Vanguard… “On Target” for Big Game Season
by Gerry Rightmeyer
For some hunters, the summer months are a time to relax, and focus on other activities, like mowing the lawn, working on those long awaited “household projects”, and just enjoying the warm temperatures and sunshine. I, for one, look forward to enjoying the outdoors too, but there’s a lot more on my plate other than “home projects”. I’m also thinking about preparing myself for hunting season.
Part of my annual ritual is preparing for the upcoming fall hunting season. Locating new stand sites, maintaining food plots, and making sure I’ve applied for out-of-state big game licenses, is just a smattering of the “projects” I need to complete before September rolls around. For me, there’s only three months between the end of our New York state spring turkey season, and the onset of big game seasons in the United States and Canada. Three months can seem like a very short period of time, and in reality… it is!
For example, our television crew is readying itself for a wolf hunt in Ontario, Canada in September. Our good friends, Tom & Michel Watson, from Watson’s Kaby Lodge are currently in the midst of hosting dozens of anglers. Fishing season seems like an eternity in June, July, and August, but in less than 100 days, they’ll be immersed in black bear, wolf, and moose season. My how the summer seems to slip away! The dog days of summer are here and gone before you know it! That’s why it’s so important to prepare yourself now, because hunting season is just around the corner!
I normally try to set aside a weekend or two in order to get a “jump” on big game season. One thing I always do is practice a little target shooting. Zeroing-in a rifle is not only fun, it helps keep me focused. One mistake I’ve made over the years is “assuming” my firearms are always sighted-in. Most hunters figure, “Heck, my gun shot fine last year, it’s most likely o.k. this year… right?” Well, I found out last year, after missing a couple of whitetails with my muzzleloader, that sometimes your scope can get “bumped”, or some other anomaly happens, and guess what? That’s right, your gun’s not shooting straight. An hour or so at the rifle range can definitely “re-focus” your attention, and get you “On Target”.
Well… it’s July 4th weekend. I figured it was time to hit the “range” and make my own “fireworks”! More often than not, I generally use a Caldwell Lead Sled to ensure a steady shot, but this year I felt it was important to practice using shooting sticks. So, I picked up my Vanguard Pro T40 shooting sticks, and practiced using them in a real-life hunting scenario. Using the sticks, and knowing how to shoot from them, gives me the confidence I’ll need when the moment of truth arises. Rest assured, I will be using the Pro T40’s on our wolf hunt in Northern Ontario, Canada come mid-September.
Another “tool” that helps me while target shooting is the Endeavor HD 82S spotting scope. Gone are the days of riding my four-wheeler back and forth to the target to “see” where my bullet landed. Believe me, the hole made by a .25-06 round is awfully small! At 100 yards or better, you’re not going to see where your bullet “punched the paper”, unless you have superior optics. The spotting scope allows me to be focused on the task at hand, and helps me acquire the MOA (minute of angle) accuracy I’m looking for.
The final piece of my arsenal is the Vanguard Endeavor RS. The state-of-the-art glass provides a bright, super-sharp view of my target. The rapid focus eyepiece, and reticle help me acquire my target quickly and efficiently. What more could I ask for from a riflescope? The Endeavor RS performed flawlessly last fall while hunting black bear in Canada, so I’ve decided to use it again on Gray wolves later this year.
If you’ve got some time this summer, make sure to spend a little at the rifle range. People say, “Luck is opportunity meeting preparation”. You can never fully rely on luck, but if you’re “prepared”, it makes those lucky moments that much sweeter! Practice shooting your weapon of choice, become proficient at what you do, and by all means use Vanguard’s wide range of tools. Whether it’s a riflescope, spotting scope, or simply employing a shooting stick, Vanguard helps me stay “On Target”. Let’s face it… isn’t staying “On Target” what all hunters want anyhow?