In part 1, we discussed a few ways how competitive shooting will improve your success in the field as a hunter. Let's finish up the list today!
Shots on game that may only present themselves briefly:
Often times as hunters, we are only presented with a shot opportunity for a brief moment of time. The buck gives you the ideal broad side shot, or those geese fly over at the right height. However, in the blink of an eye that ideal broad side shot is gone, as are those geese. Being able to shoot fast and accurately on command is a critical skill in competitor shooting that has crossed over to my hunting game.
All action shooting sports use a timer to measure speed and hits in target to determine score and penalties. By competing and honing ones marksmanship, you are more than capable to make the accurate shot in a quick manner that will enable you to make those same shots on game of any size in the field.
I remember the time I got my first triple on ducks. I had just come back from the IPSC World Shotgun Championships in Hungary, and was in a blind with my father. 3 ducks flew over, I immediately drop the first one, pumped then gun, took another shot in no time, and then started to lead the the final bird as if it were an outgoing clay and sure enough, dumped that last duck. The hunter I was in 2004 could have never hoped to score a triple in that fashion with an auto shotgun, let alone a pump gun. But, by 4 years of dedicated action shotgun, I was able to make those quick shots on the passing ducks like they were second nature, because they were.
Shots on command, and fast follow up shots:
Many hunters go on guided hunts. Whether the quarry is turkey or Cape buffalo, being able to shoot when the guide says to is paramount. I like to call this shooting on command. A good friend of mine and sometimes guide says that in guide circles they love hunters who can shoot when given the word, and especially those who can make fast, and accurate follow up shots. Why? Take the previous scenario where being able to shoot fast and accurately is key, and add in the fact your game is dangerous and now running off wounded, and pissed. Being able to make fast follow up shots helps reduce the need to track that animal or even better anchor the beast in place.
Competitor shooting hones this skill as well. Whether it's long range rifle, USPSA pistol or action shotgun, competition teaches the competitor to make quick decisions and fast shots. Take aerial clays off a flipper target for example. If a the clay comes up broke you still need to give the bird a round or in the alternative you get two clay birds throw at once and shoot, breaking one clay and miss the second. You need to make a split second shot on the second bird or else it's going to hit the ground and its lost for the stage. Pistol targets and calling a good shot also comes into place here. If you think you missed a shot on target because you called it, you can make it up quickly so as not to incur a miss penalty.
As I fall back in love with hunting I am constantly reminded of how all the things I learned in competitive shooting have helped redefine my hunting capabilities and enabled me to make better, clearer and quicker shots on game.