Learn Shooting Skills
When I teach you shooting skills in hunter education, you will learn proper shooting techniques and good marksmanship. I teach you how to properly sight in your rifle and most importantly I help you discover if you are shooting with your dominant eye in the scope. We discuss the importance of proper breathing and the role it plays in making a precisely placed shot.
But before we talk about shooting with accuracy, you need to consider 3 basic disciplines related to shooting. Finding the proper shooting position for the shot, practice often so that you are confident in yourself and your rifle, and know where to place the shot on the animal your are hunting.
There are 4 basic shooting positions (prone, sitting, kneeling and standing) and you should learn each one and when to use it. These shooting positions are designed to give you the most secure rest to support your rifle while positioning yourself in a way that allows you to see your target.
You notice in the photo that each position elevates the rifle barrel a little more allowing you to see over obstacles. As you elevate the rifle though, you also see that the arms supporting your rifle for a steady shot loose their support point. Look at the prone and how steady the rifle looks, now look at the standing and notice the only support is your floating arm.
Learn these positions and practice shooting from each one. Always use the position that gives you the best support and still allows you to see your target.
You need to practice shooting. Shooting practice will build confidence and accuracy. The more you handle your rifle the more you will become familiar and confident with it.
Learn to squeeze the trigger. I believe that most missed opportunities when shooting at an animal are due to bad shooting habits. When you learn to squeeze the trigger while focusing on your target, your accuracy will increase.
Shooting regularly can be expensive though. May I suggest that all of your practice does not need to be behind your hunting rifle. When you learn proper shooting techniques, you can practice those skills with an air-soft gun or a .22 rifle and save a load of money on ammunition.
Placing the Shot
Your first goal when shooting an animal is to harvest that animal as quickly as possible with the least amount of suffering. When you place your shot in the vital area (heart and lungs) of a deer, this usually results in a quick clean kill. But in that adrenaline filled moment, how do you know your going to hit a vital organ? My answer is knowledge and practice.
An important part of “shooting skills” when hunting is knowing where that shot needs to be placed on the animal to quickly harvest it. So you should study your prey and understand their anatomy. Take time to understand where the animals vital organs are located in relation to the position they may offer you for a shot. In other posts we will discuss animal positions in more detail, but you should always try to shoot the animal when they are broadside to you.
Skills Develop Over Time
You will hear me say this many times as you hang around Greenhorn Hunting. “These skills are not formed overnight. But dedication will develop them quickly.”
If you shoot the rifle once from a shooting bench and it hits the center of your target, this does not necessarily mean your ready for the hunting blind. Things change quickly in the field and you need to be comfortable with the gun and ready to adapt to the shooting scenario.
Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by being informed about the animal you are hunting and practice shooting your rifle from many positions.