Every hunter can benefit from learning new tips and tactics for hunting their favorite game and becoming a better shooter. From veteran hunters stuck in a rut to hunters new to the sport, implementing new strategies sharpen your skills and assist in bagging trophy bucks or filling your game tags successfully. Read this selection of shooting tips and tricks for hunters for new ideas.
Prepare Your Mechanics: Sight In, Determine Load and Group Shoots
Be sure to sight in your rifle scope before hunting with it. You need it to be highly accurate at all times. It needs to be able to handle long range shots if you are hunting big game. Develop your own successful routine for sighting in your rifle scope and only sight it in with the ammunition you actually use on the hunt. Shoot at least 20 rounds of that ammunition to learn the velocity with which it will perform. Up to 40 rounds of practice is even better.
Shoot your chosen ammunition while measuring it across a chronograph’s screen. Shoot at consistent twelve to fifteen feet distances to be sure of your velocities. After determining your average velocities, choose a ballistics table (available to download on the Internet) that most closely matches it. If you don’t have a chronograph, set your sight-in target up at a distance of 25 yards to begin the process. You might want to make two separate trips to the range: one to develop your velocity information and hit the target; and another to adjust your rifle scope until you can place your shots in the tight grouping you want.
The best deer and game hunters balance the appropriate load power with accuracy. Select the grain that is suited to handle the specific game you are hunting and take down the animal in a humane way. Keep it within the manufacturer’s recommended load parameters for your firearm. You want bullets that expand on impact and release their energy into the animal quickly and effectively. Run several brands of ammo through your rifle at the range to find the most accurate one for your gun. The different brands shoot differently.
Waterfowl hunters must choose shot that include enough pattern density to ensure multiple hits. There must also be enough pellet energy to reach the birds’ vital organs. At the range practice with a patterning board and count your pellets to measure the pattern’s effectiveness. Shooting geese effectively requires 60 hits or more in a thirty inch circle. Duck hunting requires 90 to 140 hits. A pellet-choke combination with good center and fringes is the best option. Practicing your patterning makes you a better shot as well.
Most duck hunters use the smallest size of shot they can to kill cleanly at the distance from which you shoot. More pellets are in small shot, providing the best chance for instantly fatal shots and filling out the fringes of your shot pattern to bag more birds. Smaller shot works well with high-velocity loads (of 1,675 to 1,700 fps). Larger shot also has advantages. It carries more energy which is important on windy hunting days. If you are using tighter chokes, larger pellets make more sense. With three and a half inch 10- and 12- gauge overbore barrel guns, big shot works well, especially for extra-large loads for geese.
Varmint hunters find their deer rifles are effective but flat-shooting .223 caliber rifles are best for open terrain. Your turkey rifle already has the right setup for hunting coyotes or foxes. In timber or on legal night hunts, a shotgun with magnum loads of No. 4 buckshot is a hunter’s best choice. Shotguns also do less damage to the fur pelts. Aim for the chest area, just behind the shoulders for hitting vitals.
Some elk and deer hunters have been successful for years wearing only dull colored clothing or old military olive drab. That is because deer are colorblind. Investing a great deal of money in camouflage does not guarantee any hunter a successful experience. That said, wearing camouflage is the best way to blend with the environment and disguise yourself from the eyesight of your prey. It is important when duck hunting, as they see and notice anything out of the ordinary in their environment. It is also needed to hide from coyotes and foxes, with their keen eyesight.
Most of all, remember that ammunition that gets too hot may not shoot correctly. It is affected by variations in temperature, which may change its velocities according to the weather conditions to which it is exposed. Shooting in winter’s cold or early fall’s heat makes a difference. Prepare for it.
Prepare Your Camouflage & Colored: Hunting Clothes, Boots and Equipment
There are many different camo patterns & colors available so you need to choose the one that is the most appropriate for use where you hunt and for what you hunt. Wear camouflage that blends into your surroundings wherever they may be. Cover your hands and face as well. Wearing camouflage and hunting from the shadows will hide you best. Leave shiny jewelry at home. It is shine that will attract notice if nothing else about you does. Desert patterned camo is great for late fall, when the leaves are gone and grasses are dead.
Invest in a great waterproof pair of hunting boots. At the least, wear rubber boots to keep your feet dry. Waterfowl hunters need to consider investing in a pair of chest waders to wear when setting up your decoys and retrieving downed ducks. A camouflaged waterproof hat is important in cold and inclement weather. Colder weather hunting means investing in warm coats and gloves as well.
Prepare Yourself: Get Physically Fit
In the off seasons, exercise and get/keep yourself in good physical condition. Walk, jog, work out at the gym or climb some stairs. Hunters have to hike to some out-of-the-way places to find their prey. You may have to follow a blood trail through difficult terrain. Most of all, you must be prepared to run from a dangerous predator if the worst happens although in New Zealand we don't have predators so this doesn't apply. You also have to pack your trophies out when your hunt is successful.
All the shooting tips and tricks will not benefit you if you do not know the regulations and laws of the area in which you will hunt. Pay attention to hunting season dates. Get all necessary licenses, tags and other permissions for where you will hunt and for the animals you will hunt. Illegal hunting brings expensive fines and loss of your prey.
Successful hunters prepare for their hunting seasons in all these ways. Be smart, be strong and be knowledgeable. That way you will be safe and successful.
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