Does history affect shot decision
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
nvgoat 05-Jan-18
x-man 05-Jan-18
Yellowjacket 05-Jan-18
smarba 05-Jan-18
Brotsky 05-Jan-18
elk yinzer 05-Jan-18
Scar Finga 05-Jan-18
cnelk 05-Jan-18
IdyllwildArcher 05-Jan-18
Vonfoust 05-Jan-18
skipmaster1 05-Jan-18
Zbone 05-Jan-18
kota-man 05-Jan-18
Ironbow 05-Jan-18
Sage Buffalo 05-Jan-18
Jaquomo 05-Jan-18
Missouribreaks 05-Jan-18
skipmaster1 05-Jan-18
DL 05-Jan-18
Bou'bound 05-Jan-18
Sage Buffalo 05-Jan-18
Michael 05-Jan-18
Ironbow 05-Jan-18
Buffalo1 05-Jan-18
APauls 05-Jan-18
Charlie Rehor 05-Jan-18
GF 05-Jan-18
Scooby-doo 06-Jan-18
drycreek 06-Jan-18
deerslayer 06-Jan-18
PECO 06-Jan-18
RogBow 06-Jan-18
SteveB 07-Jan-18
Drummer Boy 07-Jan-18
Pigsticker 07-Jan-18
Arrowhead 07-Jan-18
drycreek 07-Jan-18
From: nvgoat
Ok, so good discussions on pros and cons of long range shooting, shooter ability, and conditions of the shot.

Question is how does your past experience affect your personal decision to take a long shot.

I have made one 70 yd, two 50 yd and multiple 40-45 yd shots on mule deer which were perfect or near perfect. As I have previously posted, I shot a buck this year off a steep cliff at 39.9 yd by angle corrected rangefinder (60 Yd line of sight) resulting in a gut shot as the buck jumped forward at the shot. Bad luck? Bad decision? What to do next time?

From: x-man
So your arrow was in the air for the same amount of time it would be if you were shooting 60 yards on flat ground. That's a long time for a standing/alert animal to move. I personally would not take that shot, but I'm not going to bash you for trying.

I'm going to say 60 : 40 bad luck, bad decision.

From: Yellowjacket
My past experience has been overwhelmingly positive on longer shots, say 50-100 yards. I think I've lost more animals on shots taken under 40 yards than longer shots.

From: smarba
One thing that needs to be completely understood is that angle compensation determines what pin/distance to aim for. But your ACCURACY will be that of the line of sight distance - the arrow is traveling through the air much longer and farther than what the rangefinder says.

So the "I ranged the sheep at 30 yards down the cliff" easy shot may actually be line of sight 90 yards or more, depending how steep it is. If you're not accurate at 90 yards, that "30 yard shot" may not turn out so well...

From: Brotsky
Only you as the hunter knows whether the decision is correct or not in any particular situation. I take everything into account when I make the decision to shoot or wait. Animal behavior, wind, temp, distance, time of day, etc etc. If I don't feel that I can cleanly take the animal and get the meat in the cooler to make maximum use of the animal without risking any waste then the arrow never leaves the string. An animal can move at 15 yards just as likely as they can at 70. You can't control anything after that arrow leaves the string. If you are confident in your ability to make a quick clean kill and you release an arrow based upon that then you made a good decision regardless of the result. Stuff happens in hunting, there are no guarantees.

From: elk yinzer
Absolutely. More than absolute distance, the thing I've learned most with experience is that I have to be absolutely composed to even think about drawing back on an animal. The mental execution really grew steadily in my 20's. Not saying that my shooting is perfect today by any means...I am probably about the same "decent" shooter I was 10 years ago, but I am exponentially better at shooting at live animals. The handful of dumb shots I have taken all were when the adrenaline was coursing full bore and I punched the trigger without even beginning to execute a proper shot sequence. Got lucky on a couple shots over the years but learned each time I made a mistake.

The condition of the shot, as you call it, is huge too. My preferred distance is inside 15 yards. At that range, conditions don't have to be perfect. I can tuck an arrow into some bad angles, I can shoot a walking animal, they can be alert. As you move out the conditions have to be absolutely perfect for long range shots.

