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It is likely that the very first firearms were shotguns of a sort. While the design has evolved greatly over the millennia, the shotgun is as relevant to the modern hunter or home defender as it was to the 10th-century warriors who spawned the concept.
Choosing the right rifle is paramount in staging a successful hunt and forging a prosperous new path in the sport. At first glance, it might seem like there’s a myriad of endless and intimidating choices out there, which can make getting into hunting a bit daunting for novice hunters and those new to the lifestyle. A little research can go a long way, however, in selecting the right rifle. What follows is a brief primer intended to get new hunters started on the right path to selecting an appropriate rifle.
For parents and veteran hunters alike, taking kids hunting can be one of the most rewarding experiences in outdoor life. For many, growing up learning to hunt was as natural as learning to tie their shoes or ride a bike. For others, the option to go hunting as a kid (for any number of reasons) simply didn’t exist. But, when many of those same youngsters were exposed to hunting as adults, they fell in love with the sport and became hooked for life.
Before even purchasing reloading components, a reputable data manual should be consulted. This will indicate the type of hull, primer, powder, and wad required to produce a given load, as well as the weight of the powder charge and shot payload.
A fairly common side effect of immersing oneself in the world of firearms is a sudden and uncontrollable urge to reload (or handload) ammunition. After all, it seems downright shameful to leave piles of perfectly good empty cartridge cases and shotshell hulls glinting in the sun, practically begging to be refurbished, refilled, and put back into action, only to instead end up languishing in scrap bins and trash barrels. Luckily, breathing new life into spent cases is a relatively easy process. Here’s how to get started.
With a seemingly endless array of hunting related products to choose from, the task of outfitting yourself may seem daunting. To help narrow down the decision-making process a bit, what follows is a list of the top three user-rated hunting products when it comes to hunting packs, hunting knives, optics, tree stands, and hunting blinds. All product descriptions and photos are courtesy of outdoor retailer Cabelas.
The single largest investment that novice hunters normally make is a new hunting rifle, which is sometimes an overwhelming process for those new to the sport. Like any other major purchase, however, a little research goes far in making a smart decision. Below are some general suggestions on selecting an entry-level firearm suitable for novice hunters or those otherwise unfamiliar with the ins and outs of deer hunting rifles.
Size and Fit
When it comes to planning a hunt, the options are endless. Some hunts require little more than a loose timeline, a packed lunch, and a loaded gun, but others can be much more daunting, even for an experienced hunter. A turkey hunt one county over is a far cry from stalking elk through the Rockies, but if you’ve never done either, you’re still starting from square one.
That’s where hunting guides and hunting outfitters come in - someone else with the knowledge and skill to help close the gap between you and the game you chase.
We hunters like to think of ourselves as a tough bunch. After all, we take to the wilderness whenever we can to pursue our meat on its home turf while the majority of our peers endure, at worst, long lines at the supermarket checkout for theirs. It follows that we often pretend to be impervious to all the many, many, uncomfortable and even painful conditions that Mother Nature can and will throw at us on a seemingly constant basis.
In today's day and age, time seems to be in short supply. With work schedules, family activities and precious little time left for simple enjoyment or partaking in hobbies, it makes sense to maximize our best use of time.
Controlling for external factors like wind, temperature and elevation, accuracy is largely affected, for better or worse, by two general elements; the mechanical and the human.
The mechanical element consists primarily of the quality of the firearm itself, but optics and sights, ammunition, and some accessories also play a major role in how accurate a given rifle is.
The human element consists of factors such as aptitude, physical fitness, and mental state. A more detailed overview of how these two elements come into play follows.
If there is one thing that can get more heated than a Ford vs. Chevy debate, it is a similar argument for the best hunting rifle. Every shooter has their own preferences and in some cases these are influenced by local game, topography and local laws.
An essential part of hunting ethically and responsibly while also avoiding fines and poaching charges is becoming familiar with (and only hunting during) the confines of hunting seasons set by state and federal legislators.
The following compilation of links and general hunting season dates will provide a starting point for hunters to begin familiarizing themselves with each state’s hunting seasons for popular big game and upland (non-migratory) small game species.
For some, a successful hunt means getting a big buck on the ground, out of the woods, and into the freezer.
For others, it means simply getting that big buck in their cross hairs, experiencing the thrill of the hunt whether they pull the trigger or not.
In both scenarios, the hunter has put his or her knowledge and skill to the test, and their efforts paid off in triumph.
The deer dropped at the crack of the rifle, anchored by an expertly placed bullet through the vital organs.
The hunter knew he was lucky; there would be no tracking this time.
A great deal of work lead to this moment; the months of pre-season scouting; the long, dawn to dusk days perched motionless in the deer stand, seemingly impervious to the chill of the November air.
Statistically, hunting is an exceptionally safe form of outdoor recreation.
As evidence, consider that in the state of California in 2009, there were a total of 15 hunting related injuries involving firearms, eight of which were fatal.
The fact that there were a total of 1,679,864 hunting licenses sold in California that same year puts the gun related hunting accident rate for 2009 at roughly .0001%.
Whether stalking prey for sport or sustenance, there’s no better time to get into the hunting scene than right now.
The regulatory barriers standing between aspiring hunters and their first hunt, however, can be quite intimidating and full of questions.
What’s the difference between a hunting license and permit?
Is a permit the same thing as a tag?
Do I need tags to hunt?
If you’re a frequent On Target reader, you may remember a Marlin Model 336 that appeared in last year’s Hunting issue. It was a “beater” rifle when I bought it used ten years ago, and hunting with it every deer season, knocking around the dense north woods of New Hampshire,roughened the edges even more.
The Mosin Nagant is a well-known military rifle that has made its ways into the hands of many hunters, collectors, and sport shooters. This late 1800’s rifle is an affordable addition to any gun owner’s collection, including the first time buyer.
Hunting is a not only a great way to get exercise and stay fit while immersing yourself in the outdoors, it’s also a great way to obtain a supply of delicious, free range, organic meat without ever having to set foot in a Whole Foods.