Know Your Accuracy Limits
Ethical hunters know their personal accuracy and limit their shots accordingly.
- An 8- to 10-inch paper plate is the standard target for establishing deer hunting accuracy. An 8- to 10-inch target is about the same size as the vital area of a deer. Before hunting, practice until you are confident you can hit the required target at the distances and from the shooting positions you expect to use in the field. When hunting, limit your shots to your most accurate range. Avoid rifle shots at running animals, as these shots are poor and potentially unsafe. Hitting running game with an ethical, quick, clean kill shot is unlikely, and you could be firing into areas that may not be clear or have a safe backstop behind the animal.
- Pattern your shotgun, and then practice hitting targets at distances that you expect to shoot game. This will develop proficiency with the chosen firearm and help to ensure an ethical, clean, quick kill.
- It is critical that you practice distance estimation to learn your personal maximum range. Subtending is an excellent technique to determine the range to a target.