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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.


Don't Overlook the TRUE Tenderloins
Hunters new to the sport, and even some of us old-timers, might not be aware that the absolute best piece of venison is the tenderloin, not the backstrap. There seems to be a widespread misconception about the two.
 

Keep Year Round Firearm Data
We all look forward to deer season throughout the year, yet generally don't spend near the time on the range that we should. Some hunters prepare by sighting-in rifles shortly before the season begins. I've even heard of guys doing this the night ...
 

Pipe Insulation = Extra Rail Padding
Most fixed-position ladder stands and climbing stands come equipped from the factory with a metal shooting rail. This metal rail, in most cases, is covered with a Velcro-on type of padding that is covered by cloth.
 

Never, Ever Give Up!
Something my father instilled in me as a young hunter is to stay alert from the time I leave the truck until the moment I unload my rifle and get back in the truck to go home.
 

Duct Tape - An Old Army Tip
I learned a lot about how to stay quiet while I was in the Army. In the field, we constantly refined our equipment in ways that allowed us to move silently, without giving away our position to the enemy.
 

Old Socks = Arm Guards and More!
Here are a few ideas for turning your old, wool hunting socks into something useful. You'll want to save them for a multitude of purposes you can use in the field; even that pair with holes in the toes.
 

Deer Drop Off Tactic
One of the advantages hunters have in areas frequented by vehicles and farming equipment is that deer are often completely unafraid of machinery. They are used to seeing and hearing equipment go by, so watching a truck, tractor or ATV ramble past ...
 

Old Deer Calendars = Educational Targets
At the end of the year, don't throw away your deer calendar. You know, the ones with the beautiful whitetail photos for each month of the year. Deer calendars are perfect for teaching youth or beginners shot placement and various hunting situation...
 

How to Prevent Cold Weather Firearm Condensation
When temperatures plummet to well below freezing, one of the most common mistakes hunters make is bringing their firearms indoors at night. The indoor temperature and moisture in the air are vastly different than those outdoors, and condensation fo...
 

Use Binoculars as a Camera Zoom Lens
While muzzleloader hunting in Ohio in 2010, I witnessed extremely wide 10-pointer bedding down in the rain. It plopped down about 70 yards behind and to the side of my ground blind in an area out of my shooting lane.
 
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