Tips for Sighting In

By Glen Wunderlich
Outdoor Columnist
Charter Member of Professional Outdoor Media Association

Here are some tips to get sighted in properly. As mentioned in previous writings, a six-inch kill zone will be the standard from any shooting position in the field for deer-sized targets. For target shooting, however, smaller targets help with precision. The orange squares with the black outlines are my favorites for scoped guns and plain black circles are best for iron sights, red dot sights and HoloSights.

Caution: start with a clean gun with no oil or grease in the barrel. Make sure everything is tight – especially scope bases and rings. Wear good hearing protection and protective glasses. Start at 25 yards and make sure you have a good, solid rest at the fore end and butt stock. Sandbags work well but there are store-bought shooting rests that work very well, too. This is not the time to use your elbows for a rest; you can do that in the field, but not when testing ammo. The idea when sighting in is to minimize human error.

Shoot three shots and find the middle of the group. (If you are missing the paper completely, move in to about 10 feet. A single shot will usually be enough to let you know which direction to go.) Remember, at 25 yards to make adjustments at four times what you would at 100 yards. For most guns, you are ready to move the target to 100 yards, if you are dead on at 25 yards. Don’t change anything and shoot another 3-shot group at 100 yards, find the center of the group and adjust to your chosen elevation at 100 yards. Even with our conservative 6-inch kill zone target, we can maximize “Point-Blank Range” by having the bullet or slug impact somewhat high at 100 yards. A few examples follow.

The Point-Blank Range of any gun is the distance out to which a hunter can hold right on the center of the kill zone and be able to hit within the vital zone. This means, if you set up your gun properly, you won’t have to guess whether to hold high or low on the deer. Just go right for the center of the vitals. A lot of hunters make the mistake of sighting in dead on at 100 yards. A 30-06 with a 180-grain spire point bullet going 2700 Feet Per Second (FPS) at the muzzle, with a 100-yard zero puts the bullet 3 inches low at 175 yards. Using the 6-inch kill zone, 175 yards becomes your limit, because the bullet is at the bottom of the vitals.

However, if the same cartridge is set for a 215 yard zero, the bullet reaches its peak of 3 inches high at 130 yards and is 3 inches low at 255 yards. As long as you know the deer is no farther than 255 yards, you can aim dead center and take him out cleanly. Just by changing the zero, you gain 80 additional yards.

Shotguns are relatively slow in comparison – even the hottest sabot offerings of today. Federal, Winchester, and Remington all have high-priced loads costing $12 to $20 per box of 5 rounds boasting 1900 FPS and these can be good using the 6-inch bulls eye philosophy out to 175 yards. Remington’s Premier Core-Lokt Ultra uses a 385-grain bullet and sighted in at 150 yards, will be 6.2 inches low at 200 yards. As fast as these are, you can see that the bullet drops some 6.2 inches in the 50 yards from 150 to 200 yards. The typical ¾ inch, 1-ounce shotgun slugs are heavier and some 500 FPS slower. The best bet is to get to the range and test with your gun and loads, because there are just too many variables to rely exclusively on charts. Whatever you choose to shoot, just make sure the bullet/slug never gets higher or lower than 3 inches when holding dead on.

Once you get sighted in, you can try shooting from various positions and with rests you may use in the field. As long as you can keep 9 out of 10 in the six-inch circle, you are shooting within ethical standards. When finished, don’t clean the gun’s barrel, because a clean barrel may change your point of impact. Just unload the gun, wipe off the exterior, and put it safely away and it will be hunter-ready when needed. Clean it after the season.

Of course, muzzleloaders being stoked with black powder or Pyrodex must be cleaned immediately because of sulfur content, or you run the risk of corrosion within a day! I prefer Hodgon’s Triple Seven for extreme velocity and lack of corrosion concerns.

Silence on the Second

10/22/2008
From the NRA News

Do you realize we’ve gone through all three presidential debates, and not one moderator asked a question about the Second Amendment or the Heller case? The biggest case the Supreme Court has handled in years doesn’t merit a single question from the likes of Tom Brokaw and Jim Lehrer. The vice presidential debate was also devoid of questions about your gun rights, thanks to moderator Gwen Ifill.

