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Well folks, "sighting in" season is in full force at the range where I shoot. As a person who is primarily a recreational shooter, as opposed to a hunter, this phenomenon always confuses me greatly.

My profession has trained me to always work to see all sides of a story, though, but still I struggle to figure this one out. For many folks here in Wisconsin, the annual gun hunting season for deer is an event that is looked forward to with more anticipation and excitement than Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July all put together. The importance of getting your deer cannot be underestimated.

Which brings me to "sighting in." For those who have not experienced this, for many hunters this involves dusting off the trusty shotgun and/or deer rifle and taking an annual trip to the range. Once there, a target is set out, and a handful of shots are taken, either to make sure the scope is still zeroed, or if it's a new gun, to adjust the scope. Then it's back home, and the shotgun and/or deer rifle stays in the safe until the end of November, at which time one or perhaps two shots may or may not be taken, depending on whether the hunter gets an opportunity to shoot a deer.

I guess the reasons this confuses me are that 1. It seems that no matter how much preparation you may do, and how much skill you have in finding deer and locating a stand in a place where deer are likely to show up, it's all for naught if you can't shoot the deer when the time comes. 2. I have learned from personal experience just how much a person's shooting skills improve with regular practice, and conversely how much those skills deteriorate without regular practice.

Considering how important it is to so many hunters to come home with a deer, wouldn't it make a lot of sense to shoot a little more? If nothing else, at least take a few trips to the range during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the season.

More thoughts to come...
 

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That phenomenon is not to behold just in Wisconsin the "virus" is well established here in California as well. I have heard hunters here brag on having a box of rifle "bullets"(cartridges) last 5 even 10 or more years then wonder why they missed that 1 buck they saw.
 

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Our local range up here in the north woods of Wisconsin also opens to the public for a couple of weeks prior to deer season so non-members can sight in their deer. rifles. From experience, those of us who are regulars tend to avoid those couple of weeks. :)

Our thick woods up here usually dictate short range shots while shooting from a stand, so not a lot of shooting skill required, though, unless you opt for a handgun.
 

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Well, for many big game hunters, the "sighting in season" is the most their guns will ever be shot. Which is why small game/varmint and waterfowl hunting is so much better. Your guns are fired A LOT during those hunting sessions.
 

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With a good rig.......if you can shoot, you can shoot. With a nice rifle, good glass, properly zeroed.........to ME, hitting something as big as a deer is childs play, no matter how few rounds I have shot in "practice".

My shooting tends to go in cycles.......depending on how life and work goes. I have been through stretches where I haven't fired a round from a rifle in a year. I currently have not had the opportunity to shoot any of my "target" rifles in a few months. I have a 350 yard range in my backyard. I have no doubt that I can go upstairs today, dig out a rifle, set it up and put one in the bull at 350 on the first shot. If not in the bull, most definitely close enough to drop a deer. And I know this, because I do it all the time.............................. Now if I was planning on shooting in a match in a couple weeks, sure, I would put LOTS of rounds down range to hone my technique and work on loads, but for a shot at a large animal.........I'm good. Like I said, with a good rig, if you can shoot, you can shoot it well at any time
 

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Its also a common practice nere in NC as grits and sweet tea. While I was at the range last week their were several shooting large bore centerfires probably for deer or bear. 30.06, 270, 308, 30/30, 45/70, and the less normal larger magnum calibers. When I hunted years ago i always spent time with my 7 rem mag, and always checked the function before hunting season, to make sure everything was still in sync. I have always believed if I went across country I would resight to local conditions since the environment condition changes. However since I don't have time to hunt anymore, It doesn't effect me, however I notice it at my local range this time of year. I also see some humerous things.:D
 

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There have been times in my life where I was one of the masses double checking my rifle at the public range the week before opening day. Not all of us have the time, money, opportunity and access to shoot as much as we would like to. I do now, but it hasn't always been that way. We active gun enthusiast are the minority of the 80,000,000 households that own firearms. The vast majority have them for SD and a little hunting. Even though some of them make me nervous with their safety 'habits' I'm glad to see them participating at whatever level they are able to.
 

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I'm not a hunter,but I get it. The sight in season is the pre-season for hunting. It's the time when a person begins to savor the tradition of hunting that is so ingrained in our society. It's like when we put up our Christmas lights early so we can plug them in as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner is over.

My wife is from Wisconsin and we periodically visit her kin. We were there in August for a reunion. Every mount and rack at the cabin has a story to go along with it,the muley from Montana,the pronghorn from Wyoming,the racks from the family hunting property all tend to keep the spirit alive all year long.

Preparation for deer season begins in May with the tilling of the food plot,repairs to the stands and clearing brush that almost foiled a perfect broadside shot last season.

No,sight-in season isn't the beginning,it's part of a continuum,only a part of the cycle that runs all year. I'm a fisherman,but I get it. If you've ever opened a jar of salmon eggs just to smell them you know what I mean.
 

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This "phenomenon" is even worse with bow season.
Shooting a bow involves more of your body than firearms (not trying to start a flame war here).
Hunters incase the bow a week before season opens then wonder why they're shake after not shooting since last fall.
Gotta keep those muscle groups in shape during the off-season, no matter what the activity.
 

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I don't know who all these hunters are but when I could pull a bow I shot all summer from 10-50 yards. Some years I would shoot 100 arrows an night. Now that I am limited to a crossbow I shot it several times at different yardages with field points and broadheads.

The only hunting firearm I don't shoot regularly is my 12 GA with 3" slugs. If that's good I'm good. I'll shoot the muzzleloader a few times for sight in and grouping.
 

