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 are 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 are 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
It's preferable and quite easy to make a set of shooting sticks to practice with at home before your hunt. The sticks you may use in Africa will almost certainly be a very basic design and homemade, compared to the ones available for purchase.
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Unfortunately the Stoney Point Steady Stix & Safari Stix are no longer available to purchase. Also the excellent Long Grass tripod seems to have disappeared from the market.
This Vanguard Scout B62 Bipod is made of a lightweight aluminum alloy with a rubber V shaped yoke which swivels 360 degrees allowing shots from any angle. The quick release leg clips allow legs to be extended and locked securely into place easily. It includes cushioned foam hand grips, adjustable leg strap and rubber tipped feet. Buy Now
This Allen monopod is made of locking sections of aluminium and extends from 14.5" to 34". It has a padded foam grip, wrist strap for added stability and has a black matte finish. Buy Now
Page Updated: Feb 2021