Shoot Like it is Winter in June

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Practice like you hunt is often a tip given to bow hunters.  They are reminded to practice in their hunting clothes so they can detect any problems with interference in drawing the bow before they are in an actual shooting situation.
It is good advice for bow hunters and for rifle hunters.  A lot of my shooting practice happens in the spring and summer where I shoot in a t-shirt.  This is great for comfort and staying cool, but it does not simulate how you will be dressed in the winter.  I have hunted on days so cold that I put on a heavy jacket, down vest and multiple layers of clothes.
The affect of wearing all of these clothes was not just that I stayed warm, but it changed the length of pull of the rifle.  This not only affected where my eye lined up for the scope, but how my finger sat on the trigger.
Fortunately, I had plenty of time to readjust and make the shot, but had I needed to make a quick shot I would have been out of luck.  It took just a minute to figure out what was wrong, but I am sure during that time I would have lost the opportunity to make the shot if the buck was anxious and moving.
It might get you some strange looks, but pack your heavy hunting gear including gloves to the range with you before hunting season and take a few shots with all your winter gear on.  It will make sure you do not have any surprises on that cold day when the buck of a lifetime is in front of you.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Thanks for the great tip. I

Thanks for the great tip. I just got a new compound for Christmas. When it gets into September and closer to hunting season on one of those cooler September evenings I will have to give this a try.

hunter25's picture

Another good tip and

Another good tip and something almost no one thinks about until it happens. Like the other I have gotten slowed down with the confusion of why my gun was not lining up properly.

I like the idea of a shorter stock or removable but pad to shorten the length of pull when dressed up that way. I have never taken a shot with a glove on and really don't know how other people do it as I just can't feel the trigger well enough.

groovy mike's picture

good idea

This is something that I do to some extent.  i don't put on the full winter parka when it is hot outside but I do try to put some sort of a jacket on to similate hunting clothing when I prectice with my hunting rifle. 

The same idea holds true when you talk about hats and glasses.  If you hunt with them on (or off) you should practice with them on (or off). 

In the same way you should practice shooting from the positions that you will be firing at game from.  it does not good to practice shooting from a bench rest and sitting position if you will be standing in a tree stand when you hunt. 

Like CVC said - practice like you hunt, and hunt like you practice!


jim boyd's picture

Great tip! I missed a chance

Great tip!

I missed a chance to get a shot at a great buck once as a result of not following this tip.

I will add two possible additional hints for this - I know some hunters with fairly thick recoil pads that they remove when cold weather settles in - this helps offset the thick layers of clothes you may have one.

I actually also have a cold weather rifle - it is a youth model with a slightly shorter LOP - that also offsets the thicker jackets, etc... that are worn in the cold.

Preparation and cognizance will certainly help round out your skills and practice as the season approaches.

This is a small thing that can be overlooked - that can cost you a chance at a trophy.

Great tip! 

CVC's picture

Thanks Jim and thanks for

Thanks Jim and thanks for adding to the tip with the good suggestions.  The first time this happened to me I didn't know what was going on.  All I knew was that I couldn't get my eye to align with the scope properly to focus on the animal.  It had me confused for about 15 seconds which seems like an eternity when you're trying to take an animal.

Once I figured it out I just pulled the rifle hard and deep into my coat and it fixed the problem.  Your tips sound like a better idea.