Hunting season is still 3 months away but will be here before you know it. Spend some time this summer honing your skills with your rifle or shotgun. This will help ensure that when that perfect shot opportunity shows itself this fall you will be ready to take advantage of it. Too many hunters think if they sight their gun in and shoot a couple of rounds they are ready to hunt. Consider that when you have that trophy deer in your sights your heart will be thumping, you will likely be nervous, and the deer may be moving. We owe it to the animals we hunt to dispatch them ethically and quickly. Being a good shot also reduces wound loss.
A question I get from a lot of new hunters is where can they go to practice shooting? Many gun stores have ranges, but most of them only go out to 45 yds at the most. When practicing for hunting, you will want to practice at realistic hunting distances. If your typical shot will be at 100 yards, then you need to find a range that is 100 yards. Don’t make the mistake of just practicing at 50 yards and assuming that you will just aim a bit higher to hit 100. A lot can go wrong in an extra 50 yards. You need to find a good outdoor range that goes to at least 100 yards to practice effectively.
The good news is that Michigan is full of great outdoor ranges. With 700,000 deer hunters, this state has a ton of places to go and practice shooting. The first thing I recommend is checking the DNR list of shooting ranges. They are free to the public and paid for by your tax dollars. There are 7 different state ranges and the list can be found here. The next option to look for is to check your local area for a gun or hunting club. Most of them feature nice outdoor ranges. You have to pay for membership which can range from $50 a year and up depending on the features the club offers. Joining a local shooting club is a great way to meet other hunters and often they feature events like trap shooting and can be a great place to bring your family too as well.
Wherever you go to shoot this summer make sure you are practicing at realistic hunting distances. Get out as much as possible. The best hunters are trained killers. When they have an animal in their scope they can kill it quickly and effectively. This comes with practice. Spend some time at your local outdoor range this summer honing your skills.