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Shooting in the field

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 14:58
TexasPhotog View Drop Down
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I guided a hunter last weekend on an antelope hunt and my dad guided three other antelope hunters recently.  Dad's guys took something like 21 shots to eventually take three bucks. Two of his guys had to shoot at multiple bucks before connecting. My guy needed three shots to collect his.  I'll spare you the details except to say it was especially ugly.  None of the first shots were long.

At the risk of preaching to the choir, I'll offer these tips for better shooting to hunters going afield this fall:

1) Sight your rifle in yourself.  Goes without saying?  One of our hunters didn't bother.  Guess how well that worked out.
2) Practice from field shooting positions rather than a benchrest.  If you have an accurate .22 that is set up similar to your big game rifle, use that.  It's cheap, fun and cures flinches.
3)Get in shape.  It'll help you breath better and steady your rifle faster.  If your hunting area is at a higher altitude than you're used to, arrive a few days early before the hunt and let your body start getting used to the thinner air.  The higher the hunting area, the earlier you should get there.  Also, the better shape you're in, the faster you will acclimate.
4)Check your rifle's zero once you get to camp.
5) Take a rest.  You often can achieve near-benchrest stability by resting your rifle over a rock or backpack.  I'm not fond of bipods because of the weight they add and for aesthetic reasons.  My personal bias aside, they help most shooters a lot.  I find shooting sticks to be very nearly as good and they don't muck up a good looking rifle.  I make mine from two dowel rods and an piece of an innertube.  Total cost is less than $5.

Good luck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 16:23
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 All good advice!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 16:33
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my dad told me about an Elk hunt in Colorado years ago.
said another hunter (not a friend of his!) was showing off his new gun and my dad asked what his load was, how it grouped, etc...

turns out the guy had never shot it and he said the gun shop boresighted it so he was "ready"

my dad tried to explain what boresighting really is, to get you on paper at 25 yards!

he offered to help but he refused
amazing....

how someone could spend the money and the time and not be prepared is truely shocking to me....


Edited by ccoker - September/15/2009 at 16:34
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 16:45
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Originally posted by RONK RONK wrote:

 All good advice!



I would also add, BRING BULLETS!!!  LOL

http://www.opticstalk.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=6021
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 19:44
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I once guided for a guy that missed an elk at 150 yards 12 times.  Turned out the biggest problem was the gun was just too much for him. I shot it at camp and it grouped fine.  He just couldn't handle the 300 RUM.  Watched him shoot it and he would close his eyes and flinch every single shot.

I think shooting a gun you can handle is a big deal too.  I would rather take a guy hunting that shoots a smaller caliber, but will hit accurately and can shoot, than a guy that brings the cannon, but can't shoot good.  I hate tracking animals for miles on end.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 20:37
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What advice do you got for someone who gets buck fever and shakes when going to shoot? I know a rest will help but I know I would be the type of person who would do that. You cannot really prepare for that at the range.....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 21:37
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Breathe! I tend to do that, but if I actually breathe, it really helps.  Don't try to rush the shot.  So many people think you need to shoot as soon as the cross hairs are on the animal.  There are times where you might have to take a faster shot, but many people rush too much and make a bad shot.

That and once you decide it is a shooter, stop thinking about the horns.  Think about your shot placement.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 22:00
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Amen on the Breath thing!  That was one of the frist things Ken Tapp taught me about shooting fast was just to breath normal.  Holding acouple of breaths may help you stop your chest from pounding. 
 
Most people do not understand that if you are standing that your body will make a figure 8 standing then on it's side.  They do not know how to time that.
 
To many people think that just because they shoot with "bubba" they can really shoot. It ain't true... Go to some matches as see how good you really are... excusse making wussy.
 
Then it is harder to get to a range with any distance to learn about things like wind or where your gun is realy shooting.  OR what things look like at range.
 
Then people don't have a clue about where the vital zones are on animals... Or a playing with all the knobs, levers and other adjustments because they were day dreaming of a zillion yard shot and bambie is 75 yards away.  Then thier magic bullet that groups great sucks on game...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 22:42
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Originally posted by Monster Monster wrote:

What advice do you got for someone who gets buck fever and shakes when going to shoot? I know a rest will help but I know I would be the type of person who would do that. You cannot really prepare for that at the range.....
 
 
Enjoy it!
 Buck fever is one of the greatest rushes a human can experience.
 I can control mine pretty well, after taking maybe half a hundred deer, but I hope it never goes away, and once in a while it still hits hard enough to really surprise me!
 
