In a recent magazine article, Craig Boddington discusses field marksmanship issues important to hunters. It’s always nice to read a big name author that “gets it” showing the need for effective field shooting programs like HunterShooter.
The Big 10
by Craig Boddington
Get Steady – Fast
One of the biggest complaints most guides have is that their hunters are too slow to get into position for a shot, which translates into lost opportunities. Many hunters either have no plan for getting steady or are so rigidly tied to just one position or means of support that they are totally lost if the preferred technique won’t work.
You should practice as wide an array of shooting positions as your imagination and range of mobility will allow. This include shooting unsupported from the classic positions: Standing, Kneeling, Sitting, and Prone. Then modify all these positions…. The goal is to learn how to get steady and shoot accurately from as wide a variety of positions as possible and also to get into position quickly.
Read The Shot
Reading the shot is a crucial skill that combines recognizing the target distance, effects of wind, shot angle (up or down), position of the game (target angle) and more.
Back Up Your Own Shot
Americans tend to rely on our first shot alone. African professional hunters call it “admiring the shot” – firing a deliberate first shot then waiting to see what happens. You try to make that first shot as perfect as possible, but after that all bets are off – especially if the shot connects and the animal is still up.
Learn to work the action and/or reload quickly, and always be prepared to keep shooting when necessary.
Know When Not To Shoot
Even if you have practiced well and can get ready quickly, the time needed to take an accurate shot isn’t always within your control. What you can always control is whether you squeeze that trigger or not.
Perhaps most important in deciding whether to shoot or not is your analysis of whether you can make the shot or not. We all miss, but you should not attempt a shot unless you are dead certain that you can get a bullet into the vitals, and only you can determine – based on your skill and experience – whether you have a shot or not.