For shooting practice for an upcoming hunt in Africa, the best thing you can do is get away from the benchrest.
"Practice, the master of all things." Augustus Octavius
Firstly, can it be assumed you have skill in the fundamentals of shooting skills - stance, aiming, trigger squeeze, breath control and follow through? So what is going to be different for a hunt in Africa?
- Lots of hunters buy a new rifle for hunting in Africa, often a larger calibre rifle specifically for dangerous game. For some hunting clients, the first time they shoot that rifle is at the sighting-in range in the hunt area - in Africa. Time and opportunity are pressing factors for eveyone but a hunter intent on having a successful African hunt, must get really familiar with the rifle(s) he is going to use.
- Get to know your rifle like a woman knows her handbag. If it is a new high calibre rifle learn not be afraid of it and the recoil.
- Include lots of different positions in your shooting practice, like sitting and kneeling, making use of trees or anything else you can find for a rest - just get away from the bench. Practice shooting offhand too, though this can be sometimes difficult to master.
- Some hunters say they just don't get the time or opportunity to go to the range. In that case, they ought to practising at home, dry firing, getting into various positions, using sticks, using the sling etc.
- There is a lot to be said for getting your mind 'in practice' for the hunt - start studying the animals you want, visualising shot placement and believing you will be successful.
- Shooting sticks are commonly used in Africa and you would not believe how these can flummox a hunter who is not used to them. Check with your outfitter whether the sticks will be bipod or tripod on your hunt, make or buy some and practice.
- Practise shooting quickly. Try to train yourself to make quick and sure shooting decisions, judging angles with alacrity through sometimes thick cover.
Shooting Stick Techniques
You can't read a better book than Shots At Big Game by Craig Boddington on how to become a better field shot and how to practice for field shooting.
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