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What is Your Maximum Range

A lot has been said about the effective range of modern archery equipment. While some will still insist that no one should take a shot beyond 30 yards at a deer. I will go on record as saying that I totally disagree with this statement.

Modern bows are capable of harvesting deer in excess of 60 yards. When I began bow hunting 32 years ago, the best bow on the market shot at a mind blazing speed of 170 feet per second. And then, outdoor writers were advocating not shooting beyond 30 yards. Now I know that I am not the most knowledgeable person out there. But basic mathematics dictates that as bows have gotten better and our proficiency has gotten better, that our effective range will increase.

Personally, I shoot a Quest Primal bow, made by G5 Outdoors. I am shooting Easton Axis arrows and it was choreographed with my hunting set up at 277 fps. That is a whopping 107 fps faster than the best bow I began with. My release is better, my arrows are better and I am a better shot. So what is the effective range?

The answer is quite simple. But to make an analogy let’s use a firearm example; I shoot a 30-06 Remington. Most ballistic experts will tell you that this gun is capable of killing deer size game in excess of 400 yards, and in the right hands can push 600 yards. Notice the last phrase, “in the right hands.” I am not capable of shooting game at 600 yards. Few people are, the gun is capable, the shooter is not. The same can be said with today’s archery equipment. The equipment is capable of taking game cleanly and efficiently in excess of 60 yards. I am not that proficient. The maximum range is in the ability of the shooter. 

Olympic archers shoot bulls eye targets at 70 meters. (76.5 yards) sure it’s not an animal but the point is in their abilities. They are far more capable than I at shooting at longer ranges. While most archers know that the point of bow hunting is not in making long shots, its getting close to the animals. And most are killed inside 20 yards. But when the situation dictates, can you take that 35 yard shot? What about the Pope and Young buck feeding lazily along at 51 yards?

We cannot ethically say that we wouldn’t shoot at a doe at 51 yards, if we then launch an arrow at a trophy at the same distance. The maximum range for the bow hunter is limited by his ability. Practice at long ranges and your get more proficient at long ranges.

My bow has three fixed pins and one moveable pin. My fixed pins are set for the standard, 20-30-40 yard increments. The moveable pin extends my range to 60 yards. I practice a lot at sixty yards. Does that mean I would shoot a deer at that range? Probably not, but I know I can kill him at that range if I decide to shoot at that range. Knowing your ability and being confident in your ability will dictate your maximum range. The equipment is more than capable, are you?