Sheriff's Tips: Shooting Courses Really Work

posted on December 11, 2014

Admitting my own ignorance is especially difficult when it comes to hunting and shooting academies. But, the fact remains that a few years ago I decided to book the #270 class (hunting rifle) at Gunsite Academy. Now, mind you, I have been hunting since I was 11 years old and, quite frankly, I didn't think they could teach me anything about hunting rifles that I did not already know. I just thought it would be fun to get to shoot my old .30/06 for a week. All I can say is that I am glad I didn't say that sort of thing out loud, or make a bet that involved eating my hat if I lost.

I am not going to give you a blow by blow of the #270 class.  You can get that by attending and participating. But what I would like to mention are a few things that helped make me a better hunter and marksman.

In the entire week, the only time that we shot off of a bench was when we were checking our zeroes on the first day. The rest of the time we worked on shooting from field positions and I found that my versions of the various positions were a little rusty and needed practice and improvement. What was also helpful was working out ways to get into the intermediate positions without looking at the ground. With practice you drop smoothly into an intermediate position while keeping your eyes on your target the whole time.

Too often in the hunting field I have been guilty of firing my shot and then lowering the rifle so that I could admire my work. The Gunsite staff suggested that it might be a whole lot smarter to keep the rifle in the shoulder pocket, run the bolt, and follow through by getting back on target. Imagine that! I later used that very technique to deal with an Australian buffalo that wouldn't go down and stay down.

Shooting schools for the serious hunter are a valuable thing. The new guys get started on the right foot, while us old guys have the opportunity to correct all of the bad habits that we've picked up over the years. And, yes, it is fun to spend a week running rounds through your favorite rifle.


Hyper Raptor 410 Lead
Hyper Raptor 410 Lead

First Look: Barnett Hyper Raptor

With a lightweight composite riser and measuring just over 7 inches axle-to-axle when cocked, the Hyper Raptor provides maneuverability in tight-quartered hunting spaces.

Recipe: Venison Sausage Balls

If you’re looking for a new breakfast idea, these are quick and easy to make, and come out of the oven golden, crispy and flavorful.

Primary Lessons of Spring’s Squirrel Woods

A squirrel hunt in the spring woods rekindles memories of lessons learned long ago, when almost every dad and every son chased bushytails.

Behind the Bullet: 400 Legend

The 400 Legend takes the 350 Legend concept a step further, giving hunters a straight-walled cartridge fully suitable for both bolt-action rifles as well as the AR platform, conforming to the collective statutes set forth by a number of Midwestern states.

#SundayGunday: Chiappa Little Badger Take Down Xtreme

Get a closer look at the Chiappa Little Badger Take Down Xtreme, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

New for 2024: ALPS OutdoorZ Impact Pro Turkey Vest

The Impact Pro has all the innovative features and conveniences of the original Impact, with a series of upgrades that turkey hunters will appreciate.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.