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November 27th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Shooting and Hunting in Winter — Key Tips

winter hunting shooting Marcus Tom utah rifle tips

Winter is definitely here, with December just days away. Even now there is an abundance of snow on the ground in many parts of the country. 2022 has brought some unusually cold weather to many regions — witness the recent deluge of snow in upstate New York.

If you plan to go shooting or hunting in the weeks ahead, while the weather is below freezing and snow is on the ground, you need to be prepared. You should always have the right equipment and make sure that you can contact help if something goes wrong (such as not being able to start your vehicle).

The folks at the Precision Rifle Network have created a good video on winter shooting and hunting. Host Marcus Hom provides his TOP 10 TIPS for wintertime shooting/hunting adventures. We recommend that any 4-season shooter watch this video.

TOP 10 TIPS for Winter Shooting and Hunting:

1. Wear Good Sunglasses — With snow on the ground, wearing sunglasses is a must because of the extra reflected light. You can get good sunglasses that also have ANSI Z87.1-approved impact protection.

2. Wear Protective, Moisture-Proof Clothing — Wear a set of Bibs and a long jacket. This will prevent you from getting snow inside your clothing when shooting prone.

3. Take Care of Your Hands — Bring good winter gloves, preferably with a waterproof outer layer. Make sure the inner gloves can work with your trigger/trigger guard.

4. Bring a Good Tripod — A tripod keeps you elevated so you can avoid laying down in snow or slush. That, in turn, avoids body heat loss. “Keeping out of the snow and shooting from an elevated position is pretty important in the wintertime.”

5. Protect Optics and Action — Keep your scope lenses and action clear of moisture, snow, and fog. You will want to have good caps on both lenses. Make sure the action remains closed, and consider some kind of wrap over the action until you’re ready to load and shoot.

6. Ranging Challenges — Laser range-finders don’t perform optimally with intense, bright, ambient light. Also, if it’s showing you may get false readings from snow particles. So take multiple readings to ensure you have the right distance. Also, if you have a reticle with MOA or MIL marks, and you know the size of your target, then you can range the target with the scope.

7. Drop and Windage Info (DOPE) Chart — Bring a waterproof, hard copy dope chart. Out in the field on cold days, a phone battery dies fast, and you’ll want to preserve that battery for emergency phone use if needed. So, you should keep a good old-fashioned drop chart in a waterproof laminate.

8. Muzzle Velocity Issues — Cold temperatures can lower muzzle velocity. Before you go, get an idea of how your velocity will change with low temperatures. Some powders are more sensitive to temperature than others, causing a noticeable reduction in muzzle velocity. A load you’ve worked out in summer may shoot LOW in winter because the actual velocity is low. Even with a “temperature stable” powder you may see a 10 fps slow-down. Do some winter velocity testing if you can before you go.

Winter hunting snow photography outdoors

9. Keep Your Ammo Warm — A simple way to avoid muzzle velocity changes with low ambient temperatures is to keep you ammunition ON YOUR BODY. Have a pouch under your layered clothing where the ammo can be kept relatively warm. See video: 07:50

10. Safeguard Keys and Valuables — Keep keys and valuables in a secure, zippered pocket. “There is nothing worse than losing something… keys, phone, wallet. It’s really hard to find something when its buried under [many] inches of snow”. We also recommend keeping a spare vehicle key hidden on your car/truck. There are magnetic holders that can keep that spare key secure but safely hidden from view.

Winter Hunting — Success with Snow on the Ground

Winter hunting Norway Haugland

There has been snow on the ground for much of November in many areas of the country. Hunters have had to cope with the snow and cold temperatures. Our hunting editor, Colton Reid, recently returned from a successful deer hunt in the mountains of Utah. He said it was beautiful, but you needed really high-quality outdoor clothing — otherwise you could get in trouble. You need to stay warm and dry.

colton reid utah deer hunting winter snow rifle .30-06

colton reid utah deer hunting winter snow rifle .30-06With careful planning, and some skilled tracking, Colton had success, making a perfect hit on a buck at 300 yards. The animal dropped instantly. Colton brought back a good harvest of deer meat, which formed part of the Thanksgiving feast for his family.

