Contributors to this thread:
Long range shots?
Ok I’ve enjoyed all the banter over the “long range practice thread” so much that I want to spice it up. The question is “what is considered an ethical shot as far as distance goes?”
Ok I’ve enjoyed all the banter over the “long range practice thread” so much that I want to spice it up. The question is “what is considered an ethical shot as far as distance goes?”
Depends, if it’s a coyote? Calculations start running in my head on the distance and how much elevation I have to hold.
Depends on a lot of things. Many variables at play. I practice out to 120, 130 yards and can shoot pretty decent at those yards. But my furtherest kill so far in my hunting adventures is 55 yards on a bull elk. I would never shoot over 60 yards personally.
Depends on a lot of variables.
That depends on your definition of ethical. To me, it's more than just how far I know I CAN kill something. It's also about how far I SHOULD shoot considering what BOW hunting should be. Considering all types of game, habitats, weather, etc., never more than 50 yards. Any more than that and you're relying more on technology than hunting/shooting ability.
Up to each individual and situation in front of them at the time . My max on white tails is much shorter on white tails than on elk or mule deer . It is also shorter on southern white tails than Midwest white tails .
70 yards. I'm as confident at 70 as i am at 50. Out west it's tough sometimes to get closer.
No doubt, Nick. I spit that bait out awhile ago too.
"Depends on a lot of variables."
Amen. No simple answer.
I haven't shot at a deer that was more than 7-12yds away in many yrs. I consider 30 a pretty long shot for me. I'm plenty accurate beyond that, in good conditions with a target placed in the perfect spot... but that isn't hunting and I'm not big on taking chances on a deer.
Ethical distance is that at which there is no foreseeable reason that you won’t have your tag filled out within the next 20 minutes, but you have the skills to see it through regardless.
Enough stuff goes wrong on gimmes.
My ethical shot is constantly changing based on conditions, level of practice, size of game, etc. Right now on deer, it would generally be 20 yards and in.
"Archery hunting" for healthy animals ends at 50 yards. Anything beyond that is rifle hunting with a bow, regardless of skill set, or shot selection... Purely ego driven.
I shoot a stick bow and my max range had shortened just about every year even though I'm confident on a 3d target out to forty and more, but I try to setup decoys or terrain for 30 and in on elk and less for deer. I have learned proper form and practice constantly, but the more experience I get hunting the more I know about how it can end up! But if I need to make a follow up shot on a wounded animal, I'll be confident out to a considerable range.
It is not about how great of a shot you are, or how confident you are in your ability to hit a paper plate at 100 yards. It's about all of those variables involved that you have NO control over that can and will happen with longer hang time of arrow at longer shots. The biggest variable is that your paper plate will NOT move in the long time it takes the arrow to get there. You have NO control over the animal you are shooting at.
Ethical shot ?
The distance that test your ability and skills to get close enough to make a quick and humane kill.
Shooting long distance shots are for target's and the Olympics :^)
Ther OPs question brings up another important- question- what is an ethical question to ask on bowsite?
The ethical distance varies widely depending on circumstances, but is virtually always shorter than what can be made on the practice range - and often much shorter.
I rarely think in terms of measurable distance other than at any given moment I’m either comfortable or I’m not in making a shot. I’m not sure how anyone can put a specific distance on any shot because being comfortable at 20 yards but not at 21 yards is a bit odd.
Depends how close it is till the end of the season.
I have a simple formula. On each trip, I start at twenty yards. Each day of the trip that I'm not successful, I add ten yards to my range. Anything over a ten day trip can get pretty iffy. But "an arrow that's not in the air, has no chance of hitting hair".
Agree with Troy and Ambush....when it gets down to the last few minutes of the game, I'm throwin' a Hail Mary.
Give me about 20 more years and 100 more Bow Kills and then I just might be qualified to give an “opinion”!
So, if it's the last couple of days of the season, just wounding one is OK. Sure I can see that...
Better than nothing! All the fun and none of the mess.
Let 'er rip! Eventually, you're going to connect on one!
