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How far to lead on a walking shot
I was having a discussion the other day with some friends about shooting a deer on the walk and how far to lead it. The general consensus was that if the animal was walking at a "normal" pace,(not trotting) a 20 yard shot should be lead about 4-6 inches. This seemed reasonable at the time but I decided to do the math and this is what I came up with...
The average man walks about 4 mph. It seems to me that a deer(or any other large 4 legged critter for that matter) would be moving slightly faster than that so I used 5 mph as my baseline. 5mph converts to 26,400 feet per hour, which converts to 440 feet per minute... 7.33 feet per second.
300 fps is a pretty close figure to use for the speed of the arrow so it would take the arrow 1/5th of a second to get from the bow to the animal on a 20 yard(60 foot) shot.
7.33/5=1.47 feet or about 18 inches is how much you would have to lead it to hit your target.
I never would have guessed it was that much, but the math doesn't lie.
Good info. Given the variables such as the deer "strolling" at 3.5mph or "hustling" at 5.6mph, the actual distance (is it 18 yards or 23 yards?) and your own shooting form (have you practiced at a moving target? Do you stop your bow when you release, or keep swinging through? etc.) I think the moral of the story is "don't take a shot at a moving deer", but your math problem certainly gives one something to think about.
I don't see it. If a deer were walking across my living room at normal pace... He's not going to get all the way across a 15'L room in 2 seconds. it takes a second to take one step. One step will get you 3 feet ahead, not 7 feet ahead.
I say don't shoot at moving animals with a bow. Wait for them to stop or stop them with a mouth grunt. Sometimes a animal in range does not always present a shot.
Get on a treadmill at 4 MPH that is faster than a average walk.
I understand there are quite a few variables built into this. I was just trying to get a general idea and the moral of the story is that if you're going to try to take them on the walk, you have to lead them a lot further than I would have guessed prior to working this out.
... and FTR, I have never taken a shot at a moving animal. It was just an interesting question to work out.
What JohnMC said. Dont shoot at moving deer. Stop them. Taught in every bow class.
I’ve swung on moving deer and got the lead dead-nuts perfect twice. One was trotting at something close to 20 yards and the other had flushed like a hen pheasant practically under my feet, so that shot was MAYBE ten feet. And once on an Elk at under 10 yards. That shot was perfect, too, until the arrow glanced off of a dead, 2” lodgepole.
But I wouldn’t even think about it with sights.
If the deer is moving half as fast as Stickit said, then the hold is 9 inches. That's still a bunch at 20 yrds. IF the animal keeps moving at the pace you are working on. The problem (even if you do the math) is that it's a uncertain movement. That animal might move faster at the shot, or stop. You don't know those variables.
It is better than guessing like most of us have. I expected between 9-12" so this is really good info to see. I know there are alot of variables that go into this, But its a good starting point! Thanks Stickit!
Wait until the stop or don't shoot IMO is preferable, but I'd take a slowly moving animal shot at under 15 yds if it was unaware of me and slightly quartering away. I would not lead it in front the animal but would shoot for front of shoulder, and hopefully hit behind it.
I’ve shot one deer trotting. Forgive me I was 16. It was roughly 15 yards and I hit him high in the rear flank. He went 30 yards. I was lucky and wouldn’t take that shot again, it’s pretty easy to go meh.
I shot a walking mule deer at 57 yards. Figured 7-8" forward would be perfect. I hit exactly where I was aiming. Right in the base of the neck. Luckily he fell in sight as I hit the artery but moral of the story is dont shoot them walking. Also they dont get as far as youd think while that arrow is on the way.
I hate it when guys say never shoot at a walking deer. That's dumb. I LOVE shooting walking deer. I used to practice it more, and thinking about it I can't even say i Lead "X many inches" it just happens. But if I remember my shots (now I'm going back a little last number I've shot were standing) I'm pretty sure my lead was front of the shoulder on a steadily walking buck. I'd say 10-12".
I also think using 5mph is way off for walking speed. I don't think average walking speed of a buck is different than a human and avg human is 3mp. Being that is 60% of your 5mph, 60% of your 18" lead would be 11" which makes right about sense. I know I've shot 4-5 bucks walking and every one of em was dead nuts. I'd way rather shoot at a walker at 20 than a stander. Walkers don't string jump.
I think your premise is correct but the base walking speed is a little high. 4 mph is about as fast a person can walk without trotting. Normal walking pace is about 2 mph.
