If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for each upcoming hunting Season. After going without hunting for so long, it suddenly becomes a priority again; get that license, fill out that application, send it in before it’s too late! All the sudden Archery openers don’t seem so far away. I start to crave the woods; I want to find a big ol’ scrape and climb a tree and wait for hours on end to stick that big ol’ buck I’ve been watching for the past 3 seasons … Then I wake up and realize that it’s June, and the heat index is at 90 degrees.
Still, it’s never too soon to start practicing your shooting skills. In my own bowhunting experience, I have found that the only way to consistently improve my accuracy is practice, practice, practice. Sometimes the skills aren’t enough to lead to kills, but we each need to do our best to improve our marksmanship and our familiarity with the equipment we’ll be bringing into the woods. Now’s the time to dust off the bow, make sure that the sight is working properly, check out those arrows and broadheads, and who-knows-how-many other items.
Don’t neglect your guns either, if you’re planning to hunt in the Gun Season. Clean up that rifle or shotgun, get out to the range, and burn up some ammo. Complete familiarity with your equipment is a must when you’re hunting with a rifle or shotgun, as well as with a bow. I read to often, in magazines, bowhunters who stress, as they should, the need to learn about and to thoroughly know your bow and gear. But rarely do I see the same statement directed towards hunters who use firearms. Sure, it’s easier to shoot a deer with a firearm than it is with a bow. If your going to be burning up a lot of ammo, look for discount ammo online and get it shipped.
You need to be familiar with the tools you’ll be using. I’ll give you an example. This past season, During the middle of the rut in the rocky mountains, a client of mine and I were sitting out at the gun range at Elkhorn’s base camp where we would be hunting out of for the next week. It was Sunday and like every other Sunday, I decided to have my hunters check their rifles just to make sure nothing had been knocked off in their travels. Well boy was I AMAZED at what I was about to see! A hunter took his rifle out of the case and the first thing I noticed was that his scope was mounted upside down! YES UPSIDE DOWN!!! Now as you could imagine I relatively shocked to say the least! So I played along after he told me he had not shot his rifle in 7 years and asked him to go ahead and shoot the 100 yard target. Doing so he shot and missed everything! Point made, but I wasn’t about to stop there. I moved his target into 25 yards and asked him to shoot at it again and again he didn’t touch the target! Now as you probably guessed the guy was getting a little bit embarrassed and admitted that he probably didn’t come for his hunt very prepared! After helping him get the scope adjusted and remounted the guy ended up taking 7 shots at 5 different bulls through the week and went home empty handed on a once in a lifetime hunt!
So I preach; take the time to get familiar with your chosen equipment, be it rifle, bow, shotgun, or all of the above. It could mean the difference between making a clean kill or letting that big one get away, all putting a damper on maybe a once and a lifetime hunt – besides practice is fun!