February 1st, 2019

Varminters’ Debate — Cranking Elevation or Holding Over/Under

Varmint hunter 22 BR elevation scope hold-over

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting Varmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View–Click Your Scope
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.” — Gunamonth

IOR Scope elevation knob one revolution

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 30th, 2019

Great American Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania, February 2-10

SHOT Show is just behind us, and now another big firearms and hunting exposition is about to start. The NRA Great American Outdoor Show runs February 2-10, 2019 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (at the PA Farm Show Complex). This is the Largest consumer outdoor recreation show in the world. Over 200,000 attendees are expected to visit the show’s nine exhibit halls, where 1,100+ exhibitors and 400+ outfitters will showcase their products and services.

Great American Outdoor show Harrisburg Pennsylvania PA February hunting fishing

Great American Outdoor Show Pennsylvania1,100+ Exhibitor Booths
New Firearms from Leading Gun-Makers
400+ Outfitters and Charterers
200+ Outdoor Seminars
Country Music Concerts

Attendees can visit over 1,100 exhibitor booths featuring firearms, hunting gear, camping equipment, fishing tackle, archery products, and even boats and RVs. The booths cover 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! In addition, the giant Outfitter Hall at the Great American Outdoor Show, one of the largest in the country, hosts over 400 outfitters, boat captains, and charterers.

Over 200 Seminars Hosted by Outdoor Experts and Noted Guides
The 2017 Great American Outdoor Show will feature 216 seminars from leading outdoors experts, covering hunting, stalking, trapping, long range shooting, rifle accurizing, field dressing, venison processing, bow-hunting, fishing techniques, and much more. This year’s notable presentations will include:

  • Abner Druckenmiller — Becoming an Ultimate Predator Hunter
  • Cole McCullough — Advanced Long Range Field Shooting
  • Bobby Hart – Improving Rifle Accuracy
  • Kristy Titus – Positional Shooting and Elk Calling
  • Alan Probst – Coyote Trapping Techniques
  • Rick Fetrow – Venison Processing
  • Barry Wensel – Hunting Whitetails

Hunting gear father son hunter hunting
Father and son deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

Great Outdoor Show Highlights
There will be themed exhibitor halls for Archery, Boats, Fishing, Hunting Outfitters, Outdoor Products, RVs, and the Shooting Sports.

More than 1,100 exhibitors will display more than a million outdoor and shooting-related products.

More than 400 hunting outfitters and fishing charter captains from all over the world in attendance.

Special events include the NRA Country Concert, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars and demonstrations, kids’ activities and more.

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January 2nd, 2019

Hunting — Programs to Strengthen America’s Ranks of Hunters

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

This report based on story in American Hunter magazine, by J. Scott Olmsted, Editor in Chief

The 2016 report of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a survey conducted every five years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, showed that today only about 11.5 million Americans aged 16 or older hunt. That’s only 4.9 percent of adults among a population of 320 million.

Declining Numbers of Hunters — What We Can Do
Too many Americans have left the field; they no longer hunt. Too many current American hunters continue to consider leaving the field. In fact the number of American hunters today is about half what it was 50 years ago, and the decline is expected to continue to accelerate.

Demographers don’t see any uptick on the horizon. Nearly a third of American hunters are baby boomers. The youngest boomers are 54, and trends suggest most hunters stop buying licenses by about 65. So what happens in 11 years when the last of the baby boomers stops hunting?

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

Indeed wildlife and wildlands are heavily dependent on hunters and fishers to survive and thrive. State agencies, which manage most of the wildlife in America, derive about 59 percent of their collective funding from hunting- and fishing-related activities. A primary source of that funding — hunters — is shrinking. Note that funding doesn’t come from birdwatching or hiking or kayaking, to name a few non-consumptive activities that contribute no funds.

where to hunt map NSSF

Hunter Education Programs from the NRA
The NRA was the first organization to develop a hunter-education course, in 1949 in New York. It became the model. Today, in the digital age, the NRA provides NRA Hunter Education Online.

NRAHE.org offers FREE comprehensive hunter safety information online. The 15-chapter sequence features videos, photos and graphics, audio recordings, interactive modules that prospective hunters may access whenever and wherever they are able to complete it. It provides the best method for teaching future hunters lessons they will remember the rest of their lives.

