Making a good, clean, ethical shot is every hunter’s goal. One way I’ve found to help ensure this in the field is by using shooting sticks. You’ve put in the time at the range, you know how your gun and ammo shoot, so make sure you’re giving yourself every advantage in the field.
First, utilizing shooting sticks can help minimize movement. I especially like to use sticks during turkey season because I can stay at the ready position and simply lean into the gun at the moment of truth rather than telecasting all the movement of bringing the gun up from my lap.
The next, and probably most obvious, advantage is the increased stability shooting sticks offer. I personally like using tripod shooting sticks for maximum stability but anything is better than nothing. I get pretty excited on any hunt when it comes time to shoot, so by having my gun resting on shooting sticks, I can keep that reticle steady and make a good shot even though I may be shaking like a leaf! The other time that this can be extremely beneficial is when you’ve been running and possibly out of breath. It can be tough to get steady when you’re breathing hard so the shooting sticks may give you the extra stability needed.
When it comes to long shots most people prefer to find some sort of rest, but you can’t guarantee there will be something close at the exact time you need it. The other problem you can run into is often times is that it’s difficult to find something at the right height. With shooting sticks you can have them set so they’re ready for a standing shot or you can keep them folded up and shoot from a sitting position. I usually keep mine short so I can set-up with my gun on the sticks, and rest my opposite elbow on my knee for extreme stability. You’ll also find that being rock solid will give you more confidence and allow you to get on target quicker.
Some people may argue that shooting sticks are just too cumbersome to carry, but I strongly disagree. In fact, I actually use them for multiple purposes. With the Bog Gear shooting sticks, they have a great system that allows me to switch out tops so I can go from a regular set of shooting sticks to a trigger style tripod head that I mount my spotting scope on. Now when I’m at long distances I can pull out my spotting scope, glass an area, then switch it back to a shooting stick setup in seconds. It minimizes the need to carry a separate tripod for your spotting scope plus shooting sticks. The other great use can be to help steady yourself for glassing long distances. I simply rest my binos on the top of the sticks as I walk and can quickly checkout an animal at a long distance.
So overall you can see there are many advantages to using shooting sticks, but obviously the most important is doing the work before the season and ensuring your gun is shooting well and practice, practice, practice.