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OK, what is the limit on a arrow, How far would you shoot. What would be ethical. I'm a Hunters Ed. and Bowhunters Ed. instructor and I get these questions all the time. Even though shoot my target out to 55 yards, I won't shoot past 40.
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like you said it is different shooting in the yard and shooting in the woods, so many factors to take into consideration, is the bow capable of making good penatration past a certain distance, is the shooter skilled enough to make the shot, in the woods you have to take into account any little twig in the arrows path, how often do you have a shot clear enough when hunting to make it happen, like i said before though i am no expert only bow hunting now for 2 years, distance depends on situation and experience, i have let a couple of does walk within range cause i wasn't comfortable with the shot, and i have yet to kill a deer with my bow
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I say the best thing if you are an instructor, and I am assuming most of your students, are beginners or mostly new to bow hunting, is to tell them to try and limit themselves to the distance that they can CONSISTENTLY, put 6 broadheads in an 8 inch paper plate? For most shooters, that will be considerably less than 30 yards. I know that some shooters can do this farther than 30, but most cannot do it CONSISTENTLY. It is ALOT different in the woods, out of a blind or treestand, than it is at the range, in your house, or in your backyard. 30 yards is a LLLOOONNG ways off in the woods out of a tree stand.

Now after much practice plenty of shooters can extend their maximum effective range, and that will depend on the current conditions at the moment of the shot. I think a good rule of thumb, and a great way to reduce the number of wounded animals is to limit yourself to 30 yards.

I used to have some hunting buddies that they proclaim that they can shoot deer out to 70 and 80 yards, now I do believe that a shot like that CAN be made, but not CONSISTENTLY. One of those 'buddies' used to rave about his 70 yard pin and 80 yard pin.........Well, all I know is that I helped him look for a few gut shot deer in Illinois...........

The safe thing to do is tell them to stay under 30 yards, and let them increase the distance on their own, in time.

A lot of things have to come together to get an arrow in a deer?????
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I would tell them to practice shooting off of something elevated before hunting elevated and keep your shots inside of ranges that you know you can handle from experience.
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The longest shot that I feel comfortable attempting is 40 yards. It is the longest distance I practice at and feel confident on hitting that shot. How many have I killed at that distance, really only a few, but I have not taken that many shots at that distance either. Now if the wind is blowing or the shot is not wide open, I will definitely pass and hope for a better opportunity. Not that is me who has been bow hunting for over 20 years. I would tell a beginner as a reader previously suggested to limit the shots to what he can hit consistently within a kill zone. Shooting at a live animal is so much different than a target and the only way you can become proficient at it, is to get out and experience that thrill. I would agree a new bowhunter should probably keep the shots within 30 yards and actually closer to 20 in most cases.
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   bigjim
You know Rob I've been at this bowhunting a long time and have been in front of probably more than a thousand deer with my bow, so this is my opinion from my experience. Even though I can hit a Mckenzie deer in kill zone at 100 yards consistently shooting a live deer is much different. The problem lies with the moment you release the arrow the deer more often than not has started his escape to safety by going down to push off to leave from the noise of the bow. I've missed at least 25 deer in my life due to deer (ducking the string) which is actually an evasive manuever to escape the sudden sound from above. If you want to kill 95% of the deer stay within 30 yards and pick your shot, 25 is even better. You hear about deer being killed at 40, 50, 60 etc. but you don't hear about the four or five deer lost for every one killed. At 25 yards in I've been a 100% on about the last 30 deer. I had a big doe coming right in 3 weeks ago in Bogue Chitto and a coyote came out and she turned away. My only chance was at just over 30 yards and my bow is as quiet as they come but she was wired. The second I released she reacted to the sound squatting to run and the arrow passed harmlessly right over her back. For a beginner 20 to 25 yards depending on skill level and for a very experienced archer 30 yards except in certain open food plot or open field situations with really calm deer feeding you may be able to extend that range a little but the possibility of deer reacting and being hit in the wrong area go up tremendously. Hope this helps.
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I agree with the 30 yard rule. If you are 20'-25' up a tree 30 yards is a long way out. I gut shot a doe this year at 35 because she took one step as I released. I shoot a Matthews Monster at 323ft per second and all it took is one step. That one step moved her 2ft to the left. No ducking, no bad shot placement, just a step. I passed on at least a 170' deer in Kansas this year because he was at 42yds. I drew on him and at 42yds a 240# deer looks like an ant. I feel that many of us are capable of making 60yd shots in our back yard, but not on deer. As I have gotten older and more experienced as a hunter it has become my goal to 'harvest' the animal rather than 'kill' it. I feel proper ethical shots are a must.
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For me, 38-40 yds. is as far as I am comfortable. I practice out to 55 yds and hit consistently. In 2006, I doubled on traveling deer (spike and doe) at 36 yds. and 38 yds within a few minutes of each other. It took forever for the arrow to get there and I don't like shooting deer that far. I haven't since. I knew the exact distance to each trail or I probably would not have taken the shots. Over the years, the average shot for me is inside 15 yds. Since that 2006 long-distance double my fartherest shot has been 26 yds.

