Whether it's buck fever, heavy breathing from walking or just the weight of the gun, holding steady for a shot on a bruiser buck is just plain hard.
While there are times when every hunter is forced to take a free-hand shot, far too many fail to take advantage of potential rest objects or habits.
I carry my favorite rest with me all the time -- or maybe I should say it carries me. I can't tell you the number of times I've taken a deer with the gun resting on my knee. Your knee is a natural when sitting on the ground, and I've been known to drop to my backside in open-field and power line situations to make a knee available and prepare for a quick shot.
If you're in the timber, make use of a tree. You don't need a horizontal branch; just rest the gun or your support arm against the side of the tree.
If you know you'll be taking long shots, shooting sticks are light, portable and effective. They also work well in ground-blind situations where you can't sit on the ground and still see out the windows.
Finally, practice taking free-hand shots. Just like everything else, you get better the more you do it. Looping your arm through the sling also helps, but that, too, is something you need to practice.
In most cases, your first shot is your only opportunity to take a buck. Use a rest to make it your best shot, too.
--Ken Piper, Buckmasters Managing Editor