Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Thursday, April 11, 2019
Riton Optics: The Right Stuff
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Patriotic gun wrap

Practice up for hunting seasons
It may seem premature to be talking about the fall hunting seasons now, but the truth is that by taking care of business now, the fall seasons can be both more fun and more productive.

Those of us who shoot all year long don’t have a “between the seasons” time to think about. We constantly make certain that both equipment and pilot are working well together.

But for many folks, summer is a doldrum period when the focus is on other things. Probably not the best idea, however.

For example, dove hunting opens Sept. 1 and that is not very many weekends away.

Even if a hunter shoots clay targets once a week between now and the opener, it wouldn’t be too much, because the more familiar the hunter is with gun and ammo before the hunt, the more likely it is that the doves will be hit better and more frequently.

DOVE SHOOTING CALLS for engaging at all kinds of angles. Sporting clays courses offer such target presentations and can be good pre-season practice.

Good practice can be done on both skeet and sporting clays courses. As few as 100 shots or so can be considered minimal. Literally, it is a way to get into the swing of things pre-season. Best to use the same gun and ammo that will be used on the dove hunt, but any actual target shooting is better than none.

And maybe this is the year to get another gun for doves and/or upland birds. Now is the time to get it and get familiar with it. No need to work out kinks in the field on an actual hunt.

Or, maybe this is the time to check out everything on a hunting rifle to assure that all screws are tight, that the rig is sighted-in properly, etc. That way, if there is a problem, there is plenty of time to fix it and be ready for the seasons.

Or maybe this is the year to put a new scope on an old rifle, or to get an entirely new rig. Again, by having enough time, everything can be just right for fall. Otherwise, it can be hectic at the last minute – which can mean problems on the hunt itself. Not good.

In any event, there is no substitute for trigger time with the exact rigs that will be used for the upcoming hunt. Once a rifle is sighted-in, minimally it is good to practice at least once a month with it – and from the field positions that will be used on the hunt itself.

FIELD POSITION SHOOTING practice during the off-season can make the difference between success and failure on a hunt.

Rifle trigger time can be as few as three or four shots a week, once the rig is sighted-in. Yes, more is better, but if the shots are deliberately serious, that is enough to keep mind and body attuned to the rig.

Fine-tuning a rifle or shotgun before the season may be particularly important for many hunters this year if lead-free ammo is to be used. Such ammo rarely patterns the same in shotguns and rarely shoot to the same point of impact in rifles as does the leaded ammo.

This means that it is doubly important for those using unleaded ammo for the first time to put in some range time and make sure all is doing what it is supposed to do. No need to guess when there is time to be certain.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

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