Sighting in is important, but do it at the appropriate time

Sighting in your hunting rifle is not only a good idea, it’s a necessity. If you’re one of the many hunters who’ve put it off until the last minute, I applaud your willingness to make sure you hit where you aim, but I curse you for waiting so long to do it.

Way back around mid-August, I snuck out to the chunk of state land near my house to try to bring home an antelope with my bow. I got out there well before sunup, found myself a good vantage point, and settled in with my speed-goat decoy. I tried to lure a little buck in close enough to get a shot, and it was going pretty well, until a deafening boom shattered the silence around me.

Somebody about 300 yards behind me had just touched off his 7mm, and from the sound it made, the target was only about a hundred yards away from me. Worse yet, that target was directly between me and the shooter. Before I could move, the rifle went off two more times.

I had mixed emotions about the incident. On one hand, I was happy to know somebody was out there sighting in his hunting rifle. Every scope will wander off of true if it isn’t adjusted once in a while, so it’s important to sight in every year.

So at least this guy was making sure he’d hit what he was aiming at later in the season. However, one little ricochet could have turned my head into a canoe. Worse yet, his sight-in session had just cratered my chances of putting an arrow in an antelope.

There are still a bunch of people using that state land to sight in their rifles, and I’m sure that’s happening all over Wyoming. Keep in mind if you’re just now getting around to sighting in that hunting seasons are open. If you’re going to a piece of public land to fine-tune your rifle, you’re probably ruining several people’s chances of filling their freezers.

If your city has a shooting range, try to sight in there. Shooting ranges are getting pretty scarce, so it might not be easy to get access to one. Most private ranges around the state do have sight-in days when non-members can tweak their scopes, though. That’s your best bet, because it’s a safer environment, and you won’t be screwing up anybody’s hunt.

If that’s just not possible, make sure you have a good backstop wherever you go to sight in, and check out the area to see if anyone’s out there hunting.