It’s no secret that a stable muzzle on the target increases the likelihood of hitting where we intend. In the field, where we aren’t likely to have a bench with sandbags or a mechanical rest, a hunter should utilize what is available to aid in stabilizing the gun. The idea is to find a rest that will give the shooter a reasonably steady position from which to shoot.
What objects are available for field-expedient use depends on the geography, cover and terrain in which the hunt is taking place. In areas with trees, there are usually deadfalls, stumps and low limbs that make great rests for taking standing, sitting or kneeling shots. Much the same applies to sizeable rocks.
However, there is a caveat to using any of the above as an improvised rest, which if not recognized and accounted for, may cause a miss. Guns rested directly on a hard object such as a rock, tree or even an unpadded treestand support tend to recoil away from the object, causing the shot to go astray.
It is important to have some sort of cushion to attenuate this condition. I have used a thick sock partially filled with plastic beads from the hobby store for years with success. It is lightweight, fits in a pocket for quick deployment and maintains its cushioning effect when wet. Plus, it’s a good use for that odd sock that somehow over the course of last season lost its partner.