Mathews Inc.
Distance opinion
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
loprofile 04-Nov-22
deerhunter72 04-Nov-22
APauls 04-Nov-22
MA-PAdeerslayer 04-Nov-22
WhattheFOC 04-Nov-22
Bou’bound 04-Nov-22
ultimag 04-Nov-22
Aspen Ghost 04-Nov-22
Beendare 04-Nov-22
azelkhntr 04-Nov-22
fuzzy 05-Nov-22
Corax_latrans 05-Nov-22
Cazador 05-Nov-22
WhattheFOC 05-Nov-22
WV Mountaineer 05-Nov-22
Bou'bound 05-Nov-22
LOSTNwoods 05-Nov-22
loprofile 05-Nov-22
DonVathome 05-Nov-22
LOSTNwoods 05-Nov-22
LOSTNwoods 05-Nov-22
ohiohunter 05-Nov-22
loprofile 06-Nov-22
From: loprofile
04-Nov-22
Qualify this posts by acknowledging that there have been instances of killing animals with frontal shots at over 100 yards. That being said, how would you fill in the blank on this sentence. More whitetail deer are either missed or hit and not recovered at ranges exceeding ____ yards. Based on my experience with tracking with dogs for the public I say 35 yards

From: deerhunter72
04-Nov-22
30 yards seems to have always been my big hurdle. I know plenty of people who have no problem with it, but I'll go with 30.

From: APauls
04-Nov-22
This thread needs to be flagged for illegal baiting lol.

If you're going to ask for "statistical style" results you at least need to have some parameters. Like, if you are going to talk about misses, talk about how many misses in categories such as every 10 yard increments. Or use a "% of shots missed" in those 10 yard increments.

If you are going to talk about simply "more shots missed" the answer would un-doubtably be that most misses are in the 20ish yard range. But only because MOST archery shooting happens at that range, and therefore a lot of misses. It's like saying Nov 11 is the best day to hunt because that is when most deer are killed. Forgetting to acknowledge it as a day off and the day most hunters are in the field.

Sorry about the semantics, but I am guessing that what you are driving at is the range that your shot is most likely to miss. For myself, the range that I feel has the highest likelihood of missing is 35-45 yards. I have tremendous efficiency under 35 yards, and though have shot lesser arrows from 45-70 yards they have always killed, and without exception. 35-45 Yards I find to be the worst as it seems to me that the sound is close enough to make them jump and move, yet far enough that they move too much. Beyond 45 yards it seems as if the deer aren't bothered by the shot. I remember a buck catching me draw on the 2nd last day of the season at 55 yards and he pegged me in the tree. I let fly and watched the arrow arc, and it almost seemed as if he just watched it come and took it like a champ ;) I hate that 40 yard +/- 5 range. Had several misses in that range. My arrow went exactly where I wanted it to go, only the deer were no longer there. Thankfully not one miss beyond 45 , but have had a few under 35, though many more shots taken.

04-Nov-22
I’d say 35. Much over 35 in my whitetail woods is a poke and quite dense for an arrow to sneak by.

From: WhattheFOC
04-Nov-22
Anything over 12 yards, I fall apart. :)

Seriously though - I quit shooting whitetails at 30+. We used to film all of our wt hunts for tv - so I had perfect video of every shot to review later. Way too many instances of deer dropping out of the way - but always at 30+ yards.

At 20, they don’t have time - they are just starting to drop when the arrow gets there.

At 25, it begins to be an issue. 6” drop is common.

But 30 yards seemed to be the worst … close enough to be alarmed by the sound of the bow, but far enough that they have time to drop.

Full disclosure - all of the shots I’m talking about were over bait. Deer are at their most nervous when they know they have their hoof in the cookie jar - what I described above might not apply in a situation where the deer is more relaxed.

Keep it inside of 25 and wait for the right angle. Also, shooting when the deer has its head up limits the speed at which they can drop. There’s physics to support this statement - Shoot when the head is up whenever you can. My two cents - take it or leave it.

