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Avoid the Half Moon Club (Scope Cuts)
By Tim H. Martin

Avoid the Half Moon Club (Scope Cuts)

Have you ever noticed how many hunters — even famous ones — have a little scar on one eyebrow or across the bridge of the nose? That's the telltale sign they've been cut by a riflescope.

Whether you call it a scope ding, joining the Half Moon Club or, as they say in South Africa, a Bushveld tattoo, scope cuts are avoidable if hunters learn two easy-to-forget things.

1. Brace that Butt!

The majority of scope cuts occur when the hunter fails to brace the firearm's buttplate firmly against the shoulder. Usually, this occurs in stands that have shooting rails.

Because the rail does much of the work in propping the gun, it's easy for a hunter to be complacent about shoulder bracing, especially in the heat of the moment when a deer appears.

When my 10-year-old daughter shot her first deer, it stood only ten yards in front of the shooting rail, requiring a steep, downward angled shot.  To compensate, she'd lifted the butt of the rifle high on her shoulder instead of standing, but I was so intently focused on the deer, I failed to notice the .243 wasn't against her shoulder.

Even with light recoil, the rifle's jolt had little to absorb it, and my little girl paid the price with a bruise on the nose. I paid the price later when my wife saw the cut.

2. Square Your Face

Another major contributor in scope cuts is the angle of the face in relation to the scope.

Because not every shot occurs directly in front of the hunter, there are times we have to lean to one side or another to make the shot. This can cause the face to lose its square alignment with the scope; therefore, one corner of the scope is much closer to the face than usual. I accidentally became a member of the Half Moon Club this way.

While deer hunting from a shooting house in South Texas, a bobcat appeared in a sendero (road-like clearing) to my far left. This shot required me to quickly re-set up in the far left shooting window and lean awkwardly across an empty chair.

I whistled to stop the bobcat in the clearing and wasted no time firing my .300 Win Mag. The cat and I hit the ground about the same time.

Had I taken a half-second longer to consciously square my face, it would have saved me a bloody nose, a two-day headache and a scar.

Other factors such as improper scope relief and heaviness of caliber play a part in scope cuts, but if you'll remember to brace your firearm's buttplate solidly against your shoulder and square your face to the scope in awkward shooting situations, you'll enjoy a long career without that popular little scar.


Milkweed Wind Indicators
We've all seen hunters use powder to check the wind direction. Here is something we use here in Pennsylvania that I believe to be a better option. I use the seeds from a milkweed pod. The seeds inside of the pod are similar to the seeds of a dandel...
 

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When preparing for a big hunt, most hunters work hard and spend a lot of money trying to stay scent-free. We wash our clothes in special detergents, use hunting shampoos, dress in the latest carbon fiber clothing and spray ourselves down with odor ...
 

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Throughout my years of hunting, I've noticed deer can be pretty lazy at times. When it comes to jumping over or crawling underneath obstructions, they seem to prefer the path of least resistance. This is especially true when the obstacles are ditches...
 

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Here's a tip many hunters from east of the Mississippi might not know about. I'm from Oregon, and I've noticed other hunters from the western United States use this trick frequently because long range hunting requires holding binoculars steady and...
 

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With all the time, money and effort hunters spend trying to keep clothes scent-free, we usually end up storing them in something that isn't even airtight. Those large, plastic storage tubs with lids that we shove our clothes into certainly aren't ...
 

Ratchet Up Archery Targets
If you're like most hunters these days, you try to save money wherever you can. As much as we shoot our bows in preparation for archery season, we can go through archery targets pretty fast, especially using broadheads. If you own a layered style ...
 

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Here's a great way to construct archery targets for field-tipped arrows by using empty dog food bags. You'll need two large dog food bags, the type that have an inside lining reinforced with plastic or a fiber grid, not just the paper kind. Open th...
 
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