the know, general information.
Big game season is again upon us and filled with mixed feelings. Excited to be out in the mountains and
hope to put a good hunt on a deer or elk. On the other hand, I dread seeing what craziness will develop when poor "hunters"
try to find an easy way to kill an animal. Yes, there is a big difference between hunting and killing. Hunting involves skill
and determination, respect for the animals and for the traditions, and ethics handed down by good hunters. Killing is just
killing. Little to no skill is involved in driving up and down roads in an attempt to catch something easy, or shooing an
animal in somebody's hay field or their yard. Just because something is legal does not necessarily make it ethical.
There is some huge misconception that driving out to a kill and
bringing a dead animal home in one piece is a badge of honor. A good hunter will be packing out his or her animal on their
back or on sleds or horses. I am encouraged to see a few young, tough hunters in the woods every year, willing to hike miles
for a good hunt. I am disgusted to see road hunting, intercepting migrating animals, or surrounding a herd and wildly shooting
into it. We don't need longer seasons to meet the Fish and Game harvest quotas. We need better hunters. It is a sad testament
to the laziness of self-proclaimed "hunters" that the most frequently asked question of the Fish and Game is, "Where can I
go to get an easy elk?" The question should instead be, "Where can I go to have a great hunting experience and, if luck and
skill allow, harvest an animal?"
Some will say that most of the elk move from public lands to private
holdings during hunting season. While some certainly do, there are still plenty of elk on public land for those willing to
hunt them. This is just an excuse to justify lazy and unethical hunting practices.
Everyone who wants to be a real hunter should read Jim Posewitz's
book "Beyond Fair Chase - The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting." It is a must-read for all young, aspiring hunters. Hunting
is important. It should not be taken lightly or frivolously. Success in hunting is a bonus, and every animal taken well is
a trophy. Doing it right is rewarding and just being in the woods in the fall is a gift.
So get out there. Get up at 2 a.m. and hike miles to the top of a ridge
in the dark. Hunt hard and make yourself proud. Teach your young people to work hard to develop the skills and toughness to
be real, good hunters. You will be proud of them as well.
By Wayne Zoll
No matter how steady your hunting rifle, hitting at any range presumes a proper zero.
Zeroing, or sighting in, is simply aligning the sights (scope) on your rifle so the bullet hits where you
aim at a certain distance. A rifle cannot be manipulated to change the bullet’s path. It is the sight alone that is
to be adjusted. Windage and elevation adjustments move the rear sight or a scope’s reticle so it directs your eye to
where the bullet hits at a given distance. You pick the range.
Because a bullet follows the bore axis out the muzzle, it will fly nearly parallel to the line of sight
until gravity pulls it unacceptably off course. Bear in mind that a bullet’s path is never perfectly straight. Gravity
grabs the projectile as soon as it exits the rifle. In zeroing, you adjust the sight so your straight line of vision intersects
the bullet’s parabolic path not far from the muzzle, then travels below it until the two merge at the zero distance.
Beyond that, the bullet drops ever more steeply away from the line of sight.
Flat-shooting loads beg a 200-yard zero, for point-blank range to 250 yards—or more.
Tt’s a common
misconception that a bullet rises above line of bore during its flight. It does not. It cannot. Sight-line is not parallel
to bore line, but, rather, at a slightly converging angle. The line of sight dips below bore line and the bullet’s arc.
Sightline never again meets bore line. Both are straight and, after crossing, diverge. A bullet hits above sightline at midrange,
because sightline has been purposefully angled down through its trajectory. The bullet falls to intersect it at greater range.
If the sightline were parallel with the bore, it would never touch the bullet’s arc.
The most useful zero depends on the bullet’s trajectory and on how far you intend to shoot. For most big-game
rifles, a 200-yard zero makes sense. Sight in there with a .30-06 or a similar cartridge, and your bullet will stay within
three vertical inches of point of aim out to 250 yards or so. A three-inch vertical error still gives you a killing strike
in the ribs of big-game animals. The 200-yard zero permits “dead-on” aim as far as most marksmen can hit in the
field. At 300 yards you’ll have to shade high.
Why not zero at 250 or even 300? Well, with flat-shooting rounds like Weatherby’s .270 Magnum, you
can. A 200-yard zero puts its 140-grain bullet only 1½ inches over sightline at l00. Adjust the scope so the rifle shoots
three inches high at l00, and you’ll reach 300 yards with a mere one inch of drop! By the same logic, a zero for the
likes of the .30-30 is best kept short of 200 yards, otherwise the bullet’s steep arc will put it a whopping five inches
high at its apex (some distance beyond 100).
This Hill Country Rifles .270 puts bullets almost two inches high at 100 yards, a useful zero.
The best zero for a .30-30 carbine may have less to do with the limited range of the cartridge than the more limited
range at which you can shoot accurately with its iron sights—or the even more limited distance you can see in typical
whitetail cover! While a 150-yard zero is reasonable, a 100-yard zero may be even more practical, especially if you hunt where
most of your shots come very close.
