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When Do You Shoot?

Started by Marc, April 18, 2023, 04:39:43 PM

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I am not good at judging distance in the moment. Age (69) and some mild cataracts doesn't help. My solution is to determine a ring of death around me when I sit down and stick to it. This has worked pretty well for me in the last few years. Here's a trick I learned that I think helps me. When I sit down everything is skewed from the sitting position looking through the woods. As an old Ruffed grouse and Pheasant hunter I look through the woods at a flush level (say 10 feet) and then I say yup I would shoot a grouse out to that tree and I make a mental mark of it. I repeat this for my circle of death. For you grouse hunters you understand that grouse killing is with open chokes and pretty limited range, so my grouse range is typically 25-35 yards. I often find when I sit down and look at the same trees at the 2-3 foot level it all looks much different, but the range does not change. We are shooting a flat plain and that plain is the same at 8-10 feet as 3 feet. However, visual perspective may be much different. For some reason birds typically look closer than they actually are, so I can ignore visual illusions and rely on my preset circle of death. Of course there are times we have to set up quick or land lay determines our range, but in most cases you have time to preset range markers. Yes, I have shot birds further then my markers, but having the marker gives you a reference point. If I set my marker at 35 and he's a little beyond it I'm still good. I know my gun's pattern and capability and I would trust it to 45-50, but I absolutely do not plan on shots at those distances. My choice shot is 30-35 yards. Setting a kill range 20% inside the capable range of my gun is a fail safe, and you only know this if you pattern your guns.


I carry a range finder and quickly scan some trees around me if there is time. My preferred range is between 35 and 10 yards. I don't like them much further out and I sure don't want them inside of 10 yards if possible. I've considered getting one of the new Mossberg Silver Reserve Eventides and running a more open choke in one of the barrels for close in shots.


Turned into an interesting thread!

My father spoke to me on shooting ducks "if you think you can get him, don't shoot...  Wait till you know you can get him."  I believe it applies even moreso to turkeys, as they are a far easier target when in range.

It occurred to me this season, that as I am watching a bird come in range, there is that point, in which my brain clicks "he is in range now, and I am comfortable with shooting him."  If he is coming in closer with confidence, I let him continue come (to about 15 yards)...  My comfort range is about 35 yards, but I have and will take them at 40...

But that bird that starts to get nervous, cause he does not see a hen, or starts to sense something is wrong...  I shoot him on the spot (once in my comfort zoen).  A nervous bird usually already has his head up...
Did I do that?

Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.

Meleagris gallopavo

I wait until I have what I think is a clean shot before squeezing the trigger.  I don't hurry shots but sometimes I won't wait long if I think the shot I have is the best at the moment.  My shots are always between 20 and 35 yards.  I prefer his neck to be extended but I have had good luck getting them in full strut if they don't offer me anything better soon.  I tend to really focus more on the full strut shots.  I waited too long for one to come out of full strut this year and didn't get a shot at one that was about 25 yards away.  Something spooked him and he went from full strut to running full speed away instantly.  I've missed opportunities on the head bobbers as well when I was in dense cover.  There's always another day.

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I live and hunt by empirical evidence.


As soon as he gets within killing range and I have a clean shot

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It was good to re read that thread.


For me it's when I can clearly see the beard.
Stand still, and consider the wonderous works of God  Job:37:14