For any hunter, the start of hunting season is a time awaited with much anticipation and a lot of preparation. If you wish to have a successful hunt for both yourself and the animals you are hunting, you can not just walk through the woods, climb a tree, and start shooting at your prey here and there.
Hunting is an activity that should be taken seriously for the safety of yourself and others, and also to ensure that the animals you are hunting are killed humanely. A lack of preparation for your hunt will waste your time, leave you frustrated and potentially put an animal through a painful and unnecessary death.
To make the most out of your hunt, you need to spend time preparing. Three steps you can take to optimize your success and safety are cleaning your gun(s), sighting-in, and practicing.
1. Clean Your Firearm
When was the last time you cleaned your gun? If you can’t remember, that is a good sign that you need to clean your firearm before setting foot in the woods. Using a freshly cleaned gun can prevent annoying occurrences like the dreaded “click” that isn’t followed with a bang.
Cleaning your firearm now, before the hunt, is a simple process that will save you a lot of irritation down the road. Here are some firearm cleaning basics:
- Check & double check that your gun is unloaded. Before you start to clean any firearm, ALWAYS check, double check and triple check, if need be, that it is unloaded. Attempting to clean a loaded gun can cause an accidental discharge, which can cause injury or even death.
- Lay out your supplies. Almost nothing is worse than getting half-way through something and realizing that you don’t have what you need to finish the task at hand. To clean a gun you typically need a cleaning rod, bore brush, clean rags, and a high-quality cleaner & lubricant.
- Take it apart. This step is optional but can be very helpful, especially if you haven’t cleaned your gun in quite a while. However, if you are in a rush or if you are not confident that you could successfully put your gun back together, go ahead and skip this step.
- Clean the barrel. This is where your tools come into play. Using the solvent, cleaning rod and a rag, carefully clean the barrel. Whenever it looks shiny and smooth, it’s good to go.
- Clean the action. Did you know that the action is the most common source of jamming and misfire issues? By wiping the action down with solvent and rubbing some lubricant on it, you can prevent these issues. Using the lubricant also prevents wear and tear, and also can extend the life of your firearm.
The way you clean your gun depends on the model, make, and brand, but these are some universal tips. For instructions on how to clean your specific firearm, consult the owners manual.
2. Sight-In Your Firearm
After cleaning, sighting-in (also referred to as ‘zeroing’) the scope on your firearm is a critical step for a safe and successful hunt and is especially recommended if you are using a new weapon. Rifle bullets travel in an arc instead of a straight line, and sighting-in is the process of adjusting the sights to hit a target at a specific range. Sighting-in at 100 yards has become standard practice, especially for deer hunting. This distance tends to minimize human error and can help fight against the wind.
When sighting-in your firearm, you need to take the type of gun, the animal you are hunting, and the distance you will be hunting from into consideration. You should also use the ammo that you will use while hunting.
3. Practice, practice & practice some more.
Sighting-in the scope on your gun and practicing go hand in hand. Hunting experts recommend that you have at least 6 shooting range sessions before you go hunting and that at the very least, the gun you’ll be using should be fired a minimum of 50 times before taking it on a hunt. Using a new gun to hunt is widely discouraged, but if you insist on using a new weapon to hunt with, then you absolutely must get a solid amount of range practice in, before taking it to the woods.
Practicing in a gun range allows you to work out the kinks of your gun and make sure that it is sighted-in accurately. Additionally, a lack of practice with your gun increases the chances of poor marksmanship in the woods, which can lead to an inhumane hunt.
We encourage you to follow these three steps before you go hunting this season. To learn more about firearm prep and storage solutions once hunting season is over, contact Down Home Crafts N Monograms.