You’re better off zeroing hunting rifles so you won’t ever have to hold low. Remember that
shots too long for a point-blank hold with a 200-yard zero are uncommon. Most game, even in open country, is killed well inside
300 yards. I recall a fellow shooting over the back of a magnificent bull elk at 200 because he’d zeroed his .300 Weatherby
One reason many hunters like to zero long is that they overestimate yardage in the field. One fellow told me recently
that his .30 magnum could outshoot any rifle between 800 and 900 yards and that he had toppled a buck at 700 steps by holding
just over its withers. Now, even a congressman would have blushed spinning that yarn.
The flattest-shooting cartridges land their bullets nearly three feet low at 500 yards, when the rifle is zeroed at
200. To keep a .270 Weatherby bullet (muzzle velocity 3,375 fps) from sagging more than a foot at 700 yards, you’d have
to zero at over 600! That would put the bullet roughly two feet high at 300 and 400. It would be plunging so rapidly at 700
that, if you misjudged range by just 10 percent, you’d miss the deer’s vitals!
When zeroing, you’ll save time and ammunition separating the task into two stages, bore sighting and shooting.
Bore sighting isn’t necessary. It’s merely a short-cut to the end of the shooting stage. Shooting is necessary.
A rifle that’s only bore-sighted is not zeroed!
Zeroing Your Rifle
Wayne fired this 300-yard group with a Ruger American .30-06, with an eight-inch hold-over.
First shots to zero should be at 35 yards, whether or not you’ve bore-sighted. After each shot at
35, move the rear sight or scope dial in the direction you want the bullet to go until you hit point of aim. (Mind the dial
European scope knobs typically turn clockwise to move impact up and right, while clockwise rotation on scopes built
for the American market moves impact down and left.) Now, switch to a 100-yard target. I prefer that bullets from flat-shooting
big-game rounds hit two to 2½ inches high at this range. Depending on the load, the rifle will then put its bullets close
to point of aim at 200 yards.
After satisfactory results at 100 yards, move the target to 200 or your zero range. During the last stages
of zeroing, make sight changes only after three-shot groups.
A single shot can be misleading.
Windage and elevation dial “clicks” or graduations are
engineered to shift bullet impact a precise measure at 100 yards. That’s most commonly ¼-minute of angle. A minute of
angle is 1.047 inches at 100 yards (but shooters know it as an inch at that range), two inches at 200, and so on.
A target scope may have graduations as fine as 1/8-minute; scopes intended for long shooting incorporate
coarser elevation detents—½-minute or even 1-minute clicks—to lift point of impact with less dial movement. A
greater range of adjustment results, as well. When you can’t turn the dial past zero, you also avoid the possibility
of “full rotation” error, which can cause spectacular misses. European dials are typically marked in centimeters.
Another method as fast as counting clicks to move bullet impact, is to secure your rifle so the reticle
centers the target as it did when you last fired. Then, without moving the rifle, turn the dials until your reticle kisses
the previous bullet hole.
Tip: Don’t go to any range without a pack or two of Gun Digest’s high-visibility EZ2C Targets!
Even with a benchrest, it’s easy to make a bad shot. In fact, a bench can give you a false sense
of stability, prompting fast, sloppy shooting. No matter how steady you think you are, check your position before each shot
and fire carefully. Call your shots. To learn where your bullets really hit at long range (and how great their dispersion),
fire at 300, then 400 yards. For hunting, that’s as far as you’ll likely have occasion to shoot. If longer pokes
are on the agenda, find a place to test your rifle and your zero farther downrange. It’s worth the trouble! There’s
no reason to fire at game farther than you’ve tested your loads and your holds on paper!
Tactical rifles in .338 Lapua and .50 BMG, built to hurl match bullets at targets very far off, have been joined by
sporting rifles with exceptional reach. Zeroing at long range introduces a couple special considerations most hunters needn’t
consider. One is the range of dial movement on the scope’s elevation adjustment. Consider installing a slanted Picatinny
rail, one whose front end is lower than the rear. Such a rail has “gain” and puts the scope at an angle to the
bore, so that, when you center the dial in its range, the scope’s axis (line of sight) crosses the bullet’s path
farther away. You get a longer zero without using all the adjustment. The more nearly centered the erector assembly (which
holds your reticle), the better. A lens gives you the best picture through its middle. Barrett supplies rails with gain for
its .50-caliber rifles.
Hunting rifles with 200-yard zeros won’t do well at a 1,000-yard match, because shooters would have to aim several
feet over the target frame. There’s too little elevation adjustment in many scopes to get a 1,000-yard zero. If you
could dial in enough lift to achieve a 600-yard zero with your .30-06, you’d still have to aim 17 feet high to hit a
1,000-yard bull’s-eye! Of course, a truly long-range zero comes with severe mid-range penalties. Even that 600-yard
zero would put ’06 bullets 2½ feet high at 300 yards!
wishing to write the Ontario Turkey Hunting exam must first purchase the Home Study DVD from the MNR and study the course
Proof of DVD purchase must be presented to the examiner prior to writing the course. For more information contact me
CDC Study Shows No Health Risk
Associated with Traditional
A Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) study on human lead levels of hunters in North Dakota has confirmed what hunters throughout the world have
known for hundreds of years, that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition poses absolutely no health risk to
people, including children, and that the call to ban lead ammunition was and remains a scare tactic being pushed by anti-hunting
groups to forward their political agenda.
