5 Ways to Save Your Shirttail from Getting Cut This Deer Season
If you’re like us, deer hunting tradition means something. Blood-smeared faces after a first kill and the daunting task of cutting shirttails for misses. There’s no malicious intent involved in either; it’s only a small price to pay to be so fortunate to call yourself a deer hunter. And when a bullet doesn’t find the mark, a rare occurrence (we hope), it’s added incentive to become a better marksman.
As a rifle manufacturer, we strive to build the most accurate rifle, even with our production line, which is called the B-14 series. As hunters, we spend as much time as possible preparing for the season ahead, like you. But when those misses occur, and they will, it sure does give you perspective as to what you could have done different.
FIRE WHEN READY
This has to be the main reason we miss – because we shoot too quickly. Don’t rush it. If the shot is not there, don’t try to force it. Rather, keep a clear head and a calm heart. Easier said than done, but worse than a miss is wounding an animal that you may never recover. Even if you have a narrow window where threading the needle is possible, don’t risk it. Stay in your comfort zone. No guide or outfitter that’s still in business has ever chastised a client for using sound judgement and ultimately respecting the animal.
Squeeze. Don’t pull. Or jerk. Sound familiar? The first time was during my Hunter’s Safety course some 20 years ago. I can still hear the snickering throughout the room when these words leapt from the stern instructor’s lips. I think he expected the reaction from the mostly youthful crowd because while his face remained stone-like, his eyes produced the loudest laugh in the room.
Some believe that the gun should surprise you every time it goes off. Well, let us just say that there is actually a fine line between the two – the squeeze and the surprise. Our B-14 series of hunting rifles, for example, come with the trigger set at about three pounds. That number can easily be adjusted to suit your comfort level, ensuring you’re shooting the most accurate hunting rifle available to you.
KNOW THE SHOT YOU’RE TAKING
Be familiar through practice. If it’s a deer hunt in the high country, make sure you’ve gone through the necessary steps to ensure you’ll be ready for whatever the mountains have in store. Taking sharp-angled shots is a primary catalyst for misjudgement. Throw a little altitude into that equation and your flat-shooting tack driver might suddenly seem incredibly unfamiliar. But if you’ve been there before, have visualized the shot many times over, your elevated confidence result in a lung-specked blood trail.
A CASE OF NERVES
Buck fever is a notable contender in dissuading bullets from finding the mark. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. We’ve seen first-timers just like hunters who have an array of Boone & Crockett animals on the their wall whiff because a touch of the fever overtook their system. There’s really not a scientific explanation. All we can say is try to remain calm, and good luck when buck fever creeps into your system. But when it does show up, something good must be happening…
SHOOT A REASONABLE CALIBER
Big caliber long range hunting rifles have helped the hunting community develop a false bravado over the past decade. It’s not our fault really – we live in a bigger is better society. But rest assured that if you’re making great shots, you can kill an elk with a .243. The result of a gut shot is going to be the same whether you’re slinging heavy lead or light loads.
The lighter calibers don’t kick as bad, which in turn allows you to shoot a lot, with proper form, and not get the tar beat out of you. Plus, many of the modern day sport rifles are lighter and easier to carry. They make free-hand shooting a touch easier as well.
TAKE MISSING LIKE A MAN
Number six on the list is really just an addendum. A conclusion perhaps. If you miss… No, when you miss, take it like a man. The best hitters in Major League Baseball history have gone through slumps and will continue to do so until kingdom come.
This same piece of advice applies if you’re on the other end of a miss. Instead of letting the elephant sit too long in the room, don’t be afraid to crack some jokes or cut the shirttails of your hunting buddies. The outdoor adventures we pursue, at the end of all the hard work that goes into them, are about fun. Always head afield with that initiative in mind – no matter the outcome, walk out with head high, safety on and your shirt in tact. Because it’s how you handle yourself after a miss that shows the world the man you are.