I think it all depends on the shooter. For me, at 60 yards my broadhead grouping is consistent in 4" groups, but at 75 yards I'm very inconsistent. So for me I would say 60 max. This group was shot at 60.
99.5 yards, unless the wind is blowing or if there’s a new moon (can’t blood trail as easy at night).
My business not yours! maybe really close, maybe not. It's what I'm sure I can do! not what you or anybody else is "OK" with.
When it gets out there to where my pin is covering most of the deer, I aim for center mass. A little right or left and I'm either lungs or guts. One more reason I use a big expandable.
That's good thinking midwest. But you know that Rage mechanicals help spread CWD.
Anyone who has experience, knows 2 inches off in bowhunting is the difference in the search of shame or a very quick kill. The least amount of time the arrow is in the air the better, one less variable. Foam practice targets don't move. But some people don't G.A.S. and need to get home to the kneel ball game so on we go.
I guess I need to read up on the CWD threads...
I harvested a cow elk with a 64 yard shot. I use to practice out to 80 yards.
It’s not about how far you can shoot. It’s about whether you can take the animal without meat loss and with a minimum of suffering before it expires.
Let me ask a counter-question - what class do you shoot in IBO? And how well do you score? Open classes shoot out to 40-45-50 yards. 'Target' bows and accessories. 'Hunter' classes shoot to 35, 40 yards for 'Advanced Hunter'. Be honest about how you handle both 'long distance' and 'pressure' and you'll have a handle on 'how far should I shoot to?'
I’d have to disagree with Ambush’s assessment on the Rage spreading CWD. I’d think coc heads would have a bigger impact. An entry AND an exit wound would have the potential spread the disease much more quickly, would it not?!
With a longbow,and being strictly a ground hunter, 10 yards max on bare ground, 20 on snow. Never lost a deer on snow. Up here I only get one shot per year and I don’t want to blow it.
I agree with a buddy that said it best; Anyone walking into my shop and saying "I'm good on a hunting shot at 60 yds all day long" ....is full of S_ _ _!
Considering he has the NA Slam....and was a top shooter in his day......do ya think he knows something about this?
Shooting a bow at targets and shooting critters is a whole different ballgame.....I realize I'm not telling (most of you guys here) anything you didn't already know.
Love the comment, 'out west'... I hunt out west, and it seems long range shooting has taken over the ability to call in game. Most guys have no issues trying yo kill an elk these days ay 60 yards cause the bulls hang up or see them do they get desperate and try a long range shot. Read about it all the time. Lack of calling abilities lead to long range shooting. Met several guys last fall bragging of missing elk at 70 and 80 yards. One guy was on Facebook bragging about missing a quartering away bull last year with a recurve at 60 yards. There is even a video on YouTube with guys missing bulls at over 50 yards with recurves. Sometimes desperation and the want to kill an elk and be a hero on the internet makes us make bad decisions at times.
I have shot at a calm doe feeding in a hayfield at 60 yards. She was one bounce away before the arrow got there. So what good is my 4" group with broadheads at 60 yards? I shot at another calm doe 30 yards away and she ducked the arrow. Again what good are my 60 yard broadhead groups? I've since limited my whitetail shots to 25 yards or less.
“So what good is my 4” group with broadheads at 60 yds”?
Maybe so you’re not shooting 4” groups at 25 yds, maybe.
Outdoor Channel promotes it every show,,,,, what a joke....................
Buglmin, I always shake my head when I hear or read someone infer that taking long shots is somehow a requirement when hunting “out west’. Thank goodness I’ve never had to hunt “out west’. lol!