Let’s not forget our youngest hunters. Since 1985, the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) has introduced more than 1.2 million young people to safe, ethical hunting. YHEC competitions test participants’ hunting, stalking, and marksmanship skills. To learn more about YHEC, visit Yhec.nra.org.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

(more…)

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December 27th, 2018

Cartridge Comparison Guide Covers 250+ Cartridges

Cartridge Comparison Guide

Cartridge Comparison GuideThe Cartridge Comparison Guide is a remarkably comprehensive 340-page, spiral-bound book. Covering over 250 cartridges, the Second Edition of the Cartridge Comparison Guide is the product of many years of labor by Andrew Chamberlain, a Utah-based hunter. Andrew says his Guide “compares every factory available cartridge from the 17 calibers up to the 50 caliber cartridges”. (Sorry, most wildcat cartridges are not covered.) Chamberlain’s Guide also compiles cartridge data from major ammunition manufacturers such as Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, Weatherby, and Winchester. It shows the optimal velocity achieved for each bullet weight and calculates bullet energy, recoil, and powder efficiency. Large color photos illustrate handgun and rifle cartridges.

The Cartridge Comparison Guide provides data for thousands of cartridge/bullet/velocity combos. Quick reference data sheets and ballistics charts cover Trajectory, Velocity, and Energy out to 500 yards. The Cartridge Comparison Guide also offers a firearms lexicon, plus Appendices covering Cartridge Selection for Game Animals, Bullet Selection/Design, Bullet Expansion, Wound Channel Characteristics and more.

New Content in Second Edition of Cartridge Comparison Guide
The Cartridge Comparison Guide (Second Edition) costs $29.96 plus shipping and tax. CLICK HERE to visit the Online Store where you can order the 340-page book. Here’s what’s new in the Second Edition:

  • Addition of Shotgun Ammunition (Both Slug and Shot loads).
  • Momentum Calculation for all Rifle, Shotgun and Handgun loads.
  • Integration of Shotgun Slug Ammunition with Center Fire Rifle Data Tables.
  • Factory Load Summary Added (Shows manufacturers and loads produced).
  • One factory load and one hand load for every bullet weight available in each cartridge.
  • Over 90 pages of additional ballistics content (roughly 35% more than in First Edition).

Cartridge Comparison Guide

Great Resource for Hunters
One of Chamberlain’s main goals in creating the Cartridge Comparison Guide was to help hunters select the right cartridge for the job: “This started as a personal project to gather information on the more popular cartridges commonly used for hunting. I wanted to find the best all-around performing cartridge and rifle that a guy on a budget could shoot. I began comparing cartridge performance, versatility, bullet selection, powder efficiency, recoil generation vs. energy produced, standing ballistic data for different environments….”

Giant Cartridge Poster for Computer Wallpaper (1665×1080 pixels)
Here’s a great illustration of hundreds of cartridges and shotshell types. For dedicated reloaders, this would work great as desktop “wallpaper” for your computer. CLICK HERE for full-size image.

cartridge poster

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 24th, 2018

FREE State-Approved Online Hunter Education Courses

hunter education online NRA

The NRA now offers FREE officially-approved Hunter Education Courses in online format. These allow you to fulfill many basic requirements for game tags and hunting licenses. The online courses can be conveniently completed wherever you have a web connection, saving you time and money. Currently, there are online Hunder Education Courses for seven (7) states*:

Connecticut
Florida
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Oregon
Texas
West Virginia

hunter education online NRA

Additional State Requirements — Field Days
The requirements and prerequisites for each course vary from state to state. Some states require officially-issued identification numbers before starting. Other states require additional “hands-on” instruction. For example, Florida mandates a Skills Day session, Oregon requires a separate Field Day qualification, and West Virginia has a mandatory Hands-on / written portion for hunter certification. For more information, visit the NRA Hunter Safety Education Page.

hunter education online NRA

hunting safety hunter education
Photo courtesy
Horn Fork Guides Ltd. in Colorado.

* The NRA plans to add online Hunter Education Courses for more states in the months ahead.

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November 23rd, 2018

Get Outdoors and Experience the Joy of Shooting…

Mortality life expectancy carpe diem
This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.

With all the commercialization and buying frenzy associated with Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we should remember the real reasons most of us enjoy the shooting hobby. Many of us like shooting because it gets us outdoors, away from work pressures. Shooting gives us a chance both to enjoy solitude as well as have fun with friends and family in the outdoors. For this editor, a solo trip to the range in mid-week was often the perfect antidote to job stress. Going to a scenic venue and sending a few shots downrange was satisfying. And getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city did indeed calm the soul.

