Defining the Shooter & Spotter Relationship

Placing crosshairs on a trophy animal over 500 yards away can be difficult — locking in a target 1000 yards away is even harder. Factor in wind and uncomfortable shooting positions and you quickly realize how valuable having a reliable spotter by your side can be to a successful shot.

The spotter is responsible for communicating with the shooter. They will provide target and environment information that the shooter wouldn’t have access to if on their own. There are three important keys that the spotter must relay.

1. Obtain an accurate target range. This can be made into an easy task by using a G7 BR2 ballistic rangefinder. This converts the line of sight distance into a “shoot to range.” This is still possible without rangefinder. You will need to obtain a line of sight range and input the date into a ballistic calculator to achieve the needed drop correction.

2. Confirm that the shooter is accurately set up on the desired target. This can prove to be challenging when your target is shifting in and out of a herd. Take your time and focus on the accuracy of information you’re sharing with the shooter.

3. Provide shooter with accurate and current wind correction and consistently provide current wind updates. The wind is likely to change behavior between the time you lay down and take the initial shot and you the shooter will need to readjust.

The shooter of your group has all the information and is ready to take the first shot. The spotter must keep an eye on the target and communicate shot results to the shooter. If the shooter doesn’t hit the target, the spotter must convey where the bullet hit and what necessary corrections must be made for a successful second shot. These seem like simple tasks, but keep in mind that this is a high pressure moment when on the hunt. You will need to make sure you have the bases covered to provide the most accurate information to the shooter.

Target Identification

You will be responsible for updating the shooter with precise details of what the animal is doing. Subtle details such as the way the animal is facing and behavior patterns are crucial for a successful hit. Patience and understanding is required when communicating between the shooter and spotter. It is the shooters job to provide clear and exact details to the shooter. Remember, this can be a high-pressure situation for the shooter and you do not want to add to it.

Calling the Impact

It is vital to call the impact of the shot accurately. Rushing to call the bullet impact can lead to incorrect information, which negatively affect the next shots to come. Take your time and watch the entire shot unfold prior to calling the impact.

A common mistake made while spotting is calling the shot high because of the visual vapor trail in the spotting scope. Simple math suggests that a 1000 yard shot will have close to 20 MOA of drop in a standard .600 BC 3000 FPS cartridge that’s 16.5 feet of drop, the bullet will look high due to the angle as it approaches the target. Again, watch the entire shot unfold before making a call.

The relationship between a shooter and his spotter is held together by clear communication and lasting trust. Just as anything else, you will improve as a solid team with plenty of practice. You will learn the shooter’s movement patterns and eventually know when they are going to pull the trigger without the shooter telling you.

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Guest Post written by Matt from

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