 And believe it or not, a lot of time spent at the range shooting from various positions,etc., will do more to help you master that important shot when it comes up, than you could ever imagine. It will give you the confidence of knowing you can make that shot, and that alone will calm you down a great deal.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/15/2009 at 22:45
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My best advice to you is...... Don't look at the antlers while aiming. It sounds hokey, but it works.... Make the effort to not look at the antlers, and that effort in itself helps to occupy the mind, thus calming the shooter. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 01:29
Monster View Drop Down
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Yea honestly I have only been deer hunting on two different trips and the first time I saw a buck it was a good deer for the area we were hunting. It was outside of my comfortable range but just seeing it gave me a huge rush. I can't imagine what it would be like to have one in the cross hairs but hope to find out soon...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 09:22
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I hear you Helo!  I'd much rather a hunter show up with a .308 or 7-08 he can shoot than something he can't handle.   It's all about placing a good bullet in the right spot.

Most of our hunters would have had better trophies if they could have shot better and the all would have gone home with more and better quality venison.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 09:34
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Monster, That's happened to all of us and it's more common when you start hunting. If it wasn't exciting we wouldn't hunt!  Experience at looking at bucks will help you calm down over time.  The other posters are right:  breath well and concentrate on picking the spot on the animal that you want the bullet to hit rather than looking at the horns.  I would add also use a really steady rest like a bipod or a rock to minimize any shaking.  Good luck!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 12:43
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aim small miss small 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 13:54
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One bipod option is the Stoney Point quick-release type.  It just snaps on and off and is really stable.  The stud hardware you put on your rifle doesn't really "ugly" up the rifle too much.
 
I agree:  aim small.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 14:43
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Originally posted by TexasPhotog TexasPhotog wrote:

I guided a hunter last weekend on an antelope hunt and my dad guided three other antelope hunters recently.  Dad's guys took something like 21 shots to eventually take three bucks. Two of his guys had to shoot at multiple bucks before connecting. My guy needed three shots to collect his.  I'll spare you the details except to say it was especially ugly.  None of the first shots were long.

At the risk of preaching to the choir, I'll offer these tips for better shooting to hunters going afield this fall:

1) Sight your rifle in yourself.  Goes without saying?  One of our hunters didn't bother.  Guess how well that worked out.
2) Practice from field shooting positions rather than a benchrest.  If you have an accurate .22 that is set up similar to your big game rifle, use that.  It's cheap, fun and cures flinches.
3)Get in shape.  It'll help you breath better and steady your rifle faster.  If your hunting area is at a higher altitude than you're used to, arrive a few days early before the hunt and let your body start getting used to the thinner air.  The higher the hunting area, the earlier you should get there.  Also, the better shape you're in, the faster you will acclimate.
4)Check your rifle's zero once you get to camp.
5) Take a rest.  You often can achieve near-benchrest stability by resting your rifle over a rock or backpack.  I'm not fond of bipods because of the weight they add and for aesthetic reasons.  My personal bias aside, they help most shooters a lot.  I find shooting sticks to be very nearly as good and they don't muck up a good looking rifle.  I make mine from two dowel rods and an piece of an innertube.  Total cost is less than $5.

Good luck!
Wow! Never heard of anything like that... Thats sad... 
I have my kids take a deep breath before I even let them start to aim or mount the rifle...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 18:02
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Originally posted by Monster Monster wrote:

What advice do you got for someone who gets buck fever and shakes when going to shoot? I know a rest will help but I know I would be the type of person who would do that. You cannot really prepare for that at the range.....
Geez, I am 61, hunted all my life, and still start shaking like I was 9 getting ready to shoot. As other posts have said, that incredible emotion is both a joy and a curse. My dad, an old gunner, taught me to take one deep breath before holding, exhale completely followed by another deep breath, let that second one half-way out and hold. Additionally, I try never to take an offhand shot if avoidable, preferring sitting, prone, or any kind of rest if I can come up with one.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/16/2009 at 20:38
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 I can't count how many times I've seen someone take an offhand shot at a deer or elk, (and usually miss it) , when they were only a couple steps from a solid tree trunk to rest against.
 Now there's just no excuse for that sort of thing!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/17/2009 at 08:45
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Lack of practice shooting in the senario you just sat up... 
The PD pistol quals are stand in front of a cardboard target and shoot... 
They actually set us up in a shoot house the other day and gave us a senario where we turn around and react to what we see.  We are in a hall way with an open door to our right.... When we turn around there is a guy standing in front of us with a gun...  Everyone draws and shoots a couple of shots then stands there...
its strange none of us used the door for cover.... 
Practice what might happen and you will revert back to that training in a real incident...
 
By the way we used simunition not real bullets....Wink
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