The American people deserve tough questions and honest answers from the candidates. Here’s the question we should have heard in at least one of the debates. Members of Congress had the opportunity to sign on to a brief in support of the Second Amendment several months ago. Two hundred and fifty members of the House, 55 members of the Senate and the president of the Senate signed that brief. Now, both of you say you support the Second Amendment, but only one of you signed that brief. Senator McCain, why did you decide to sign the brief, and Senator Obama, why did you decide not to sign on to the brief?

Just a few months ago, Barack Obama had the opportunity to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk when it came to supporting your Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It’s too bad the debate moderators didn’t ask the question.

Hunter Statistics 2008

By Kip Adams, QDMA Director of Education and Outreach, Northern Region

Most sportsmen and women realize that hunters are the backbone of wildlife management programs and they fund the lion’s share of our state wildlife agencies. Most also know that hunter numbers are in a steady decline, but fewer realize that the number of big game hunters is only slightly declining or that some states actually have more hunters today than a decade ago. Let’s look at some of the more meaningful statistics and gauge the positive impacts hunters – and especially deer hunters – have on society.

Data sources – The following data are from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 2006
National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) 2007 Industry Reference Guide, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) 2007 report, Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy. The USFWS report used data through 2006 for hunters 16 years and older while the NSSF report used data through 2005 for hunters of all ages. The years and data sets aren’t exact but the numbers are still comparable, especially when viewing five and 10-year trend data.

Hunters by the numbers – According to the USFWS, 5% of the U.S. population 16 years and older
hunted in 2006. That was roughly 12.5 million hunters. Of those hunters, 10.7 million (86%) hunted big game and 10.1 million (94%) of those hunted deer. These numbers suggest deer hunters comprised about 81% of all hunters 16 years and older in 2006. This highlights the importance of deer hunting and re-emphasizes that deer drive the hunting industry. In 1996 there were 14 million hunters (16+ years), so we lost around 10% of them by 2006. This isn’t a preferred trend, but it’s worth noting during that decade the number of big game hunters remained relatively consistent with only a 5% decline and only a 2% decline from 2001 to 2006.

Hunters lost and found – According to NSSF, 31 states lost hunters from 1995 to 2005. Massachusetts lost nearly 41% of its hunters while Washington lost 36%, Rhode Island lost 33%, New Jersey lost 27%, and Hawaii lost 26%. However, that means 19 states increased their number of hunters during that decade. North Dakota gained a whopping 40%, Tennessee gained 29%, Oklahoma gained 27%, Kentucky gained 19% and Arkansas hunter numbers increased 17%. Noticeably absent from these lists are the “Big 3”. Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan are the perennial leaders in hunter license sales and from 1995 to 2005 Texas held steady with only a 2% decline while license sales dropped nearly 12% in Pennsylvania and nearly 16% in Michigan. That means Pennsylvania and Michigan each lost nearly as many hunters during that time period as there are in North Dakota!

No Bubbas here
– Data from NSSF showed in 2005 the average deer hunter was 41 years old, white
(96%), male (91%), and married (72%) with a household income of over $52,000. He also hunted deer an average of 13 days per year (I’m guessing many of you reading this are far above average with respect to that statistic), and nearly 20% had four or more years of college education!

Deer rule – The USFWS report showed deer hunting was nearly four times more popular than turkey hunting (the next most sought after species). Deer hunting is popular across the U.S. but in some places more so than others. For example, 96% of all hunting in Pennsylvania is for big game. Granted, we have our share of ruffed grouse and waterfowl, and turkey and bear are included in the percentage of big game hunting, but make no mistake that deer dominate the hunting scene in the Keystone state. Also notable, big game hunting constituted 95% of the hunting in Maine, Michigan, New York and Wyoming.

Hunting where and how – The USFWS report also showed 16% of big game hunters hunted only
public land while 61% hunted only private land. The rest hunted both. Of all hunters in 2006, 2.5
million (20%) used a muzzleloader, 3.5 million (28%) used a bow, and 11.6 million (93%) used a rifle, shotgun or handgun. These statistics are encouraging as the number of archery and muzzleloader users continues to climb while the number of other firearms users remains high. This means more hunters are taking advantage of additional opportunities and seasons, and that is good for hunter retention.