For the folks who say you are relying on technology once you get over 50 yards os so that is not so. I have the pleasure to shoot with a guy who has won the worlds and vegas. 30 years ago shooting what would be considered a dinosaur today put arrow after arrow in the X and put 19 out of twenty into that X. He had bent an arrow with a previous shot and failed to check his arrows and put one just outside of X at 1 o'clock. I have seen him put 5 arrows into the size of a baseball at 100 yds. He can flat out shoot to this day. Me on the other hand I would say I am average and can keep them on a paper plate at 60 yards. That is my limit on a calm unsuspecting big game animal. Now bunnies, squirrels, and some other critters , I have shot and killed them at over 100 yards with my recurve. So I would say it depends a lot on the skill of the shooter and the situation he s presented with. Shawn
"Maybe so you’re not shooting 4” groups at 25 yds, maybe." I don't shoot groups at 25 yards, ruin too many arrows. One arrow per tiny dot.
you have killed a squirrel with a recurve at 100 yards, and bunnies? man that is some shooting,,,,,, to me legal game animals are on equal footing, no matter what it is,,,,,, just saying
Reading the animals body language is an underestimated skill set. Either way, I guess per Elkman I have an ego problem and am not an archery deer hunter. My last two mule deer were shot at 60 and 63 yards respectively. My last two elk were shot at 18 and 4 yards respectively so at least I am an elk hunter.
These topics are always coming up and it comes down to the same thing every time. Everyone is different. You can’t blanket policy everyone. Yes there are limits based on animals, weather, etc, but Levi Morgan at 100 yards is a better shot than many guys at 15 yards. I’ve seen guys with long bows at the range covering the entire bale at 15-20. What’s their effective range? It’s probably should be a rifle.
A rifle? I've seen plenty of guys who can't hit the broad side of a barn with a rifle either.
As GF said above. Personally, if I don't have a lot of confidence in the shot beforehand I won't be taking it. I've been on a few dead end blood trails of my own and more than a few of other hunters, gun and bow. I may be a bit too picky about taking the shot, but this is the way I like to do it. Its ethical standards but its also common sense ...I would rather pass up the shot and stay in my stand or on my still hunt and continue my hunt than take a risky shot and spend the day looking for an animal that I will not likely find. On whitetails in the Southeast I'm usually holding out for a shot under 20 yards . I have successfully taken the 35 yard shot when everything was right, but its not the norm for me.
Paper plates and targets never have made me shake or get nervous.
I will echo what several others have said " I am not biting".
No such thing as an ethical shot.
"For the folks who say you are relying on technology once you get over 50 yards os so that is not so."
If you can't confidently judge the yardage without a range finder, then it IS so.
“If you can't confidently judge the yardage without a range finder, then it IS so.”
Touché, mon frer! LOL
How’d I do? I knew the range but I only had about a dozen shots through this bow when I shot this group, so I was just playing by ear. There are 3 in there, BTW. One’s pretty hard to pick out on the phone pic.
I’ll have to start shooting groups in complete ends, but I only had time to cut the 3 to a length where they should be within a pound or two of correctly tuned without running too short. I’ll have to bare-shaft into the correct tune and see what she’ll REALLY do....
"I’d have to disagree with Ambush’s assessment on the Rage spreading CWD. I’d think coc heads would have a bigger impact. An entry AND an exit wound would have the potential spread the disease much more quickly, would it not?!"
You may have a point, Troy.
Also, I would never take a brain shot with a mech but wouldn't think twice if using a fixed head. That's where the real risk of spreading CWD exists. Of course, I would never take a brain shot past 40 yds.
You only gotta get it in the body. A bit back as they say on TV. You can find it tomorrow or in the spring. An ethical shot is any shot you decide to take when the chance to brag appears before you. An unethical shot is what some other guy took that enabled him to brag.
I'm a whitetail hunter primarily and anything over 25 yards is long for me. 40 yards looks like a mile to me in the woods. I set up for close shots, hence my name on here. I think I've killed 1 or 2 deer over 30 yards in my 40 years of bowhunting. When I go elk hunting I practice out to 60 yards but wouldn't shoot past 40.
Sorry 1boonr, but your post wreaks of self righteous virtue signaling. Hunters that take low percentage shots are the problem and that has nothing to do with range and only to do with capability. And part of that capability is reading animals and conditions. Lots of "can't find my deer" stories starting out with twenty yard shots.
Ironic you condemn braggarts and yet your handle is 1booner. 1 Boone r
Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you're trying to say??
