an ethical shot harvesting the animal. If the animal is farther out, I either try to maneuver for a better shot, or take a pass on shooting at that animal. If I shoot and miss an animal I may feel disappointed, but if I wound an animal and it gets away I feel absolutely horrible. Knowing that the animal will probably expire later that day suffering before it dies. When shooting at long distances the variables that go into making the shot increase exponentially, thus your chance of not making a clean shot just wounding the animal.
In this era of social media, and the look at me generation, you must ask yourself if you are taking an unethical shot just so you can post a brag on Facebook. The true skill in hunting is the stalk, and the ability to maneuver yourself close to the animal, not how far you can shoot! I hope that after reading this article you decide to set limitations on yourself, and take the animal into consideration before taking a long- range shot.
Good Luck and Good Hunting!