PERFECT PRACTICE, PERFECT SHOT

Photo: Tommy Harvell  Do you see the spots? Hiding quietly in the weeds, a newborn deer waits for its mother just north of Crestview.

Photo: Tommy Harvell

Do you see the spots? Hiding quietly in the weeds, a newborn deer waits for its mother just north of Crestview.

A focus on safety will serve hunters well

By ERNIE MARTIN

Hook & Trigger

I am from the school of thought that prior preparation prevents poor hunting performance. When you venture out to pursue your favorite wild game, make sure that you have spent quality time preparing for the hunt. The most successful hunters that I know are very meticulous in their details of preparing for hunting season. Let’s examine a few major areas where hunters need to spend some serious preparation time.

GUN SAFETY & GEAR

First, let’s review gun safety. Before a single round of ammo is discharged, a thorough cleaning of the firearm is warranted. Yes, I know that most of us clean our weapons before storing them for the offseason. It is a good practice to clean and examine all parts of the weapon again before the next season begins. This way you leave no doubt in the performance of your firearm.

Once you are satisfied with the weapon’s cleanliness, then it is time for a refresher course in hunter safety practices. Checking your orange safety vest for rips and tears is a good place to start. Next, review proper procedures for loading and unloading the ammo in your firearm. Keep the barrel of the gun pointed in a safe direction. Make sure the firearm is unloaded when not in use. 

Be sure of your target and what is beyond the target and make sure that the safety switch is working properly. The barrel should be clear of any obstructions before shooting. Never cross a fence, climb a tree or jump over a ditch with a loaded gun. Be familiar with the area you are hunting in. In hunting safety, you must remember that one mistake can change your life forever!

HARVESTING STRATEGY

Secondly, let’s focus on the preparation of the harvesting of your wild game. If you haven’t placed your trail cameras by the time you read this article, then you might want to make sure that’s your first priority. Getting intel on your prey will greatly increase your success rate. A good trail camera will help you track the movements and let you see what type of game is using that trail.

When you place a trail camera, use some common-sense scouting in picking your spot. Visual signs are tracks, scat, broken branches and worn-down grass. When you pick your spot, make sure you can find it to review what might be on the camera.

If you are going to plant a food plot this season, then you need to get it done now. When the food plot is planted the wildlife will graze through it as they travel to and from bedding areas. Yes, I know that late summer in our area has an abundance of forage for wildlife, but if your food plot is in a convenient spot for the animals, they will feed on it. I have been planting food plots for many years and can attest to the success that a good food plot can produce.

STRAIGHT-SHOOTER

Lastly, let’s talk about accuracy in your shooting skills. Perfect practice makes for a perfect shot – and it doesn’t matter the type of weapon you will be shooting. As long as you have practiced perfectly, your success rate will be high. Make sure that you change the distance of your shots. Know the limitations of your weapon and don’t exceed those limitations. If you’re going to be hunting from a tree stand, be sure to practice climbing and shooting from the stand. The angle of trajectory will vastly change when you’re 30 feet off the ground.

Don’t let your hunting season be a failure because you didn’t prepare correctly. Spend the time in perfect preparation to ensure a successful season.

Until next time, safe hunting and God bless.