7 tops tips for better hunting

Get to know your rifle and scope combo.

Get to know your rifle and scope combo. - Credit: Archant

Follow the Simple Seven rule and you’ll become a more accomplished hunter

Some pellets are better than others in any given rifle.

Some pellets are better than others in any given rifle. - Credit: Archant

1. Shoot safely

Rule 1 is a constant. Safety is always first and foremost in your mind with everything you do with regard to shooting.

As shooters, we are obliged to consider every eventuality, and the rule within the 'safety first' rule is, never, ever take a shot unless it's perfectly safe to do so. Once safety is sorted, we can move on to the practical stuff.

2. Get to know your rifle

It's essential to have adequate experience with any air rifle before taking it into the field on a hunting trip. Make sure you get used to the trigger release, how the rifle lhandles in various shooting positions, and learn to mount the rifle quickly and smoothly , with correct relief between your eye and the scope. Familiarity breeds efficiency, so keep practising until you 'become one' with your rifle. When your rifle becomes an extension of yourself, you'll be a far better hunter.

3. Practise different positions

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Target practice down the range usually involves a stationary paper or metal target, and nine times out of ten you're shooting from your favourite position. However, when you're out hunting, you will often find yourself in awkward positions trying to rest your rifle correctly to take a clear, steady shot. Try practising shooting targets from different positions, as well as shooting inclines and declines to get to know your rifle and scope combo better. Field target and HFT training is great for developing these essential skills.

4. Learn to Rangefind

It's essential you learn to predict your ranges correctly when hunting. If you don't have a laser rangefinder, then mil-dot rangefinding and using the parallax wheel on your scope to focus on your target is a skill to master, although you'll need at least 18 x magnification to do this reliably. How ever you rangefind, train yourself into greater efficiency, as you would with any essential technique.

Correct shot placement is crucial for a quick, clean kill.

Correct shot placement is crucial for a quick, clean kill. - Credit: Archant

5. Know your quarry

Understanding the behaviour of the animals you shoot is extremely important, because it allows you to predict how they will respond to you being there.

Learning the best times to arrive, building a hide, or digging yourself into position on the permissions you shoot will pay dividends in the long run. Visit your permissions without your rifle for a few hours and observe the rabbits, pigeons and squirrels from a distance, to gain more knowledge.

6. Learn your holdover!

Get to know your scope reticle aim points. Learn the holdover/under values for every five metres of the ranges you'll use in the field. Learn every aim point, write them down, and check them every time to practise.

7. Get pellet savvy

Don't fall into the trap of choosing a pellet because it looks the part Carefully and painstakingly, shoot as many different brands of pellet through your rifle as you can to find the ones that suit it best.

Accuracy is far more important than penetration when it comes to sub-12 ft.lbs. airgun hunting. Quite often, the regular domed pellets will be far more effective than semi-wadcutters and pointed pellets.



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