Hunter recruitment – Recruitment is retention’s companion. Fortunately the NSSF, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) and National Wild Turkey Federation started the Families Afield Initiative in 2004. The NSSF explains that Families Afield is an education and outreach program to help states create hunting opportunities for youth. Some of the research-based core values of Families Afield include that parents rather than politics should decide an appropriate hunting age for their children, and youths should experience hunting with an adult mentor before attending a hunter education course. The USSA adds that the program urges states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions and ease hunter education mandates. The goal is to send more new hunters to hunter education classes and reverse the trend of declining sportsmen’s numbers. Fortunately it’s working. Since 2005, 27 states have enacted legislation lowering age barriers for new big game hunters. Through the REACH program, QDMA has sent letters of support for Families Afield legislation to many of the above states’ legislators. As of spring 2008, more than 87,000 new hunters had taken to the field thanks to Families Afield legislation.

Big bucks – According to data from the CSF report hunters spend more on their activity ($23 billion) than the total revenues of McDonald’s. They also spend more on lodging ($614 million) than the annual revenues of Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Econolodge, Rodeway Inn and Sleep Inn combined. In 2006, the National Sporting Goods Association stated hunting and shooting-related equipment surpassed golf in sales, making it number two on the athletic and sports equipment sales list. Only exercise equipment generated more sales, and if hunting were rated as a corporation it would fall in the top 20% of the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies (ahead of Coca-Cola).

Even bigger impacts – Hunters contribute $4.2 billion each year just in state and local taxes. This is
enough to pay the average salaries of 454,000 firefighters, 476,870 teachers or 527,900 police officers. Hunters’ spending adds up to support close to 600,000 jobs and that’s more than the number of people employed by the McDonald’s corporation. Texas leads the list of states as Lone Star hunters spend $2.3 billion, support 47,000 jobs and contribute $262 million to state taxes and $310 million to federal taxes annually!

Hunting’s approval rating – I stated at the beginning of this article that only 5% of the U.S. population 16 years and older hunts. This number may appear small, but only 3% of Americans live the animal rights philosophy. More importantly, 73% of Americans approve of hunting while only 10% believe it should be illegal. These are encouraging numbers but we must be vigilant in our approach to stop the overall decline in hunter numbers and then begin rebuilding them. There is no question the loss of hunters negatively impacts our wildlife management programs and state wildlife agencies and threatens the future of hunting. However, as hunters and wildlife managers we can best combat this by recruiting from outside as well as within our ranks, by adhering to the highest ethical standards in our pursuits, and above all by being good stewards of our natural resources and therefore a benefit to all society.

Kip’s Korner is written by Kip Adams, a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Northern Director of Education and Outreach for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). The QDMA is an international nonprofit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ethical hunting, sound deer management and preservation of the deer-hunting heritage. The QDMA can be reached at 1-800-209-DEER or www.QDMA.com.

Data used in this article was obtained from the following organizations:
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation – www.sportsmenslink.org
National Shooting Sports Foundation – www.nssf.org
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – www.fws.org
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance – www.ussportsmen.org

Polar Bears to be Hurt by Protections

By Glen Wunderlich
Outdoor Columnist
Professional Outdoor Media Association

The Interior Department has officially declared the polar bear a threatened species, and accordingly, says it must be protected because of declining Arctic sea ice. Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, said the polar bear species is likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future. One would think our government has invented a means to create more sea ice, but by Kempthorne’s own admission, “This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting.”

One must wonder then just what this unprecedented legislation accomplishes. I mention unprecedented, because this is the first instance that the Endangered Species Act has been leveraged to protect a species threatened by implications of global warming, which many scientist agree is a hoax perpetrated to advance political agendas.

The protection bestowed upon the bears will not keep any of them from being harvested by hunters, as if hunting has caused concern for growing and sustainable numbers of polar bears in the first place; it simply prevents Americans from importing any portion of harvested bears into the United States, which in effect, will stop American hunters’ dollars going to communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada. So, instead of allowing millions annually to be invested in conservation efforts and communities that rely on the cash influx, Canadian polar bear conservation programs will be gutted. Yet, under a strictly enforced quota system established by scientific studies, local communities will instead continue to harvest the same number of bears for their own sustenance. The money, however, will dry up.

Biologist Mitchell Taylor, who has studied the polar bears for 20 years in the Arctic Territory, says polar bear numbers have grown substantially. The bear population across the Arctic from Alaska to Greenland doubled from about 12,000 to 25,000 since 1960 and Dr. Taylor says threats to polar bears from global warming are exaggerated.

