That Guy: “The Marksmen”

– Today’s “That Guy” is brought to us by a special guest writer; Gary Barrett. – 

I was new to deer hunting and still using a borrowed rifle. The “Marksmen” whom I never met helped me decide what type of action I would eventually purchase for my own deer rifle.

It was Saturday morning and five of us were gathering at the southeast corner of the lightly wooded and grass field we had just pushed for our opening drive of the season. Being new to hunting I wasn’t sure what was happening when all of a sudden a couple of deer were running full bore right past us. My friend Rob hit the dirt and yelled for me to do the same. I saw what appeared to be a puff of smoke coming from his direction and I guessed he had fired a shot at the running deer. Not so! About a quarter of mile away across a wide open farm field was another woods. The deer running by us had just exited that woods and were being shot at by hunters in that woods. The smoke I thought was from Rob’s gun was actually a bullet from those hunters hitting the ground just beyond him. Five of us in blaze orange, perfectly visible to those other hunters, and they just kept shooting at the running deer.

The next morning, after we had pushed that same woods, my friend Arnold was leading me to another woods where we had permission to hunt. We were each in our own vehicles when he rolled down his window and with his hand indicated I should stop. Again, being new to all of this, I thought he wanted to talk to me about where we were going. I got out of my van and began walking toward Arnold’s pick up. Half way between our vehicles I realized what Arnold, a very seasoned hunter, was seeing unfold. About three hundred yards ahead of us and to the right were a couple of hunters posting behind a rock pile. Immediately to our right and running right at us was a deer. The hunters were shooting at the running deer and having no more success than the other hunters from the previous day. As the deer crossed the road right by my vehicle I knew I was in danger. I ran back to my van and ducked down behind the rear tire thinking the rim could offer some protection for my ankles if a shot came my way. I heard a bullet go “zzziinngg” right past my van. It was so close I actually checked the van to see if it had been hit once the shooting stopped. Two vehicles stopped on the side of the rode, perfectly visible to those other hunters, and they just kept shooting at the running deer.

One of the first rules of gun safety is to know what is behind your target. When a deer is running, what is behind your target is always changing. In each of these instances, the hunters did not take that into account. They had more bullets so they kept shooting. Bad decision! Don’t be that guy.

Some ways to avoid this problem are:

1) Have a predetermined safe shooting range and stick to it.

2.) Give your eye relief from the scope after you have fired once or twice. It will allow you to see what has changed behind your target.

3) For me I had to acknowledge that one deer season a year does not make me a marksman And to this day that is why I shoot a pump action as my choice in a deer rifle. It forces me to go slower than with a semi-automatic.    

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