Conservation

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Accurate Hunter

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Accurate Hunter By Craig Boddington, B&C Professional Member Amid sharp rocks and thorny plants, Boddington found a boulder he could lie down on. Obviously, there were shooting aids readily at hand, but this remains his preferred method if there’s a natural rest of suitable height available...
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By Craig Boddington — Under certain conditions, I enjoy hunting with iron sights, which parallels using archery tackle, handguns, and muzzleloaders: You’re consciously surrendering range and losing critical first- and last-light capability. If you can’t see, you definitely can’t shoot.
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By Craig Boddington — While bench shooting has little to do with shooting from field positions, it is excellent training for shooting basics such as breath control and smooth trigger press. Focus on holding that last breath, and maintain a smooth, consistent trigger press so the shot goes with the crosshair dead steady on the aiming point. If you run out of air before you get the shot off, relax and start over! Follow-through is important: The trigger squeeze doesn’t end until the bullet exits the barrel, so maintain trigger pressure throughout the shot.
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By Craig Boddington — It takes a lot of shooting to validate all the data and to gain confidence, skill, and speed. And guess what: all that hard-earned data is valid for only one load, and realistically, one set of atmospheric conditions! Change the load and you need to start over! But the tools we have today are amazing.
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By Craig Boddington — Traditional rifle competition is based on the four “NRA” positions of prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing. Always and forever, these form a good basis for all rifle shooting. However, hunting is our focus here, and there is no rulebook for field-shooting positions. What matters: Get steady enough to make the shot count.
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By Craig Boddington — Today’s interest in extreme-range shooting cannot be ignored. I have not tried to ignore it; I love to ring steel way out there. I don’t profess to be particularly adept at it, but with an early background in prairie dog shooting, I’m pretty good at calling wind. Thing is, both ringing steel and shooting prairie dogs are hit-or-miss propositions, and the results are “no harm, no foul.” Shooting at big game is a different deal.
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By Craig Boddington — Optics have improved dramatically during my career. I’m a child of the scope era, but when I started hunting, we used fixed-power scopes because variable-power scopes weren’t yet perfected: shifts in point of impact were normal with changes in magnification. Reliable variables have been with us since the 1970s, but for many years the practical limit was about “three-times-zoom.”
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By Craig Boddington — When hunting alone, the outcome of any approach, opportunity, or shot is altogether between the hunter and his or her reflection in the mirror. When hunting with a guide or buddy, there might be a couple of witnesses, but ours is mostly a solitary pursuit. For many, meat on the table remains a primary and valid motivation to hunt. Today’s hunters are guided more by conscience, sense of ethics, and the drive to perform well.
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By Craig Boddington — Long-range shooting is hardly new. Long-range competition was popular in the 19th century, but field shooting at longer ranges was unusual. The accuracy was there, and optics, though less common, existed. Telescopes, binoculars, and riflescopes saw use in our Civil War, and a few of the bison hunters used scoped rifles. But there’s a big difference between a target on a surveyed “known distance” range and an animal standing “somewhere out there.”
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By Craig Boddington — Ethical hunting dictates that any shot at game should only be taken when the hunter is reasonably certain of a hit in the vital zone. A hope and a prayer “Hail-Mary” shot doesn’t cut it, regardless of circumstances. However, I think it’s unreasonable to limit oneself to stationary shots altogether; it always depends on the circumstances and on the shooter’s experience and expertise.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt