This is a time of year when many gun hunters are looking back on the season and thinking about the “what ifs.”
“What if I had gone to stand A instead of stand B?”
“What if I had taken the shot sooner?”
“What if I had aimed a little more forward?”
Or maybe even, “What if I had a different caliber gun?”
There’s no shortage of hunting buddies who can give you a list of reasons you should be shooting their favorite caliber, but the simple truth is that the best caliber for whitetails is the one YOU shoot the best.
Contrary to popular thought, a whitetail is not one of the really big animals in the big game arena. Studies have shown time and again that bullet placement is what kills deer, not super magnum power. When it comes to caliber with all standard deer guns used today, any will do the job if you do yours.
You’ve heard this plenty of times and it still rings true; practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.
While you know you should practice, one thing you might not know is that just about any kind of shooting/practicing will make you a better shot. Sure, it helps to shoot the gun you hunt with, but who wants to shoot hundreds of rounds from a .30-06? Not only does the pounding wear after a while, the wear and tear on the gun and scope is something to consider as well.
There are adult air guns today that look and feel like their big-brother hunting guns, complete with scopes. There are also .22s available in bolt-action and pump action to mirror just about any hunting rig out there.
No matter if you’re shooting an airgun for squirrels or a .22 at practice targets, you’re still honing your skills every time you pick up the gun.
This type of shooting also makes a great family activity, as kids and petite females can shoot these guns with no worries of kick or scope mascara.
This year when you start to feel withdrawal from deer season, get out there and shoot. Make bringing up the gun and finding your target second nature. Practice with fun targets that move or spin and challenge yourself to make shots from all different hunting positions.
It’s okay to think about a new gun and even to agonize over caliber — but it should be a fun experience in which you’re considering having the hunting gun you’ve always wanted, not a purchase made because you’re not taking enough deer. Practice now and you will take deer with whatever caliber you choose.