How to: hunt in misty/foggy weather
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A newcomer to air rifle hunting ask for advice on shooting in misty weather, and our Airgun Guru provides!
Simon Digby asks: Is it possible to go hunting when it’s foggy? My main hunting permission is on the edge of a large expanse of moorland and during the winter the mist and fog can become thick, and regular. After 20 years of airgunning, I’m an absolute novice at hunting and I’m loving every minute and every lesson I learn. If hunting in the fog and mist is a no-go, I’ll accept it and carry on plinking at home, but if it’s possible, I’d love to know how to do it. Thanks in advance for anything you can do to help.
The Guru replies: Simon, yours is a fascinating question, so thanks for sending it in, and I hope what I have to say is of use to you. First and foremost, it’s perfectly possible to hunt in foggy conditions, provided all of the usual safety requirements are met, and that it’s safe to drive to your permission, of course. If the fog is so thick that you can’t see where your pellets are travelling beyond your intended target, or you can’t be aware of people or livestock wandering too close to your shooting area, then it’s time to call off your hunt and wait for better conditions.
Hide your intentions
One of my favourite hunting activities during foggy periods, is shooting pigeons and crows from a hide. You’ll need to pinpoint the birds’ favourite trees, but once you do, you should be in for some productive sessions, even when it isn’t foggy. Building hides within range of quarry hotspots, if your landowner allows you to do so, is one of the core techniques of hunting, and I’d strongly advise you to spent as much time as it takes to discover those hotspots and ‘sitty’ trees, and set up hides to exploit the opportunities they present.
Outside the hide, there are other opportunities, and if you’re stalking, the reduced range of vision can really work to your advantage. Again, those hotspots should be where you concentrate your efforts, but this time stalk as silently as possible from location to location, until you find your quarry. With no birds overhead giving alarm signals about you, either vocally or with their evasive moves, your chances really could be increased. Just move as slowly and as silently as possible, pausing every few yards, and study your surroundings closely before moving on.
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And finally …
I’ve heard it said that fog affects the flight of pellets. It doesn’t. The notion it that the moisture in the ‘thicker’ foggy air slows down the pellet, but a quick zero check will disprove that. Spring-piston rifle users could experience a small reduction in muzzle velocity, but that’s down to the drop in temperature affecting the rifle’s internal lubricants, not the foggy air.
There you go, Simon, I hope that information helps, and keep enjoying learning those lessons – I assure you they never stop!