Take a Look Back at Your Shooting Last Deer Season

Take a Look Back at Your Shooting Last Deer Season
Take a Look Back at Your Shooting Last Deer Season
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Little Rock, AR -(Ammoland.com)-Planning ahead for your next deer season should include a look over your shoulder.

How was your shooting last season? Maybe it wasn’t entirely to your liking. You missed a shot at a whitetail. Or maybe you got the deer but had to shoot it three times.
Several options are open to you for improving your deer shooting skills before next season, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission..
First and the one recommended by most any experienced hunter is to take yourself and your rifle out to a firing range and put in some practice time. Don’t do it once. Do it several times. Make an investment in time and in ammunition.
Oh, you can buy a better rifle, a more costly telescopic sight. You can take a step up in ammunition grade. These may help you somewhat in shooting, but they may also be talking points – topics for conversations with hunting buddies and at the shop or office.
That rifle you used in the last season may not need replacing at all. Unless it has a physical problem, the rifle should last you many years, maybe enough to be a hand-me-down to a future generation. If they are not mistreated, rifles don’t wear out – short of firing multiple thousands of rounds through them. Mistreatment includes failure to clean them properly.
Now, think about when you missed a shot at a deer, if you did. Was the deer running? If it was, it is understandable that a shot missed. Deer run fast, and they are hard to hit. Likely, there is no cure, no magic pill for this situation. Were you shooting from a standing position?
Were you sitting in an elevated stand? Did you have a clear shot at the deer? Was the lighting dim, like just before darkness? Was the deer broadside, head-on or at an angle from you? And, did you follow proper shooting technique, meaning line up the sights, take a breath, let part of it out then squeeze, not pull, the trigger?
Any or all of these factors could have come into play with that shot that you missed, and some of them can be corrected.
For improving deer shooting odds, a major step is to rest the rifle. If you use an elevated stand of any type, a rail to lay the rifle across is a tremendous asset. This is something you can correct or add to your hunting equipment before next season, and if you do, practice with it. Set up the stand with the rail, even in your backyard, and do some dry firing or at least practice sighting and getting ready to squeeze off a shot.
A rail on your deer stand is a stand-in for the bench rest that you use at a shooting range.
If you are not convinced about the odds in shooting positions, military shooting experts can help out. The four shooting positions they teach are — in order of steadiness — prone, sitting, kneeling and standing.
Prone shooting is rare in Arkansas deer hunting. Sitting, in the military concept, means using a seated position and bracing the rifle with both elbows on knees. That is a lot different from sitting on a stand and holding the rifle in the offhand position, without bracing.
Consider working on your shooting time. This means the short moments you have after seeing a shootable deer for you to get the rifle up and aimed. The key is to do this quickly but accurately. Learn to sight quickly. It’s not easy sometimes, but it’s an element you can work on. See a deer, get the rifle positioned and line up the sights.
Practice at home can help on this point, even if the stand-in for a deer is a light switch on the den wall. Practice and learn to do this positioning and sighting without looking at anything but the target. Make it automatic to find the rifle’s safety by feel and to move it from “safe” to “fire” with just your thumb’s tip or fingertip and not by looking down at the safety, which requires head movement.
Most times when a deer comes into view, it is only for a few seconds. Seldom does that buck or doe stand there and let you think about shooting. You need to reduce the time to get off the shot after you’ve made the decision to take a crack at the deer.
By working these elements into your hunting routine, you’ll get the odds of success more in your favor, whether or not you retire that .30-30 for a scoped .300 Mag.