Senwes Scenario June / July 2017 - Page 49

••• • • O N TA R G E T • • Ready for the hunt? JAN-LODEWYK SERFONTEIN BEFORE A HUNTING EXPEDITION WE SIT AT A CONCRETE TABLE AND SHOOT OVER A SAND-BAG. AS SOON AS OUR GUNS SHOOT A FEW SHOTS IN CLOSE VICINITY OF EACH OTHER, WE ARE READY FOR THE HUNT - OR ARE WE? I s this not what most of us do before hunt? Due to a number of reasons, we don’t manage to hunt very often. The few times that you actually manage to hunt, are therefore very valuable. Do you really want to use your valuable time to track wounded animals? Would it not be better to spend more time practicing to shoot accurately? There are a few ways of hunting in South Africa. In the Bushveld we usually walk. In the Karoo you usually sit in a hunting chair and in the open plains of the Free State you usually shoot from the back of a bakkie. A better suggestion to prepare for your hunting excursion would be to practice in the way that you are going to hunt. By merely sighting in your rifle according to the way in which you are going to shoot, will contribute hugely to an easier hunt. Let’s look at a few addi­ tional ‘exercises’ that one can do before the hunt. Veld hunting situations: Let’s look at the four positions you can shoot from and how you can improve your accuracy from each position. PRONE POSITION To shoot from the prone position is not something we do every day. Grass, shrubs, trees and other objects are usually in the way. However, if you can, the prone position is the most stable posi­ tion to shoot from. But it must be practised. Get into a prone posi­ tion and decide how you are going to shoot. Does your gun have a bi-pod which you can use, or are you going to twist the sling of the rifle around your arms and rest on your elbow? SITTING POSITION It is important to use a means of support for the sitting, kneeling and standing positions. If you carry a walking stick, it can be used to steady the rifle. Should you use a tree or a shrub for this purpose, consider how you are going to push the rifle against the trunk. Should you not be com­ pletely comfortable in this posi­ tion and should you be unable to get up easily, the kneeling position may be better. KNEELING POSITION Although an oryx hunt in the Kalahari will most probably take place from the back of a bakkie, the kneeling and standing posi­ tion should not be regarded as unnecessary. Should you shoot a lung-shot and the wounded oryx wriggles its backside into a bush, which cannot be reached in a vehicle, you unfortunately have to get off, move close to the animal and shoot from the knee­ ling or standing position. Does your heart beat so fast that the crosshair moves all over the place? Once again, the kneeling position should be practiced on the range before the hunt. Do you twist the rifle sling around your arms and kneel on your left knee? Or do you kneel on your right knee. STANDING POSITIONS The standing position is the eas­ iest? You push the rifle against your shoulder and you shoot! Nice and fast and you don’t have to go down. You also don’t struggle to get up again and you can see the buck when it runs. There are no bushes in the way and you know where the animal lies. Unfortunately the standing posi­ tion is the most difficult position. And definitely the most important one. Somewhere in your hunt­ ing career it will be necessary to administer a second shot from up close. And for this shot you will have no time to sit down, or look for a tree for support. The animal is going to jump up quickly and you want to administer the second shot as soon as possible. Practice this position on the range. See how close you need to be to an object to be accurate from this position. Even more important is to see where your rifle will shoot at 30m if it is sighted in at 200m. Hopefully shooting practice will teach you what you can and can’t do during a hunt. Hopefully you will know then when to shoot and when not to. SENWES Scenario • JUN/JUL 2017 47