Official Montana Hunting Safety Course Link to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Hello, hunter! Montana's online hunting course has moved. Click here to go to the latest version of the Today's Hunter in Montana course—the official hunting safety course of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The following course material is for reference only. Please go to the new course to complete your Montana certification.

Rifle Shooting Skills

Trigger Control

Trigger control is essential for an accurate shot. With a rifle, you do not so much pull the trigger as squeeze it.

  • When the sights are aligned on your target, squeeze the trigger slowly and steadily.
  • Do not jerk the trigger. Anything other than a smooth squeeze will cause the sight picture to waver and will send the shot off target.
  • Try not to tense up before the rifle fires. You should be relaxed, allowing each shot to happen almost like a surprise.

Breathing Control

Breathing control is necessary to shoot accurately. As you breathe in and out, your chest rises and falls causing your arm to waver. Your firearm will also move, so it is important to control your breathing at the exact moment you fire.

  • When you are in a shooting position, with your cheek against the stock, take a deep breath, exhale a portion of it and hold your breath while you aim.
  • When your front sight is in focus and on target, squeeze the trigger.
  • If you hold your breath too long, you may lose control, start to shake and your bullet will not hit your point of aim. If you run out of breath before firing, relax, take a deep breath, and try again.

Follow Through

Follow through simply means maintaining your sight picture and/or shooting position after discharging the firearm. If the rifle is moved a split second too soon, the bullet will not have left the barrel and your aim will be off target. After squeezing the trigger, count to three before lowering the rifle from your sight picture.

Montana Fish, Wildlife,
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White-tailed deer tracks
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Official hunting safety course for Montana hunters last modified: November 16, 2011
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