Talented 3-position shooter (and trick-shot artist) Kirsten Joy Weiss says that any day at the range is “always a good day”. Here is her photo to prove it. If that shot doesn’t motivate you to spend a day outdoor with rifles, we’re not sure what will. Here’s hoping you’ll have a chance to get in another few days of shooting this season before the snow falls. This Editor hopes to test some rimfire ammo this weekend…

“Always a good day…” — Kirsten Joy Weiss

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

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November 22nd, 2018

Have a Blast This Thanksgiving with FREE Turkey Target

Varmint Turkey Free Targets Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to blast away at some bearded gobblers (of the paper variety). Here’s our custom Turkey Day target, ready for family fun. This special Turkey Bullseye Target was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”). CLICK HERE for FREE Turkey Target.

Get a Full Set of Animal Targets
For your convenience, we’ve packaged the Turkey Target along with five (5) other varmint/animal-themed targets. These are all offered in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.

CLICK HERE to download all SIX targets in .Zip archive.

Varmint Turkey Free Targets Thanksgiving

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October 30th, 2018

From the Land of Fjords — Hunting in Norway

Norway Fjord Hunting Skorpen

This time of year, deer and elk hunters throughout the Northern Hemisphere trek into the wilds in search of game. To celebrate the hunting lifestyle, we’re reprising a story from Europe that showcases the beauty of nature that can be experienced on a hunting trip.

Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenIf you need a break from your hum-drum day at the office, how about taking a virtual vacation to Norway, where you can explore the scenic mountains in the Fjord region?

Forum member Kenneth Skorpen (aka “Sal”) has created a cool video of a deer-hunting trip he took in Norway. He didn’t bag a buck on this trip, but the walk in the Fjordland mountains took Kenneth through some spectacular scenery. (At the 11:25 time mark you’ll see an amazing sunset over the Fjord.) Kenneth did encounter a doe that had fallen down the mountain, and apparently broken its neck (14:35 time mark). The terrain is very steep, and Kenneth observed that: “I feel fortunate to be able to do this, but I also feel very tired in my legs. Did you know that the hares around here have shorter left legs due to the steep hills?”

More Hunting/Shooting Videos from Norway
You can watch more interesting hunting and shooting videos from Norway on Kenneth Skorpen’s Streken Vertebrae YouTube Channel. Here are some links:

And here is another Skorpen video showcasing beautiful Norwegian landscapes. This was filmed during a February rifle testing session with targets at 1100 and 1400 meters. You’ll see some stunning snow-capped scenery here, starting at the 4:30 time mark.

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October 12th, 2018

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

This Editor, as a life-long sailor, also has some suggestions about wind. Many folks may not realize that wind can cycle, both in direction and in speed (velocity). If you are patient, you should be able to sense the timing of the cycles, which will help you predict shifts in wind direction and velocity. While it is tempting to shoot in the lulls, sometimes the true wind vector (angle + speed) may be most constant when the wind is blowing stronger.

Another tip for hunters is to orient your shot, when possible, in alignment with the wind direction. Try to face into the wind, or have the wind at your back. This is especially effective when shooting in a varmint field. Use a string of tape on a pole to show wind angle. Then shoot directly into the wind or with the wind directly at your back. This will minimize horizontal deflection caused by the wind.

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
October 9th, 2018

Resources for Hunters — Safety Info, License Info, Best Books

Hunter Safety Tips
NRAFamily.org has a good article listing seven salient safety tips for hunters. Anyone preparing for a fall hunt should read this article before heading into the field. Here are two of key bits of advice:

Be Positive of Your Target before Shooting
This might sound overly simplistic, but the fact remains that, 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 of the large ungulate in their sights. Why does this happen? The most likely explanation is “buck fever,” meaning that the hunter wants so badly to see a nice big buck that sometimes his eyes deceive him into thinking that there’s one there. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

Scopes 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.

Where to hunt hunting license state information NSSF

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

Hunting Affiliation Groups
There are many good organizations dedicated to promoting hunting and preserving our hunting habitats. These groups all offer valuable information for hunters:

Ducks Unlimited
Mule Deer Foundation
National Wild Turkey Federation
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Rabbits Unlimited
Safari Club International
Squirrels Umlimited
Varmint Hunters Association
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting

There’s no shortage of hunting hunting-related reading material. Here are some of the best books written about hunting.

