Hunting is a natural way we can participate in the circle of life. But how hunters choose their shots is CRITICAL.
Picture this: You are softly walking through a wheat field on a crisp, autumn morning. It is a beautiful day to be out hunting. A dog sniffs in the tall brush ahead, seeking out your quarry …. a wild pheasant. Suddenly, you hear a cackle before a large pheasant flushes into the air. You quickly turn the safety off and take aim with your firearm … but the bird is too far away for you to make a clean shot. You put the safety back on, lower the shotgun, and continue on your hunt.
You may be wondering, “Okkkkk cool …. But why didn’t the person take the shot? Isn’t a shot just a shot?” If we fired a shot whenever we saw our game, we could end up wounding or even losing the animal. Now THAT wouldn’t feel good. That’s why ethical hunters strive to cause minimal suffering by only taking a clean shot. It’s a part of the Hunter’s Ethical Code. As hunters, it is our responsibility to be respectful to other hunters, landowners, non-hunters, and of course, our natural resources
But how do you know if you can make a clean shot? One of the most essential skills you can have as a hunter is good marksmanship, which means you can accurately and consistently hit your target where planned. And boy … is being accurate and consistent VITAL to making a clean shot and having a successful hunt.
Hmmm … doesn’t this sound like we’d need a lot of target practice? You would be correct!! Practicing with your firearm before hunting is always a good choice. It will help you understand your capabilities, build confidence in yourself, and improve your judgements in making an ethical shot. And shooting ranges are great places for anyone to develop their firearm accuracy skills and have a family adventure! Many ranges offer chances to work with trained instructors and safety professionals who can help you become proficient at shooting with handguns, rifles, and shotguns. You can test your skills by firing at bullseyes and 3D targets, or even challenge yourself to hit moving clay targets. And it’s all in a safe and fun environment! Now that’s a plus!
Ah yeah! There are TONS of shooting opportunities you can have at a shooting range. But what if someone has never shot a firearm before? …. Where can they start? Perhaps think about practicing with a shotgun … Shotguns are great firearms for beginners because they spray several pellets when fired. This means they give you a wider area of coverage and a higher chance of hitting the target. Because of this, you can use them to target small, fast moving animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and flying game birds!
Don’t believe it? Watch the video to see how two teens who have never fired a shotgun before do at hitting clay targets. You will discover the nine secret shotgun shooting techniques and more! And to hone your shotgun accuracy skills:
- Click on the “Learn More” section to find out how shooting ranges can help you hit your marks.
- Or visit a shooting range! Check out the National Shooting Sport Foundation’s directory to find one near you.
Oh and don’t miss this fun lesson activity below! It will prep you for shooting ranges by giving you the entire package to hunter safety: responsibilities, ethics, laws, conservation, and firearm basics.