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What are your philosophies on practicing for becoming a good hunting shot? Coming from many years of traditional archery hunting I always practice the way I hunt. I know this will be different based on where and what you hunt but for me hunting in the thick Northeast were my longest shot ever was 50yds and nothing is going to try and eat me this is what works for me. I shoot the same gun and ammo I will be using and shoot at various ranges out to 75-80yds using different types of field rests like from my day pack, sitting down, resting of the side of a tree, etc and offhand at ranges out to about 35-40yds. I also like shooting in the early morning and late afternoon to simulate different light conditions. My preference for targets are a baloon blown up to about 4-5" diameter or clay pigeons. About the only time I punch paper is for initial sight in. My hunting shots are than limited to those ranges where I can hit these targets 100% of the time. Sometimes this will cost me a shot like last year when I had to pass up a huge 10pt because he was about 120yds away. I watched that buck for 30 minutes unable to get closer and finally just left him. I'm sure there are many guys on this sight who could have smoked that buck and maybe with some more practice I will be able to take that shot.

I forgot to mention I hunt with a scoped Ruger Hunter in 44 and an open sighted 475 Linebaugh conversion.

Sorry to ramble on but Iwould love to hear how you guys practice for hunting and what your thoughts are on the subject.

Erick
 

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you don't say what gun you are using so NO one can blame you for YOUR ethics! I hunt with revolvers AND scoped single shot pistols. Some of the single shots are easy 200 yard deer guns IF I DO MY PART! I often practice with a 22 rf or even an air pistol. The recoil from a hard kicker like my 45-70 or 358 JDJ takes a toll on my hands and wrists(carpal tunnel). Plus 22 rf is cheaper than handloads.When using the T/C, you have the same trigger no matter what barrel you use. I also use clay pigeons for targets. I buy the archery targets that are big pictures of deer. I set them out at different ranges to see what the deer will look like in the scope at these ranges. I shoot from different positions and often use a bipod when I'm not sure sure of the ground conditions where I'll be hunting(high grass ,low brush,etc.)I have found that frequent practice is very important if you want to be a successful handgun hunter.
 

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When I first started hunting, which was a long time ago. :-D
I use to put targets at different ranges. I shot off homemade shooting sticks,leaning agents trees and off hand shooting. I practice tell I was proficient at hitting the target. Now I just make sure my guns are in top working order, through the years of hunting, I have learned to judge distance very good and shooting comes natural. :D
 

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erickrschaefer: You certainly practice well and your ethics on taking shots are pretty high. I've watched prized bucks just meander around and out of shot distance, not wanting to miss on a long shot but your practicing techniques sound pretty effective.

I have used clay pigeons - the ones the trap and skeet shooters managed to miss (LOL) and I have also used small ballons out to distances of 50 yds. Even though I consider myself a good hunting handgun shot I still won't take shots beyond what I consider to be my effective range. I always felt that was a hunter's responsibility but never really had and sort of confirmation on that until I came to this site and began to realize that there are a ton of dang good handgun hunters around who have the same ethics. And I am dang pround to be here.

I would say there is nothing wrong with your practice techniques or your hunting ethics. But, you didn't identify what you were hunting with and whether that is capable of a 100 - 125 yd shot. If your hunting handgun is capable of that range and you practice out to that range as effectively as you do now, that buck will be on your dinner plate next time around.

I would say practice some more and practice for that long shot, but only if you feel both your caliber and you are capable of making it. Mikey.
 

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I think whats helped me the most has been varmint hunting (mainly Woodchucks). Grab the Contender, find a promising field & start scouting. With the landowners permission, of course.
It really helped being in a actual hunting environent where sometimes you have to stalk to get within your effective range. Missed shots & spooked varmints are a valuable learning tool.
It also gives you a chance to learn about game patterns & scout for the upcoming Deer season!
 

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practice

I spend time just shooting. Being active in a local handgun club sets me up to shoot several hundred rounds every month at a variety of targets at different distances some moving some stationary. In the winter time I shoot at an indoor range, between 200-300 rounds every two weeks.

When it comes time to close the deal on a whitetail I have no question whether I can make the shot or not. I still hunt and stand hunt both have their advantages. Getting close is the hunt, making the shot is mechanics.

Sounds like you have the skills. If you are nervous just shoot more to build you confidence.

Longwalker
 

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I would suggest not practicing on targets that are bright in color or have a defined aiming reference, also practice in the woods. We are not provided the luxury of having red circles on a deer’s kill zone nor is judging distance the same in the woods when compared to an open range. I prefer large brown cardboard for targets.

If you hunt with gloves, shoot while wearing gloves. If you hunt out of a tree stand then practice shooting out of a tree stand.

Take Care,
Scott
 

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I can appreciate your understanding of your limitations. Everyone has 'em and it is good to know yours. I know mine and live with them. I know if I can't get a good clean killing shot, I will pass. I think you and I had a dad that was cut from the same block. Mine is from the greatest generation and I still am in awe of that group.

But in the end always remember that practice makes perfect. Least that's what my pop always told me and he was right most of the time.

With your attitude and mind set, you should be very successful. Enjoy your next hunting season. :wink:
 

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Larry

I have to say that your ideas are all right on the money. I might add that
for me, practice is for the unknown? I might have an opportunity at 50 yards for a real bruiser like three years ago. Two years ago it was 250 yards. I practice at an outdoor range out to 500 yards with a 308 and 358 Winchester in the Encore for specific reasons.
The ranges are all marked so I have taught myself for several decades
to judge proper ranges. I shoot clay birds to three hundred yards and eight or 12 inch steel plates to 500 hundred! I practice shooting prone over backpacks, leaning against concrete tables, truck bumpers.

Deer season opens in 18 days

Neal
 

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You can use the neighbor's cats; just don't get caught.

Seriously, if you shoot off a backpack, that's what you need to use. Same goes for shooting sticks, etc. Hunting varmints outside the big-game seasons with your hunting firearms is very good practice as well.
 
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