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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.


Sit Down Practice
Do you practice shooting your bow from a seated position? Most bowhunters don't, and most bowhunters will get caught flat-footed, or maybe we should say flat-bottomed, at some time during the season. How a 200-plus pound whitetail can appear in bo...
 

Getting It Right!
Ground blinds are becoming increasingly popular with bowhunters for many reasons. You can use a ground blind in locations devoid of climbable trees, they tend to hold in scent and they keep out the elements, just to name a few advantages.
 

It is HOT out here!
Early season bowhunting in most any state, especially the South can be HOT. Hot in terms of good deer movement and the temperatures. Sometimes it’s impossible to get to your stand without working up a pretty good sweat.
 

Close your eyes for a better shot
Shooting well consistently with a compound bow depends largely on muscle memory. The more you think about a shot, the more likely you are to mess something up.
 

Better Safe Than Sorry
If you shoot a compound bow much, you know how quickly a poorly maintained bow string dries out and frays. Now imagine if your compound string slid across a hard surface every time you shot. You'd have to replace your string about once a week if th...
 

Close your eyes for a better shot
Shooting well consistently with a compound bow depends largely on muscle memory. The more you think about a shot, the more likely you are to mess something up.
 

Stop the Wind
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Not all rests are created equal
Then again, neither are bow shooters. Some rests most bows but not all. Some are heavy and some are light. Some adjust, while some are fixed. Some are camo and some black. Some are simple, while others seem like they have a hundred moving parts.
 

Number Your Arrows
No matter if you’re a beginning archer or an old pro, this tip will help when it comes to making your shot count when you head to the woods this fall. Today’s arrows are better than ever, and the manufacturers do a great job of holding to tight st...
 

How important is paper-tuning your bow?
The bottom line about paper tuning is you should do it if its important to you, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have access to a paper tuner. A good pro-shop technician can set up a bow that will be very close to being in tune. If your field poin...
 
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