Choosing the Right Weapon for Elk and Deer Hunting
As with any sport, your choice of equipment will determine your degree of success when hunting deer and elk. When choosing a rifle, you should consider how it feels in your hands, how it fits to your shoulder, the weight, the sights, and its action and caliber. A gun of the right weight, with a good fit, will help you shoot more accurately.
Take time to carefully consider the length of the stock when shopping for hunting rifles. Stock lengths vary among different rifle manufacturers and models, and a stock that’s too long can be a problem – and if the stock is too short, the scope can strike your eyebrow. If needed, a gunsmith can change the length of the stock. Another problem with an improper fit, especially for larger men, is the “drop” – the distance between your cheek and the stock. When you press your cheek against the stock of the rifle, your shooting eye should line up with the sites. Too much drop will prevent you from placing your cheek against the stock, and the recoil could cause the stock to smack you in the face.
The weight of the rifle is another consideration. Most hunting rifles weigh between six and nine pounds. Lighter guns are much more comfortable to carry, but heavier rifles have less kick when fired. It may seem antithetical to buy a heavier rifle if you’re going to be carrying it around with you all day, but heavy rifles are easier to hold steady, and they’re more accurate when stand hunting or shooting long range. In densely populated areas where rifle hunting isn’t allowed, Shotguns and slugs are commonly used, and some states permit the use of shotguns with buckshot. The ideal shotgun for deer hunting is one with a rifled barrel and special sights, or a scope. Rifled barrels shoot slugs more accurately than smoothbore shotguns – rifling makes the slugs to spin and stabilize, allowing shots at deer up to 100 yards away. You shouldn’t use anything smaller than a 20 gauge shotgun for deer hunting – 12 gauge is the most popular.
Bowhunting offers a higher level of difficulty and a number of unique challenges, but also offers a longer hunting season when hunting deer and elk. Most bowhunters use a compound bow – a bigger, heavier bow that uses cams and pulleys for additional power and speed. Each state has a legal minimum for draw weight for hunting bows, usually between 35 and 45 pounds. Despite its increased difficulty – or perhaps because of it – some hunters choose to use a traditional bow and arrow for deer hunting. There are hunters who also use crossbows for hunting, as well.
A good sporting goods store or gun shop will have staff who can help you find the right weapon, no matter what your level of expertise. Having the right weapon is only half the key to successful deer and elk hunting, though – the rest is skill, patience and just plain luck.
About the Author: For more resources on deer and elk hunting as well as information on long range hunting rifles and field dressing deer please visit DeerElkHunting.com today!