Colton offered these 5 TIPS for hunters. These apply in any season, but are even more important in winter with freezing temps and snow on the ground:

1. 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.

2. 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!”

3. 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.

4. 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.

colton reid utah deer hunting winter snow rifle .30-06

5. Always Enjoy the Experience — 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.

Winter Solace in the Backcountry

There is a nice thread in our Forum appropriately entitled “Winter Time”. You’ll find some great backcountry images taken by our Forum members. Winter is a special time in the outdoors. Forum member JDP explains: “Winter is the best time to shoot! One of the few of life’s ironies that works in my favor. The range is empty and barrels keep cool, no bugs, no waiting on people, no mirage. Yup, this world needs more thin blooded snow birds. This cool weather is terrible and dangerous, tell your friends! Do people get lonely while shooting or something? It’s the true holiday season in multiple ways.”

Winter hunting snow photography outdoors
Forum member DNorton posted: “I live way up north where our white sandy beaches look like this!”

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November 24th, 2022

Wild Game Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving recipes NRABlog.com

Looking for culinary inspiration for your holiday gatherings? The NRA Blog offers three special (and delicious) Wild Game Recipes for your family feasts: Honey Mustard Planked Wild Turkey Breast, Mushroom-Stuffed Wild Boar Roast with Black Truffle Sauce, and BBQ Brined Pigeon. These recipes come from some of the country’s best chefs, and they all seem mouth-watering. You’ll find a full list of ingredients plus step-by-step cooking tips.

CLICK HERE for Three Great Wild Game Recipes »

One of the many advantages to hunting is the assortment of game you can gather that lasts for an extended period of time. Just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to stick with a whole turkey from the store and a ham hock.

We have three unique spins on wild game recipes that will suit your dining table perfectly. Even if you’re one of those hunters who enjoys a quick hunt the morning of Thanksgiving, these recipes will make your holiday more delicious than ever. — NRABlog.com


Mushroom-Stuffed Wild Boar Roast with Black Truffle Sauce

Thanksgiving recipes NRABlog.com
Photo and recipe courtesy of D’Artagnan.

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November 15th, 2022

Have Fun with FREE Turkey Targets and Critter Targets

Varmint Turkey Free Targets Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just 9 days away. What better way to celebrate the Thanksgiving season than to practice your marksmanship shooting some bearded gobblers (of the paper variety). Here’s our custom Turkey Target, ready for family fun this fall. This special Turkey Bullseye Target was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”). It features a central bullseye with five rings, along with three smaller 3-ring circles. CLICK HERE for FREE Turkey Target.

If you prefer color targets, here’s another turkey target, courtesy of the NRA. Hone your skills on a trio of turkeys. The target features three red bullseyes, centered on the gobblers. You can print the target in black and white, but they look best in color. Click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

NRA color turkey target thanksgiving

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 29th, 2022

Get Outdoors and Go Shooting This Weekend — Have Some Fun

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

We should remember the real reasons many 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.

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

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 many fun days of shooting this summer and fall. This Editor hopes to test some rimfire ammo this weekend…

“Always a good day…” — Kirsten Joy Weiss

kirsten joy weiss sharp shots

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October 21st, 2022

NSSF Sponsors Photo Contest for Hunters with MSRs

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

The NSSF is running a MSR Photo Contest for hunters. Submit a hunting photo with a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle (MSR) and you can win one of two valuable guided hunts — a Mississippi Deer Hunt or Louisiana Hog Hunt. Through its #LetsGoHunting with MSRs Photo Challenge, the NSSF encourages hunters to share memorable hunting experiences when using MSRs. There are many photo styles that can be submitted — selfies, trophy photos, group photos, and firearms in the field.

