Top Hunting Tips: Both eyes open

Seeing twice as much simply has to be a better deal

Seeing twice as much simply has to be a better deal - Credit: Archant

The editor presents an open and shut case for a fundamental technique

Like many of you, I take my marksmanship seriously and I do everything I can to improve it. I practise my technique on a regular basis, and if I discover a better way to do something, I incorporate it into my shooting. This Top Tip, however, deals with something I just can’t seem to do, but I think, if you’re not doing it already, you should definitely give it a serious try.

I’m talking about shooting with both eyes open, and the advantages of doing so are significant to say the least; so significant, in fact, that I’m determined to master it no matter how long it takes me. Meanwhile, let’s explore the main reasons I’m asking you to do as I say, not as I do.

The first advantage any shooter has when keeping both eyes open, is that he immediately doubles his field of view. This is a major plus, because not only does that wider view allow the hunter to see more options, in terms of better targets to go for, but it also gives far greater warning of anything encroaching into the line of fire. Seeing twice as much simply has to be a better deal, no matter how you look at it.

Next, closing your non-shooting eye requires muscular effort and tension, and that’s never ideal. It’s far better to relax as much as possible, including your facial muscles, and I’m told that there are 17 muscles required to keep that eye closed, which would otherwise be nice and relaxed.

Another advantage enjoyed by the ‘two-eyed’ shooter, is wind-detection. The fact is, there’s no finer detector of a breeze than a naked eyeball, either directly as the wind blows on it, or through its ability to spot the effect of the wind on foliage or long grass. Our ability to detect the presence of wind, and therefore the need to consider it when deciding where to aim, is such a vital part of our shooting that any technique that helps us with this has to be considered.

So please consider training yourself to shoot with both eyes open, and I’ll continue to do the same.

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