Hemingway on Hunting by Ernest Hemingway

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Meditations on Hunting by Jose Ortega y Gasset

It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It by Bill Heavey

The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food by Jackson Landers

Whitetail Nation: My Season in Pursuit of the Monster Buck by Peter Bodo

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz

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September 27th, 2018

Practical Shooting Skills for Hunters — Field Rests

Thomas Haugland HuntingHunting season is here — and we know many of our readers will soon head to the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, or other game. To make a good shot, it’s wise to rest your rifle when possible. In this video, methods for stabilizing a rifle in the field are demonstrated by Forum member Thomas Haugland, who hails from Norway. Thomas focuses on practical field shooting skills for hunters. In this video, Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and then he demonstrates improvised field rests from the prone, kneeling, and sitting positions.

Thomas explains: “In this video I focus on basic marksmanship techniques and making ready for this year’s hunt. As a last check before my hunting season, I got to verify everything for one last time. My trajectory is verified again, the practical precision of the rifle is verified. I also practice making do with the best [improvised] rest possible when an opportunity presents itself. After getting knocked in the face by a 338LM rifle during a previous filming session, I had to go back to basics to stop [flinching]. I include some details from bipod shooting that hopefully some hunters will find useful. Fingers crossed for this years season, good luck!”

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
September 25th, 2018

Hunting Options for Fathers and Sons — Great Gear Choices

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

One of the most memorable things a father and son can do is go hunting. Time spent in the field together builds bonds that last a lifetime. A young man will remember those special fall hunts he did with his Dad. And as he grows into maturity, that same young hunter will carry cherished memories forward all his life, along with an appreciation for wildlife and the outdoors.

Hunting gear father son hunter hunting
Father and son deer hunting photo courtesy SportsmansGuide.com.

There are many elements to a successful hunt — location, game activity, weather, stalking skills, and yes, a little bit of luck. You can’t control the weather (or the whims of whitetails), but you can increase your odds of success with the right gear. Here are some items that will help a father and son on a hunting adventure this fall.

A Boy’s First Centerfire Hunting Rifle

We’ve found a great choice for a young man’s first centerfire rifle. The Howa Mini Action Youth Model in 6.5 Grendel, is a compact package with an accurate, moderate-recoil chambering. This special Youth Model has a shorter stock with 12.5″ length of pull (LOP). Weighing under 5.7 pounds with a light-contour 20″ barrel, this rifle is light enough for a young man to carry easily. The Howa 6.5 Grendel Youth Model may be hard to find at retailers, but if you shop around you can find examples on Gunbroker.com at attractive prices. If you can’t find the Youth Model, you can get a standard Howa Mini and cut the stock to shorten the LOP.

Hunting gear 1701 father son hunter hunting

Hunting gear 6.5 Grendel Howa Rifle Mini Action father son hunter huntingYes a young man could start off with a big .30-06 shooting 200-grain bullets. But we think it’s wise to begin with a smaller, lighter-recoiling caliber. There are countless cartridge choices, but the compact 6.5 Grendel offers a good balance of power and accuracy with moderate recoil. The 6.5 Grendel boasts ballistics superior to the venerable 30/30, so it is capable of taking whitetail deer and other medium-sized game. Recoil is milder than a 30-caliber. This cartridge also works great for target work. Factory hunting ammo is available from Federal, Hornady, and Alexander Arms.

Great Gear Items for a Father and Son Hunting Trip

Here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. If you have a family hunt planned, check out these useful items. The Remington pack carries both your rifle and your gear. The electronic muffs provide hearing protection while still allowing conversations. The walkie-talkies let you communicate with your base camp even miles away.

Remington Twin Mesa Day Pack

This comfortable Remington Pack provides lots of capacity on the inside, plus a special harness system for toting your rifle. That keeps your hands free for your rangefinder and binoculars. The pack is mesh-lined for comfort and has nicely padded hip belt and shoulder straps. Five outside pockets hold small items securely. Priced at $73.53 with free shipping, this pack is a good choice for a hunter’s carrying system.

Howard Leight Electronic Muffs

These Howard Leight Electronic Muffs are Amazon’s #1 Seller in the Safety Ear Muffs category. These offer 22 dB sound protection with the ability to still hear conversations and range commands. For regular use, we do recommend running plugs under these muffs for higher effective NRR.

