Lansing, Michigan - -(Ammoland.com)- Since archery deer season is upon us, it’s incumbent for hunters to take inventory.
Let’s see… We have sharpened our broadheads, waxed the strings, checked the cables and we’ve been practicing longer and longer shots at targets.
Certainly the integrity of treestands, that have been in place for years, has been checked, along with pull-up ropes and safety harnesses. In a nutshell, we are feeling pretty good about this season’s preparations.
But, there’s another inventory item that must be added to the list: a mirror. No, not for signaling when you become “disoriented” (although a good companion piece in the wild), but one that will return an image of a sportsman. All of us have one of these tools handy, so here are some tips to fine tune that reflection.
What is a sportsman, anyway? According to Mr. Webster, “A person who can take loss or defeat without complaint, victory without gloating, and who treats his opponents with fairness.” Relative to hunting, a sportsman, it follows, is a person who can return empty handed and be satisfied. The sportsman, therefore, chooses only shots that he has a very high likelihood of making.
Adopting one basic principle during practice or in the field can make anyone a true sportsman the very first time afield. It’s not good enough to know how far an arrow may fly and still be lethal. The same goes for the energy of a bullet speeding Mach IV downrange. These elements of a hunt are irrelevant, unless one knows his personal limitations.
It doesn’t matter whether you are shooting arrows above 300 feet per second or recurve-propelled shafts at less than half that. During firearms season, it won’t even matter if you choose a powerful handgun, a big-bore muzzleloader, or a center fire rifle with horsepower to spare.
The key is to use a six-inch bull’s eye when practicing for deer. This means the practice target is somewhat smaller than an actual kill zone of a deer; however, using the conservative approach gives us humans a built-in margin for error – and, oh do we need it.
Now, here’s the test: If you can place 9 out of 10 shots in the six-inch circle, you are within your ethical range. Be honest with yourself when peering into that mirror; find out how good you really are. If you are getting any less than 9 out of 10 in the circle, get closer until you are able to do it. This is what a sportsman does and it is every hunter’s duty.
Set up your six-inch target farther and farther away and keep testing with the 9 out of 10 barometer. If you are going to hunt from an elevated platform, do your testing from a similar platform height at known ranges.
While more powerful guns and faster bow have the potential to increase effectiveness, a good dose of practice is necessary to get the most from even the best equipment. Once you have done your sighting in, begin to shoot offhand, kneeling, sitting, or prone – whatever simulates true hunting conditions.
Stick with it and hunt within your particular capabilities and you will be doing your part to display sportsmanship to that familiar face in the mirror and others, as well.
About Glen Wunderlich
Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the fourth weekend of September each year.