How to get into handgun hunting?

Guest Post by Brandon Cox

Handgun hunting is really where the rubber meets the road. This is the intersection of where the advantage of the gun you’re holding starts to fade away and your skills as a hunter begin to take a more prominent role in whether or not you’re going to punch your tag.

Simply put, handgun hunting is one of the most challenging hunting endeavors you can partake in because not only do you need an intimate knowledge of the game you’re pursuing, you also need to be an expert marksman with the most difficult type of firearm to master. Everyone has their own tips and tricks for getting into handgun hunting.

As a beginner you’ll like to read blogs like and scour for everything you can get your hands on.

After a while, you’ll know your own tricks and preferences. Things like if and when you’ll use a tripod, or what the best gun scope for your style of hunting is going to be.

Here are the six steps to becoming a master handgun hunter.

Do Your Homework

After you made the decision to join the ranks of handgun hunters, you’ll have to do a little bit of homework. Everywhere you are likely to hunt is going to have game laws and regulations pertaining to the use of handguns, in addition to all the normal game laws. Make sure you consult with the state agency and know exactly what the requirements are for handgun hunting.

Restrictions on barrel length and ballistic performance are common, and restrictions on the use of handguns in certain seasons is not always clear. For instance, in some states you are allowed to use pistols and pistol caliber weapons during the muzzleloading season. If you are interested in getting into handgun hunting to take advantage of a special season like this, make absolutely sure you know the laws both from the state and local authorities before you begin hunting.

Another cautionary note is to make sure you follow all the rules and laws regarding the transport and storage of handguns in your state. In many states, hunting rifles and hunting shotguns are not regulated nearly to the same scrutiny as handguns. If you live in a state notorious for gun legislation double check how the local authorities want you to transport your handgun and if whether or not you will be required to declare the firearm to authorities when stopped.

Decide on your Game

This is where the fun begins. Decide on the type of game you want to hide with your pistol. While most people will end up hunting either deer or black bear with their pistols think about the wider opportunities you have for hunting with a handgun.

Small game, dangerous game, and backpack style hunts for exotic species are all available to handgun hunters. Don’t assume just because of an animal’s size or range, that you won’t be able to hunt that game with a pistol. It is not uncommon to see pronghorn antelope hunting with .357 Magnum revolvers in excess of 150 yards. All it takes is skill and practice to become proficient at the game that you want to hunt.

If you want a time of practice in the off-season small game hunt, with a .22 caliber pistol. This is not only an absolute blast of a time it will sharpen your skills for when it comes time for elk, deer or bear later on in the fall.

Once you decide on the largest type of game it shall be hunting you’ll need to decide on a cartridge and weapon combination based on the game that you plan on hunting. Part of the skill required for handgun hunting is taming a large caliber revolver or semi auto shooting a magnum cartridge capable of putting down game reliably.

Keep that in mind when you are shopping for a gun and want to know if the cartridge you plan on using is marginal or not. Far too many people are heading in the woods with sub caliber weapons that are not appropriate for the game they’re pursuing.

Shoot Handguns, A lot!

Before you start shopping for deer for handgun hunting, shooting as many guns as you can beforehand. Shoot as many different manufacturers and cartridge combinations as you possibly can before you make the decision on which gun you are going to hunt with.

Once you have bought the gun you are going to hunt with, or If you are using a gun that you arty have, test as much ammunition as you possibly can through the gun to find a load combination that you shoot well and the gun shoots well.

It doesn’t have to be the hottest most powerful loading you can find in that caliber for that gun, but it needs to be a stout load with a bullet designed with hunting in mind.

This should go without saying, but you’re going to need to shoot your handgun a lot. Becoming proficient with the weapon of your choosing is not only going to lend itself in favor of your success, is a crucial step in becoming an ethical hunter. The last thing you want to do is wound or maybe animal only to have it run off and suffer because you didn’t practice enough on the range.

Every opportunity you have, get out and shoot your gun. Find ammunition that your gun likes that you are going to use in the field, buy it in bulk, and get to the range. Otherwise you may have a problem on opening day.

Get some Training, and Get some Practice

If you are not 100% proficient and comfortable with the use of your pistol prior to the hunt, you should not go hunting. A good rule of thumb is, if you can take a short jog about 400 yards and then put six rounds into an 8-inch paper plate at 100 yards with your handgun you are ready to hunt. If you have trouble with this test and need to repeated multiple times to get the result you’re not ready.

There’s too much at stake to risk missing a shot, when a little bit of practice can calm your nerves and develop you more as a shooter and hunter to avoid anything bad from opening.

The good news is that now more than ever there are plenty of willing and comment instructors available to teach you how to properly shoot big bore handguns at extended ranges. Make sure that any training you receive is done with a realistic scenario in mind. Drawing from the holster you plan on using, using the tripod or rest that you are likely to have with you in the field, and shooting at a distance you plan on hunting, is paramount to the success of your training.

Hunting in the field has very little in common with a two-way square range that many shooters are accustomed to. Do everything you can to enhance your training and make it more real-world and realistic, you’ll be a better hunter for it.

Prep your gear & Get Ready for the Season

Before you go into the field you’ll need to make sure that all the equipment you plan on using is up to par. You should have bought purpose many equipment before you set out that is available from most retailers nowadays. Outdoor gear has never been better and more affordable and with the advent of the Internet you can have access to literally more options than you could ever use in a lifetime.

Do a once over of your gear to make sure it’s clean, lubricated and in good working condition. This doesn’t mean just your firearm, look at any tree stands you’ll be using, tripods, optics, and even your backpack to make sure that it is been well maintained and is ready for us the entire season ahead of you.

As a beginner hunter, you’ll hear all types of tips and tricks of sin proofing and eliminating the smell on your clothing.

Instead of spending a ton of money on space-age clothing that may or may not work, concentrate on good hunting tactics in understanding the game that you are pursuing. Personal skill and development pays dividends down the road and having more money in your pocket to travel to and from your hunting location is going to be the biggest determiner of whether or not you are successful as a handgun hunter.

Keep at it!

Handgun hunting is hard! There be many times when you’re sneaking up on your quarry that catcher sent or realize your presence and hightail it into the next county without ever presenting a shot opportunity. You’re going to have those days when you feel like every cent of money you spent on equipment and trips to the range was a waste. Don’t end on a bad day.

Many hunters get into handgun hunting with the aspirations of taking advantage of a new hunting season, getting better with their CCW weapon, or trying a new challenge after years of the same hunting experience. Handgun hunting is unlike any other form of hunting and you will be tested differently than any other form of hunting, enjoy and embrace the unique skills and qualities that it takes to successfully and consistently take down game with a pistol.

Author Bio:

Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional. You can find more about the blog on Twitter.

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