Let’s face it—big game animals present large target areas, so how is it that we miss? A big part of it is plain old buck fever. This has different manifestations, but it’s some combination of excitement, jitters and inability to handle the pressure. It’s not a bad thing—if you don’t get excited in the presence of game then you really should be doing something else. But you should be able to control the shakes long enough to get the shot off. Learning how to do so is mostly a matter of experience. It does get easier over time—which I guess is pretty easy to say with nearly 50 years of hunting under my belt—but isn’t particularly helpful to those of you starting out.
In the end, there’s no substitute for practice. All shots are easier when you are simply doing what you know you know how to do. At that point it’s just a matter of executing what you know. A shot unlike anything you have attempted—whether on the range or in the field—is daunting. So practice often and be creative with the types of shots you train for. Get away from the bench and shoot from as many positions as you can dream up. Spend a lot of time with .22s. All shooting is good practice for at least some hunting situations. That said, some situations are more difficult than others. Here are a few hot tips to train for hunting’s toughest shots.