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Shooting Sticks

Many hunters won't have come across shooting sticks until they hunt Africa....


Shooting sticks, when used correctly, are a great help as an aid for accurate shooting. When used incorrectly, they're a great hindrance. So, let's look at the correct way to use them.

They usually come in two versions - bipod and tripod. Either way, the tracker will carry them and as you are getting close to the quarry animal, you will need to be close to the tracker and sticks. As soon as the sticks get set up, you need to get your rifle on them. Try to place your left hand on the vee of the sticks and hold the stock where it feels comfortable As soon as the rifle is on the sticks, start looking for animal you're going for.

Shooting from sticks is in many ways the same as any other kind of accurate shooting. Get the geometry right and it will all fall into place. You need to form as many triangles with your body as you possibly can. Assuming you're right handed, stand with your left leg forward and your right leg to the rear and keep the knees straight - 1 triangle. Then make 2 other triangles with your arms and try to keep your elbows as high as possible. Hold the rifle reasonably firmly to strengthen those triangles and try to imagine you're almost trying to twist the stock on two opposite directions at the same time.

If you're using a bipod, angle the top of the sticks towards you, and then lean into the sticks and the rifle, to form another triangle which will give additional stability. If you need to adjust the height on a set of bipod sticks, just move forward or back slightly, as appropriate.

If you're using tripod sticks, lean into them - it's a little harder to form such a strong triangle with them. If the tripod is too high or too low, the tracker will adjust them for you. Your PH will be watching you on the sticks and if he thinks it necessary and if the occasion allows, he'll lean into your shooting shoulder with his shoulder to give you even more stability.

For further shooting stick wisdom, go to Shooting Sticks - A Guide for the Unwary by Peter Lang

Make Your Own Shooting Sticks

It's quite easy to make a set of shooting sticks to practice with at home before your hunt.

  • Depending on whether you want bipod or tripod, take two or three pieces of wood, light metal or bamboo poles of an appropriate thickness and length.
  • The poles need to be at least 6ft long, preferably a little more. The circumference of the poles needs to be strong enough for them to be fairly rigid and that will obviously be dependent on the type of material you use but you need similar rigidity to a broom handle, which incidentally, has a circumference of about 2 1/2".
  • About 6" down from one end, cross bind them together with either a long strip of inner tube rubber (about 1" wide) pulling the rubber taut as you go. If you don't have access to old inner tube rubber, you can use a rubber drive belt from suction cleaner.
  • With the bipod version, you can also use the alternative method of drilling through the two poles about 6" from one end and holding them together with a nut and bolt. Either put a second nut on and tighten both nuts against each other or add a dab of loctite glue to the thread.
  • A leather strap may be added in which to rest the rifle and this also prevents the sticks sliding open in loose sand at inconvenient moments.
Make Your Own Shooting Sticks

Stoney Point Shooting Sticks From Amazon

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