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Hunting Basics 101 for the Novice Hunter.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2008 at 03:05
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Hunting Basics 101

Wouter Le Roux

 

 

The early morning wintry sun was slowly pushing back the dark shadows within a dense stand of spekboom, wild plum, gwarrie and scrub bush, so typical of the Cacudu district (Willowmore, Aberdeen, Patensie). I have been glassing this area for the past hour, hoping to spot the smallest giveaway flick of an ear or the glint off a horn. Nothing moved, except for the occasional bird flitting from tree to tree. I became restless and in my fidgeting dislodged a rock, which noisily rolled a few meters down the slope. Suddenly I heard branches breaking as something large crashed through the bushes. With adrenalin surging I frantically searched for and found the source of the noise. A large kudu bull had broken cover and was making his way to the top of the kloof. He hardly showed himself as he dashed upwards and at times only his spiraling horns showed his progress through the thick spekboom. For a second he stopped and showed himself more clearly, his large head and broad neck sticking out above the bushes as he plotted his escape next. In that same instant I aimed and fired. The bullet smacked loudly and I heard no further noises. I was convinced that the shot was good. I made my way to the spot where I had seen him last, but only found a little blood spattered on the ground. A short scouting exercise confirmed the worse; I have a wounded animal on my hands….

 

We can all soothe our conscious with the old adage that if you have never wounded an animal, you have never hunted. This does not however make it acceptable. So why are some animals wounded and what can we do to minimize the risk of this happening? I believe that the answer to this question can be distilled into “not enough gun” and poor shot placement.

 

Forests have been denuded on the subject as to what constitutes “enough gun”. I am therefore not going to say much more on this subject, other then to say that this is the easiest mistake to correct. No-one should hunt with too light a caliber, incorrect bullet weight or poor quality bullets for the given quarry. This error is mostly made by inexperienced hunters who do not yet have enough knowledge/experience on the subject or by those that equate bigger calibers/heavier bullets with meat damage. Animals are also quite often wounded by someone who has “inherited a nice little (insert your own small caliber into this space) from his grandfather and he just cannot wait to try this little beauty out”, even against his own better judgment.

 

I believe that this type of error can be eliminated through a judicious purchase over the counter top.

 

A far more complex discussion is correct shot placement. In a perfect world we would all have trained to be excellent marksmen, be able to judge distance, wind direction and strength accurately and be able to stalk close enough to our quarry so that the distance of the shot is well within our limitations. The entire animal would be visible before shooting and we would only aim at the vitals, the position of which we know to anatomical perfection.  Then, calmly and carefully, we would make that perfect one-shot kill. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world.

 

Correct shot placement can be defined as a single shot that destroys a vital organ or organs of the animal, such as the heart, lungs or brain, which causes that animal to die instantly or succumb within a short space of time after being shot.

 

The causes of poor shot placement can be divided into two categories: forces controllable by the hunter and forces uncontrollable by the hunter.

 

Forces controllable by the hunter are his shooting ability and aiming points. Poor shooting ability can be minimized by making sure that one uses sound equipment that is in good order i.e. a well maintained rifle that is sighted in correctly. And of course practice and more practice. Incorrect aiming points can again be corrected through basic anatomy lessons of the game to be hunted.  

 

The more difficult aspect of being able to make a correct shot placement comes about through factors often beyond the direct control of the hunter such as wind, terrain and distance to quarry. These factors can therefore only be managed to the best of ones abilities.

 

Incorrect shooting distance: A bullet does not travel in a straight line. To overcome the forces of gravity, a bullet is “lobbed” at the target. The bullet therefore has to intersect the line of sight precisely at the desired point of impact. This requires accurately estimating the distance to the point of impact. It can be extremely difficult to correctly estimate the distance of one’s shot in the veldt. Dead ground, gradient, size of the animal and plain experience (or lack thereof) all play a roll in correctly estimating distance. It is also contended that some animals, notably the gemsbuck, makes it difficult to judge distance, as the animals anatomical proportions remain the same regardless of age. In other words a small gemsbuck may appear small because it is in fact small or because it is far away. Rangefinders, which have become more affordable, are a useful tool and take the guesswork out of determining the distance to the quarry. 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2008 at 07:04
tahqua View Drop Down
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Good read, Wouter.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/19/2008 at 08:48
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Originally posted by tahqua tahqua wrote:

Good read, Wouter.
 
+2 Very well done. Thanks
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2008 at 00:32
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Thanks for the post.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2008 at 16:51
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A good read.  I do have one comment about the following point...
 
Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

 No-one should hunt with too light a caliber, incorrect bullet weight or poor quality bullets for the given quarry. This error is mostly made by inexperienced hunters who do not yet have enough knowledge/experience on the subject or by those that equate bigger calibers/heavier bullets with meat damage. Animals are also quite often wounded by someone who has “inherited a nice little (insert your own small caliber into this space) from his grandfather and he just cannot wait to try this little beauty out”, even against his own better judgment.

 

I believe that this type of error can be eliminated through a judicious purchase over the counter top.

 
As true as this statement is, it is equally true that just as many hunters are choosing to go afield with too much gun.  In this I do not mean to imply that any animal can be killed "too dead."  Rather I mean that hunters are too commonly choosing firearms so powerful that they simply cannot shoot well - usually on the premise that today's animals have become so tough it takes something akin to a 105 Howitzer to kill a whitetail deer, or elk, or moose.  Such is simply not the case. 
 
Despite popular fantasy to the contrary, deer, elk, moose, and even the largest of bears are not particularly tough animals.  Place a well constructed bullet (or arrow) in the animal's vitals and they invariably go down quickly and quietly.  Screw up the shot, entirely missing or even only partially hitting the vitals, and it doesn't matter how big your gun is, you're in for trouble.
 
So then the challenge is:  choose a gun big enough to do the job, but not so big that you can't shoot it well.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2008 at 17:15
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Printing for future reference. Thanks Wouter!! Thunbs%20Up
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2008 at 20:45
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