CamoTherapy: 7 tips for shooting from a vehicle
Andy Hahn 08.26.13
As discussed in my previous post, many states grant disabled hunters the privilege to shoot from inside a vehicle. Should you choose to hunt from a four-wheel blind, here’s some advice based on my experience:
Keep the gun unloaded
Never trust a gun’s safety, and never cruise around with a loaded firearm in the vehicle. Keep the chamber empty and the action open until you’re ready to shoot.
Make sure the vehicle has enough interior space for you to aim and shoot safely and comfortably. My needs are rather roomy because a point man (usually my friend Ron) aims for me while we both view the sight picture on the scopecam, and I decide when to activate the trigger.
Vibration from an idling motor can make it difficult to aim, so switch off the engine.
Whether you hunt from a treestand, ground blind or vehicle, a steady rifle rest contributes to accurate shot placement. Adjustable shooting sticks can be set up inside a vehicle to provide support at the proper height. It is NOT a good idea to rest a gun on the top edge of a partially open window.
If you plan to simply lower the window and rest the rifle on the door, use a sandbag, small cushion or rolled-up jacket to protect the window frame as well as the gun’s forestock.
Positioning for the shot
In the ideal scenario, you will have scouted the area, arrived early and parked broadside for a good view of the spot where you expect animals to emerge.
It’s a different story if you have to spot and “stalk” game in open country, as Ron and I did while hunting pronghorns in Wyoming. We sat in the back seat of our guide’s Mega Cab pickup and set up to shoot out the driver’s-side window. We chose this arrangement because it made things easier as the guide carefully shadowed the herd and turned the truck broadside for our shot. He knew that if he had a good, unobstructed view of an antelope, we did too.
Muzzle out the window
The first commandment of gun safety says keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. When hunting from a vehicle, this rule goes out the window—quite literally, because that’s usually the best place to put the business end of your rifle.
Always travel with the gun (action open, chamber empty) securely stowed. When you’ve reached the hunting spot and turned off the motor, it’s time to load. Before loading or working the action, put the muzzle out the window. I mean OUT, not just pointed toward the window. And the muzzle should stay out the window until you unload, and especially while unloading.
Make sure the muzzle is as far out the window as is reasonably possible when you shoot, because you don’t want the muzzle blast to occur within the confines of the vehicle.
Everyone in the vehicle should know what the shooter is doing and when he’s ready to squeeze the trigger. Since Ron and I shoot from the back seat, the muzzle isn’t very far from the driver. We always warn him to cover his ears before we shoot.