Finally, I do think it is fair to hold TV hunters to a higher standard as role models instead of just scummy product pitch men and women. Obviously it would take the sponsors prerogative to do that. An 88 yard shot is great advertising for that shooter's equipment, irregardless of the fact that he's a better shot that 95% of bowhunters out there. To me that reflects very poorly on the sponsors of that show, and I hope they realize that.

From: Scar Finga
Another good topic! The past definitely influences the way I hunt now. This past year, I had a 30 yard shot at a very nice 3x3 in the trees. Once I drew back, I noticed two low hanging twigs that where right in my arrow path. In my younger years, I probably would have given it a go, but I let down, and the deer busted me... Off he went! Oh well.

From: cnelk
"Question is - how does your past experience affect your personal decision to take a long shot"

In a few ways.

1-Better optics [pins] on my sight

2- Better bow [no way could I shoot efficiently 60yds 15+ yrs ago]

3- Better mechanical release

Good post elk yinzer, I agree.

I passed what would have been my biggest elk this past season because he was just a little out of my self-imposed limit. I practice out that far, but don't take shots on animals that far because they move. I may have taken that shot 5 years ago.

One thing I've noticed as well, is that the 15 yard shots are money. If I get drawn on an animal under 20, it's a slam dunk, so that's the shot I'm really out to get.

From: Vonfoust
If history doesn't affect your decisions you are either very young/new or not too bright.

From: skipmaster1
Absolutely. History has taught me what I am capable of but most importantly it has taught me to read an animals body language. That has taught me what shots get a green light and which ones to pass on. I already know what I am capable of... that's not the only thing that dictates to shoot or not. Just this week I passed a nervous Doe at 28 yards and made a perfect 53 yard quartering away shot as she was relaxed and browsing. Years ago I would have just atbthe jumpy Doe at closer range, which in this case was a lower percentage shot.

From: Zbone
Yes, past history affects shot decisions...

From: kota-man
No, but the moment does...

From: Ironbow
Great timing on this topic, I was thinking the same thing this morning.

Like skipmaster1, I have learned to read an animals body language over the years which really dictates my shooting or not, the distance being secondary.

If an animal is feeding, I don't want to release in between steps. I want to release just after he took his last step, which usually means he will be there for a moment longer because he just stopped to chomp on something. If you hold and try to release several seconds after he last stepped, by the time you decide to release he might be moving for the next bite.

Friend of mine tried to shoot a very wired buck that had him pegged on a dead still evening at 30 yds. As he was describing the situation, I was thinking I would not have tried that shot. He did try that shot, the buck ducked and he hit him high and lost him. I have tried to push my luck in the past and it usually doesn't turn out well.

Animal body language is by far the most important factor, not how far I can shoot.

From: Sage Buffalo
+1 Idyl

I think type of animal impacts long shots - mule deer when comfortable are statues and will let you shoot multiple times. Whereas WTs for example are the most paranoid animals in NA. No way in the world would I ever take ultra long range shots at WT.

That said, history has taught me archery equipment is best at close range and you are flirting with lots of issues shooting long range. If I want to shoot past 50 I will use my ML and really long distance my rifle. I just don't think killing an animal at long distances with a bow is fun but don't begrudge anyone who wants to.

Lots of good stuff above and good topic!

From: Jaquomo
When we were young and naive, before the internet, videos, bowhunting magazines, etc.., we emulated our heroes and role models like Fred Bear and Howard Hill and their contemporaries. We flung arrows at long distances with our Bear and Herters recurves just hoping to hit one somewhere, hoping to get an arrow in there and somehow "bring it down".

Today's young bowhunters with videos, internet and magazines for learning tools emulate their heroes and role models like Lee and Levi and fling arrows at long distances with their modern bows, just hoping to get an arrow in there somewhere.

Technology, competition, and cultural changes have altered shot selections and hunter attitudes. I stayed with my longbow and cedars so not much change in my personal shot selections, I hunt for different reasons than many. Everyone is different and that is ok, we will however continue to see less opportunity as technology advances and erodes the archery season experience.

From: skipmaster1
Aside from distance,my shot angles are influenced by experience. I've learned to take the very first shot I know I can with at a relaxed animal. Too many times waiting has only put the animal more on edge and resulted in jumping the string or a rushed shot on my part... if I even take the shot. For me, that very often means taking slightly quartering towards shots, if the deer is calm and everything is perfect. That is with both my recurve and my compound. I shot at and cleanly killed 7 deer this season. 5 of those deer were slightly quartering to me. Including one with the recurve. I prefer to take them before they pass by my tree and possibly catch my scent. Of course I always hope they present a better shot angle, but for me waiting has proven to often be a lower percentage shot, due to animal alertness

From: DL
Depends on the person.

