By Scott Sanderford
Here's a great reason to save your old issues of "Buckmasters."
When a child or beginner shows they can safely operate, handle and accurately shoot their firearm, I give them take a little test before allowing them to shoot at a live deer. This is where my old issues come in handy.
Here's the test:
1) On each picture of a live deer, use a pen to mark a crosshairs symbol on the spot where you would aim to make an efficient kill shot.
2) If the animal isn't in a good position, or if it is not a safe situation to take the shot, mark an "N" for a no-shoot situation.
3) If the deer has other deer behind it, or if waiting might improve the angle, mark "W" for a waiting situation.
I believe this to be an effective tool in teaching beginners shot placement and patience, as well as make them think about the shot rather than just aim at the deer in general or possibly rush the shot.
I've introduced several kids and beginners to deer hunting and have used this test with much success. None make me prouder than my own 6-year-old son, Baden.
During Alabama's Youth Hunt this past season, Baden reached the point he could handle the firearm with my help and was ready to take the test. I brought out the magazines and a pen the evening before we left for our deer hunt in Camden, Alabama.
We flipped through the pages together and marked his choices, then discussed which photos were good choices for shots, which were not good choices, and how some scenarios would be better if he waited to shoot.
During our hunt, I knew the test worked when a huge doe appeared in front of our stand, and I asked Baden if he was ready to shoot.
He said, "Yeah Dad, I'm just waiting for her to turn a little more to make sure I get a good shot!"
Baden made a great shot at about 65 yards and followed up with a young buck later that weekend.
On that same hunt, my friends and I introduced 11 young hunters to hunting and gave them the old Buckmasters magazine test. All but one got a deer!
These days, I get more enjoyment teaching others to hunt than hunting for myself. If you decide to mentor a beginner or kid, this magazine test is a great way to help prepare them for the shot!