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Training to make humane kills on small game in the field

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by bhhacker, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. bhhacker

    bhhacker Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    put a little cardio into your practice and if you don't improve start using a rest.
  3. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

  7. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. JEB

    JEB Well-Known Member

    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).
  10. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    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.
  11. huntsman

    huntsman Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Well-Known Member

    Shooting sticks are invaluable
  13. RustHunter87

    RustHunter87 Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Bvhawk

    Bvhawk New Member

    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.
  16. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    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.

  17. RustHunter87

    RustHunter87 Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    Simple .............practice and practice some more.
  19. Gunnerboy

    Gunnerboy Well-Known Member

    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:
  20. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

    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.

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