Meta description: Marksmanship is vital for hunters looking to improve their craft. Let’s look at some shooting tips to help you become the best marksman you can be.
How to Improve Marksmanship for Hunting: A Guide
A hunter must be one with their weapon like it is an extension of their bodies.They must be able to use it with skill and precision if they wish to hit their target. This requires putting in time, effort, and practice to see things through.
To help hunters like you become better shooters, here are some tips to improve your rifle marksmanship and aid you in nailing your prey, no matter how elusive they may be.
The 10 Best Tips for Hunters Looking to Improve Their Marksmanship
These will allow you to make the most out of your weapons and equipment, and have you hunting all kinds of prey with ease.
Here are some tips that won’t just make you a better game hunter, but a better shooter overall:
Invest in a Higher-Quality Scope
While most marksmen start their shooting journey using the venerable iron sights, a hunter dedicated to their craft should invest in a scope that matches their devotion.
This means choosing a scope that provides a clear sight picture, uses distance measurements you can calculate, and even works in low or no visibility if needed.
While you won’t need to buy the most expensive scope on the market, it’s wise to spend a bit more money to ensure your scope is durable, reliable, and deadly accurate.
Zero Your Rifle to 200 Yards
If you’re focused on hunting bigger game, such as deer with higher calibers, it’s essential to zero your rifle for longer engagement distances that account for bullet drop.
After all, stopping power is nothing if you can’t hit your target. Seeing as you may not be able to get close to deer without scaring them off, you’ll need to get comfortable engaging them from a bit further away.
Understand Your Equipment
Whether you use a rifle or a compound bow for hunting, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with your equipment, from the types of optics you’ll be using to the arrowhead that will humanely dispatch your target.
If you’re a rifle shooter, this means training to treat your weapon like an extension of yourself. You’ll need to understand how it works, how it feels on your body, and how to maximize its use.
Keeping your rifle well-maintained and training constantly with your chosen platform will allow you to stay on top of your game and make you a more proficient hunter.
Bore-Sight Your Rifle
Bore-sighting entails mounting a laser that runs through your barrel and using that laser point as a reference when zeroing your scope. It’s essential for ensuring your optic and barrel are on the same page.
The bore-sight method allows you to accurately zero your rifle scope without wasting ammunition and ensures that where your crosshairs are centered is precisely where your bullets will travel.
Create a Drop Chart
Drop charts, or cheat sheets with the scope adjustment calculations needed to engage at certain distances, are a staple for military snipers looking to nail moving targets that are incredibly far away.
While you may not be aiming at targets several football fields away, you may still be able to mount a drop chart on your rifle, especially if you have set distances for specific game types.
Find the Right Caliber For You
The size of your prey will determine the caliber of rounds you’ll need to take them down. This means understanding what prey you’ll be targeting and what cartridge you’ll use on them.
The right caliber is vital because the size of the bullet, plus its speed and penetrating power, determine how clean and humane your kill will be.
Here are the standard bullet calibers to use depending on your game type:
Deer and smaller animals: .243 to 30-06
Elk and similar-sized animals: .260-300 Magnum
Bears, moose, and larger animals: 7 mm Magnum to .338 Magnum
Make Longer Shots in the Off-Season
“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.”
While you may not be going to war on your next hunting trip, this adage still applies, as training for more challenging conditions will allow you to easily hit targets when conditions are right.
This means heading to a rifle range and practicing at distances over 200 yards in the off-season. This allows you to hone your skills and enhance your understanding of the fundamentals of marksmanship.
Work on the Right Body Positions
While we’d want to set up a fixed position that allows us to fire comfortably while lying prone, that may not always be the case, especially when you’re tracking down an elusive game.
You’ll need to practice shooting and hitting targets from uncomfortable positions, like kneeling, squatting, or lying on your side, which will allow you to make those impossible shots.
Control Your Breathing
An under-appreciated part of marksmanship is how your body’s natural motion can help or hinder your bullet’s trajectory. This is why practicing breath control and trigger squeeze is so vital.
See how much movement your breathing generates next time you dry fire, and practice controlling your inhales, exhales, and timing before putting a bullet in the chamber.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In the end, the best way to get better at a particular skill is to train it and commit it to memory until you can do it with confidence… and then practice it again.
There’s no substitute for hard work. Shooting is a perishable skill, so you’ll need to practice constantly to stay sharp and find techniques that work best, given your needs and experience.
Still not convinced about the importance of rifle marksmanship for hunters? The answers to these questions may convince you.
Why is it Important for Hunters to Have the Right Marksmanship Skills?
Quite simply, a hunter who doesn’t understand marksmanship will simply be wasting ammo. The fundamentals of marksmanship are vital for hitting a target with accuracy and precision.
What are Some Factors that Affect Marksmanship?
Here are a few of the factors that make all the difference when it comes to hitting your target or missing them entirely:
- Sight alignment and sight picture
- Trigger pull and follow-through
- Body position
- Scope zeroing
- Target range
- Clear line of sight
Overall, the most essential things to remember to become a better shooter are to familiarize yourself with your equipment, develop better control over your body, and practice as often as possible.
If you follow these principles, you’re sure to become a more accurate and precise shooter in no time.