As far as consistency, I don't consider groups inside an 8' pie plate as hunt worthy. If you are aiming at a dead still dot and can only get arrows within 8' consistently, you can plan on increasing that 8' to about 12' or more with a live animal = recipe for disaster. So for beginners, I think 30 yds. is stretching it too far and most won't take that shot. Ability should determine the distance but man when hair gets in that peep sight a whole new world opens up.

When I started in the early 90s, I had a serious problem wanting to get a shot off so bad that when hair got in my peep I wanted to trip the trigger - I did on some. I would get tunnel vision and only see hair adn nothing else. The results were not too good. i once had a deer make a complete about face while aiming nad I didn't realize it until I shot and saw him run off with the arrow in the worng end! Thankfully, overtime this has gotten under control but there is SO MUCH tension that mounds between drawing and shooting that it pressures men to do things they shouldn't. I went 6 for 6 this year with no screw ups and that is a personal best. It seems every year there is a screw up in there some where.
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I've been bow hunting for about 30 years now and love every second of it. I personally limit my shots to 30 yards or less. It doesn't matter what's out there I won't shoot over that. I LIKE to shoot less than 20 yards if I have my choice. Like everyone else has stated-it's a whole different world in the woods! I can consistently hit targets at 60 yards plus but would never consider that on a live animal. I also agree about the paper plate-if you can't put that many shots in a 3' or 4' circle then you don't need to even attempt the shot. Thankfully, as I've aged, I've become more like most of the other posters on here. I'd rather see a great deer walk than risk crippling it.JMHO
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Looks like the majority of us have a 40 yard maximun for a shot. I too used to pratice religiously out to 80 yards and was very proficient at 80. But anything over 50 yards, it needs to be a completely deaf critter, cause there's a lot of time for them to react to the noise out that far.

A lot happens futher down range that was brought to my attention before. Kenetic energy falls off dramaticlly after 40 yrds.

I've taken Bull Elk several times from 3yrds to 56 yrds. The only shot on a bull over 40ish was the 56 yrd shot, it was last day of my hunt, I had been outsmarted for 5 seperate hunts by a particualar herd bull. And that morning he had slipped me again, but a smaller satallite bull presented a shot and I was dead confident and conditions perfect, made a perfect kill shot with the animal going only 20 yrds then folding. But I have also passed up larger bulls at closer distances due to various issues.

If you notice how deep your arrow will penatrate a target at 30 and then at 60, same goes for an animal.

As already mentioned, the comfort zone is key. Consistancy, ability to nail the target and equipment matters. I would never let my hunters shoot past 40 without a fixed broadhead, unitl I changed and would not allow mechanicals at all.

R
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   falcon1
i think you owe it to the animal to do all that you can to make a quick, clean kill. past 40 yds, there is just a lot that can go wrong. the only shot i have taken past 40 yards was at a bobcat, close to 80 yds out (i wasn't even close)
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Man this is a hard one.....I choose to just keep my mouth shut on this one because there is no RITE distance to be considered ethical.....
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for me its 40 yrds weather deer or turkey hunting..........practice farther shots and really prefer them to be under 30....
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