For many sportsmen, a close-range hunting encounter is an exhilarating experience. Being feet away from your quarry can yield the best chance for a clean kill and an ethical shot, but it can also be incredibly dangerous. And while point shooting (whether it’s with a bow or a firearm) may not seem a challenge, at the distance of only a few feet, your first shot may well be the only shot you’ll get to take.
The videos below are some of the most heart-pounding, adrenaline-inducing close range hunting encounters we’ve ever seen. While not all of the hunters in the featured footage may have made a successful harvest, thankfully all survived to tell the experience.
1. The world record
What’s one thing better than bagging a world record Yukon moose? Bagging that same moose from an arm’s length. The video above shows hunter Réal Langlois during his now-legendary 2008 hunt near Earn Lake. Shooting from extreme close range, Réal kept his nerves steady just long enough for the bull moose to move into position.
Scored at 249 and 1/8, the bull taken in the video above still stands as the world’s largest moose harvested by bow.
2. The sniff test
How close can you get to a deer? Depending on what sort of gear and scent blocker you’re using, your level of hunting experience, the inexperience of the deer, and sheer blind luck, you may well get the chance to pet one of these wild animals. For Travis Schneider, some combination of those attributes rendered him nearly invisible to a pair of deer looking for forage.
3. The 12-foot brown bear shot
Hunter Juan Garcia and guide Sam Fejes traveled to Kodiak Island, Alaska to pursue some of the biggest brown bears in the world. Garcia let the massive animal get within 12 feet of the duo. The bear shown in this video is expected to eventually take the the number-two spot for Alaskan brown bear on the Pope and Young Club records.
Garcia was using a PSE Omen Max.
4. Alaska moose inspection
Sometimes scent blocker can work a little too well. This hunter was locked into a difficult situation when he encountered a cow moose and her calf during an expedition in Alaska. Although momma moose seemed docile enough, wildlife officials warn that cows with calves can be extremely protective. Add to the fact that moose are responsible for more human injuries than any other land mammal in North America, and you have a potentially explosive situation on your hands. Because the calf was present, the hunter also decided not to take the cow.
5. I don’t think that’s a bush
Unfortunately this video ends just as the hunter reaches full draw. Perhaps the hunter ended up with a winter’s worth of jerky, or perhaps he missed or never took the shot.
6. The buffalo quick-draw
Lynn Thompson is best known as the founder of Cold Steel Knives, and is the face of the company’s iconic cutting videos. That said, Lynn has an impressive history as a knife maker, martial artist, and sportsman. This video was shot during a spear hunt in Australia that went almost horribly wrong. Lynn had been stalking a buffalo for hours armed with a Samburu spear, but when he launched the projectile, the buffalo reacted at the last second and caught the spear with its horn. What followed was Lynn acting out of instinct gained from years of training.
“I had studied and trained for that very eventuality and my hours of training paid off,” he later wrote. “I was able to step, turn, draw and shoot, putting 5 rounds double action into the Buffalo within a few seconds and the big fellow fell down and expired at my feet!”
Do you have your own close-range hunting experiences? Feel free to share them in the comments below.