Scenario: Whitetail buck running uphill across an open pasture
Rifle: Bergara B-14 bolt-action rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor
Range: 210 yards
Conditions: Sunny; 35 degrees; steady 12-mph wind, right to left
What did you do? It could have been a stray gust of wind, or the glint of your forehead glistening from sweat, but this Montana buck is bolting. Luckily, you already put your Nikon rangefinder to use moments before the buck started moving. Your Hornady Precision Hunter ammo should land the bullet at that distance with less than 2 inches of drop. Wind-drift should be minimal, approximately 2.5 inches. Is it time to launch? Check out the possible aiming points A, B or C shown below, then take your best shot.
A. Your grandpa always told you to break a buck down, and with this locomotive picking up speed, a bullet that lands in the joint where the neck and shoulder meet will make grandpa proud. But was he ever challenged by a 200-yarder?
B. If you think your rifle is zippier than Speedy Gonzales, then this is your aiming point. Or is it? Think again and do the math on a moving deer: Your bullet is going to end up too far back for a rump landing.
C. If you’ve practiced the running shot, then this is your aiming point. Don’t just plant the reticle. You need to visualize this buck as a flushing pheasant. Depress the trigger as you swing out in front if you plan to take this shot.
Did you make a decision? I’ve made mine – running shots at this distance are doable, but extremely difficult. Take a pass unless you’ve practiced. It’s better to return to this pasture in a few days and snipe the buck as he passes on a patternable route.
Image by Mark Kayser