Shot a mule deer a couple weeks at 17 yds on a steady walk. I hit a foot back. So my guess is 12" at 17 yds! Found the deer the next am. I've stopped whitetails many times but I was sitting on the ground and wasn't sure how mule deer respond to a soft grunt....anybody?
When you're shooting trap...do you need to calculate airspeed, distance, etc., before you pull the trigger?
It's a stroke, just follow through, and put that arrow where it belongs.
That being said...I'm an instinctive shooter. But, I fail to see how you can apply any type of finite numbers, to quantitate this type of shot. Not all deer in every situation, walk/trot/run at the same pace...then add in arrow speed, distance, etc...
I'd much rather shoot walking (slow) deer 15 yards and in, than stop them with some sort of noise. Stopping them can be a recipe for disaster as much as anything. 5 mph is high for the pace that I would consider shooting anything. As stated above, 4 mph is a fast walk. A walking deer is not on a mission, and they almost always walk slower.
I’ve always just held dead on and followed through on the shot. This one was 18 yards on a trot. Pinwheeled it.
I personally do not follow a moving deer. I find a spot in front of them and time my release when they enter. Have yet to fail at this approach. The "mehhing" at deer is hit and miss as it is a alerted deer you are shooting at.
The best shot is standing of course....but I don`t like the "following" method. If they are moving too fast, hold your shot.
“It's a stroke, just follow through, and put that arrow where it belongs.
That being said...I'm an instinctive shooter. ”
Yes and Amen.
I should also say that when I took those moving shots, I was PRACTICING moving shots about every day.
I tried some last year on some zip-line 3Ds we had set up at the club, and I was MISERABLE. Don’t think I’d chance it these days unless/until I’m back in the swing of things...
My first archery kill.....a 9pt quartering away pretty sharply. I thought I had led it right but ended up just left of the butthole and got lucky. It broke the hip and cut an artery. Every single situation is 100% unique and there is no formula. Trying to calculate one is interesting but only a guess and inconclusive.
I've "anchored" 98% of every kind of deer I've shot with a light whistle.Its the best method as its stark enough to freeze them and is preferred over a grunt because they occasionally will attempt to quarter to when they hear it. I don't like moving scapulas so I don't shoot at them.
Well my recurve only shoots 175 fps and I have shot some moving deer and all have been ate. Also have a running deer target in the back yard. Agree though it makes for a interesting topic with the math, never gave it that much thought though.
18 yards on a trot. Just held the pin on the spot and swung with him. Perfect shot.
This one was a buck I shot with my recurve. You can see in slow motion that I’m filling him with every step.
When they’re walking they’re usually at ease. Great shot to take. Shooting a recurve, the last thing I’d want to do is say “hey deer I’m over here...flong!” Recipe for a ducked arrow or spine hit. Just like anything else, practise it. My kids and I will spend hours in the yard rolling 5 gallon pail lids for each other to shoot at.
Great shot Greg!! I've got to work on the trad thing more.
For good bunny-hunting practice, just go somewhere grassy (but good and lumpy, if you can!), give a tennis ball a swift kick and send a Judo after it. It requires a little quick footwork, but that’s all part of the fun, right?
Nice shot, buck and video Greg! Next time Jamie comes down we should get together.
I learned the hard way, and won't shoot at a moving deer again. The first deer I lost was walking when I took the shot, and even though I killed it, I didn't find it until all that was left were bones. As has been said, 4 mph is a brisk pace.
It's probably another matter if you have the means to practice shots on a moving target (see Bowhunting October Whitetails and other early Wensel Brothers/Stoney Wolf videos for ideas.) But otherwise, I'd highly recommend stopping the animal first. I whistle at them to get them to stop. For whatever reason, they seem to have a hard time figuring out where the noise is coming from. Good Hunting and be safe.
They have a hard time figuring out where the sound is coming from because high frequencies are difficult to locate. That’s why most animals’ alarm calls are high frequencies.
If I were going to try to stop one, I would definitely go with a hard-to-localize whistle over a grunt.
Pete and Greg you can include me, Jamie can ride with me!! Pretty good video bud!! Shawn
I've never shot anything with a bow that was walking. Mainly because I have never practiced on moving targets and wouldn't feel comfortable trying that. With a rifle I have shot a caribou, muley and whitetail. All were close and I felt comfortable with the scenario. The caribou and muley never knew they were hit....they just kept walking until they fell.
so these people that say they would never take a shot a moving deer are wrong. I am sure 100% would given the opportunity. Perfect example: I made a bad shot on buck and gut shot him. I had an opportunity for a 50 yard shot with the buck at a slight walk and drilled him (double lung)- allowing me to recover him after 30 yards. It was more of an instinct as to how far to lead him
Humans walk at 2 MPH, horses at 3 MPH on average. That’s on a trail.