Bog-Pod Shooting Sticks Bipod Hunting

We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.

Leica CRF 2000 laser rangefinder

Hunters need to know distance with precision. A compact Laser Rangefinder (LRF) will help you spot and range your prey. The Leica CRF 2000-B, one of the best hand-held LRFs on the market, is on sale now for just $399.00 — a great bargain!

Leica CRF 2000 laser rangefinder

Motorola 2-way 22 Chanel Radios

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola T100 Two-Way Radio is an Amazon Favorite in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
September 24th, 2018

Hunting Safety Checklist — A Good Reminder Before Any Hunt

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
Elk Hunt with Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

Are you a safe hunter? Go through this checklist to find out. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a helpful Safety Checklist for hunters. This Hunting Safety Checklist was produced as part of the NSSF’s “Hunt S.A.F.E.” campaign which encourages hunters (and all firearm owners) to secure their firearms when not in use, and to focus on safe firearm handling and storage. The Hunting Safey Checklist helps hunters follow good, safe practices in the field and at home.

“Hunting is a time-honored tradition for many Americans, and the hunting season brings a wave of excitement and activity for all enthusiasts,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “It’s also a good time of year to remind firearm owners about … safe and responsible gun handling and storage.”

Download NSSF Hunting Safety Checklist for Families

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter

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September 17th, 2018

Kristy Titus Explains How to Prepare for a Hunt

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

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, is a certified instructor 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. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. 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.”

Other NRAwomen.TV videos featuring Kristy Titus include: Rifle Fit (LOP, Cheek height, Eye Relief, Grip); Sight Picture, Natural Point of Aim, and Positional Shooting.

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

“When it comes to bolt-action rifle fit, there is no ‘one size fits all’,” says Titus. “When picking out your rifle [consider options] after the purchase to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.”

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 16th, 2018

National Hunting and Fishing Day Is September 22, 2018

National hunting and fishing days september 22 2018 where to shoot open house

National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate.

Find Events in Your State
For info on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events in your state, click links below:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Hunters Aid Conservation Efforts
The contributions of hunters, in the form of excise taxes paid on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment, benefit every state. These taxes have generated approximately $5.6 billion for wildlife conservation since 1939.

National hunting and fishing days september 22 2018 where to shoot

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September 11th, 2018

Cabela’s Deer Nation — Great Resource for Hunters

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

It’s hunting season in many areas of the country already. If you’re planning a fall hunt you want to do your homework — make sure your gear is checked out, your rifle zeroed, and your hunting grounds plotted. You’ll want to sight in your rifle, get the right clothing, make sure you have your hunting license, deer tags, and other needed paperwork.

Cabela’s has a ton of helpful information for hunters on its Deer Nation website. You’ll find numerous videos as well as articles from expert guides and experienced hunters.


This episode of Cabela’s Whitetail Season highlights ground hunting. While some hunters prefer a stand, the cover provided by the background and tall grasses can help with your stalks.


In this video, Bill Winke, host of Midwest Whitetail, shows how he hunts over small food plots.

Cabela’s Deer Nation portal offers over 100 informative articles for hunters. Here are six of our favorite features:

1. Hiding in Plain Sight — Finding Game

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

2. Binoculars Buyers Guide
(Very comprehensive and useful!)

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

3. Top Seven Hunting Apps for iOS and Android

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

4. How to Field Dress a Deer

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

5. Trail Camera Set-Up and Monitoring

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

6. Taking Kids Deer Hunting

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

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September 3rd, 2018

For a More Successful Hunt, Build a More Stable Shooting Position

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

It’s hunting season already in many areas of the country. Improve your chances of a successful hunt by working on your position shooting skills before heading into the backcountry. Here are tips from Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail.

One of the world’s best smallbore shooters, McPhail is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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September 2nd, 2018

Don’t Ruin Your Hunt — And Your Rifle — With Ammo Mistake

223 WSSM 6BR blow-up

hunting safety kaboom rifle cartridgeHunting season is right around the corner. For many of us, that means liberating a rifle that sits in a safe most of the year, grabbing a box of cartridges, and heading to the wilds. But this “once a year thing” carries with it potential risks.

