by Adam Heggenstaller - Wednesday, March 12, 2014
One of the best pieces of advice I received when prepping for safari was to get my own set of shooting sticks, practice shooting from them regularly and take them with me on the hunt. While most PHs will have sticks for their clients to use, one size does not fit all. I'm 6-foot-4, and I don't shoot well bent over in a half-crouch.
Months before my trip to Namibia, I contacted Jim Morando of African Sporting Creations. Morando makes beautifully crafted shooting sticks that are as rugged as they are refined. Threaded, two-piece aluminum connectors lock together to form three stable legs but permit easy takedown for travel. A host of custom options is available, including seven types of wood; leather, zebra or buffalo tops; engraving; and yes, different heights, too.
I went with sturdy hickory sticks, black-anodized connectors and hand-sewn leather tops. Though this "entry-level" setup is one of the most economical options offered by African Sporting Creations, the sticks still cost $229 with a canvas travel bag. There are cheaper sticks available from other manufacturers, but I doubt you'll find a set that demonstrates the level of hand-crafted quality Morando puts into his creations.
In Namibia, I used the sticks to shoot several types of game from Cape buffalo at 25 yards to springbok at 180 yards. They were quiet to carry and set up in the bush, and they provided a stable rest for my rifle even though my heart was hammering in my chest. When my PH nodded in approval as I uncased the sticks on the first morning, I knew I had made a good choice.
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