From: Bou’bound
04-Nov-22
43

From: ultimag
04-Nov-22
my personal max range for all big game is 40 yards

From: Aspen Ghost
04-Nov-22
all unrecovered deer were shot at a distance exceeding 1/2 yard so there is your answer.

From: Beendare
04-Nov-22
I have to qualify my answer;

I say most missed shots are 5-10 yards past the shooters effective range in that situation.

Just because you can stack arrows at 50y- 1)at the range 2)On flat ground 3)With all the time in the world to squeeze off a perfect shot 4)With no chance the range target is going to move 5)With no wind or other environmental conditions to worry about and no does to spook

Just because you can shoot well in those conditions...it doesn't mean its you effective range in the woods.

We have all seen it right? The guy doing his first 3D shoot....or a newbie hunter in the woods....You can almost see that new bowhunter turning over all of the distractions in his head on the shot.

That said, I know plenty of guys that are rock solid deadly in the woods at fairly long bowhunting distances.

From: azelkhntr
04-Nov-22
WhattheFOC <<<<< I'd say your spot on. 30 yds.

From: fuzzy
05-Nov-22
<10 and >40.

05-Nov-22
So Adam asked a good clarifying question: sounds like what you really want to know is at what range does the probability of a clean kill roll off the table.

20 years ago, the guys I knew who had the most bow-kills under their belts said that things started going South a lot more often beyond 20, and they preferred 18.

These were compound shooters hunting whitetails. One shot over bait in the suburbs and one only hunted rural areas, never mentioning any bait.

About 30 years ago, I read an article with Randy Ulmer stating that he thought the maximum “ethical” range for archery tackle was 35 yards. And he was known at that time for being a pretty fair shot. I think that was an article about his desert bighorn hunt.

Yes, bows are faster and laser rangefinders have become standard equipment since then. Those are the game-changer….. on stationary targets.

But you can’t beat hang-time other than by minimizing it. I would think that the OP’s experience with tracking dogs supports Randy Ulmer’s position from 30 years ago.

From: Cazador
05-Nov-22
I don't shoot far at them at all, 20 or so max. I've lost them at 20, and I've lost them at 5. So I guess my max effective range is 4. No other animal will make you pay on a marginal shot from my experience.

From: WhattheFOC
05-Nov-22
Corax is right. It’s one thing to be able to to shoot accurately out to 40, 50 or further. It’s entirely another thing for the animal to still be there when the arrow arrives. If wt deer didn’t move, I’d shoot to 60. But they do, so 20 is my number - much beyond 25 and I’m thinking about how to get closer.

05-Nov-22
I shoot farther on An in alert deer with less fear because the bow noise doesn’t alarm them. 15-25 on an alarmed deer is a poke and a hope though. With a trad bow, shrink that 10 and out on alert deer.

From: Bou'bound
05-Nov-22
Still not sure what the question is on this one

From: LOSTNwoods
05-Nov-22
50 yard max. My average shot is 24

From: loprofile
05-Nov-22
Boubound “ More whitetail deer are either missed or hit and not recovered at ranges exceeding ____ yards. “ Fill in the blank

From: DonVathome
05-Nov-22
30

That said I limited my shots to 23 yards for years. Then I started elk hunting out west. I live in Ohio. I practiced a lot more. It also gave me extreme confidence and accuracy by shooting at distances longer then I intended to shoot hunting. I was then able to shoot to 30 yards wtih complete confidence.

Whitetails are FAST. And they can move a lot if they are nervous when you shoot.

From: LOSTNwoods
05-Nov-22
25

From: LOSTNwoods
05-Nov-22
25

From: ohiohunter
05-Nov-22
Ditto on 30 in the whitetail woods. A lot of unpredictable factors, not only deer flinch but tunnel vision.. line of sight vs arrow trajectory, especially early season.

From: loprofile
06-Nov-22
Agree. When iI get a tracking calls for my dog the recoveries decrease significantly if the shot was over 30 and decreases as range increases

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