I have shot a couple of deer while they were walking, but they were less than 10 yds away. If you would rather grunt or bleat or whistle to stop them, you better be at full draw before they stop. The times I have done this, they stop and look right where the sound came from. If you are not at full draw, they see you move and leave in a big hurry.
The math is fun, but moving targets should be part of the practice routine if you are willing to take that shot. The math tells you what to know, practicing gives you the ability to do.
Gee whiz, if you have to lead them that much when they are walking, then how far do you lead them when they are running?
Confounding factors in your calculation. Human reaction time delay. Arrow acceleration from string (not instantly full speed) and arrow deceleration in air (probably insignificant at 20 yds but not at 30). Swinging the bow for the shot gives the arrow lateral velocity.
An arrow is going at top speed as soon as it leaves the string.
Never, never ever take a shot on a moving animal. Period.
There, now that class is over and that's out of the way you can get to actually hunting stuff...... especially on the ground..... always best to have a still, close, calm animal to thump. But.... not always an available option. Always take a GOOD shot. My mantra is take the first GOOD shot you get..... or be ready for it mostly. The PERFECT shot can be as rare as 400 inch elk..... I've hunted with several folks that think it's a 3D range....
I don't hold my pin off the animal. And even then 2/3rd of the time it seems I lead too far and have hit into some bone.
Couple things. CALMLY walking/strolling/cruzin' is not the same as a purposeful walk of wanting to either get somewhere or leave somewhere urgently. It's a rare shot I'd take on an animal on a mission to get somewhere. I do however take shots on calm walking deer, they are far less likely to jump strings or catch movement on drawing, etc. You have a window they are passing through, you are setting up on that window and they pass through it. My luck on stopping these axis deer is probably less than 50%.... maybe not even that. They shift into blur real fast..... so if they are calmly cruzin' I'm more likely to take that shot. If moving on a mission I'll try to stop them first. Sheep, goats, pigs, elk, etc more often will stop and check it out and not go into blind panic mode at the slightest noise.
With compound bows..... I've come to the thought that you don't want to swing with them like a shotgun swing. The theory being, it takes some time to get that arrow launched from release to out of the bow. During that time I don't want the bow to be moving in a way it doesn't normally move during my normal shot. I take a good bit of time to tune my arrow flight, don't want to mess that up "swinging" my bow at the shot. I much prefer pick a spot and set up on or pretty near it. (normally a window or lane anyway) Let the animal move to that spot.
I don't know the math. Most times, a few inches, 3 or maybe 4 inside 20 yards and I'm good. Even then, I'm often too forward. I'm thinking, while they don't "jump" or drop at the shot as much when walking, they do often STOP at the shot.
Mathematical formulas often don't apply in the field/real world. With animals or people.....
And never take a shot you are uncomfortable with. Certainly don't take one you are "forcing" or panicked into.
TD, this is the internet - no lt the place for practical experience....
Stickit, I did those exact calculations after shooting at an elk that was walking past at 20 yards and watching my arrow impact about 18” from where I was aiming (I didn’t swing through with the shot cause I didn’t think I’d need to). I ended up with a calculation of about 12-18” based on the assumptions. Regardless, yes, your point of aim will move roughly that far in about a quarter second at walking speed. Unfortunately, I can attest to the negative impact it can have on your shot firsthand.
If you don’t swing through a moving target, you’re gonna miss.
Dare I suggest that you don’t try it unless you have proven in practice that you’re GOOD AT IT???
I took that shot on a walking deer many years ago. In fact, it was the second deer I’d ever shot with a bow. I held right behind the shoulder and stuck him in the paunch. This was with a Bear Whitetail II. I don’t know what the speed was but it sure wasn’t anywhere close to 300 fps. I’ve seen Bill Winke say that he holds on the shoulder to make a walking shot, but I’ll never try it again.
Don’t know that I lead any for a walking animal, just swing through. Killed a buck last year that was trotting by about 23 yards out, not sure what the lead was but seemed like at least 18”, got both lungs but further back than I wanted.
I don’t mind walking shots at all, in fact, the animals seem less likely to pick up my movements.Shooting steadily moving animals under 25ish yards makes more sense than a grazing animal at 60+.
If the deer is walking straight at you there’s no need to lead it at all. Just fling an arrow and see what happens. Lol