It does for me.

From: Bou'bound
Unless you are a vegetable or rock life experiences influence every single decision we make in the present or will make in the future.

From: Sage Buffalo
BTW I hunt with a lot of young hunters - they are deadly but most won't shoot past 40 yds. I know one young man who is an AWESOME WT hunter and he only bowhunts now and just won't shoot animals at long distances.

One of the reasons is he gun hunted a lot and just doesn't enjoy shooting game at long distances with his bow. He says, "That's not why I hunt with the hardest weapon to take a deer."

From: Michael
How far I am willing to shoot is determined on how well I am shooting. This past year I was shooting extremely good at 50 yards. For some reason the 60 to 80 yard shots I was to inconsistent. So I limited myself to 50 yards this year.

3 years ago I shot very well out to 80 yards. So I was willing to shoot to 70 then.

Cnelk brings up a good point. In the late 80’s / early 90:s when I started hunting I wouldn’t shoot past 30 yards. I just was too inconsistent past them yardage’s.

The first year I hunted Ne 07. I missed a big 10 point buck at 10 yards. Close shots have been my downfall on the 3D range. I think I get over confident and loose focus sometimes. I think that’s exactly what happened on that buck.

From: Ironbow

I know a few vegetables and rocks. Some guys just never seem to learn anything!

From: Buffalo1
History should have an impact on the present and future.

"A man has got to know his limitations". Dirty Harry

From: APauls
Of course they do. I started out learning by myself and flung arrows. Had nothing to do with TV, was just learning. Started realizing that 70 yard running shots through bush wasn't going to do anything but lose me some arrows. Later, after upgrading some equipment, realized I could take shots over 30. Live and learn right? If you're not learning, thats a problem.

Missed a 9 yard shot at a doe this pm with my recurve. Gonna have to limit my shot to 8 yards. Everything is tuff when your one on one with a Wiley deer:)

From: GF
+1 for the notion that only a complete moron would fail to learn from experience.

Some folks start out reckless and grow more cautious; some start out very conservative and discover that they have learned enough to know when they can stretch their limits.

I took a few fairly stupid shots early on, but I also yanked a shot or two into the dirt when I had a sudden attack of misgivings. In retrospect, I should have rolled with it on the latter and never should have contemplated the former.

But as I go along I’m getting better at judging how jumpy an animal is, and I’m better at longer ranges than I have been in quite a while.

So it’s a balance.

But I do wish that more folks would start cautiously and discover that most long shots WILL develop into shorter ones, given a chance.

Funny thing, too... the guys I’ve known who have killed the most deer all seem to prefer shots of 20 yards and in; and that is when using hot-rodded compounds. And it’s not because they don’t shoot well; it’s because it doesn’t matter how well you shoot. If the animal can move more than a couple inches while the arrow is airborne, you’re not going to hit what you aimed at unless the critter will hold still.

Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t.

From: Scooby-doo
I never look at it the way people are explaining why or why not they takje long shots. For me it is just something in me tells me to shoot or not. I get a feeling and either the green light comes on or it says what the hell are ya even thinking about it for. I have made some long shits and have missed some chip shots. Every situation is different and every day is different one day I may take a certain shot and the next presented with the same exact shot, I choose not to shoot. Shawn

From: drycreek
Yeah, history factors in. I made a chickenshit shot on a doe early in October last, and it rattled me. Mainly because I'm pretty conservative and it doesn't bother me to let one walk if things aren't right. She died quickly, by a stroke of luck, but two inches farther right and I might not have recovered her. That played out in my mind every time I bow hunted after and I still think about it. The worst part is there was no reason for it. She was oblivious to my presence, she was close, and eating. I had a bit of target panic I guess because it was the first deer I had pulled back on in two seasons.

I used to shoot sporting clays a lot, like 3/4 tournaments a year and lots of practice in between. I got to be a low to mid nineties shooter. That's out of a hundred if you're not familiar. I had a Browning O/U that occasionally would not fire the second barrel. When that happened, my shooting went straight to hell. Even though it might not happen again for 200 targets, it was on my mind. I began to leave it at home and shoot my Beretta AL390 semi-auto and all was well. No history of malfunction with that !