How much do you guys wanna bet I could probably throw a football over them mountains?
Just because you can drill a 3-D target at long distance under controlled conditions does not mean that you can consistently do the same under actual hunting conditions where you have little control over what is happening, other than making the decision to shoot or not to shoot.
Long range, for me, yes, with a crossbow, is 40-yards. When I shot a compound, it was 45. In my entire bowhunting life, I have made two shots on live animals at over 45-yards. One kill, one wound and no recovery. Both with a compound. I have never shot over 35-yards, with a crossbow.
Good to see these new, cutting-edge topics pop up ;-)
Some folks and the same folks have become very predictable. I'm going to offer some name changes to better reflect outlooks. First come first served. Others, feel free to add to the list.
Happily Never After
I have an equation on my bow that is a laplace transform inclusive of distance, elevation above MSL, wind speed, animal demeanor, size of kill zone and least importantly whether I have shot this year or not. After I range an animal, and solved that equation, I have never missed.
You made my day Candor! Never thought I'd see a Laplace transform reference on Bowsite. Good stuff there.
Dibs on Socially Constipated!
Depends on whether I'm using a fixed blade or mechanical... btw, which one is better. LOL!
I've got it.
Some one should make a range finding, automatically adjusting sight that tracks your practice shot accuracy. It can then determine your max shot length in the field based on historical shooting data. If the shot would be outside of your range, the sight window clouds up.
The longer the shot the wound percentage goes up. Targets don’t move. Targets don’t mess with your head as much as a mature buck. If you miss the target it won’t be the only target you’ll be able to shoot this year or your lifetime. The idea of bowhunting is to get as close as possible. If you can’t get closer than 30 yards to a mature whitetail than your shooting skills are not your biggest problem. I hope I ain’t virtue signaling too much so people won’t have to go to their safespace. From what I’ve seen in my forty years of bowhunting is, the bigger the antlers the farther the ethical shot. Shots over thirty yards are high percentage bad hits regardless of who is taking them. I’ve watched guys that can shoot tennis balls at 70 yards wound and miss many shots in the 30 to 40 yard range. They were ethical shots at unalarmed deer but shit happens.
It’d probably help some if folks would stop posting crap for laughs. If a non- hunter were to stumble into this bull session, they could walk away with a disastrously misinformed impression.
Yes, it can all go to hell on a 10-yard shot. Ought to make you think, shouldn't it?
The thing is, a lot of guys swear they would never shoot at a moving target. Well, guess what? If it’s ALIVE, it’s a Moving Target. Just because you don’t know when it’s going to START moving, or how fast, or in which direction doesn’t change that.
Biggest problem is that people are willling to take shots when they know damn well that they have no chance of recovering the animal without a heavy blood trail.
Well, I can't hit shit from 0-9, and I don't shoot over 20. So, ethically 10-19 is about right. As you may have guessed, I hunt trad.
The OP should have been more specific about what bow, or at least what type.
“The OP should have been more specific about what bow, or at least what type.”
Not really; doesn’t actually matter all that much what you use. The game doesn’t change that much.
Is “sharp stick in the mud” taken?
Brian M makes a good point. When a deer is 3 yards out and moving under you it's a very hard shot to make because the shooter has to move so much more to stay on target. Happened to me a few years back and I was afraid to try to grunt to stop him because he was so close and hit him back. Found him though. I like close shots especially when they stop and stand still..
Everyone knows it’s 57 yards but no one wants to admit it
Candor, I love the laplace transform equation. I assume that most do some variation thereof...
30,000 millimeters and no more than that. Past that distance I use lightning bolts coming out of my focused eyes. I call that "Starring at Goats" method just like in the HollyDude movie. Sometimes it works and out of fear deer turns around walking back into my 30,000 millimeters range. Most times they send me a postcard from the next property. Question is what do I do with this 3 legged deer walking into bedding early morning.
"Question is what do I do with this 3 legged deer walking into bedding early morning."