It is all to easy to grab some rounds that may look right, but which are, in fact, a slightly different chambering. Likewise it is possible some hunting rounds got put in the wrong box after last year’s hunting trip. Be very careful when you get ready for a hunting trip — check the headstamp, cartridge dimensions, and bullet diameter of all your rounds. If you make an ammo selection mistake, the consequences can be disasterous, as this story reveals.

The .223 WSSM and 6mmBR Disaster
Report by Dr. Jim Clary
Under most circumstances, shooters don’t have to worry about chambering the wrong cartridge into the wrong rifle. After all, the cartridges are well marked and we all know which rifle we are shooting on any given day. In many cases, incorrect cartridges cannot be chambered — larger cases will not fit in smaller chambers, for example. No problem! That being said, I can tell you that even an experienced, careful and normally safe shooter can make a mistake.

The following is an account of just such a mistake that could have resulted in death or dismemberment. Fortunately, the shooter was not hurt, but the rifle was completely destroyed.

Last year, a friend purchased a Savage Precision right bolt, left port, single shot bolt action in 6mmBR Norma. It was an incredible prairie dog gun and he spent the summer burning powder and busting dogs. In October, he purchased a stainless steel Browning A-Bolt Varmint in .223 WSSM. The weather in the upper Midwest turned sour by the time he got the brass tuned up and he only got to fire it a few times before he was “socked in” for the winter. Thus, he spent his evenings loading ammo for the spring thaw.

During a break in the weather, he grabbed both rifles and a couple of bags of .223 WSSM and 6mmBR cartridges and headed to the range to check out his new loads. In case you are not familiar, the 6mmBR is smaller in diameter and a mite shorter than the .223 WSSM. Because of this, it will chamber in a .223 WSSM, but the .243 caliber (6mm) bullet is too big for the .22 caliber bore. That is what happened to my friend.

The rest is history — when he squeezed the trigger, all hell broke loose. The entire bottom of the rifle blew out, including the magazine assembly. The explosion actually cut the stock into two pieces. However, the bolt held and amazing as it may seem, the .243 bullet was “swaged” right out of the .223 barrel.

223 WSSM 6BR blow-up
6mmBR (left) and .223 WSSM (right) cartridges above the remains of Browning A-Bolt rifle.

One Small Mistake Is All It Takes
Now, realize that my friend has been shooting all manner of firearms, safely, for over half a century. He is meticulous, thorough and conscientious in his approach to reloading and shooting. However, he made one mistake. He put some lose 6BR cartridges in a baggie as he packed up from a prairie dog hunt last summer, without noticing that the baggie was marked .223 WSSM in black marker. Then, when the break in his winter weather came, he grabbed the bag, believing it to be the WSSM cartridges and didn’t check the head stamp.

Couldn’t happen to you? How many times have we emptied our pockets of cartridges and dropped them into a plastic container on the shooting bench? How many times have we set down to a marathon reloading session, loading several calibers in a row? How many times have we put the wrong bullets, cases or primers into the incorrect container? My point is that even the safest of us can make a mistake. So, look at the picture above and take a bit more time when you reload your ammunition at home or chamber a round in the field. It might save your life.

Story and photo © Dr. Jim Clary, All Rights Reserved.

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September 1st, 2018

Get Important Hunting Information at Wheretohunt.org

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF
Click Map to launch interactive webpage with info for all 50 states.

Going hunting this year? Need to find out about hunting licenses, deer tags, local regulations, and the best hunting areas? Then visit WheretoHunt.org. This website has an interactive map of the country. Simply click on a state to find the info you need. 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. Have a safe and productive hunt this year.

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

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August 18th, 2018

Zero Your New Hunting Rifle in Just Four Shots

hunting zero zeroing sight-in easy NSSF boresighting
Photo courtesy Vortex Optics.

Hunting season is around the corner. We know many readers will be zeroing their hunting rigs in the next few weeks. Here is a very simple but effective way to zero any scoped rifle in a few minutes, with just four shots.

Follow this simple procedure to get a solid zero for a hunting rifle in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

QUICK-TIP: The Key to this procedure is Dialing to Shot One Point of Impact (POI). Re-aim at center of target after SHOT ONE. Then with the rifle motionless, use the turrets to put the middle of the cross-hair on the first shot location.

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire SHOT ONE. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. In other words, use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. IMPORTANT: Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

Watch NSSF Zeroing Video showing method of moving reticle to Shot 1 Point of Impact.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the SECOND SHOT. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a THIRD SHOT with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Finally, shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm, with SHOT FOUR, that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

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