From: deerslayer
For sure.... Success breeds confidence, failure breeds insecurity.

This past year I made a perfect 60 yard shot on an antelope in late September. I felt pretty confident going into my elk hunt a week and a half later. The second day I blew a 34 yard chip shot on a bull, not due to nerves per se, but a group was walking through the lane and I barked to stop them. A cow was standing directly behind the bull and I had to wait until she moved. It threw off my concentration, as now I was more focused on her moving out of the way than making the shot. When she finally did move, I must have rushed my shot and hit him in the top of the back. I wasn't rattled as much as I was in disbelief I had just done that. 5 days later I had a great bull at 55 yards, on the edge of a 300 plus herd, in another high pressure situation. I wasted no time in drawing, putting my pin on him, and letting it go. Hit him about as perfect as it gets and he was dead on his feet when he slid down the hill.

This past season I shot an antelope at 60, a bull at 55, a whitetail buck at 40, and a doe at 48. I have confidence that based on past experiences I am able to make effective longer distance shots. However, confidence is not arrogance as I have been humbled enough to know that no matter how many consecutive good shots I make, the next one might not go well. I had to learn a long time ago not to let a blown shot throw me off too much, as now I view it as the exception rather than the rule. So to answer your question directly, yes, my past experience has certainly affected my personal decision to take a longer shot. In retrospect I wish I had honed my long distance skills much earlier as I would have an extra1 or 2 very nice animals on my wall. Long shots certainly aren't for everyone, but as in my previously mentioned story, close shots can go awry just as easily as longer shots.

From: PECO

From: RogBow
Elk yinzer great post.

From: SteveB
Relaxed with no wind yes. Alert or wind, no way.

From: Drummer Boy
Yes, the older I get the shorter my shots.

From: Pigsticker
The human mind is an an amazing calculator and over time with positive experiences incorporated with the negative experiences many experienced hunters probably have some type of subconscious algorithm that determine shot selection. This would be in some type “blink” concept but not a direct correlation. I turned down shots that some would consider bettering than many that I have taken.

As stated above distance is not the only determining factor but is easy to reference. In other words the easy answer is that if you don’t practice at a distance then don’t take shots at beyond distance. I used to to playing pool with guys that said that they got better when they were drunk. Likewise, you probably will not get better in that moment of truth when shooting at an animal. I turned down a 22 yard shot at the only 200 inch buck that I have ever seen from a stand. It was a chip shot al had to do was clear a couple of small branches that were not that close together but there was no way that I was going shoot and wound such a magnificent creature. I am certain that I could have made that shot but for me the risk was to great. I don’t know the equation for that decision but I never have regretted it. These are personal decisions and hindsight is always 20/20. The real history lesson is not whether we learn from the past but how we allow to impact on future shots. Some people learn impulse control and others not so much. I stand amazed at how Stan Potts looses his mind after every shot. I think really or WTH! I see numerous people condemning the 88 yard shot but then I see the same people saying that they have killed animals at 60 and seventy yards. A better question may be at what distance would max out a 3, 4, or 6 pin sight. I know that I gained significant confidence when I went to a slider sight. Even at distances like 42 or 37 yards. I am going to let Lee Make his shot selection and I will make mine and history will determine that.

From: Arrowhead
nvgoat, You said. I shot a buck this year off a steep cliff at 39.9 yd by angle corrected rangefinder (60 Yd line of sight) resulting in a gut shot as the buck jumped forward at the shot. Bad luck? Bad decision? I would not say you made a bad decision. It happens. I have had deer move on me at ten yards resulting in a less than perfect hit or miss. I have had limbs jump out in front of my arrow that I did not see and even the glasses I wear have caused me problems due to glares or deceiving shadows. I never take a shot that I don't think I can make but sometimes I'm wrong. Most of my shots on deer are about 15 yards average but even then Murphy's Law can sneak in Humbling you.

From: drycreek
Do y'all rember the "biorhythm " thing in the eighties or maybe the seventies ? It was directed more at athletes than anyone else, but I think there may be something to it. I know when I was running a dozer for a living, most days I could almost do it with my eyes closed, but some days I had to concentrate and be more deliberate to do quality work. I've felt the same in shooting a shotgun and a bow. Some days chicken, some days feathers !

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