Today, additional information became
available about the CDC study, originally released yesterday, that is important to disseminate to hunters, their families
and the general public about the total and complete lack of any evidence of a human health risk from consuming game harvested
using traditional ammunition. For instance, in the study the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that
of the average American.
In the CDC's study, children's lead
levels had a mean of just 0.88 micrograms per deciliter, which is less than half the national average for children and an
infinitesimally small fraction of the level that the CDC considers to be of concern for children (10 micrograms per deciliter).
Yet, despite the total and complete lack of any evidence from this study of the existence of a human health risk, the Department
of Health nevertheless urges that children under 6 and pregnant women not eat venison harvested using traditional ammunition.
The North Dakota Department of Health's recommendation is based on a "zero tolerance" approach to the issue of blood lead
levels that is not supported by science or the CDC's guidelines.
To further put in perspective the
claims concerning the safety of game harvested using traditional ammunition, consider this statement from the Iowa Department
of Public Health (IDPH) -- a state agency that has conducted an extensive panel of blood-lead testing for more than 15 years:
"IDPH maintains that if lead in venison were a serious health risk, it would likely have surfaced within extensive blood-lead
testing since 1992 with 500,000 youth under 6 and 25,000 adults having been screened." It has not. 2008/11/06
Stephanie L.G. Henson- Manager, NRA Women’s Program Department, prepared the following article.
I personally feel that it is a very
basic information package every hunter would appreciate, it outlines fundamental preparation topics one should adhere to prior
to a hunting trip; you will notice the word (state) mentioned in this article, this is applicable in the USA, in Canada please
consider it as Provincial.
Even though this article is prepared
for the female hunter, men can learn a lot from it.
REMEMBER HUNTING AND SHOOTING ARE
The excitement of fall hunting season is just around
the corner, and women across the country are preparing to attend Women On Target hunting excursions in pursuit of black bear,
antelope, whitetail deer, pheasant, chukar and mule deer.
Whether you are going to join them, or go on some other
hunting trips this fall, there is ~ much that you can do now to ~ increase your chances for a safe, successful and memorable experience.
One thing that most serious hunters have in common is an exceptional understanding of the game they pursue. While there is no substitute for what
you can observe a field there is a great deal you can learn from reading. Brush up on things like your game identification
skills. If you're hunting an area inhabited by whitetails and mule deer, for instance, but only one is in season, it is your
responsibility to identify the legal game. What signs and tracks do you know? You may have heard terms like "scrape" and "rub,"
but do you know what they mean? What they look like? Learn what you can about habitat needs of the animals you hunt, not only
to help you find them but because habitat is crucial to healthy game populations. To ensure you can dispatch the animal quickly,
make sure you know the vital areas on any game you hunt.
This is the time that you should go to the range on a
regular basis to improve your marksmanship skills and familiarize yourself with the guns, ammunition and other accessories
you will use. You
need to be knowledgeable about how your gun operates. And how various ammunition; performs in your gun. You also need to know how consistent you are with shot placement from a variety of distances.
Only then can you determine what your personal maximum shot range is. It's a hunter's responsibility to strive for making
quick, clean kills.
If you're a new shooter, Women On Target instructional
shooting clinics can help you improve your marksmanship skills by providing an opportunity to receive basic marksmanship training
from supportive instructors. Of course, the clinics are only the first step. Next, you need to visit your local club or range
and practice. You'll find this process especially enjoyable as you watch your shooting skills improve. Local clubs often have
NRA Certified Instructors who can help you if you want.
Find out what type of hunting apparel and other outdoor
gear you will need. Although women's hunting apparel is out there, it can be difficult to find. Women On Target national sponsors
Cabela’s; Beretta and Browning offer clothing for women, as do some other companies. Some companies offer online sales;
refer to their web- sites for details.
Perhaps you are going to use binoculars, a map
and compass, range finder or GPS system during your hunting trip. This is a good time to practice with the equipment so that
using it becomes second- nature. You don't want to have to become familiar with it in the field.
It is imperative to research state and local hunting
regulations so you can ensure your compliance with them. Check the state agencies' web sites or publications. Also, make sure
you know the deadlines to apply for the licenses, permits and tags you need. If you have questions about any- thing uncovered
during your research, contact the state wildlife agency and/or your outfitter for clarification.
Finally, use this time to work on your physical
fitness. A program consisting of walking or running and moderate weightlifting should help you improve your cardiovascular
health and enable you to carry your gear-or drag your buck out of the woods! As always, be sure to talk with your physician
before beginning any exercise program.
This may sound like a lot of work, but when you have a
great hunt to look forward to, the preparation is part of the fun! Learning to hunt safely and competently is a continuing-maybe
even lifelong-process. By preparing thoroughly for hunting trips, you will become a more knowledge hunter.