September 26th, 2020

Twenty Tips for Hunters on National Hunting and Fishing Day

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help the avid hunters among our readers, here are Twenty Tips that can help ensure a safe and successful hunt. These tips have been compiled from our AccurateShooter Hunting Forum, with help from Hunting Editor Colton Reid (who has already been out hunting this month). Some items are preparatory — such as working with maps, sighting in the rifle, and improving physical fitness. We also talk about equipment — having the right gear, from proper boots to a GPS for multi-day hunts.

Of course there are entire volumes written on hunting, but these 20 Tips can benefit all hunters. Follow these suggestions and you should have a safer hunting experience with greater likelihood of success. If you liked these pointers, you’ll find two dozen more helpful hints on the NSSF Website.

hunting fishing day Hunting guide

Preparations Before The Hunt

1. Map Your Hunt and Notify Others — Before your hunt, make a plan and notify friends and family members about WHERE you are going and your intended return date and time. Print out a Google Satellite map and locate landmarks and trailheads. Mark where you plan to park your vehicle and give a copy of this map to friend and/or family members. A hunter may injure himself by falling off a rock, or tumbling in a creek-bed. After that kind of injury the hunter may be confused or unable to walk. If you get stranded in the wilderness, you want trusted persons to know where you are. So, before you leave on a trip, provide a map to a friend or family member. Show them where you will leave your vehicle, and where you expect to be every day of your hunting adventure.

2. Licenses and Permits — Make sure you have a valid hunting licenses and all the necessary tags. Begin this process with ample time before your intended hunt(s). The NSSF adds: “If you are crossing state or national borders, find out about any special considerations you must take care of. Border crossings can mean knowing about firearm transport laws or Chronic Wasting Disease-related regulations.”

3. Work on Your Fitness — On a multi-day hunt you may be trekking many miles. You need to be in good shape. If you are out of shape you may be putting yourself in a precarious situation, particularly if you underestimate the terrain difficulty. As the NSSF says: “Not being able to handle the conditions lessens your chances of success, can turn a great experience into an agonizing one and can endanger your health.”

4. Do Your Homework — Study the area you will be hunting. Talk to other hunters. Look at satellite photos. Get a real sense of the walking and terrain challenges. For a multi-day hunt, MAKE a PLAN. The NSSF states: “Eliminate surprises. Learn as much about where you will be staying, the area you will be hunting, what the weather might be like and what you need to bring[.]”

5. Rifle and Ammo — Make sure your rifle is sighted-in and your ammo is tested. Sight-in your rifle with the ammo you plan to use on your hunt. CLICK HERE for 4-Shot Sight-in Method. After sighting-in from the bench, confirm your zero by shooting from typical hunting positions (kneeling and with forearm supported on a rock or post).

hunting rifle sighting in target

6. Shooting Positions — Practice the shooting positions you will use in the field. Practice sitting, kneeling, and prone positions. You should also practice with shooting sticks, using your day pack as a rest, and with a bipod. Try to have a rock-steady rest before taking your shot.

Hunting Positions

7. Back-Up Irons — If possible, select a rifle with back-up iron sights. While modern scopes are very durable, they can and do fail (glass can crack). If you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your hunt, back-up iron sights can keep you in the game even if your riflescope fails.

8. Communications and GPS — Bring a GPS if you are in a wilderness area far from civilization. It’s a good idea to bring a cell phone, but you may not have coverage if you’re quite a distance from populated areas. A smart-phone also doubles as a digital camera to record your trophies. For navigation and safety, consider getting Garmin inReach Explorer+. This high-tech handheld unit features interactive SOS, connecting you to the GEOS 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center. They also allow you to send and receive text messages, no matter where you are, via advanced inReach satellite technology. Yes you can communicate even if you are miles from the nearest cell tower.

9. Select Good Gear — Make sure you have GOOD BOOTS that are comfortable — you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. You may want a pack with harness for your rifle so you have both hands free. On a multi-day trip, make sure you can carry enough water, and that you will stay warm enough at night. Good practices for backpacking apply to multi-day hunts.

10. Make a Checklist — Create a complete checklist of the gear and supplies you need. That includes arms, ammunition, rangefinder, binoculars, proper clothing (including spare clothes), hunting accessories, sleeping gear (on multi-day hunts), toiletries, medications. Don’t forget a good first aid kit — lots of bad things can happen during any wilderness trip. You can cut a hand, break an ankle or worse.

During The Hunt

11. Have a Plan — know where you plan to go and when. Try to be where you want in the early morning and early evening hours when deer are likely most active.

