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Rifle Shooting Tips - Learn to Relax

Mar 3, 2008
Like anything else in life, successful hunting takes practice and preparation. Part of being properly prepared is learning how breathing and relaxing affect your ability to hit the target. Breathing and relaxing will play a big part in the accuracy of your shot. If you want to improve your accuracy, you will need to work on learning when to breathe, when to hold your breath and relaxing your body before you take your shot.

Let's start with breathing. You may not have noticed, but actively breathing while you shoot can affect your success at bagging that deer. If you are inhaling or exhaling, your rifle will move slightly, throwing off your aim. It is very important to remember to hold your breath when you squeeze the trigger. Some experienced hunters will recommend that you take a deep breath, and then let out only half of it before holding the rest. Others will recommend that you take a deep breath, let it out, then take half a breath and hold it for the shot. Try both and see which feels more natural to you. If you've been climbing in rough terrain tracking your quarry, this may be more difficult than it sounds.

There is a reason to take that deep breath before you squeeze the trigger. That deep breath fills your blood with oxygen, which will improve your aim. Holding your breath keeps the rifle steady, increasing the probability that your shot will hit its mark.

Sometimes, after tracking your game, you'll be in the situation where you have to take the shot now or not at all. What do you do? If you have to rush the shot, chances are you're going to miss anyway. If you don't have the time to make a proper shot, don't do it. It is better to take an extra second or two to take a deep breath and steady yourself... longer if you've been exerting yourself following your target. You'll be more successful if you take the time to breathe, hold and squeeze.

Relaxing as you take the shot is a little harder, and you'll need to practice this skill. Adrenalin is kicking in... you've been following this target all morning, or maybe you've been waiting, and a prime buck finally appears in your sightline. You want to take that shot now before he moves out of range! Adrenalin will affect your hold, your position and your timing... if you rush the shot, you're just going to scare him away. Take the time to settle yourself. You'll notice that your crosshairs don't wiggle around as much if you take a moment to relax. Your success rate will climb after you master the ability to relax as you squeeze the trigger.

As you practice these skills, you should notice a marked increase in hitting your target with more accuracy. Like any skill, take the time to learn it until you don't need to think about it at the time you're making your shot... it should become an automatic reaction to seeing the target in your sight and taking aim.
About the Author
Scott Peters is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. For more informaton please see Nikon Monarch Scope.
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