Saturday, December 25, 2010

100 yard bow shot at a deer? Wrong!

There is a discussion going on over at the On Your Own Adventures blog about a hunting show bow hunter talking about taking a shot at over 100 yards at a deer. He claims he can make that shot constantly on targets.
My take on long bow shots is that anything over 45 yards is a no shoot, no matter how good a shot you are. At that range even the fastest bow will not get the arrow to the deer faster than it can react to the sound or sight of the arrow coming toward it. Plus all the usual problems with the animal moving just as you release,,,
Clean kill is a core ethic for hunters. We all know that lots of stuff can go wrong, but it is our responsibility to reduce the chances of a wounding shot as much as we can before taking a shot. One quote that comes to mind is, " you don't shoot to see if you can hit your target, you only shoot when you know you can hit it."
There was a variation on this in one of the hunting magazines a few years ago with a very long rifle shot and the writer justified it because it was a once in a life time trophy. Which sounded to me he valued this deer less than a normal deer by taking a much higher probability wounding shot. More likely he got sucked into the mind set that he was hunting to kill a big animal for bragging rights. It that is true, why not use poison, or napalm or a machine gun?


  1. agreed. if you are hunting for survival then you take what shot you can get. How many of us have been in that situation - certainly not with a camera crew! If you want to take 100-yd shots, stick to rifle season! way too many archers just fling arrows. definitely ironic with a dash of moronic.

  2. It was only a matter of time before this became an issue, just as it has with rifle hunters on TV, shooting in excess of 500 yards.

    With modern technology, a 100 yard hunting bow is certainly a theoretical possibility (actually, Fred Bear and Gene Hill were both known for long shots with traditional tackle). Slinging an arrow in excess of 300fps means your shot can reach that animal in about a second, while retaining the kinetic energy required for thorough penetration.


    In one second, a calm animal can easily move as much as two to three feet. It can turn 180 degrees. A draft of wind or an unseen branch can deflect the arrow. And the "perfect" shot can become a wounded or lost animal. This risk is significant enough when shooting at "normal" ranges, and multiplies exponentially as the distance lengthens.

    If ethics revolves (at least in part) around striving for clean, humane kills, then intentionally taking shots that decrease the odds of a clean kill is unethical. It's bad practice, no matter how skilled an archer may be.

  3. Oh, and to add... very little infuriates me more in the outdoors media than to read about a writer who takes a terrible, low-percentage shot and then claims "necessity."

    "It was the only shot I had."

    "It was the trophy of a lifetime."

    In the parlance of the '40s and '50s, those are the words of a "Game Hog," not a sportsman.

  4. Philip,
    Well said. Clean one shot kill is definitely critical to ethical hunting. The reason many of us move to bow hunting is to make it harder and more challenging to make a kill. Being close to the animal is the part of the challenge, then delivering the one shot kill. If you don't have the skill, time or inclination to get close, you should stick to rifle hunting. Balancing fair chase with clean kill is not easy but important.

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