Having a pre-hunt routine and basic target practice can be the difference in a successful hunt, and another long walk back to the truck.
While many target practice and pre-hunt routine tips will focus on bowhunting, many of the tips and routines apply to gun hunters as well. The amount of target practice and routine you do beforehand will directly affect your chances of success. With that in mind, here are a few tips for target practice at home and your pre-hunt routine that will help improve your hunting this year.
Use the same gear
This is one of the most common mistakes made when practicing at home. Whether with a bow or with a gun, people have a tendency to use lower quality equipment to practice with. Bowhunters often use cheaper arrows or field tips instead of broadheads, and gun hunters opt for a cheaper round to send downrange during target practice than the “hunting round.”
While any shooting is good, as it gives you more practice and works muscle memory, when you change key factors, you are essentially shooting a different weapon.
Practice in your hunting clothes
As I said before, muscle memory plays a big part in shooting, and by drastically changing your clothing, your muscle memory becomes useless. Basically what it boils down to is this: if you hunt in cold weather, wearing thick gloves and coats, don’t practice in a t-shirt, wear thick gloves and a coat. This way when the time comes to take the shot, everything will feel exactly the same to your body.
Simulate your shots
Get up in your stand to practice. Take every shot you could possibly imagine ever realistically happening in the woods and then add a few more to it.
When something crazy happens in the woods, you will have taken at least a couple of shots under similar circumstances while practicing and will be more confident and more successful.
Transport with care
The way you transport your gun or bow will directly affect how long it stays in tune and accurate. If you take care of it, keep in in a case, and make sure it doesn’t get thrown and bumped around, it should be just as accurate as the last time you tested it.
If you transport your rifle by throwing it behind the seat, then chances are your scope or sights may just move during transport, and unfortunately, most people only find out that things have shifted with a missed shot.
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Don’t assume your weapon is still sighted in
This point goes directly with the last point. Every time you transport or hunt with your weapon is an opportunity for the sights to get knocked out of line. Don’t assume that they are still good if you have not tested them. As often as possible during the season, continue to target practice and take test shots to make sure that everything is still in proper shooting condition.
Remember these tips as you prepare for the rut and before you go out hunting at any point this season. What you do to prepare for the hunt can often determine if you’ll be successful or not.