Is shooting your gun or bow a top priority? Could you be spending too much time on it?
Spending a lot of time shooting can be a great thing for any hunter to do. Too often, hunters let their shooting skills go during the spring or summer, whether because there are so many other things to do or because they figure they'll have time to catch up on their missed shooting sessions before hunting season roles around in the fall.
Inevitably, hunting season always sneaks up on those who aren't prepared for it, and you don't want to get stuck trying to fit all of your shooting practice into the week before opening day.
With that said, there is such a thing as practicing with your weapon too much. Here are 10 indicators that you might be doing just that.
View the slideshow to see the top 10 sign you are shooting too much.
1. Your arm is sore from reloading your gun or drawing your bow
Let's all be honest here: hunting is not traditionally thought of as a sport that leaves you with aches and pains the day after it's done. Sure, trudging around a landscape for 12 hours can leave you with dead legs, and a fall can leave you with nasty cuts, bruises, or sprains, but for the most part, someone who shoots a gun or bow for their sport isn't going to be as exhausted afterward as someone who runs marathons.
If your shooting practice has become such a frequent and lengthy activity that your arm is sore from constantly reloading your rifle or drawing back your bowstring, it might be a sign that you've officially crossed the line between "reasonable preparation" and "overkill."
2. You've been visited by the police for shooting at targets in your backyard
For bowhunters, the concept of shooting in the backyard isn't a completely crazy concept. So long as you have a hill or wall that can stop the arrows that miss your targets, you can probably shoot your bow within a few feet of your home without worrying about hurting someone or being interrupted.
That's not the case with rifles though, since neighbors will at best be alarmed by the constant sound of gunshots and at worst injured by a stray shot or a ricochet. If you are so dedicated to shooting on a day-to-day basis that you've decided to practice in the backyard rather than at a shooting range, and if you've been visited or cited by a police officer for this activity, then you might need to rethink a few things.
3. The rain doesn't bother you when you are shooting outside
So you've set up a great shooting range on your property, far from the neighbors and police officers from number two, and you're using that set-up to get some much-needed outdoor practice. Such an arrangement can be great, as it can give you experience with shooting in wind, cold temperatures, or even rain.
With that said, most shooters will squeeze off a few rounds in the rain just to make sure that they can and then dash inside to get warm and dry. If you stand outside for hours at a time, shooting despite the rain and cold, your friends and family may start to worry about your sanity.
4. You have to borrow bullets when you go to the shooting range with buddies
This one is not an indication that you're shooting your gun too frequently, but rather a sign that you are squeezing off your shots too quickly when you do shoot. There's something to be said for being able to prepare, aim, and fire a shot within a matter of seconds. After all, such an ability might one day mean the difference between killing a deer and watching it dash off into the woods or walk out of range.
However, the shooting range is a time to hone your craft and master your shots, and you can hardly do that if your squeezing off rounds like a villain in a Bruce Willis action movie. If you routinely have to borrow bullets or shotgun shells from a friend when you go to the shooting range because you spent all of yours too quickly, then you need to reconsider the effectiveness of your practice routine.
5. You continue to participate in a shooting league after you've moved away
Moving sucks. Not only do you have to leave behind all of your favorite deer hunting properties and all of your close hunting friends, but you also have to ditch the shooting leagues you were a part of... unless of course you decide not to.
If you think it is a reasonable use of time and gas to drive back to your hometown on a weekly or monthly basis to participate in shooting leagues, there's a good chance that you're a little too obsessed with shooting. Then again, the urge to show off your skills to old friends and acquaintances is a lot of fun, and some league competitions even offer a cash prize - a factor that can make your road trips worth it. Call this one a wash - even though it would probably be easier just to find new shooting league competitions where you live now.
6. You think it's reasonable to spend all of your weekend time with a rifle in hand
If you're a true shooting die hard, then chances are pretty good that you take a weekend or two every year to attend a shooting convention, competition, or some other event. With that said, if you try to fill the majority of your weekends with constant shooting activities - whether through convention events or through lengthy sessions at the shooting range - then there's little doubt you are spending too much time on this hobby. It's okay to be passionate, but you don't want your shooting obsession to ruin your relationships or keep you from completing other obligations.
7. You fancy yourself as the next Robin Hood or Legolas
This one's for the bowhunters out there.
If you spend so much time slinging your compound bow around that you've started envisioning yourself as either of these iconic archer characters, then you've either snapped completely or simply gone back in time to childhood, when that kind of make believe play was the norm.