It's OK to Lie and Steal
Let's get this out of the way. I'm not a trainer, or an operator, or a ninja. What I am is someone who steals, er ... borrows... er LEARNS from others. Call me an information kleptomaniac. I'll pocket a tip, a drill, or a skill from anyone, anytime, and I'm not bashful about it.
Here are a few I've gathered you may be able to use.
Flashlights help you see and shoot in the dark. Duh. You probably have "tactical" light. But do you practice with it? Yes, it's a chore to find a low-light shooting setup, but that's not a big deal. Use your blue gun (everyone should have a blue gun for training), with your light, and "train" in your home. Practice various ways of holding the flashlight (we show them on First Person Defender, and you can find them all over YouTube). Bring up the light and the gun, get on the sights, then move all over the house. Forward, backward, sideways. Do this for five or 10 minutes a day for two weeks, and you'll get comfortable with it.
Look through, not at, your scope. Thousands of deer owe their survival to hunters who can't find anything quickly in their rifle scopes. This is easy, and you can practice this at home. Keep the scope on the lowest magnification when practicing, and when you are hunting. The key is to not look AT the scope. Look hard at the target before you bring the rifle to your shoulder. Keep both eyes open. Allow the scope to intercept your line of sight. You keep looking at the target, and it suddenly gets larger, and the reticle is on the target. Do this 20 times a day for a few weeks. It takes less than five minutes. When you can get the shot off more quickly, you'll increase the odds of getting that buck.
Hunting in the snow? Put a piece of black electrician's tape over the muzzle of your rifle. That way, you won't plug the barrel with snow (which could lead to a burst barrel). When it's time to shoot, shoot. The tape will blow off and will not affect the flight of the bullet.
If you need to shoot from the prone position and don't have a backpack, use your binoculars. You can get six inches of solid elevation that way.
For wingshooting most birds, if you are undecided between two shot sizes, go with the larger one. Moving from 8s to 7 1/2s won't make much difference in pattern density, but just might help anchor that dove/quail/grouse. On the other hand, when choosing which choke tube, go with the more open choke. A wider pattern helps you make hits, and hitting outranks longer range every time. Even an improved cylinder choke will bring down birds out to 40 yards. Most wingshooters couldn't hit a single 50-yard crosser with any choke if you gave them a box of 25 shells to use. Open chokes make you look like an expert shot!
As for telling a lie ... Your decision to carry a defensive gun is a highly private matter. It's no one else's business, so you can decide who to tell. (It should be very few people.). But, sometimes someone who knows you will ask. Me? I'm okay just telling a lie. I remember what my father told me. "Always tell the truth, because it makes it easier to remember what you told someone. On the other hand, it's not a sin to tell a lie to someone who is not entitled to know the truth."
You know, there's a lot of truth in some of those old homespun sayings. ~ Tom
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.