Make Sure to Practice Offhand

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We all spend our time at the range, making sure our rifle is shooting just right.  We get it dialed in, and then we head to the woods, ready to shoot our animal.  Well, what happens if the animal comes out where you do not expect it?  Will you be able to make the shot?

This scenario has happened to me.  My first deer I ever shot, I had to shoot left handed.  I had never practiced that way, and paid for it by having my nose broken with the scope.  If I had just practiced more.

So, when I go to the range, I am sure to spend an extra few minutes, and 10-15 shots, shooting from different positions.  If your range allows you to safely do so, be sure to cover all ways that you could possibly encounter in the field.  Free standing, prone, using a support, shooting with the opposite hand, etc., are all ways to work on.  Because let's face it, how many times will the deer or elk let us set up our sandbags and get a good rest before shooting it?

So remember, spend a few minutes extra now, so that you can avoid a disappointing miss (or some pain) in the field.


hunter25's picture

I always practice shooting in

I always practice shooting in all the possible hunting situations I can think of. I have always practiced with both the right and left hands with a pistol due to all the defensive handgun training I have had. Up until 8 years ago I did very little with a rifle until I started shooting my sons left handed hunting rifle. It feels a little off at first but becomes quite natural before too many shots have been fired.

Thanks for the good tip to make us all better hunters.

arrowflipper's picture

Everyone should do it

Another great tip.  How often do we shoot off the bench and no other way?  Let me add to what you have said about shooting off hand.  Some friends and I did a little competitive shooting at the range.  We put a paper plate on the 100 yard target and then did some offhand shooting.  The contest was to shoot 10 shots inside of one minute and see how many were in the paper plate.  You might be surprised at how hard that is.  It gives you the experience of not only shooting off hand, but having to do it in a short amount of time.  I was surprised at how long one minute really is.  I had no problem getting off all ten shots in that time period.  Hitting the plate is another matter.

Thanks for reminding us that while we're in the field, we won't have that nice benchrest with some sandbags on top.  Shooting sticks are becoming very popular so it is a good idea to try them out as well.  Great tip Vermonster!

groovy mike's picture

good reminder

I am always amazed at how much shooting is done off of sandbags or sitting at a bench.  I only know one guy who has a hunting blind set up with a similar design.  None of my shots on game have ever been off sand bags - so why on earth would I practice shooting off of them? 

It makes no sense to me.  So like you, I practice from field positions including standing, leaning, and sitting but unless I am testing a reloading recipe for accuracy, or a new rifle I almost never shoot with sandbags off the bench.

As a side note, off-hand shooting is something frequently preached in self defense courses.  You never know when your strong side hand will be injured or otherwise compromised - so if you are right handed - spend some time shooting with the left had - just in case.  It makes sense for use of the hunting rifle too.

Critter done's picture

Great Tip

Good job

numbnutz's picture

good stuff, thanks

good stuff, thanks

ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks, good tips.

Thanks, good tips.