Sighting in Your Rifle: How Far Should You Plan to Shoot?
In the arcade game at your favorite bar, taking down deer with a rifle is probably pretty easy. There are crowds of them in front of you, you aim, and it takes very little to hit one (or multiple) of them. You can even get a top score within a few seconds!
Here in the real world, it isn't nearly as easy to find and harvest a deer, including the Texas whitetail. In fact, Field & Stream will tell you that there is a science to deer hunting, and quite a bit of math is involved as well. It’s not just a matter of aiming and shooting.
For instance, when hunting deer, you might wonder what the average shot distance is? Or, how far is too far to shoot a deer? Are there any other special considerations you should think about before making your shot? What does it mean to “sight” your rifle? Stone Creek Ranch can answer all of these questions (and many others!).
What Does "Sighting in Your Rifle" Mean?
You want to be as successful as possible when you have the opportunity to take a shot. This is where sighting your rifle is important.
Sighting essentially means becoming familiar with both yourself and the rifle’s performance before a hunting trip. As you prepare for your hunt, you should practice shooting so you are confident in both your ability and your rifle’s accuracy. The goal is to “zero” your rifle so it will accurately shoot to a point of aim at a specific distance. The more you know about how your rifle shoots, the more you can become familiar with it, which can help improve your likelihood of hitting your target in the field.
How Far Should You Plan to Shoot?
Field & Stream tells us that the average shot distance for deer hunting is about 100 yards or less. Still, sometimes, you will want to take a shot at a long range, such as 300 or 400 yards.
When Field & Stream experimented with distances, they found that they were threats to deer at distances up to 300 yards. However, even the best hunters with the best equipment had more misses than hits at 400 yards. For this reason, you probably should not take a shot if the deer you have in your sights is more than 300 yards away—and that's if you're really good.
"Two hundred yards is the limit for an average shot and 300 for a very good shot," said Wayne Van Zwoll, an accomplished competitive rifleman who has published 16 books and nearly 3,000 articles on firearms, optics, ballistics and hunting.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
In order to have the most successful trophy Whitetail deer hunt possible, we encourage you to keep these four tips in mind:
- #1 Be familiar with your rifle, and with yourself. Know what you can do and what you can’t do, before you take your shot.
- #2 Be calm! If you can’t control your nerves when the time comes to shoot, you won't be successful, especially when you’re shooting at a longer distance.
- #3 Be confident. Everyone misses a deer once in a while, that doesn't mean you should pack up and go home.
- #4 Know your effective range and stay within it.
Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting
We know this is a lot of advice to keep in mind. Remembering it might feel tough, especially when you're in the heat of the moment and have a Texas whitetail deer in your sights. But don’t worry, when you hunt at Stone Creek Ranch, you don’t have to remember it all by yourself.
Stone Creek Ranch features numerous box blinds and food plots to give you the best possible opportunity to harvest your deer. This means when you're on our ranch, it is not if you see a Texas Whitetail Deer, but when.
Plus, our experienced guides and friendly staff are always ready to provide advice and go the extra mile to make your stay a memorable one. Guides scout the entire ranch year-round to ensure provide the best possible whitetail hunting in Texas. And if you have questions, we’re ready to provide the answers and assistance you need. So if you’re still learning your rifle or need some pointers, you just have to turn to us.