Conservation

Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

Accurate Hunter

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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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By Craig Boddington — Despite the current rage for long-range shooting it’s important to remember that close shots can occur almost anywhere. Bowhunters deal with this routinely; despite the challenge, they get close! Primarily a rifle hunter, I’m usually prepared for a longish shot, but I ascribe to the motto, “Get as close as you can, then get ten yards closer!”
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By Craig Boddington — These days, long-range shooting is “in.” It is not my place to suggest to anyone how far he or she should or shouldn’t shoot, but honestly, I’m a bit horrified by the shooting distances thrown around these days. From the media, it would be easy to get the idea that shooting at game animals at a half-mile and more has become routine.
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By Craig Boddington — The larger your repertoire of how to get steady—fast—the more consistently successful your field shooting will be. That said, it is almost inevitable that, over time, you will develop a default setting, a position or setup that is your preferred option when possible…and thus unconsciously sought no matter how many other options might be available.
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By Craig Boddington — It’s hard to say exactly where shooting sticks were developed. Perhaps simultaneously all over the place—because they work so well! The image of the circa 1875 bison hunter with his big single shot rested over crossed sticks is part of the legend of the Old West. In the mountains of Europe I’ve noticed that a lot of jaegers use their hiking staffs to steady both spotting scopes and rifles. And of course the three-legged shooting sticks are almost universal in Africa.
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By Craig Boddington — There are no benchrests in the field, but when available, a sturdy, natural rest is the next best thing. We’ve discussed the four classic shooting positions: prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing. We’re not going to throw these out the window. In the field, the goal is to get as steady as possible and make the shot, so these positions can be endlessly modified. They are best enhanced by a solid natural rest that you can lie, sit, kneel or stand against.
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Sometimes there’s just no option but to stand and shoot. Range is much more limited from an unsupported standing position, but with a bit of practice most shooters should be able to handle such a shot.
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By Craig Boddington — With practice, you can significantly reduce that wobble, but it’s always going to be there. In field shooting, where “almost” isn’t good enough, this is what limits the range and utility of the kneeling position. Understanding this, and understanding there are no range rules in the field, the kneeling position is ripe for modification, and when modified, may be even more useful than sitting.
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By Craig Boddington — Field shooting is rarely done on a level, manicured range—and probably not often on a freshly mowed golf course. If you can lie prone to shoot, you probably should. However, all too often you have to get high enough to shoot over low brush or terrain roll. Over the years I’ve found the sitting position one of the most useful, and with practice, almost as steady as prone.
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By Craig Boddington — Without question the most accurate shooting can be done from a steady benchrest. Prairie dog shooters take portable benchrests to the field, but big-game hunters can’t do that. You must do the best with what you have to work with, and I believe the basics for almost all extemporaneous field shooting are found in the formal NRA positions: Prone, kneeling, sitting, standing.

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

-Theodore Roosevelt