Of course, simply going hunting and gaining experience, especially controlling the game-ending curse of buck fever, can put you on track to one-shot kills. You can also do a few preseason steps to increase your odds of smacking your target the first time. Here’s how.
1. Go shopping. If you don’t own a shooting rest, then it’s time to visit your local sporting goods store. Review your hunting style and your favorite shooting position, and then go shopping. I’m a fan of prone shooting, so I slap a bipod on my rifle for every hunt. However, sometimes the terrain doesn’t allow for a prone shot and sitting is better. I always stow a pair of shooting sticks in my pack for those occasions. My shooting sticks actually extend to allow for standing shooting, so between my bipod and sticks, I’m covered. You can also look at portable shooting benches such as the Caldwell Deadshot Fieldpod . Regardless of your shooting preference, use a shooting rest whenever possible to ensure an accurate shot.
2. Release your inner gardener. Hunters oftentimes hunt the same property over and over again, particularly whitetail pursuers. Because of this, you know the escape routes and where deer will likely be lounging. You also know where you’ll likely set up on opening morning. If so, clear and open your shooting lanes prior to opening day. Branches, limbs and twigs can deflect bullets or block a shooting lane. Clear the lanes so you have more than just a fleeting glimpse of your target and the bullet doesn’t have to battle its way home for one-shot success.
3. Know the distance. When you set up for your hunt, don’t start daydreaming about big bucks just yet. Range the distances to prominent landmarks and memorize them. You can even do this during your preseason trimming chores. If you have a tough time remembering distances or the terrain is mundane, then use some utility flags or surveyor’s tape to mark likely shooting locations. These bright indicators will jog your memory into remembering each likely shooting scenario.
4. Put up a stop sign. Few of us are great at shots on moving targets, so it’s a good idea to stop your target before the shot. For whitetails you can construct mock scrapes and employ a scent dripper in favorite shooting lanes. Deer should stop and smell the roses. You can also spray doe urine in shooting lanes as you pass by to your ambush location. If the trail is narrow and tight, you can simply stack some logs over it, making deer slow down as they prepare to jump the obstacle. Lastly, if you’re 100 yards or farther from the shooting zone, bark at your target. Most deer will stop to figure out where the crazy canine is located.
Don’t forget to sight-in your rifle, practice and plan as many hunts as possible for this coming fall season. But you can also tweak your skills with these easy fixes.