Small-game hunting: Aim small, miss small

The writer's hunting partner takes aim at a squirrel target with his .22 before they headed out in search of squirrels and rabbits.

With the craziness of deer season in the rearview mirror, my buddy Austin and I decided it would be a good idea to see if we could pick up a few rabbits and squirrels last weekend. We agreed to meet up Sunday morning with .22s in tow and shoot enough critters to fill a crock pot. 

Before he showed up at my house, Austin texted me to see if we could swing by the range because he had knocked one of the scope mounts loose on his rifle. Since I hadn’t shot my .22 since summer, I thought we could both use a quick pre-hunt zeroing in. 

I printed out a few squirrel targets and we headed out to a buddy’s shooting range. Austin shot first, and found out that his gun was off by about two inches. Four shots later, he was dead on. I didn’t expect my gun to be off at all, but my first shot was low. So was my second. It took a few more to get things in order, but when I did I realized that I wouldn’t have been much good on the squirrels and bunnies of the day if I hadn’t shot a few practice rounds. There’s a lesson in there, I’m sure. 

Although it was cold and windy, we managed to find one fox squirrel and four cottontails that sat tight enough to give us shots. Amazingly, one fox squirrel and four cottontails went into the game bag as well. I can only take credit for the bushytail and one bunny, but I can safely say I don’t remember any small game trip where we shot so well. 

We usually try to head shoot small game, so naturally we do miss. But after what I saw today, I realized that the old “aim small, miss small” mantra holds true especially well with small game. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you know your rifle is driving tacks that day as well, which is something I plan to make a habit out of. 

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Firearms, Tony Peterson

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