Some people are better shooters than others often by a combination of natural talent and hours of practice.
I don’t languish much over missing a bird with my shotgun because it happens more often than I’d care to admit.
But when you shoot as well as Spokane hunter Byron Johnson, watching a bird fly off beyond a shot string is cause for alarm.
“The last time I missed a pheasant I went right in and had my eyes checked,” the retired physician said last week. “I needed surgery.”
Readers of The Spokesman- Review’s Sunday Outdoors section were much less lighthearted with their take on the shooting and fair-chase ethics raised last weekend.
They expect hunters who take aim at deer and elk to be dead serious about what they are doing.
“Tell us what you think about using long-range rifles for hunting big-game at distances up to 1,000 yards,” we asked our readers. The request was with a story about marksmen who acquire extreme distance prowess at the shooting range and then apply it to hunting animals.
The story was headlined, “The Long Rangers: Shooters take heat for taking 1,000-yard shots at big game.”
Here’s a sampling of the responses:
•Tony Delgado, Stevens County Commissioner, said he remembers Quebec once had a published rule that limited the range in which a .30-30 could be used for hunting moose.
“The idea is that a hunter should have a rifle with a certain (minimum) foot-pounds of energy for the game he was hunting,” he said, noting that even the bullets from high-caliber rifles lose much of their energy at super-long distances.
“It was the only place I remember seeing a rule like that published.”
•“I am 65 years old and my rough-country hunting is becoming more restricted each year,” Dan Guptill said. “But I think the idea of long-range shooting at a game instead of hunting the animal is really wrong.
“Few hunters have the skill to make 1,000-yard shots. Most who would try are probably too damn lazy to follow up after their shots.”
•“I’ve seen shooters who couldn’t hit a 4-by-4-foot backstop at 100 yards,” Jim Kujala said. “Therefore, a good shot with a 750-grain bullet on target at 1,000 yards is better than a poor shot with a 150-grain bullet at 100 yards.
“It needs to be left up to the individual on each shot taken not to exceed their ability and then have the ethics to go and confirm the hit.”
•“Long-range hunting is neither hunting nor is it ethical,” said Eric Mills of Oakland, Calif., who read the story online.
“Why not just throw a stick of dynamite? I grew up reading Argosy, Field & Stream, Sports Afield and Outdoor Life. What, pray, has happened to hunter ethics and ‘fair chase?’
“If hunters ever lose the privilege (it’s certainly not a ‘right’) to hunt, it’ll be because of nonsense like this, and deservedly so.”
•“I enjoy the challenge of short-, mid- and long-range shooting, but not shooting wild game at extended distances,” C.D. “Whit” Whitney said. “That is ‘shooting’ not ‘hunting.’
“I sincerely believe the ethic of fair chase has been diminished by all of the high-tech equipment available.”
•“To shoot at an animal at this great distance is disturbing and unacceptable,” Nick Lorentz said. “Is this ‘hunter’ going to walk across the valley and pursue the animal? No, the lazy ass will assume he missed the animal and go shoot at another one.”
After reading these and other similar e-mails from readers, I can honestly close by saying – I have nothing more to add.
Contact Rich Landers at (509) 459-5508 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org