That's easy, and you might actually be able to extend your range by a couple thousand millimeters. All you have to do is take out one more leg (any one will do) and he's yours!
Shooting out 50 yards puts my pin on the whole target 30 yards I can see the kill zone . Is there a better or smaller pin you guys use for longer shots?
Ethics have never impacted taking a shot for me. I shoot if an animal is in range, without obstruction, and in a good body position, relative to my own. Ethics are what bring me down from a stand when legal shooting time has expired or prevented me from trespassing on land I don't have permission to hunt. Shooting at a deer is generally based on its distance from me, not ethics.
Elkman ""Archery hunting" for healthy animals ends at 50 yards. Anything beyond that is rifle hunting with a bow, regardless of skill set, or shot selection... Purely ego driven."
Is that fact ? or just your self-imposed arrogant opinion you push on others?
I wanted to see what the cross bow hub bub was all about,,,, shot a doe late season at 56 yards, no sweat,,,,, better than a gun, nice and quiet, I reloaded and their were more deer standing around.......
With my compound in all reality for me, 50 yards and in, should be a good shot, but missed a nice buck in Jan at 45, so go figure....
Longbow, killed a doe at 5 steps, and will not shoot farther than 15 yards that's it, for penetration reasons, since I only shoot 40lbs
to each his own me personally. trad bow inside 20yds compound inside 50yds never owned or shot an × bow muzzleloader inside 200yds & centerfire 500yds. I practice at much farther distances with these weapons but consider these #s the max ethical distance. I will add that I'm in VA & iv never hunted in the western states & will assume that based on terrain much farther shots are the norm
If you don't know if you can make it don't take it . Closer the better.
"Shooting at a deer is generally based on its distance from me, not ethics."
What keeps you from shooting at deer beyond a certain distance from you?
My crossbow shoots 500fps. Combine that with the 6" cut of my Rage broad heads and the fact that my Ozonics put them within 500 yards of my Redneck blind no matter what flavor Dead Down Wind perfume I used that day....I have no problem smokin them pigs at 350-400 yards. BooYaaaah!
The archer is proudest of his / her longest shot The bow hunter is proudest of his / her shortest shot Personal best....bobcat 8ft. straight down (Under a low deer stand)
Ethical? Well, I'm a trad guy so I won't shoot more than 50 yards unless I'm good and drunk. Or if I'm shooting out of the cab of my truck while driving drunk, then I feel a self-imposed limit of no more than 25 yards makes me better than most.
Matt, My perception that I am unable to make the shot, is the answer to your question. If I am clustering broadhead tipped arrows into a softball-sized group at 60 yards, but not at 70 yards - I consider 70 yards and beyond "out of range" for me. To me, moral principles govern things like cheating on a spouse or robbing investors of money. Shooting a bow is not in that category. Is a quarterback ethical when personally limits the distance he throws the ball to ranges that he is sure that he can complete? Or would the categorization be something other than ethical?
Comparing throwing a football or just shooting a bow to launching a lethal projectile at an animal is a pretty good example that you have NO clue what ethics is all about. It's also telling that you consider target accuracy as the primary determination for hunting shots.
You make an interesting argument.
We kill game animals that we don't have to - and found our ethics in the shots we take or pass.
The football throw was a tool I used to make people think, as was the example of infidelity. I know that ethics factor into my shot selection - I am ultimately trying to avoid wounding an animal and sentencing them to a painful death. But it is not the first thing I consider. If the long shot is unethical because too many variables factor into its execution, then is the 20 yard shot unethical when it goes awry due to the animal reacting to the sound of the shot, when we first alerted it to our presence by bleating to stop it? Just food for thought - you don't have to condemn me for it.
"To me, moral principles govern things like cheating on a spouse or robbing investors of money. Shooting a bow is not in that category."
It is funny that you take mention cheating on a spouse, characterizing it as an immoral subset of sex, and stealing, characterizing as an immoral subset of personal enrichment, but then you reverse the equation when it comes to shooting - as though it is somehow amoral and not possible for there to be an immoral aspect to it.
