Recently, an outdoors writer who should know better mentioned that he had tried 6 ‘Hail Mary’ shots at game animals in his life - shots with only a prayer of being successful.
I believe that ‘once’ is a mistake, but 6 is a habit. Anyone who agrees with him that it’s an ok habit, drop by my section on hunting ethics and study it for a while.
Some ‘big game’ rifles are being built that weigh 5 or 6 pounds or even less.
Elmer Keith said it right, “Do you want a rifle to carry, or a rifle to shoot?” There’s a reason target rifles are heavy. A light rifle in a caliber that can kill a deer-sized animal or bigger is gonna recoil, hard. Unsupported, as you try to aim at an animal, it’s gonna wave all over the horizon while your heart tries to slow down from the excitement of finally seeing that hard-sought quarry. If you support the rifle from an improvised rest, it’ll hammer you, just like it did the one time you shot it from a bench to sight it in. Flinching isn’t the best help for accurate shooting.
Beware the self-assured experts who talk highly about a certain ultra-light rifle and then casually mention that they are taking it on their next hunt. Could that writer possibly be influenced by the manufacturer giving the writer a special deal on the rifle? It happens.
If you can’t comfortably carry a 7 ½ to 8 ½ pound rifle, you don’t need a lighter rifle, you need a better exercise program. The average person puts on a pound of weight every year after the age of 30. Sitting at a desk pushing a computer mouse around is lousy preparation for the hard work of hunting, and it can be hard work, indeed. A ‘minimalist’ exercise program - Work up to 20 push ups, 20 sit ups and 20 leg lifts in the month before your hunt, then in the last week or so, walk at least 20 minutes a day, fast, wearing the same boots you’re gonna be hunting in. There’s lots of more professional exercise programs available on the internet, but this will get you started, and you may just find that an ultra-light rifle is no longer quite so necessary for a successful hunt.
A recent newspaper article claimed that the best hand gun for an inexperienced person was a semi-automatic.
I was out browsing hand guns once and tried out a new semi-auto but no matter what I did, I couldn’t make it work, neither could the sales clerk until I noticed that the magazine wasn’t quite seated, which solved the problem. If an inexperienced person needs a hand gun for protection, it’s NOW and it better WORK. I like a small frame .44 Special double action revolver for that purpose, it’s always ready and it will always work. Taurus made a beauty, I have a Charter Arms that I have found to be quite good.
I was ‘browsing’ the internet and found a shooter bragging about an 800 yard shot at an elk.
At 800 yards, under hunting conditions, a 2 m.o.a. Group is SUPERB. That’s 16 inches at 800 yards, the exact size of a typical elk’s ‘kill zone’. Factor in wind changes and animal movement, plus the nearly 8 FEET of bullet drop at that range with even the powerful .30-378 and a B.C. Of 0.598 and the insanity of shooting at an animal at that range should be obvious, let’s not even talk about longer shots, that’s over 50 feet at 1500 yards!
Yes, a laser range finder and special long range ‘scope sight, maybe with built-in computer, enable you to adjust for the bullet trajectory, but nothing permits accurate adjustment for wind and animal movement over these long ranges. On a t.v. show for hunting, before I turned it off in disgust, I was watching a shooter attempting a 600 or 700 yard shot. By dang, he hit the animal too, but through the television camera you could see the distinctive humping of the back of a gut-shot animal. Our hero had actually missed his aiming point by feet, and he was bragging about his ‘good shot’!!
Ohio’s Game Wardens go out into the field and hunt down deer hunters without licenses.
I’m hunting the last day of the season, I’m looking at a Monster deer that has slowly worked itself into shooting range. I draw a careful bead and start squeezing off the shot, when the deer suddenly is startled, looks towards me, jumps into a nearby thicket and is gone! Then I hear a nearby voice,
“Hey buddy, let me see your license!”
Slob hunters don’t respect the animals they are seeking, slob game wardens don’t respect hunters. I fly as little as possible so as to avoid the geTSApo at airport security. Slob game wardens will only discourage people from going into the woods to hunt. Or, maybe hunters will simply take off their fluorescent orange vests on reaching their stands so that they won’t be seen by the game wardens. Is this Ohio’s way to increase the number of fatal hunting accidents and decrease the numbers of those pesky deer hunters? Clever, those Ohioans.
Many people now think that a bullet must have 100% weight retention after hitting an animal or it’s no good.
Now, a sufficiently powerful expanding bullet in the heart-lung area is going to kill effectively whether it loses any weight or not. That animal will be dead after a short blind run of no more than about 70 yards, but a bullet kills by dumping it’s energy into the target animal, and the faster it’s dumped, the more severe is the damage caused by the ‘temporary wound cavity’. Assuming a proper heart-lung hit and large animals such as moose or elk, you want enough retained weight to ensure adequate penetration AND, you want particles of jacket and lead to shear through the soft tissue of the animal, causing yet more injury as they decelerate. Modern lead-cored jacketed bullets of any modern mnufacturer do this reliably, typically winding up under the hide on the opposite side of the animal. The Nosler Partition is perhaps the classic example of such a bullet. The claim that 100% weight retention is best for a bullet’s performance is simply an unscientific myth.
It’s an entirely different situation if you tend to blast the animal in any likely area and need an exit wound and a good blood trail to permit following up the wounded animal. For this, nothing beats the classic African dangerous game bullet - a nonexpanding solid bullet with 100% weight retention. They have such good penetration that they have been known to go entirely through an animal and injure another further away. However, they also lack the large temporary wound cavity that makes the expanding bullet so effective and, if an expanding bullet version is used, it requires a powerful - and difficult to shoot accurately, magnum cartridge to permit sufficient through and through penetration on larger game animals such as elk or moose. That’s why a skilled hunter limits himself or herself to heart-lung shots whenever possible, it makes life much easier.