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  • Writer's pictureHootey Cline

5 Common Field Shooting Mistakes Every Hunter Should Avoid

When you are in the field hunting your prey of choice, there are some mistakes that just cannot be avoided, but then there are several that I have seen and discussed with others that are seen time and time again.

1. Be Ethical

Most hunters believe that they are ethical, as they don't poach or mistreat the land. However, being ethical is also about the shots we take. Missed shots and bad shots are created when distance becomes greater than a hunter’s skill. Ethical shots are shots that you will make 10/10 times with a 100% hit rate. Don't try to take a 500-600 yard shot, or any shot for that matter, if you have any inclination of worry that it will get away. Being ethical is being honest with yourself; the worst thing that happens by not taking a shot is the game is alive to hunt another day.


2. Focus on Shot Placement

Many hunters make the mistake of looking at the animal to see where they want to make an impact. Instead, focus on the recticle/sights. If you focus on your optics, and not the target, the shot will be there.


3. Anticipation

Did you make your shot or did you pick your head up as soon as you pulled the trigger? If you look over your optic, your body will pull the gun down, resulting in a low shot. To fix anticipation, hold still and focus on your sights, press the trigger, and follow through. If you made a good shot to begin with, you should see the game drop in your optic anyway.


4. See the Angles

“Buck Fever” often throws things like proper shot angles out the window. Most often times an animal is not going to be perfectly broadside to you. Learn where to hold to get into the vital zone. To strike vitals on a quartered target, hold behind the vitals to get the shot placement in the center.


5. Sight in Today

Always check your zeros before going out into the field. This includes borrowed guns; just because something is zeroed in for someone does not mean you share the same zero.

Bonus Round: SLOW DOWN

“Buck Fever” can be a nasty thing when it gets the best of us. ALWAYS remain calm, move slow, easily, and deliberately. Lack of knowledge is most often the culprit of a lackluster hunting experience. Take the time to learn what is right and what is wrong. Don’t let poor habits waste an animal that may sacrifice itself to feed you and your family, and also give you some irreplaceable memories. While squirrels and rabbits aren’t exactly the big time, learning how to chase them will help hone your skills for hunting larger game. When hunting dangerous game, using an unfamiliar rifle is basically suicidal. ALWAYS practice for reliability because your trust and knowledge of a tool may just save your life.


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