I've always been fascinated by the art of missing shots at big-game animals. I've seen it happen a dozen times in a dozen different ways. And nearly every time after the hapless hunter wears out their favorite excuses for missing the shot around the campfire, they confess they didn't spend enough time preparing at the gun range beyond a few obligatory sighting in rounds from a bench rest.
In real hunting situations, skill and accuracy from a bench-rest is almost irrelevant beyond ensuring your rifle is sighted in and you're familiar with the bullet drop characteristics of that particular load. Following the tips and guidelines below will help you prepare for success this hunting season.
Spend the time at the gun range to get comfortable with shooting from prone, sitting (or kneeling) and offhand. Note any changes in point of impact when using your rile's sling.
Determine your maximum effective range at each shooting position. A good way to do this is by using a paper plate (it's approximately the same size as the vital area on a deer) at various distances with different shooting positions. If you can't consistently get 4/5 shots in the plate, you shouldn't take a shot in that shooting position at that range.
Practice with and become comfortable with any accuracy aids you carry in the field such as bipods, shooting sticks, and your rifle's sling. Practice getting them into position quickly, and quietly.
Take the shot with confidence. An interesting phenomenon while shooting is that if the thought of missing so much as crosses your mind as a possibility, you will. Visualize the round landing exactly where you want it to, and more often than not it will.
Don't aim in the general direction of the animal's vitals, pick the precise spot you want to hit. As the old cliche goes, "aim small, miss small".
And last but not least, if you don't feel confident in making a clean kill with your fitst shot, don't pull the trigger. As hunters we have a responsibility to harvest animals cleanly, and as humanely as possible.
Want to Become an Even More Accurate Hunter? Practice with the Patent-Pending Impact-22 Rolling Steel Target!
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