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It is the same anywhere you go. I am not sure if it is the majority of hunters but definitely a sizable percentage. The local gun club I used to belong to was the same way. I have seen people use a refrigerator box for a target and at only 50 yards. No kidding! A gunsmith buddy tells me he is covered up with people with rifles needing work showing up the day before the season opens.

It takes all kinds.
 

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Considering how important it is to so many hunters to come home with a deer, wouldn't it make a lot of sense to shoot a little more? If nothing else, at least take a few trips to the range during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the season.

More thoughts to come...
Think you maybe missing the whole story. Lot of hunters where I live do shoot all the time. Most of us have our own home made shooting range at hunting camp and we all shoot very frequently . But the closer it gets to deer season the hunting camp shooting range closes... period. So if you have a new gun or just really anal about your zero before you hit the woods, the public ranges is our next best option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Think you maybe missing the whole story. Lot of hunters where I live do shoot all the time. Most of us have our own home made shooting range at hunting camp and we all shoot very frequently . But the closer it gets to deer season the hunting camp shooting range closes... period. So if you have a new gun or just really anal about your zero before you hit the woods, the public ranges is our next best option.
When I lived in Louisiana, there were a lot of people who would go out and shoot a lot. Also, you could shoot more deer in a season there than you can shoot here, and not only that, but lots of people hunted near home, so they would go out hunting before and after work.

There are a lot of people around here who shoot year round, and many of them are also hunters.

I imagine, though, that for quite a few hunters their rifle or shotgun is really just a tool, no different than the rod and reels they use for fishing.

Also, east of the Mississippi most deer hunting is done at short distances, so I suppose the shooting involved is often not all that challenging.
 

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It's the power of the gun, it takes away the burden of constant practice. Let the archers shoot every day, with a rifle like the old 1917 US Enfield owned by a Kodiak Islander I knew, one box of 20 30/06 shells lasts for six years of moose hunting, with more to come. It's what machines are all about.
 

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Well, the game critters are lucky that most hunters only fire a couple shots a year. If they were all good marksmen with sharpshooter qualification, all the critters would be DEAD.
So don't try and second guess it,,, the animals REALLY appreciate it. :D

CRITTER'S +1
Jimbob _0.
 

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When I lived in Louisiana, there were a lot of people who would go out and shoot a lot. Also, you could shoot more deer in a season there than you can shoot here, and not only that, but lots of people hunted near home, so they would go out hunting before and after work.

Yeah I live in Mississippi and that pretty much describes how we do it here

There are a lot of people around here who shoot year round, and many of them are also hunters.

Truthfully there are only certain firearms in my collection that see regular use but my deer rifles are put up till it's time to hunt.

I imagine, though, that for quite a few hunters their rifle or shotgun is really just a tool, no different than the rod and reels they use for fishing.

That would be my dad ;) But he ticks me off sometimes with his old man accuracy, and he only shoots once or twice a year. But then again, he is my dad, I expect him to do a lot of things better than me.

Also, east of the Mississippi most deer hunting is done at short distances, so I suppose the shooting involved is often not all that challenging.

Your some what right we have a ton of trees and hills to shoot through but most of the deer I have bagged have been spitting distance from me. Sometimes it is really not very fair for the deer.
I would have to say the furthest I have shot a deer was about 75 yards away. And the woods were so freaking thick I couldn't tell if the deer even had antlers. All I saw in my scope that day was a chest and the two front legs. It wasn't till I walked up to the deer I realized I killed a monster.

 

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Many "hunters" are NOT "shooters", many could care less about firearms, they are just hunting tools. They have a bolt action rifle, a shotgun, a bow, and a muzzleloader so they can hunt all the seasons.

Sight In season is the only time most of the people who live around me fire their weapons.

You can get some great deals on used, thrashed looking 30-06 bolt guns from the 60's-80's, gun shops have piles of them when dudes trade them in on "something newer" , the guns look like complete crap but you know they have probably 40 rounds through them.

+1 on the above, most hunters I know are still using rounds from the same dusty box of Rem Kleenbore they've had sitting in their closet since the early 70's, these are the guys who sight in once a decade, maybe.......and only pull a trigger when they have a deer in their crosshairs. Those rounds have probably been on many hunts lol Some of us go shopping for new guns, some guys, go shopping for their 3rd box of ammo in a decade.
 

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For me the sight in season was weeks ago. I always go to the range early to make sure my .270 is still right where it was the year before and to shoot some new test rounds to make sure I've got the loads just right for that rifles barrel. Shot guns, no need to sight in, they shoot the same from year to year. As far as my hunting rifles, yes they sit in the safe from the end of deer season to the next. They are used for hunting ONLY, nothing else, they get shot just before and during season ONLY. That was what they were purchased for.

I have other rifles that I shoot year round so I don't have to shoot my hunting guns all the time.
 

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I don't hunt any more, but there is always an up tick in number of rifle shooters this time of year (starting last month) at the range. No biggie as I drive by and head to the pistol/revolver bays :) . A guy I work with though hates it, as he likes to shoot rifle and this time of year you have to bump elbows with people, so he stays away.
 

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I try to shoot the 30-06 at least once a month but sometimes it is every other month. For me it isn't just to make sure the rifle is still sighted in, but to also make sure the shooter is still "sighted in." Up until this last Spring, I have always hunted with open sights on it... this is the first time I will be using a scope this year. It seems that the older I get, the harder it is for the eyes to see things...
 
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