Training is a necessity and an ethical responsibility for hunters. However, many hunters occasionally visit the shooting range without much focused training once they get there. Aimpoint instructors effectively train hunters and shooters to increase target acquisition speed and accuracy for realistic scenarios.
On a driven hunt when the opportunity comes to take a shot there is a lot of information that needs to be processed before squeezing the trigger. Is the game appropriate to target, where are the dogs, can a safe shot be taken, how long is the distance, are the shooting angles acceptable.
All this, knowing the risks involved with taking a bad shot. To start thinking about where to place your feet, proper cheek weld on the stock, and how to fire the gun in this situation is a bit too late.
The training instructors of Aimpoint are experienced hunters. They know the importance of practicing a routine that you can apply in the field and save time in a hunting situation. With a simple and rehearsed shooting technique, the hunter gains more time to evaluate the situation, choose the right moment, and always act safely.
What is a good hit?
Hunters often aim at hitting “bullseye”, no matter what the target looks like. This often leads to a time-consuming fine adjustment when using an aiming device, often not beneficial to the end result, especially in types of hunting where the opportunity to shoot appears suddenly and then goes away. If the aiming device points correctly from the start, the shot can be taken when there is still time.
A good hit is a kill shot without any unnecessary damage to the meat, a hit in the central part of the vital area (kill zone). Whether the hit is exactly in the middle of this area or not is not important. The main thing is that the shot is made in the hit area each time. Ethics is important for all hunters.
A consistent cheek weld technique is a starting point
Whether you are learning how to hit a golf ball, fly-fishing or firing a gun, a big part of the secret is using your body consistently the same way so the movement comes naturally every time.
Aimpoint instructors often tell the participants to start off from their natural foot position, close their eyes and lift the gun up to the cheek. The aiming reticle should then move straight upwards. If not, the body is twisted compared to the foot position and you need to try again. The hand that pulls the trigger should provide the most support for holding the gun to your shoulder.
Get to know the two focus points
Shooting at moving targets involves several parameters that will influence the lead, such as speed of your target, angle, bullet speed and distance.
With the exception of extreme cases in these elements, typical scenarios require the hunter to rely upon two focus points.
The first focus point is in the front third of the hit area. It should be used up to the distance were the shots are targeted in the rear part of the hit area.
Further distances mean that the focus point should be further to the front.
At what distance the focus point should be shifted differs between different shooters depending on the swing speed of the gun and timing.
Your specific limit is found by testing and practicing on different distances on the shooting range.
Using the red dot sight
For those who have owned or tried a red dot sight it is apparent that it is an optimal aiming device for short distances, dense terrain, and sudden situations. Modern driven hunts with plenty of game is a form of hunting that often involves this kind of shooting both for stand shooters and dog handlers. To mimic real hunting situations is a challenge for hunting shooting clubs that are subject to tough restrictions.
Focus and let your brain do the job
In freehand shooting, the aiming device is always in movement with the ability to predict and control this motion is key to fast and safe shooting. Instead of a wobbling motion, it should be a firm conscious motion into the hit area.
When shooting at static targets, you should start below or in the lower end of the hit area and slowly move upwards using muscle power, breathing or a combination. This movement should not be too long, maybe one or two decimeters.
When you place the gun to your cheek you should find the starting point or “contact point” with your aiming device. When you have reached this area, your focus should move to the “focus point” above and you then move the aiming device upwards with a controlled movement. When the red dot reaches the focus point the shot should be taken. But your focus should remain at the focus point, the rest is handled by your brain.
Ethical shooting – contact – focus – shoot
Once you master the technique of handling an aiming device for a static target, it is time to apply the technique to moving targets. Find the contact point, focus on the focus point and when your eyes and brain perceive that these targets are aligned, you should take the shot.
The difference compared to the static target is that the contact point is now on the rear end of the hit zone and the focus point is further ahead. You should find the contact point with your aiming device and stay there in order for your mind to gather information about the direction and speed of the target.
Then your focus should shift over to the focus point with the aiming device catching up with the help of a movement in your hips and waist. Movement of aiming device should continue ahead even after the shot.
Tips Static Targets
Let the starting point, the “Contact point”, be placed at the bottom of or just below the hit area.
Move your focus to the “Focus point” and move the aiming device with a conscious movement using muscle power or your breathing.
Stay focused on the focus point and let your brain decide when this is aligned with your aiming device.
Tips Moving Targets
Let the “Contact point” be placed at the back of your hit area.
Stay with this contact point for a while.
Shift your focus to the “Focus point” and move towards it with a conscious movement in your hips.
Keep your focus on the focus point and let your brain decide when it is aligned with the aiming device.
Tips Using a Red Dot Sight
Start with your natural foot position
Let the hand that pulls the trigger carry most of the weight from the gun.
The position of your feet should allow for your body and hips to move in a way that does not lead to uncontrolled upward movements when aiming at moving targets.
Keep both eyes open!
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