But it started in the 1970s as the way to teach South African School kids about skill-based hunting ethics. These kids are now the world champions.
Member Robert Moors asked me about this - so here is a copy of our discussion and then in time more about the South African Hunting Rifle Shooting Competitions:
"He came back and said "that buck was 240 metres and not 200".
Robert, what I meant by this was that he concentrates on heart shots. He studied the anatomy of that blesbok and since then studied every animal he or I shot and knowing the trajectory of his 150 bullets out to 400 yards (the longest distance in the hunting rifle competitions) he will not miss the heart this side of 300 yards on any animal image. In the competitions as you may have seen we shoot at life size images of plains game: https://www.bullet-behavior.com/hunter-education-comperitions
Only heart and brain shots score well, in order to give the skilled shooter any standing - and severe penalties exist for any non killing shot. That 240 metres on his black wildebeest is his self imposed limit on live game as he has killed three other animals at that distance and has confidence in himself for that.
Each shooter has their own style of shooting and each of your sons have their own, as well as you. More hunters need to be involved in that style competition and would result in less lost game and fewer hunters being shot "accidentally", and with guns, there are no accidents. Not nearly enough shooters have the discipline to limit the their distance, as you well know. What positions are used in the competition ? What is the smallest size target used in the competition, head or heart ?
Heart target is smaller, as your target really is only the top chambers of the heart. Look at the photo of the feint circles on the side-on view of the red hartebeest. There are top shooters who put 5 bullets into that at 400 yards. The heart full-score is a circle around the top chambers of the heart as that is really your aim on an animal in order to take out the pulsating nodes and main arteries. You want to stop oxygen to the brain immediately as that is the quickest kill apart from a brain shot and is what we teach.
Robert, welcome to the site. I wish to post our discussion about the hunting rifle shooting competitions into the chat forum as I have been trying unsuccessfully now for 4 years to interest American shooters in this valuable hunter education tool. In time I hope a USA team can compete in the internationals.
Would be very beneficial to the American sportsman for this to happen. Wouldn't mind being outdone by some younger sharper eyed people that take accurate and safety serious.
"Wouldn't mind being outdone by some younger sharper eyed people that take accurate and safety serious."
You are a rare man. I only know five individuals in the USA who will say that...
The International Hunting Rifle Competition presently consists of SA, Namibia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Australia, Germany, Italy. There was an invitation to the US to join about two years ago. The immediate demand was that ranging scopes and bipods and target slings be allowed. Of course we declined.
BUT, if this discipline can be spontaneously started at grassroots level by a small core of shooters who wish to improve their knowledge and skill it will grow. There are USA individuals who have hunted here and have made friends with landowners and they now come to hunt AND attend the district (USA county) or provincial shoots, and also enter the internationals as individuals. Then, with other individuals from Spain, England, Bulgaria, Russia they form an international team.
Hunter education is a most important issue at least where I Iive in Colorado and see what happens in the field on a daily basis. This competition started in South Africa in the 1970s as a way to educate 13+ year old kids about hunting ethics. Those kids are now the world champions - and their kids are the ones who are more and more moving towards even heavier bullets in the .308" and 7mm calibres than what we believed were adequate.
Typical field available positions are used as you can see in the photos on the website page. For targets 100m and closer only off-hand is allowed. No bipods or rangefinding scopes or range finders are allowed - the shooter must estimate the ranges. All that he knows is that the targets will be between 90 and 400 yards. When there is no supplied rests to simulate a field-feature then prone is used. No over-arm slings are allowed.