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5 Tips for Hunting in 2020

These should be your Top 5 priorities before hunting season begins.

5 Tips for Hunting in 2020
Dave Emary proudly kneels with a New Mexico elk bull taken with a Marlin lever-action chambered in .338 Marlin Express.

I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but there are obvious signs that things aren’t quite what they used to be here in central New Mexico. Many restaurants have eliminated some items from the menu, noticeably some meats for example. In fact, it’s been quite a while since I have seen the meat shelves at the local market anything but maybe half-stocked. Meat products have gotten eye-popping expensive, too.

With society a little more uncertain, many are considering the hunting seasons this fall as a bit more serious of an endeavor for no other reason than to ensure some meat reserves will be in the freezer. The time is now to make sure we are fully prepared to successfully hunt from a gun and ammunition standpoint.

In past years, a good deal of my hunting involved trying a new-old gun out, or to evaluate the latest bullet technology. All things considered I have some suggestions for preparing to hunt this fall.

  1. Spend time with your favorite hunting gun. Get familiar with its trigger feel, scope adjustments and ammunition trajectory. Build up muscle memory for that sensory touch with the trigger. Shoot the rifle at different distances to become familiar with the trajectory of the ammunition you are using.
  2. Practice as you hunt. Shoot from sticks while sitting. Shoot from a post like you would against a tree. Get yourself to where you can quickly get in an improvised position and still shoot well. Don’t just shoot from a rest at a bench.
  3. Buy or handload a little extra ammunition right now. With supplies of popular loads and components drying up, even less-common cartridges will be hoarded next as ammunition manufacturers focus on producing the most popular in-demand products. Whenever possible, go with ammunition that you know will yield high levels of accuracy in your gun and effective terminal performance. Avoid the temptation to keep trying the latest new bullet and go with what you know works for you.
  4. Stock up on reloading basics. Old school lead soft-point bullets will give you effective terminal performance and if you shoot flat-base bullets, you’ll likely get good accuracy. With as hard pressed as bullet and ammunition companies are right now (and likely will continue to be), acquire a good supply of ammunition if you can find it. If you are a reloader stock up on basic components such as Hodgdon Varget, Alliant Reloder 15 or Winchester 748 powders and primers when you can find them. Put up some soft-point bullets, also. Why? You’ll probably have an easier time finding them.
  5. Shoot more. I know a lot of us buy a box of ammunition, go shoot a handful of rounds to check zero and call it good. Shoot more than you typically would this summer and increase your odds this fall by being as prepared as you can be.

Get prepared now. Things are likely not going to settle down in the near future, especially with the 2020 election coming up. 

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