There are several basic ways to safely carry your rifle while you’re hiking in the field:
- Two-handed carry
- Cradle carry
- Trail, or one-handed, carry
- Shoulder carry
- Elbow carry
However, the options for carrying your rifle change as you begin your stalk.
When you are able to walk, or run, from one location to another you will most likely use the two-handed or “ready” carry. It’s the safest way to handle your rifle as you approach an animal and get into shooting position. It gives you optimal muzzle control. You will be able to maneuver from a standing to kneeling position with ease. It also allows you to mount your gun quickly when you acquire a clear shot.
At times you may need to crawl on all fours or even belly-crawl to get close enough for a clear shot on your prey.
As you crawl, don’t forget muzzle direction and remember to protect your firearm. Lift and place it, don’t drag or push the rifle as you ease closer to the animal. Keep the safety on and always be aware of the trigger guard so sticks don’t get stuck in, or pull on, the trigger.
With your rifle on the ground during a crawl or belly-crawl, you can easily move to prone or seated shooting position. Remember to keep your finger out of the trigger guard until after you’ve acquired your target, removed the safety and are ready to shoot.