I've hunted deer for around 50 years but last year we entered into a river lease. Because of the depth of the river grass, a treestand of some sort is almost essential for visibility and also safety due to the large number of hunters on the river and proximity to the interstate. Prior to this lease, I have never hunted deer from a ladderstand. My issue started last year on a deer at 100 yards that was not DRT. I recovered the deer but it took several follow up shots after I got on the ground. Last year, I thought it might have been the bullet. Fast forward to this year. Doe was broadside at 40 yards. I missed this doe twice but she just stood there. Rethought before taking third shot. Held at the very bottom of her chest cavity and hit her at the midpoint and she ran 20 yards and died. Couldn't believe those first two shots. Took rifle to range and it was dead on at 200 yards. 270 WSM, 130 grn Ballistic Tip, 2,890 fps at muzzle. At this location, most shots are 100 yards or less with probably a 200 yard max. I have adjusted the scope down to 1" high at 100 which should be good for hold on hair out to around 200. After adjusting, my buddy was spotting and asked me to shoot the 50 yard target and it should be dead on. I did and it hit the 1/4" bullseye. I should be good to go. My Question: My confidence is hurting because of the two incidents out of the ladder stand. I am hunting out of a River's Edge ladderstand with a shooting rest that is attached at both ends to the chair of the stand. Could the flex in a shooting rest throw POI off several inches? Do I need to make the shooting rest more stable or better padded or something? Any ideas would be appreciated. I need to get my confidence back (if it isn't the rest/it's me) before Rifle Season in Mid November. Oh yeah, it's not the rifle or scope, last year was a Kimber with a Zeiss on it. This year it's a Sako A7 with a different Zeiss on it.
From a tripod stand I use Primos trigger sticks. I put the bottom tips of sticks on the toes of my boots so they will easily and quietly move across the expanded metal platform. With elbows on the stand rest it’s quite solid.
I'll give that a try. I have a bipod that should work about the same. All I could think of was this, putting maybe a pool doodle or some of that foam rubber the HVAC guys use or somehow maybe attaching a ratchet strap from above to the rest so it is more stable.
Also keep in mind that shooting from an elevated position will change your point of air versus shooting from a ground position. You have to think in three dimensions to ensure your projectile will go through the vitals instead of a non lethal shot. That gremlin bit me in the early stages of my deer hunting career, especially with archery gear.
Actually, the rifle was pretty much zeroed at 200 meters rather than yards (5 shop group taken two days later at range to verify. see picture attached),Not sure where the first two 40 yard shots hit. I set the crosshairs mid body. I'm fairly sure they were over her back. Picture of doe's exit wound attached. Entrance wound was just a tad higher. Figured I must be shooting over, so aligned crosshair with bottom of her belly and it killed her in about 20 yards.
While I've always found the metal railing on my tripods to have a good bit of "give" to them, I can't say they have never been sufficient to cause me to miss a deer. However, I do try to adjust the seat height so that my rifle seems to shoulder at a more natural angle if that makes sense. I do the same thing by using the right number of sandbags to create a forearm rest when practicing at the range. I see guys all the time who appear to be crouching down when shooting from the range table and wonder if it doesn't create sight angles that will be different once they're in the field.
You might try sitting in your ladder stand and shoulder your rifle as if you were shooting without a rest and see how different it would be when using it. The solution might be a simple adjustment of the height of the rest, even if it means creating your own design to get the rest where it needs to be. I do the same thing when hunting from a ground blind where I adjust the height of the seat and my bi-pod so that everything feels right once I shoulder my rifle.
Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/11/2011:00 PM.
"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Lots of good ideas here. I will be anxious to try some of them out. When I was recalculating my iStrelok software for the 100 yard target, I noticed that the old projected reticle had a estimated "hold under" on it. Makes me suspect User Error, but I guess I'll know by the end of the season.That Hold Under projection was pretty radical, so I might be down to "if you're shooting in an area, that the max shot will be 200 yards with a flat shooting cartridge like the 270 WSM, don't sight it in for 200 meters, just go back to the old days. 1 to 2" high at 100 yards and you can certainly hold on hair and be done with it. Thanks for all the suggestions, however. I will keep them in mind going forward. By the time I was done thinking this through, I kind of got to thinking that the ladderstand manufacturers would do something about it if their shooting rails threw you too far off.
rifle zeroed in @ 200 yrds. 40yrds shot what was @ 40yds first two shots ?
Theirs a miss leading pic were the rifle & scope zero's @ 100 or 200 yrds.. Looks like bullet rises from muscle ta scope then @ set distance it drops .. The scope sits above barrel & scope drops down ta muscle @ 100- 200... then as bullet drops @ greater distance it aliens with scope again..