Sneak in some shooting practice when you can

Getting a new pup has put a damper on my hunting plans for this year. If I ever do get a chance to get out in the field, I want to make sure I’m ready.

I was hoping to already have been out in the field several times by now, chasing elk with my bow, but I just haven’t been able to get it put together yet. Part of it is financial – hunting can be fairly expensive, even when fuel prices aren’t as high as they are right now. There’s also the price of the license, food for camp, and if you’re lucky enough to get one, the processing if you don’t do it yourself, or the taxidermist if you bring home the mammoth of the mountain.

I ended up using my hunting fund for my new bird dog. Fuel isn’t the only thing that’s been hit by inflation – it’s been a while since I bought a dog, and there was a fair amount of sticker shock involved.

But there’s also the time. Raising a pup and training it to hunt is pretty much a full-time job, especially if you’re worried about your significant other smothering you in your sleep if you leave too much of the pup duties to her. But my wife has been very accommodating, and she insists I should take a little break from time to time to go hunting.

So I’ve been sneaking out to the back yard when I’ve been able to wear the pup out enough to fall asleep for a few hours so I can practice with the bow or the elk rifle. I want to make sure if I do get a chance to get out, and I find myself in a situation where I’m within range, I can hit where I’m aiming.

It doesn’t take a lot of time. It actually takes more time to get all the gear out to the range and hang up the targets than the amount of time you need to take to actually practice. And if you can leave the target out, you can save even more time. All you need to do is take a few shots, and end on a good one. Not only will it make you a better shot, it’ll also help scratch the hunting itch, at least for a day or two.