One of the main tenets of off-grid living is producing everything you need for yourself. That means generating your own power, using your own water, and especially taking care of your own food. While growing crops and raising animals is good, sometimes it’s a good idea to supplement that regimen with animals hunted from your property, or the surrounding wilds.
Now, there are almost as many different weapons you can use to hunt with as there are types of creatures you can hunt. One of the less-commonly used weapons, though, are air rifles. Ideal for hunting smaller game without the sharp crack of a gunshot that can give away your presence and position to every animal in a several mile radius, air rifles can take some getting used to. If you follow these simple tips from Made Man, Wide Open Spaces, and Pellet Guns 101, though, then you may be in the same weight category as the infamous Sebastian Moran.
5 Air Rifle Hunting Tips For Silent Hunters
Tip #1: Check Your Power
If you’re using an air rifle, precision tends to be more important than power. Even a .177 pellet will get the job done if you’re hunting something around the size of a crow, even if you’re taking shots from as far back as 35 yards. Larger caliber air rifles can be used for prey like foxes, and similarly sized critters. Remember that you don’t need a lot of punch in the field, but you will need to be able to hit a target’s vulnerable places. So make sure you know where the heart is if you’re shooting anything bigger than a prairie dog.
Tip #2: Check The Sights
Nothing is more frustrating than realizing your sights are off, because that can leave you shooting blind when you’re in the field. Before you go off on a stalk, always take a day to shoot your air rifle, and check that all the parts and pieces are in working order. Be certain your sights are zeroed-in, and that when you have a target lined up that your shot doesn’t mysteriously show up six inches to the left or right of where you were aiming.
Tip #3: Use The Proper Ammunition
Just as with firearms, air rifles have different types of rounds you can fire. Flat-headed and hollow point pellets, for example, are meant to be used on smaller prey where over-penetration is a real concern. These rounds are also good for hunting that takes place close to buildings, or where there’s a risk of people being around, because it makes sure the rounds stop.
On the other hand, if you’re hunting slightly bigger game, or shooting at a longer range, you’ll want to use round head or pointed pellets. These rounds get more penetration, and pack a little more punch.
Tip #4: Shoot Often, Shoot Better
Another advantage air rifles have over firearms is they’re cheap to buy, cheap to get ammunition for, and you can often practice with them in places where it would be illegal to use a more traditional firearm. If you have a large backyard, or a particularly wide basement, you can set up an air rifle range.
Also, because ammunition is cheap, you can practice regularly without worrying about cutting too deeply into your household budget. Getting familiar with your air rifle, and making sure it feels natural in your hands, is the key to bagging as many targets as you’re allowed to take by the end of the day.
Tip #5: Check the Weather
Air rifles have a lot of advantages over traditional firearms, but they can be more strongly affected by inclement weather. Strong winds, in particular, can make landing a shot with an air rifle a minor nightmare at anything longer than very short-range. Before you go out with your air rifle tucked under your arm, be sure to check the weather report. Or, if you can, schedule your hunting time when there’s supposed to be a clear, still day. There’s no reason to add challenge to an already challenging endeavor.
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