Hunter Education Sight-In & Range Simulation Targets
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Certainly many inexperienced hunters have no idea how small a deer looks (or how hard it is to hit from field positions) at long ranges, such as 200 and 300 yards. If they did, there would be a lot less discussion about shooting at such distances in the print magazines and online forums. In our experience, most deer are shot at 100 yards or less and most hunters are hard pressed to put their first shot into the kill zone even at that distance. Nor do most realize that in a modest 10 MPH crosswind, the lateral drift of most bullets exceeds their drop.
The Hunter Education targets that are the subject of this review cannot help deer hunter dope the wind, since they are designed to be placed at only 25 yards, but they do show the relative size of a normal buck deer as if he were being viewed at 100, 200 and 300 yards. Here are features claimed for the Hunter Education target:
The included Target Shooter's Ruler is calibrated for ¼ MOA scope adjustments. The ruler has scales for 25 yards, 50 yards, 75 yards and 100 yards. You just measure from the bullseye to the horizontal and vertical planes of the group's center and the ruler tells you how many clicks are necessary to zero the rifle/scope.
Midsouth Photographic Specialties, producers of the Hunter Education Targets, was kind enough to send us some samples for this review. In due course, we took them with us to the range to see how we liked them. Guns and Shooting Online staff members Chuck Hawks, Bob Fleck, Rocky Hays, Nathan Rauzon and Jim Fleck participated in the target shooting. Chuck and Bob both had rifles to sight-in (one a .223 and the other a .30-06), so we were able to give the targets a good workout.
We all agreed that these are neat targets, both fun and instructive at which to shoot. Very experienced deer hunters probably have a good idea of how deer look at various ranges and at what range they can guarantee a clean, one shot kill from various shooting positions in the field. We think that everyone else could profit by shooting at some Hunter Education Targets from field positions (not from a bench or other rest) to understand the size of their target and the size of the vital heart-lung area that they must hit with the first shot.
Practicing with Hunter Education Targets before deer season should definitely reduce the number of deer wounded and left to die in the woods by making hunters aware of the difficulties and therefore less apt to take those wistful "I think I can hit him" long shots. Better to stalk closer or wait for a better opportunity where you know you can kill your buck with the first shot. Remember that in the field, hitting a deer will be much more difficult. You will probably not be shooting at a known distance and certainly not at a highly visible deer standing stock still against a white background. Your deer will be camouflaged against a natural background, is likely to be partially obscured by vegetation and may not hold still for your shot. You will likely be tired from hiking most of the day and your body will be charged with adrenalin by the thrill of the hunt, degrading your fine motor skills and causing muscle tremors. Since you will not be shooting at a 25 yard reduced range, your bullet will be drooping as gravity works against it and drifting in the wind throughout its time of flight. For example, a .308 Winchester 150 grain PowerPoint bullet that is zeroed at 200 yards and launched at a MV of 2820 fps in a 10 mph crosswind will drop 9.1" and drift 10.6" laterally by the time it reaches 300 yards--enough to miss or wound your buck, even with a perfect hold.
A 10 pack of Hunter Education targets with a target ruler cost $20 plus shipping from Midsouth Photographic Specialties, or they can be purchased on eBay. You can telephone MPS at 870-932-4454 or visit the MPS web site at http://midsouthphotographic.com/
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