The same argument could be made about sex or enrichment. And it would be equally as misguided.
Matt, Excellent response!! That is the kind of discussion that I get the most out of - thank you so much. In my first post, I made a considerable error. What I should have done was note that ethics are a part of my decision, just not the first factor for me. If I see a buck chasing a doe at 30 yards, I tell myself that I can't make the shot due to the unpredictable nature of the buck's movement through the woods. Notice how I made an ethical decision, but the ethical component came later in my calculus, after my estimation that I could not make the shot. People can make shots immoral by encountering a scenario in which they know they cannot make the shot and attempt it anyway. Of course, there is no way of KNOWING, as a deer at 60 yards distance could remain stationary while the arrow is in flight and, conversely, the deer at 20 yards can move before impact, making the unknowable variable of deer movement before impact, a factor in a situation where one would believe that it wasn't Thank you for challenging my position without damning me as an unethical person.
"I am clustering broadhead tipped arrows into a softball-sized group at 60 yards, but not at 70 yards - I consider 70 yards and beyond "out of range" for me-" YOU are hitting a moving softball out of the air that's good shooting!!! My Dad hit practice golf ball out of the air many years ago, but that was a one time deal.
No wait... you mean a stationary softball. OK made your point.
Fact is wild game as targets can and will move for various reasons and they are not a softball, football or inanimate object. Hail Mary's belong on the football field with someone intending to catch it on the other end. We owe them the grace of staying within our effective range for a quick, clean kill. After all the debate archery still is a close range method of harvesting animals.
Check out 24/7 You Tube, guys are from Wis,,,, his latest You Tube is a nice 55 yard shot on a 140, early season stalk..... they got it all on video,,,,,, pretty cool
" If the long shot is unethical because too many variables factor into its execution, then is the 20 yard shot unethical when it goes awry due to the animal reacting to the sound of the shot..."
RD, you answered your own question. "...unethical because too many variables factor into its execution...". The longer the shot, the more variables there are, always. It could be argued that ALL shots are unethical because you can't control the results to achieve 100% success. Success being defined as a quick, humane kill. But you can manage many factors influencing the outcome. The one factor that has the greatest chance of negatively influencing that success is increased distance, because it introduces the most variables that can't be controlled. And it's one of the easiest to eliminate with a little discipline and an attitude of what is important in bowhunting; the skill and overall satisfaction of hunting well, embracing the limitations of archery, or just striving for a reputation of killing.
Another problem I have with those long shots is the argument that "I'm capable of making the shot". That is always a lie. Any shot with a ballistic projectile requires an accurate determination of distance. That gets more critical the slower the projectile. If you skip that step by using a range finder YOU are NOT capable of making the shot. You are are only capable of executing the shot once the first hurdle has been overcome with technology. The primary factor in limiting shot distance with any weapon has been eliminated. What was once a primary skill set is now irrelevant.
Depends on how badly I feel like tracking a deer for miles that day... So.. 90 or so is good with me.
I have met a number of people in Colorado during elk season over the years who practically brag about their 90 yard gut shots and total lack of any ethics.
I’m likin’ this Ziek feller.
"If you skip that step by using a range finder YOU are NOT capable of making the shot. "
You are really reaching on this one. What kind of technology are you using to send the arrow? A compound with cams, letoff, sight and drop away rest, shot with a release? A modern recurve or longbow? A selfbow you made with modern metal tools and or power tools. Lets not even talk about the carbon arrow.
Ziek, You make some excellent well-considered arguments. Removing technology from the equation is an interesting position to take. Should I also remove the bow and admit that I can't kill the deer anyway because I am not fleet enough to run it down and catch it? If I pace an area off during my scouting and mark each tree at 10 yard intervals, am I then capable of making the shot, as I no longer rely on my rangefinder? I appreciate you thoughtfully challenging my position and bringing additional factors into the discussion rather than just distance to the target. By the by, Chuck Adams shot a great many animals at extended ranges. Does he lack ethics due to this circumstance?
