Off Season Rifle Shooting Tips
By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
The snow is beginning to melt and we’re starting to think about another season of big game hunting ahead. Your gear is likely stored away and your desk is littered with notes on different hunts, outfitters, license applications and other planning essentials.
Those hunts in the future will approach incredibly fast. Maintaining a regular shooting practice schedule throughout the winter will elevate your skills and have you prepared well ahead of the hunting seasons.
Practicing in the off season is about much more than sighting in a rifle. You are building critical confidence, extending your range and training to really be a shooter. This means you will instinctively drop in position and know exactly where your shot will land when it counts. There is no better feeling than approaching a shot with the experience that removes any second guessing or uncertainty.
Monthly Minimum Range Visit
At a minimum, a monthly visit to the range will keep you centered and on target. Increasing the frequency of your shooting trips will however really stand to improve your game. Take the time to really become intimate with your rifle and how it handles. Find the best rounds through practice and get yourself dialed on extremely tight groupings at the outer edge of your comfortable range.
After you have that normal shooting range producing consistent groupings, jump out to longer range shots just for fun. You may not need to use this skill while hunting, but knowing where you can place a shot at long distances is comforting. A shooting school is well worth the investment for developing long range skills as well.
Dry Firing Rifles
Making regular range visits is not always possible, but you can build some serious confidence through visualization and dry practice. The process involves shooting without any ammunition.
Before you begin a session of dry practice, check, double check and triple check that your rifle is not loaded. Even so, always aim into a safe setting as a safety measure. Dry practice against a real target like a decoy is ideal. You can also simply hang a photo of a big game animal to help with the visualization and shot placement.
Focus on your shooting positions and setup just like you would in the field. Pay close attention to breathing and shot placement. Pull the trigger normally and visualize the shot being on target. You should be thinking about recoil and working through flinch patterns as well.
Spend twenty minutes visualizing shot scenarios while getting yourself positioned and setup on a target. Do this once or twice a week and you will really develop and build confidence for the field. The practice also works well for bird hunters and shotguns.
Kawdy Outfitters offers remote hunts in northern British Columbia for moose, mountain caribou, mountain goat and stone sheep. To learn more, please explore the rest of our website. For details or availability, please contact us anytime.
Written by Zach Lazzari
Zach is an outdoor writer, fly fishing guide and hunting enthusiast. Follow Zach at bustedoarlock.com.