Three Quick Things To Improve Your Hunting Chances
So you've come home empty handed from a weekend of hunting a time or two, and you're starting to wonder what you are doing wrong. Is the gun malfunctioning in some way? Or is your aim really that bad? You shouldn't worry, this is a process every hunter goes through, especially as they start to get really passionate about the sport. While beginners luck can really pay off for some people, more often than not you'll go home empty handed the first time around, and that really is part of the sport. Time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your approach. The disappointment of a unfulfilled permit has probably just solidified your interest in the sport anyway. Here are three quick things you can do to help increase your chances the next time around.
Scout More Regularly
You shouldn't expect to just randomly find a spot while walking in the early morning and have trophy game saunter by a few hours later. Sure, it's happened. But hoping the chips fall your way without doing much work won't likely lead to a freezer full of meat. You should know the landscape you want to hunt fairly intimately. It doesn't matter if it is private or public land. Get out there way before the season starts and look for worn game trails and frequented watering holes. Study how the game you want to hunt travels and look for their droppings and maybe even horn sheds along the way. Also look for potential blind or tree stand spots as well as the obstacles that may effect your shooting opportunities. If you're only presented with a minimal shooting window from the place you select, better move on to another place with better visibility.
If you're hunting animals that are sensitive to human scent, remember to give the land you scout a long grace period before actually hunting it. Don't scout an area two days before the season begins, you'll likely make any local game weary of the area you plan to hunt. Plant to scout your spot in spring and early summer for game you plan to hunt in early fall. You can also coincide other activities like mushroom hunting with your scouting efforts to get a little more enjoyment out of the experience. Equipment like Binoculars or Spotting Scopes will also enrich your scouting experience, and since you're not carrying a weapon, you can bring along the bigger, more powerful Optics for a truly rewarding wildlife watching experience.
Invest In A New Scope Or Accessory
Have you fired a tense shot only to be perplexed at the fact the animal didn't flinch at all? Was that really a complete miss that just happened? This can be a truly defeating experience, and it'll make you feel like you can't hit the broad side of a barn to use the old cliché. Don't be too hard on yourself. You just need to get a better grasp on how your firearm performs.
The rifle range will be your new best friend, and if you aren't already part of one, seek a new club to join. Typically admission isn't too expensive. Once you have that membership, you better use it to examine how you aim with your firearm. If you haven't tried using a Scope with your firearm, now is the time to do so. Do yourself a favor and find a moderately priced rifle scope with features like variable magnification (make sure it starts at a low power like 2-4x, not 6-8x) and fully muli-coated optics. You'll get a good clear picture with fully multi-coated optics, and you aren't committed to a single magnification power should you decide it's not suitable for how you want to shoot. You may also consider getting a Laser Boresighter to use while sighting in your new scope. You'll definitely save a few bucks on Ammo in the long run.
Finally pay special attention to your Scope Rings. If you skimped on the cheapest scope rings around, it's time to correct that mistake. Always remember the weakest link between your scope and your firearm are the scope rings. Pick up a reliable and well-reviewed pair of rings and stop wondering whether or not your alignment is thrown off by cheap scope rings.
Test Your Ammo Against One Another
While you're testing your new scope at the range, bring along some competitive ammo brands with your trusted ammo brand. Obviously don't test these rounds against one another until you are sure your scope is close to sighted in at the very least. But once you're comfortable with how your trusted round performs, start seeing what the other brands can do for you as well. You can do this with or without a scope. If you shoot a slug gun instead of a rifle, experiment with different chokes and even barrels to see how your accuracy is improved. Long story short experiment and tinker with different ammo, and track your results. This will go a long way towards improving your confidence as well.