Peco. I started with a compound and still primarily use one, although I have hunted with a recurve. I just prefer a compound for many reasons that are irrelevant to this discussion.
My first compound was purchased in 1983. It had 50% or 55% let-off and shot about 200 fps. I used a pin sight with a rectangular pin guard and no peep. My rear "sight" was my anchor point. I shot with fingers. Range finders didn't exist. In discussions with many accomplished bowhunters at the time, both recurve/longbow and compound shooters, about 50 yards was considered the MAXIMUM distance. And yes, I know a few respected "traditional" shooters that have killed at that distance. I practiced and became proficient and confident out to about 50 yards. In fact my first kill was accomplished with my 50 yard pin. That doesn't mean as soon as I'm within 50 yards I start launching arrows. That is my MAXIMUM distance depending on many factors. My shots are typically well under that.
Has my equipment changed? Do I own a range finder? Yes and yes. Has that increased my maximum shot distance at game. NO! Have I demonstrated competency at greater distances in ideal conditions, at targets, once the distance is known. Of course. With the equipment available today, accurate shooting is relatively easy. Which is why it is the least important part of bow HUNTING. In fact, as some have claimed, longer shots can be easier. Animals are usually clueless about their jeopardy, the shooter doesn't feel as rushed or excited because there is little chance of being detected. He's not as likely to be trying to solve multiple problems in a short time frame; when to draw, where to take the shot, to stop him or not, where to aim with constantly changing angles, etc. The long shot is more akin to shooting at a target. It takes much LESS self control, and ability. It's NOT something to brag about in relation to bow HUNTING.
About my equipment. It pisses me off to no end that I can no longer purchase a top-of-the-line bow to my specifications. At least not easily or affordably. I would prefer no more than 65% let off; 50-55 would be better. Any more than that has nothing to do with the "shootability" of the bow. It's about giving greater advantage to the shooter by increasing holding time; allowing drawing earlier and holding longer, so judging when to draw and living with that decision becomes less relevant. I shoot a relatively heavy arrow at about 240 fps. I don't try to take advantage of super light, high speed arrow flight.
I don't use a range finder to increase the distance I shoot to greater than the 50 yards I have always been comfortable with, and would be comfortable with without it. It does make it more efficient to practice range estimation. It's more convenient than pacing out distances to landmarks around a blind or stand, as I used to do. I might use it occasionally to confirm my estimate. And finally, I use it to RESTRICT my shot distance.
Once, while elk hunting I came up on a bull that I estimated to be between 50 and 55 yards, slightly quartered away. He was relaxed and I had time to confirm what I thought. My range finder came up with 53 yards. Well within my capability to make, but outside what I was comfortable with WITHOUT cheating. I stalked closer, and the bull departed just before I was about to take the shot at about 45 yards.
But I had already been doing something similar before rangefinders. On my first AK moose hunt, we were pinned down in the open by an approaching bull. I'd never been that close to a moose in such open terrain, so my range determination was thrown off, significantly. When he stopped broadside at what looked like 50 yards, I put my 50 yard pin on the center of his lungs and released. The arrow dropped just under his chest. He only moved a few yards and stopped at the same distance. Now I KNEW where to hold to kill him. But "firing one for effect" is NOT a valid way to judge distance. I already felt lucky to not have hit him badly. We watched him walk off, and never did relocate him.
To me, bowhunting is more about how you play the game than it is about the end result. A successful hunt doesn't necessarily end with a kill. But it is so much more rewarding when it does AND you've done it right. I know "doing it right" can mean different things to different people, but we need to start being more critical in setting some boundaries, especially when it comes to using electronic technology.
60 seems about as far as I would want to shoot something. In the last 2 years I’ve shot 4 elk and one mulie all from 58-62 yards. I’ve missed closer shots so each scenario is situational driven for me. Some of you would be better focusing energy practicing shooting then typing on here :-)
And some would be better served learning how to hunt closer instead of shoot farther.
Imagine if you could do both :-o
Haven't had to release an arrow past 40 on elk. Not saying I wouldn't in the right situation.......