Enter by posting an Instagram hunt photo using an MSR, such as an AR-15 or AR-10. All valid entries must include a photo showing a MSR in use such as the AR-15, AR-10, carbine, and similar variants. Entries must be submitted no later than January 31, 2023. Winners will be selected by drawing. Photos are only eligible for this sweepstakes if they contain a modern sporting rifle and depict proper firearm safety. Please read the official Photo Challenge Rules for more information. It is easy to enter the contest:

1. Take a photo while hunting using a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR)
2. Post the photo to Instagram including #LetsGoHunting in the caption.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

Hunting with Modern Sporting Rifles
MSRs, today’s popular semi-automatic rifle designs, are used by more and more hunters. Modern Sporting Rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. MSRs are chambered for a wide variety of calibers and cartridge types, from 20 Practical to .338 WSM. MSR’s ruggedness and versatility serve hunters well. And MSR modularity allows MSRs to be configured for various applications.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF
Tactical Life Night Shooter — #LetsGoHunting #nightshooter #hoghunter

NSSF thanks The Confluence Group for donating the prize hunts to help encourage hunters to participate in the MSR Hunting Photo Challenge. Learn more here.

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October 21st, 2022

FREE NRA Experienced Hunter Education Courses

Experienced Hunter education course NRA

Hunting season is starting soon in most areas of the country. Here’s a way you can improve your hunting skills/knowledge. The NRA is offering a FREE online Experienced Hunter Education Course for those preparing to take advantage of the 2022 hunting season.

“Our Experienced Hunter Education Course provides those who might have taken a season or two off a convenient way to sharpen their skills before heading back into the field,” said Peter Churchbourne, director of NRA’s Hunters Leadership Forum.

NRA’s free 2-hour course is a firearm and hunting safety-training refresher in a convenient and engaging platform available through desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The course is available to everyone at www.NRAEHE.org. NOTE: The course is NOT a substitute for state-mandated hunter safety requirements and does not offer any certifications.

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

The NRA’s NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course, is an online training program designed to help hunters brush up their skills. Free to all, this comprehensive hunting refresher course will help hunters become safer and more confident before heading out into the field. CLICK HERE for more information.

Experienced Hunter education course NRA

“If you’ve taken a break from the shooting sports or haven’t hunted in a season or two, our Experienced Hunter Education Course is the perfect refresher for firearms safety and safe hunting practices,” explained Elizabeth Bush, managing director of NRA Community Engagement. “Best of all, we’re offering this service completely free of charge.”

Course Description
This online training course is specifically designed for individuals who have not hunted in the past year or more and are looking for a safety refresher before they head back out in the field. In this course, hunters will have the opportunity to refresh their skills by taking a look at safe hunting practices and firearms safety. Once completed, you will be a safer hunter in the field.

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October 8th, 2022

Stabilize Your Shooting Positions — Techniques for Hunters

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC 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. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, 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):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

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.

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October 1st, 2022

Get Vital Hunting INFO with WhereToHunt.org

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

Going hunting soon? 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 provides information about hunting licenses 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
Photo courtesy National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF
On the WheretoHunt.org website, click a particular state on MAP, and resource links will load at right.

Hunting license information Form Permit map NSSF

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September 29th, 2022

FREE Zeiss Hunting App — with Ballistics, GPS Tags, and Weather

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

iPhone/iPad Hunting App (iOS) | Android Hunting App (Google)

KEY FEATURES: Ballistics Solver, GPS Tagging, Weather Forecast, Field Notes with Photos

Hunters, here’s a great FREE mobile APP for both Apple and Android systems. The ZEISS Hunting App offers many practical functions: full-featured ballistics calculator, field notes with photo archive, compass function, GPS tagging for documentation of hunting experiences, and a detailed weather forecast service. The Hunting App is offered as a FREE download for Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) mobile devices.

