I like to prove I can consistently hit my target at longer ranges than I expect to see when I'm hunting.
If I haven't proven I can do it in practice, I don't take the shot on live animals.
That's great advice right there. I won't take a shot either, unless I'm 100% sure. 1 shot 1 kill... I'll give an example. The longest shot on a buck I've taken was 648 yards:
Shooting downhill with angle comp on. Actual straight line yardage to buck was closer to 700. I practice shooting out to 900 yards when I draw this tag, so 650 yards is a chip shot. That's 1 example. The next is during the off season I practice shooting out to 500 yards on private property. 500 is all we can safely get there, but its close to home and convenient. During the fires last summer, I shot in the smoke. Visibility was horrible, but this is how one of my rifles shot that day:
Generally that rifle prints 2.5" 10 shot groups at 500 yards... This at 100:
You can't even see the target in the picture because of the smoke:
I generally practice shooting at the tree I built: A 2" diameter target is even a challenge at 400 yards. If you can hit it 8 out of 10 times, you are doing pretty damn good...
Keep in mind a deers vitals are roughly the size of a paper plate. On a perfect day with very minimal wind, I'd shoot a buck at 900 yards. If I have been practicing at that range.