Training to make humane kills on small game in the field


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bhhacker
March 19, 2013, 06:17 PM
What if anything do you guys do to practice shot placement for small game to make clean kills?

I have had a couple bad shots in the past happen, especially with smaller game such as squirrels that didnt kill them as fast as id have liked. I havent shot out the hind leg or anything that bad, but id prefer it to be as quick as possible.

I find that im much more accurate while shooting offhand at paper than offhand hunting.

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X-Rap
March 19, 2013, 06:25 PM
put a little cardio into your practice and if you don't improve start using a rest.

jimmyraythomason
March 19, 2013, 06:27 PM
Practice and KNOW your rifle and sights. Don't take offhand shots,always use a support. Don't take shots at moving targets,wait for a standing broadside shot. There is no foolproof way to guarantee a humane shot everytime but following these suggestions will reduce the possibility considerably.

buck460XVR
March 19, 2013, 07:34 PM
Experience will help. For many folk making the transition from targets to animals is difficult because there isn't a bullseye painted on the animal. When shooting at paper, they aim for the middle of the bull, a good thing. Then when hunting, they tend to aim at the middle of the animal. Not such a good thing as we know what's generally in the middle of most animals. This many times is exaggerated by excitement or nerves if the hunter is new to the sport. Try target shooting with small game targets and learning to "pick a spot". Get used to aiming at the eye of a paper squirrel or rabbit at the range and once you return to the field it will be automatic on the real ones.

jimmyraythomason
March 19, 2013, 07:53 PM
there isn't a bullseye painted on the animal. Excellent point buck460XVR. It is very important to know the anatomy of your quarry in order to know where to place your bullet for a clean kill.

Patocazador
March 19, 2013, 08:52 PM
Experience will help. For many folk making the transition from targets to animals is difficult because there isn't a bullseye painted on the animal. When shooting at paper, they aim for the middle of the bull, a good thing. Then when hunting, they tend to aim at the middle of the animal. Not such a good thing as we know what's generally in the middle of most animals. This many times is exaggerated by excitement or nerves if the hunter is new to the sport. Try target shooting with small game targets and learning to "pick a spot". Get used to aiming at the eye of a paper squirrel or rabbit at the range and once you return to the field it will be automatic on the real ones.
^^^^^^^^
This!

sixgunner455
March 20, 2013, 05:36 PM
Be able to shoot a 1" group from whatever position you intend to be able to shoot the squirrel or rabbit with, at whatever range you intend to shoot the rabbit or squirrel from, restrict yourself to that range and those positions you can do that from, and aim at the eye.

If that don't kill'em clean, I don't know what to tell you.

Sniper66
March 20, 2013, 06:11 PM
Practice, practice, practice and don't take the shot until you have one. Pick a spot on the critter, don't just shoot at the mass. It is rare that I hit a squirrel anywhere but the head because I wait until the shot is right and I have good equipment.

JEB
March 20, 2013, 06:51 PM
i like to use pop/water bottles. since i always go for a head shot on squirrels, i toss a few bottles out in the yard at various distances and try to take the caps off. also can use spent shotgun shells and try to hit the brass. this way you get used to aiming for a very small part of a larger object with no real aiming reference (like a bull's eye).

Double Naught Spy
March 20, 2013, 07:31 PM
What if anything do you guys do to practice shot placement for small game to make clean kills?

Remember, it isn't placement ON the animal but IN the animal. The vitals are not on the outside of the body. So the factors of placement, trajectory, and penetration all come into play. I am going to assume that whatever you are shooting for small game has sufficient penetration to do the job.

Don't aim at the middle of the body? The middle may be your best shot for an animal quartered away where the impact point and trajectory will put the round going through the vitals. Okay, squirrels are lanky and this would be tough for a squirrel, but works for some game. So you aim between the middle and the typical broadside vitals shot for a squirrel quartering away.

A good shoulder shot on a broadside animal is not the same thing as the same placement on an animal quartered away. That is because the trajectory will potentially carry the round through some flesh and bone and out the high chest without hitting the vitals.