Three Minute Video Explains Zeiss Hunting App Features:

The Zeiss Hunting App integrates multiple useful features — ballistics solver, compass, GPS tagging, hunt history. The “Field Notes” function can record a wide variety of info — you can save photos, record your shots and hits, log animal sightings during the hunt, and even plot game locations on a map. Zeiss explains: “This allows users to optimally record events, the game population in the hunting territory, and their own hunting experiences.” Shots can be tagged via GPS through the shooter’s and the target’s position, and then displayed on a map. The Field Notes hunt diary shows all entries in chronological order.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

Full-Featured Ballistics Solver
The integrated ballistic calculator allows hunters to easily customize the settings to suit their favorite cartridges. You can enter your own data, or choose bullet/cartridge info from a database containing over 7000 ammunition types from a variety of manufacturers. The ballistics solver can be programmed for for current weather conditions (temp/humidity), and the angle (inclination) of the shot.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

Weather Functions
The weather tool offers a Five-Day Forecast, and you can choose multiple locations. In addition to the current location, users can also display the weather for their hunting areas of choice. The weather forecast includes temperature, precipitation, wind direction, wind speed, humidity, and air pressure. (Note: For precise ballistics solutions, you must input the ACTUAL conditions at your shooting location).

This video explains how to define a hunting zone and set GPS location tags on the map:

Hunt Log and Photos
The Field Notes function can do many things. You can log all your shots and hits, and you can plot game sightings during the hunt. Events can be augmented with photos and GPS data. With the Field Notes mapping function, you can even locate game populations in the hunting territory. A compass and automatic night mode round off the list of smart features.

Zeiss ios apple android hunting App mobile

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September 24th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Six Flicks for Hunters

national hunting fishing day NSSF hunter deer elk game
Deer hunting photo courtesy NSSF.
national hunting fishing day NSSF hunter deer elk game
Today, Saturday, September 24, 2022, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Every year, this event is held the 4th Saturday of September. First recognized by President Nixon in 1972, this is now the 50th year the event has been celebrated across the USA. To help mark this day, we are offering six informative videos for hunters. These cover planning your hunt, selecting good optics, and optimizing your rifle. There are also hunting stories from Africa and Norway.

How to Sight-In Your Hunting Rifle

This video and related article offer good basic advice for sighting-in a hunting rifle. There are a series of six points covered. Here’s Tip #1: “Find a safe place to shoot your rifle with a backstop. If possible, use a bench and a rock-solid shooting rest. Sighting-in is all about consistency, so the less human error you have, the better. For safety, be sure to also bring ear and eye protection.” READ FULL ARTICLE on NRAWomen.com.


NRAwomen.com website NRA lady shooter hunting sighting in sight-in

Comparison of Seven Popular Deer Hunting Scopes

This is summary review of seven (7) popular hunting scopes, as available in 2020 (there may be newer variants). This video consist mostly of manufacturer-created marketing content with a few minutes of independent reviews. Consider this video a place to start when shopping for a new hunting optic. You’ll want to check independent reviews when you select a particular model. The seven riflescopes featured in the video are: Athlon Optics Argos BTR, Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm, Leupold VX-R 4-12x40mm, NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm, Nikon Buckmasters II, Vortex Crossfire II, Vortex Viper HS SFP.

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.”

Kudu Hunting in Africa

Pieter “Piet” Malan is a South African precision rifle shooter and hunter who has created an impressive YouTube Channel with over 300 videos. While Pieter’s Impact Shooting Channel focuses primarily on tactical PRS/NRL type disciplines, his channel also includes dozens of videos of interest to hunters. Here is Pieter’s excellent video about Kudu hunting — Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2. After watching this, with the exotic game and stunning terrain, you’ll probably want to book an African Safari.

Deer Hunting in Norway’s Fjord Mountains

Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenHere’s a video with some truly stunning scenery. Watching this video is like 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?”

Load Development for .308 Win Hunting Rifle

In this video, F-Class ace Keith Glasscock shows load development with a .308 Winchester hunting rifle. Here Keith uses a large X-type sandbag for a front support. He is shooting a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, with Barnes TSX solid copper bullets, PPU Brass, Federal 210m primers, and AR Comp powder. Keith said the Barnes bullets were excellent — he commented that these bullets were “match quality in terms of precision”. Keith achieved some very small three-shot groups with AR Comp and the TSX projectiles. Keith did note that point-of-impact shifted up significantly with increases in charge weight (see 6:20-7:10). With thinner-contour hunting barrels, this is not unexpected. But POI change should be observed carefully during load development, as you may need to adjust your zero after completing testing.

