Living in this type of country in the South Island a lot of our hunting is in rolling-steeper country, and I get asked this during the season from clients that have not done a lot of mountain type hunting. By the end of their Safari its really neat seeing how confident they become. Especially if we have time to do some long range ‘Wallaby whacking’.
So Setting up for the shot is important and taking time to find a suitable area to lay down and get it right. I find using bipods on the rifle with the pack underneath the forestock perfect for locking in both shooter and rifle.
It then comes down to ranging the animal for bullet drop which most guides have in their binoculars, or the bow hunters hand held range finders that also calculate angle (very good).
If your planning on shooting over 300 yards you need a range finder, and if you really want to get it right heres the basics I use, I don’t claim to be an expert by any means but taking your time to make a good shot is very important and it works for me.
My Main Basic Rules
Is the client confident if we have the opportunity on a shot over 300 yards foremost, if not wait and get closer.
The gun has to be on, I like triggers to be pretty light (not hair pin) when distance shooting as it eliminates tendency to pull shots.
If its under both 300 yards and 30 deg either + or – theres very little change, lay down get steady and shoot.
If your not confident on making a clean kill don’t take the shot.
Theres typically always another opportunity.
If your binoculars or range finders do not have an angle compensator like mine, I keep with me at all times my slope doper and chart.
When we find the animal we’re after the first thing I do before we lay down is work out is this the right spot, or can we get closer, whats the wind doing, whats the game that we haven’t seen doing?
Then it is how far, range it. Under 300 yards, get ready. Over 300 (does my client feel confident at 300+?). Ok now gravity is going to take an affect, this is where the slope doper is great. Typically I can judge 30 deg+- (you may be surprised just how steep this is). Then I get my chart out I made, it has angle VS deg and wind drift at the end. Basic but it has been working for the last 10+ years with clients making some amazing well planned shots. If your shooting over 300 yards you do have time to do this, it takes me around 10 sec to work all this out max!
If your using the old school scopes which are great without the ballistic turrets, and you always have your phone on you theres an app called ‘Bulletdrop’. Its really good and I use it each time a client brings his rifle over at the target range. I enter his bullet ballistics while sighting in so I know the impact point at different ranges. In the heat of battle its good to have this for reassurance for both hunter and guide working as a team.
It may all sound like a lot but when you get into the system for me its pretty good (as long as I don’t forget something then its back to old school ranging that still works).