Accuracy is king when hunting… or is it?
You’ll get the answer below. In a story about eating humble pie on a shooting course in Wales.
Read how that day changed my priorities. And get one critical hunting strategy.
Andrew: “Load and make ready. Ready?”
Me: “Ready.” Andrew: “Left target in front of the small hill. Engage 5, 4, 3, 2…”
It was a windy day on a shooting range in Wales. My confidence got a good old kick in the arse. But I learned a valuable lesson.
Which I turned into one of the strategies I use to improve as a hunter.
I’ll finish the story, but let me just share an idea or two.
What makes a great hunter?
I’ve screwed up lots of times when hunting. Nothing dangerous, but stuff that meant I went home empty-handed.
I hate it. So I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to do things right.
Talking to other hunters. Talking to hunting guides around the world. Picking up ideas from any other source that could give me inspiration.
I’ve developed an image of the ideal hunter. The hunter I aspire to be.
I call this hunter, “the purposeful hunter”
Purposeful as in determined, single-minded, enthusiastic, resolved.
This ideal hunter uses four strategies.
I use these strategies when hunting. And I use them when I build hunting gear at RedKettle.
That day in Wales sewed the seed for the strategy “fast”.
Lessons at WMS Firearms Training
I’d booked a course at WMS Firearms training in Wales.
With Andrew Venerables. Andrew is an experienced hunter, a great teacher and someone with a practical approach to marksmanship.
To say that I was looking forward would be an understatement.
I’d packed my Roedale Precision. A semi-custom rifle in 6.5x55 with a Lothar Walter barrel and a Manners stock. It was matte Nato green with a Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12x50 scope.
The dogs bollocks.
In my bag was a fresh batch of homelands with long sleek Berger VLD bullets. And I had my drop chart and wind chart taped to my stock. Ready for any range…
When checking zero, the rifle punched one-hole groups. I was on fire. Felt like I could walk on water.
But that didn’t last long…
I was about to shatter my self-image as a marksman.
And learn the importance of “fast” the hard way.
Right now, you might think to yourself that “fast” isn’t much of a strategy.
Remember that strategy is what you aim for. Tactics are how you get there.
An example of implementing "fast"
An excellent example of implementing “fast” in a product, is our Quick Release rifle sling.
It’s a rifle sling with a compression strap and a quick-release buckle.
The compression strap lets’ you tighten the sling so the rifle sits snug on your back. By pulling the quick release buckle you can extend the sling by about 25 cm (10”).
We built it based on input from hunters who wanted both control and speed from a sling.
More on this sling in a moment.
Back to WMS
WMS Firearms training is a steel target range in the middle of Wales. You shoot in the field, among horses and sheep, in the grass and the dirt. Just like if you were out hunting.
I love shooting. And I love that place.
The first exercise took us to a bank of dirt, overlooking a valley with small hills and steel targets scattered around.
The grass on the shooting line swayed in the light wind and the distances weren’t crazy. I felt confident.
I was first.
Andrew instructed me: At my command, drop into prone and engage the target I assign. Within five seconds.
Andrew: Load and make ready. Ready?
Andrew: Left target in front of the small hill. Engage 5, 4, 3, 2…
I hate missing. At least it wasn’t a deer.
So much for my long-range capabilities. I was embarrassed. Especially because the rest of the participants had a first-row view of me screwing up.
Fortunately, Andrew is a great coach, and I was soon connecting with targets.
The sound of steel getting hit was sweet music in my ears...
And I’d learned a lesson about accurate vs fast.
In some ways, it was simple stuff. But it turned my priorities on their head. To great effect.
And the moral of the story is that you need to accuracy. But if you’re not able to shoot in time, super-accurate doesn’t help…
I still love accurate rifles, but Andrew helped me get my priorities straight.
Back to the sling example.
Our Quick Release rifle sling is an example of implementing “fast”.
Hunters wanted the performance of our non-slip rifle sling, but with more control.
The core of the solution is the magnetic Fidlock V-buckle.
Imagine hunting on rough, hilly or mountainous ground. Terrain where you need your rifle across your back to keep it from bouncing around and stop it getting in your way.
You spot a group of animals, but with your tight sling, it takes what seems like ages to get your rifle into action.
It's a whole different experience with the quick-release sling.
Using the sling your rifle sits snug on your back. The moment you see the deer you release and extend the sling. You can quickly swing your rifle off your back and onto the target.
It’s a little detail, driven by a simple strategy. To help you get faster.
By the way…
This post is based on one of the RedKettle email updates I send twice a month.
The “fast” strategy is part of a framework designed to help you become a more successful hunter.
It’s based on an aspirational identity I call “the purposeful hunter”.
And it consists of four hunting strategies designed to make sure you don’t come home empty-handed. If you’d like to know more you can subscribe to my emails updates.
I’ll introduce the framework in the four-part welcome series. And build on it in future emails.
All the best,