He will spend countless hours target practicing in preparation for that one shot. In many instances when that one opportunity comes along, the shot is just too far away for a clean kill and he elects to pass out of respect for the animal. I have never heard a bow hunter say “I had that big 12 pointer at about 75 yards and he wasn’t getting any closer so I let a couple arrows fly just to see what would happen”. However duck and goose hunters seem to take pride in telling their friends that the bird they shot had to be at least 80 yards up there! And unfortunately when one stray pellet drops a bird at a great distance, now that hunter seems to feel that distance is a killable shot. They fail to take into account that although one in a hundred shots at that range may kill a bird, there are dozens and dozens more birds that are hit but do not go down right away and end up suffering and dying weeks later in a slough far away. Weather it is a trophy buck or a green wing teal, our natural resources need to be treated as a treasure and not a video game.
Over the many years of guiding novice hunters, as well as spending time in the field with seasoned outfitters, I have seen and heard it all. One of the most common questions that gets asked before a hunt is: what sized shot do I need? Inside of 30 yards most any size waterfowl load will kill a bird if it is in the pattern. Recently though, the craze in the industry is for the use of after market, tight patterned choke tubes and 31/2” inch shells. The ammunition manufactures are making claims of being able to take birds at longer and longer distances with this new cutting edge technology. However tight choke tubes are not as effective for shots taken under 30 yards. Have we not gotten away the true sport of hunting? At the basic level, the sport should be about matching wits with nature to proficiently harvest game for the consumption of its meat. Sure it is rewarding to watch a big Canada goose fold clean at 40 yards and drop stone cold to the ground. There is always a personal satisfaction that comes from a clean kill that you personally made. However for me, it is just as rewarding having a flock of Canada geese fly by so close you can feel their wing beats over your blind. Or having the birds almost touch down in the decoys before taking the shot. It is also much more productive taking birds in the 20 – 30 yard range. If on a certain day the birds are flaring off of your decoys at 60 yards, instead of taking a bad shot and hoping that you might get lucky and break a wing, get up and make corrections to the spread or camo your blind better so they next flock will come in close enough for a clean kill. It is very unrewarding for the ethical hunter to watch a bird sail away and even drop dead a mile out in some marsh, where there is no way to ever retrieve the bird.