With summer winding down and the fall hunting seasons just getting started, now’s a great time for hunters to visit their local shooting range for some pre-season practice.
“Whether you hunt with a rifle, muzzleloader or shotgun, the more you practice, the better you’ll shoot when it really counts,” said James Brower, Idaho Fish and Game volunteer/hunter education coordinator based in Idaho Falls. “Even a few hours of busting clay pigeons or firing a dozen rounds from the rifle bench will help.”
Spending time at a range also makes for a fun outing, ensures your firearms are sighted in and operating properly, and gets your mindset ready for the seasons ahead.
And finding a local shooting range is just a click away. Visit http://wheretoshoot.org for a list of shooting ranges in Idaho. This state-by-state shooting range directory lists contact information, facilities available, maps and more for each range. Calling before you go is highly recommended, as hours of operation, services or shooting opportunities may change. A list of four public shooting ranges is also available on Fish and Game’s website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/visit/ranges.
With the high-to-extreme wildfire danger, shooters are encouraged to use their local shooting range instead of on public lands where conditions are tinder-dry. Remember, those who do not follow the current fire restrictions on public lands may assume liability if they ignite a wildfire.
For rifle hunters, many shooting experts recommend setting your initial target at 25 yards to make sure that you hit the paper. After shooting at that distance, move your target out to 100 yards or more to finish the sighting in process.
Consistent accuracy is the ultimate goal when practicing shooting skills, so it’s very important that hunters determine their effective shooting range and practice at all distances out to that maximum.
“We stress in our hunter education courses that all hunters have an ethical obligation to know their personal limits and be prepared,” Brower said. “Practicing often and at a variety of distances will help hunters prepare for the very situation they may encounter in the field.”
According to Brower, it is also very important for hunters who have others sight in their rifle, to shoot it themselves before hunting season, as it may not shoot as accurately for them. In addition, hunters should always use the same ammunition for hunting as they did when sighting in their rifle.
When it comes to shotgun ranges, hunters should focus on practicing certain shots and angles that they may find difficult.
“If you’re having trouble making a right-to-left shot, shoot that position or station until you’re on target and feeling comfortable that you can continue to hit it,” Brower said. “By practicing and taking the time to get better - chances are you will.”