So the key here, then, is to remember that the animal exists in three dimensions, not two, even if the targets you shoot are only two dimensional. The things you want to damage are inside the body, not outside. You need to know where you want to hit in the body in order to properly place the shot on the outside of the body and that will involve knowing the anatomy of the intended prey as well.

huntsman
March 20, 2013, 08:32 PM
Training to make humane kills on small game in the field

I know America is the land of riflemen but sometimes a shotgun is a more practical gun. You have to know your ability and the hunting conditions, if you wound a lot and spend too much time in recovery try switching.

627PCFan
March 20, 2013, 09:02 PM
Shooting sticks are invaluable

RustHunter87
March 21, 2013, 11:10 AM
First of all squirrels are kinda hard to kill I only go for head shots any more and well even when you sink a good brain shot they still kick and flop, sometimes a lot but they are dead.
Lots of good advice here, the other guys pretty much covered it i think, practice alot and use a rest when ever possible.

Patocazador
March 21, 2013, 12:23 PM
This may sound cruel but sometimes a mortal wound can be better with a squirrel than an instantaneous kill. Reason? Because I've had "dead right now" squirrels collapse into crooks in the trees and never come down. That is a waste. A .22 LR in the lungs or even a gut shot is usually lethal within 20-30 seconds. The squirrel will usually run to the top of a thin branch, collapse, and fall to the ground rather than let a crow eat it in the tree.

Bvhawk
March 21, 2013, 10:38 PM
Don't fret to much, squirrels die hard. Yesterday I hit one literally between the eyes and he flopped a whole lot longer than I would have liked. Don't worry too much about it.

Loyalist Dave
March 22, 2013, 10:25 AM
The advice on marksmanship and using non-standar targets are good advice indeed. I also liked the idea that you get a little winded and then try shooting (simulates the excitement when you see that first squirrel of the year - heck the first squirrel of the day.)

The only bit I would add..., just because you see a squirrel or rabbit in range, doesn't mean you have a "shot". If the animal is moving fast, or if there is some brush in the way, your bullet if it doesn't deflect..., might be slowed down too much to do what you want it to do. So once in while you might have a situation where you need to pass up on an animal.

LD

RustHunter87
March 22, 2013, 12:33 PM
I like to practice on golf balls there about the size of a bushy tails head and they usually bounce to a new local when hit.

Sav .250
March 23, 2013, 04:52 PM
Simple .............practice and practice some more.

Gunnerboy
March 23, 2013, 10:56 PM
Very simple use the average idiots logic.... if a 22 didnt kill the squirrel with one shot you must need a 338 win mag!!! works with deer and elk hunters :banghead:

Deer_Freak
March 24, 2013, 12:03 AM
I don't use a 22 very often on small game. Most landowners frown on hunters who shoot s rifle in the air. I pretty much stick to the 20 ga with #4 shot. The larger shot doesn't spoil the meat. Most are high brass loads that have plenty of power to knock a squirrel out of a 100 foot tall oak. Plus I manage to take quite a few ducks that are just passing over. The only exception is areas that are full of woodcock. Woodcock is one of my favorite meals. I will switch to 7 1/2 shot if there is a good chance of taking several woodcock. I try to avoid shooting at running rabbits. The rabbit is usually running away which means your not going to get a good shot. The back legs are the best pieces of the rabbit. I would rather let the rabbit go for another day when things will work out in my favor.

bhhacker
March 26, 2013, 03:56 AM
With the shortage of .22lr in my area and the fact that ive got about 200 rounds of 12 gauge #6 shot i think ill take my shotgun out squirrel hunting. Ive never used it for squirrel but will give it the good old college try

RustHunter87
March 26, 2013, 01:00 PM
Shotgun works good and allows you to take shots you couldn't with a 22, but it fills um with lead and fur also has a tendency to rupture guts and such:barf:
you just have to line up your shot so that there is some thing solid behind the critter.

The_Armed_Therapist
March 26, 2013, 01:57 PM
Those energetic little critters sure can run around for quite a while if your shot isn't perfect! There have been times when I've shot rabbits up to 5 or 6 times before they're dead-dead. LOL... Knowing your rifle and ammo is probably the most important thing. I've usually used other peoples' rifles and ammo when I've shot small game, and that's probably the main difference. If it's hitting just 2" lower than you meant on these little guys, they could run for hours!

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