Keith Glasscock .223 Rem load development

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September 23rd, 2022

20 Tips for Hunters Before National Hunting & Fishing Day

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

Tomorrow, September 24th, is National Hunting and Fishing Day, held each year on the fourth Saturday of September. 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 Gear 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 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. Bring 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 a lightweight neck band with earbuds, such as Howard Leight Quiet Band QB2HYG, 3M Safety Band, or Sellstrom Band, all with a good 25 dB Noise Reduction Rating. You can keep these lightweight bands around your neck, for quick deployment before you shoot.

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.

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 20th, 2022

Varminters’ Debate — Cranking Elevation or Holding Over/Under

IOR Scope elevation knob one revolution

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

Varmint hunter 22 BR elevation scope hold-over

“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 1 Comment »
September 16th, 2022

Handy, Slip-On $19.95 Forearm Pad Is Great for Hunters

RRR gun rest padded neoprene

Getting ready for your 2021 fall hunt? Here’s a simple but effective product that can benefit varminters and game-hunters. The slip-on, padded RRR (“triple R”) gun rest cushions your rifle on any surface and helps eliminate noise when shifting the gun from one shooting position to another. The RRR slip-on rest is made of neoprene (wet suit material) with a built-in, thick Armaflex foam cushion on the bottom. This $19.95 sleeve protects the finish of your rifle, while providing a cushioned layer between your rifle and the supporting surface. CLICK HERE for RRR STORE.

Key Benefits of the RRR Slip-On Padded Fore-Arm Rest
1. The RRR sleeve cushions your rifle. This helps to keep the shot from going high even when the rifle is placed on a hard surface.
2. The RRR sleeve quiets the gun. The padded, neoprene covering acts like a sound deadener even when you set the gun on a metal frame or hard surface..
3. The RRR protects the finish on the stock of your rifle from scratches when resting on hard surfaces.

RRR gun rest padded neoprene

Video Shows RRR in Use in the Field

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September 14th, 2022

Better Spotting for Hunters — Using Binoculars with a Tripod

Vortex Binoculars

With hunting season underway (or coming up soon), we know that many readers will be out in the field — with a set of binoculars. On most game hunts, you’ll speed a lot more time glassing with binocs than looking through your riflescope. With wide field of view and extended low-light capability, a good set of binoculars will be your most important game-finder. And with premium LRF binoculars, such as the ZEISS Victory series, one tool serves both for spotting and laser ranging.

“Without the stabilization of your binoculars [provided by] a tripod … you will be missing a majority of the game you are glassing for.” — Outdoorsmans.com

In this article, Vortex Optics’ Mark Boardman, an experienced hunter, explains the benefits of using a tripod with high-magnification binoculars. Everybody knows that powerful spotting scopes work best when mounted to a stable tripod or otherwise secured to a steady mount. Yet when most folks use binoculars, they never even think of using a tripod, despite the fact that tripod adapters are available for many premium binoculars.

Vortex Binoculars


» READ FULL ARTICLE with More Tips for Hunters

Vortex BinocularsOutdoorsmans Tripod Adapters
Outdoorsmans.com sells tripod adapters for various kinds of binoculars. These really work: “Mounting your binoculars to a quality tripod is a must for the serious western hunter. Without the stabilization of your binoculars [by] mounting them to a tripod … you will be missing a majority of the game you are glassing for.”

A serious hunter should learn how to glass with tripod support, using methods outlined here. With binoculars offering more that 8X magnification, you can really benefit from a steady mount. You’ll be amazed at the difference the tripod will make.

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Optics 1 Comment »
September 12th, 2022

Resources for Hunters — Safety, Where-To-Hunt, Best Books

hunting safety 2019 checklist hunter license
Hunting Season has already started in some states, and is right around the corner in other locations. For readers who plan to hunt game this fall, we recommend you brush up on hunter safety and learn the laws in your jurisdiction. Here are some helpful resources for hunters: Safety Tips, Hunter Education, License Requirements, and Where-to-Hunt interactive map. Top photo courtesy Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

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 three key bits of advice:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Safari Club International
Whitetails Unlimited

Recommended Books about Hunting

There’s no shortage of hunting-related reading material by talented authors. 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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