12. Take Your Time — If you spot a deer and get too excited and don’t take your time you may spook him. Go slow and glass. If possible, wait for the animals to bed down and relax. Then work out the best way to approach your prey. Remember, “You get so few opportunities, don’t screw it up!”

13. Glass More, Walk Less — Let your eyes do the walking — get good binoculars and use them. With their heightened senses of smell and hearing, deer/elk are able to spot you way better than you can spot them. If you are walking around a lot, chances are you are getting spotted by your prey.

14. Riflescopes Are Not Binoculars — Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets. We like binoculars with built-in rangefinders. When glassing at long range, try supporting your binoculars on your pack.

hunting scopes binoculars Zeiss Colton Reid

15. Be Sure of Your Target before Shooting — Every year during whitetail season, farmers everywhere are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species in their sights. Hunters with “buck fever” can make mistakes. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

hunting scope deer rifle

16. Know When to Unload — When finished hunting, unload your firearm before returning to camp. You should also unload your gun before attempting to climb a steep bank or travel across slippery ground.

17. Hearing Protection — While pursuing and stalking your prey you’ll want full sensory use of your ears. But when you’re finally ready to take the shot, slip in hearing protection. A shot from a large-caliber hunting rifle can exceed 170 decibels. Unprotected exposure to noise from a SINGLE 170+ dB shot can cause permanent hearing damage. (Source: ASHA.org). If you make a follow-up shot, you double that noise hazard. Therefore a hunter with a non-suppressed rifle should have hearing protection available.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

You can keep a pair of quick-insert plugs on a cord around your neck. Or, get the Howard Leight Quiet Band QB2HYG. This is a plastic ring with earbuds, you can keep around your neck.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

“Once a hunter is successful, the REAL work begins.” — Colton Reid

18. Harvesting the Animal — When dressing your animal, be careful with the meat. You’ll want very sharp knives. Some hunters prefer knives with replaceable, razor-sharp blades. Don’t rush the task. Make sure you don’t get moisture or dirt on meat. The three spoilers of meat are heat, moisture, and dirt.

19. Pace Yourself When Packing Out — If you DO succeed, and bring down a big buck, will you be able to dress the animal and carry out the meat? Always be prepared to hike out with extra weight. If you are successful, make sure not to waste the meat you worked so hard for. Choose a pack that can help you carry a heavy load. Remember, this is not an insignificant challenge — you may be carrying 60 to 100 extra pounds in addition to your other gear. Again, take your time. Rest as needed. Don’t hurt yourself.

20. Remember to Enjoy the Experience — Our Hunting Editor, Colton Reid, offers this sage advice to all hunters, but particularly to novices: “Have fun, and appreciate your hunt, whether you bag a buck or not. It is a privilege to experience the wilderness and to get away from the city. Enjoy it while you’re out there. And keep your spirits up. You may get tired, but remember that ‘comes with the territory’. At the end of the day, yes you may be exhausted. And you may want to quit and go home. But stay positive, stay focused. Be patient, the experience is worth it.”

hunting fishing day Hunting guide
CLICK HERE for Hunter Training/Mentoring Programs State-by-State.

Prepare For Your Hunt — Get Fit and Practice Positions

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

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September 26th, 2020

Resources for Hunters — Hunter Ed, Licenses, Where to Hunt

National Hunting and Fishing Day

Today, September 26, 2020, is National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). On this day we recommend you take new shooters afield and introduce them to shooting or hunting. The NFHD website has helpful resources for hunters.

National Hunting and Fishing Day

Getting the right introduction to hunting ensures a quality experience and the start to a lifetime of enjoyment. Many hunters receive their first introduction to hunting from family or friends as a tradition passed down from generation to generation.

For all hunters, whether they have mentors to guide them or not, the most important first step into the woods begins with a state-certified hunter education course.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

hunter education national hunting fishing day

hunter education national hunting licenses fishing day

hunter education national hunting fishing day

Game Resources — To learn more about different game species, click these NSSF links:

Game Animals Resources | Game Birds Resources

FREE Printable Deer Hunting Target
To help you prepare for a fall hunt, here is a free, printable Deer Practice target. Hone your skills on a trio of bucks with a red bullseye centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Right-click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

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September 26th, 2020

Reading the Wind When Hunting — Smart Advice from Norway

Norway Hunting Snow

Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:

.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph

How to Gauge Wind Speed and Hold Off Using Reticles

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

This field video shows how to observe natural indicators — trees and vegetation — to estimate wind velocity. Then it shows how to calculate hold-offs using the reticle hash-marks. Thomas shoots a fast-cycling Blaser R93 rifle with Norma 6XC ammunition.

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, Shooting Fundamentals and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

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