rifle rest“One Shot, One Kill!” This is the goal of all successful hunters. No one wants to harvest a critter that they plan to eat, and fill it full of holes! The quality of a hunter and their harvest is measured by their ethics, accuracy, and sportsmanship. A shooting rest is a huge advantage.

One perfect shot is not about just one thing. Breathing, trigger pull, shot placement, wind awareness, timing, and a steady rest, are all important. Even if you have a perfect mastery of all these skills, the heartbeat and your breathing cause the sights or crosshairs to move. The longer the range, the more important these become. You need to find the rest between the heartbeat and breaths. To avoid flinching, squeeze the trigger slowly so that the recoil surprises you. Oh, and you have to do all of these skills while the biggest buck of your life is in your sights.

When a hunter sights in their rifle, gun, crossbow, or black powder gun, they shoot from a bench and rest. When in the field, they often shoot off hand. This is fine if you have practiced this style, but most hunters shoot less than 10 practice shots a year. I have known hunters that have had the same 20 rounds box of shells for 20 years!

Most hunting shots are less than 100 yards. In some instances, the hunter may be able to harvest a critter at up to 1000 yards. All hunters shoot best when they can hold their weapon completely still. This is accomplished with bipods attached to the weapon, shooting sticks, sling supported shooting, or using rocks, logs, or body to steady the weapon. Each technique requires practice.

Crossbow shots are most effective at 30 yards or less. Using an adjustable shooting stick will help to support the front-heavy weapon. Since the crossbow bolts are lighter and shorter than a traditional arrow shaft, it is essential that you take your one best kill shot. There is less kinetic energy in these smaller arrows. This means that speed is high, but impact power is less. Improper shot placement means a crippled critter.

I always feel bad for the rookie hunter that shoots a huge buck on their first trip. Their expectation is now that hunting is easy and they are disappointed if they don’t shoot a deer every trip. Rarely do these hunters become lifelong sportsmen.

The process, repetition, and practice of shooting will make you a marksman. As a child, I owned a BB gun that looked and felt like a lever action Winchester 30-30. I levered millions of BB’s through that gun. Many cans, bottles, and other targets were victims to that old gun. My first deer rifle was a high powered 30-30 that allowed me to be comfortable and accurate with the familiar weapon. Shooting becomes a year around sport.

My first buck was harvested with just one perfect shot. The truth is that one shot was the result of many shots. Practice makes perfect. Muscle memory, safety, and accuracy are a result of many “one shots”. Plan to hit the target every time. “Aim small, miss small”!  Never shoot toward a target, shoot at it! Every shot you take is an investment in your quest to become a marksman.

 Hunting is a blood sport. Death is part of the outcome of a successful hunt. It is respectful to the critter to make sure they do not suffer. One well-placed shot will assure that the kill is clean and effective. The quality of the meat will also be preserved if the adrenaline and lactic acid in the muscles are minimal.

The best part of the hunt is the process of learning, scouting, friendships, and experiences. Deer hunting is about hours and hours of calm that ends in an intense moment of excitement. The memory lasts forever.

When the moment of truth arrives, you will need to take your one best shot. A steady rest is essential to the accuracy of that one, best shot. Will Primos always professes that “if you shoot a critter accurately, they will lay down like babies!” If not, the critter suffers and you feel awful.

 “You can’t eat antlers” is a common phrase for many hunters. Not all hunters are the same. Every sportsman evolves in their quest to be the best. New hunters want to shoot a deer, any deer. They then want to learn to shoot a lot of deer. Next, their goal is to shoot a big deer. As their skills and experience improve, they desire to hunt a specific deer. Finally, great hunters want to share the sport and teach others how to hunt.

Using a rest will help you to shoot your best and rest easy at night!

Montana Grant

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