Is Shooting Twice a Year Humane Hunting?
Kevin Felts 12.04.19
A question to the reader: How many times a year do you think the average hunter shoots his or her hunting rifle or shotgun? (Since not all states allow hunting by rifle, let’s include shotguns.)
Would it be safe to say the average hunter shoots his primary deer hunting firearm twice a year? I think that is a safe assumption. If not twice or maybe three times a year. Typically, but not always, a hunter will shoot a firearm just before season “to make sure it is still sighted in.” The second time the hunter shoots is when a shot is fired at a deer.
Does that sound like a way to make a humane harvest? Perhaps the answer should be no.
Regardless of how proficient we think we are with a hunting rifle, chances are a lot of us could use more practice. This brings up the dilemma of finding time to go to the shooting range. Let’s be honest, chances are a lot of the readers make excuses to get out of going to the range. ‘We may get rain today; I’m busy with other stuff; I’m taking the family to a movie; slept late…’ and the excuses keep coming.
Time is probably a big factor. Who wants to spend an hour driving to a range, unpack, shoot for an hour, then drive home? When we get home we have to break the firearms down and clean them. Before we know it, half of our Saturday is gone. Chances are the family may have wanted to do something that Saturday, like some type of sporting event.
With our chaotic lives, taking the kids to a soccer game is probably easier than spending the morning at a shooting range. However, do we not owe it to the animals we hunt to make a clean humane harvest? If we put ourselves in the place of the deer, wouldn’t we hope the person hunting us was accurate with his shot?
While some hunters may focus solely on harvesting a deer, we owe it to ourselves and the animal we are hunting to make a clean and humane harvest. This is in part achieved by spending time at the range and becoming proficient with our hunting rifles.
One of the worst feelings a hunter can have is to wound a deer, the deer run off, and we know the deer will die from infection days later. Spending time at the range will not only allow us to make a humane harvest, it will also protect our conscience.