As a matter of fact, these and other populations in Canada hunted pursuant to a quota system are some of the healthiest and most closely monitored polar bear populations in the world, due in large part to sport hunting funds used in sound management practices. Only the large, older males are typically pursued, so as to provide not only trophies from the high-priced hunts, but sustainability of the overall population. Is anybody paying attention?

According to the Polar Bear Specialist Group, the twelve polar bear populations managed wholly or in part by Nunavut appear to be very healthy on the whole. Of those twelve Nunavut populations – all of which are hunted under the quota system – nine are currently estimated to be at target size, and seven of the twelve have increased in size over the previous estimate.

The Federal Wildlife Service (FWS) had approved six polar bear populations for import and the FWS had specifically found these populations to be hunted in a manner “ensuring the maintenance of the affected population stock at a sustainable level.” It’s clear that hunting by Americans has been a vital part of the successful growth of polar bear numbers.

However, the FWS has based its about-face on questionable computer models and projections some 45 years into the future. I wonder how it accounts for this past year’s one degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperature across the world as a result of one harsh winter, which in effect, has wiped out 100 years of global warming. I also wonder why the Canadians haven’t joined in the movement to stop polar bear hunting, if doing so would mean protection for their polar bear population.

Actually, there’s not much to wonder about. When polar bear numbers begin to decline because of this deplorable measure in the name of protection, the global warming alarmists will be right this time. But, while spewing, “I told you so!” their own self-fulfilling prophecy will have created the very calamity they fear.

Obama No Friend to Gun Owners

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson Issues Open Letter to Nation’s Sportsmen Regarding Obama’s History in the Illinois Senate

Last update: 1:06 a.m. EDT Oct. 15, 2008

CHICAGO, Oct 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — The following is the text of an open letter to the nation’s hunters and sportsmen issued today by Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson:

Fellow Sportsman,

Hello, my name is Rich Pearson and I have been active in the firearm rights movement for over 40 years. For the past 15 years, I have served in the Illinois state capitol as the chief lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association.

I lobbied Barack Obama extensively while he was an Illinois State Senator. As a result of that experience, I know Obama’s attitudes toward guns and gun owners better than anyone. The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.

Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.

Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner. At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.

Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a “friend” of the law-abiding gun owner?
And speaking of friends, you can always tell a person by the company they keep. Obama counts among his friends the Rev. Michael Pfleger – a renegade Chicago priest who has openly called for the murder of gun shop owners and pro-gun legislators. Then there is his buddy Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago who has declared that if it were up to him, nobody would be allowed to own a gun. And let’s not forget Obama’s pal George Soros – the guy who has pumped millions of dollars into the UN’s international effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.

Obama has shown that he is more than willing to use other people’s money to fund his campaign to take your guns away from you. While a board member of the leftist Joyce Foundation, Barack Obama wrote checks for tens of millions of dollars to extremist gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.

Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a “friend” of the law-abiding gun owner?

By now, I’m sure that many of you have received mailings from an organization called “American Hunters and Shooters Association(AHSA)” talking about what a swell fellow Obama is and how he honors the 2nd Amendment and how you will never have to worry about Obama coming to take your guns. Let me make it perfectly clear – everything the AHSA says about Obama is pure hogwash. The AHSA is headed by a group of left-wing elitists who subscribe to the British view of hunting and shooting. That is, a state of affairs where hunting and shooting are reserved for the wealthy upper-crust who can afford guided hunts on exclusive private reserves. The AHSA is not your friend, never will be.

In closing, I’d like to remind you that I’m a guy who has actually gone nose to nose with Obama on gun rights issues. The Obama I know cannot even begin to identify with this nation’s outdoor traditions. The Obama I know sees you, the law abiding gun owner, as nothing but a low-class lummox who is easily swayed by the flash of a smile and a ration of rosy rhetoric. The Obama I know is a stony-faced liar who has honed his skill at getting what he wants – so long as people are willing to give it to him.

That’s the Barack Obama I know.

The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership.

Founded in 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.

WEB SITE: http://www.isra.org

SOURCE Illinois State Rifle Association

NRA to Settle Suit over Katrina Gun Seizures

10/8/2008, 3:53 p.m. EDT

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — City officials have agreed to return hundreds of firearms that police officers confiscated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, part of a deal to resolve a lawsuit filed by gun lobbying groups.

The settlement agreement filed Tuesday in federal court calls for the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation to drop their case if the city follows a plan for returning guns to owners who had them seized by police after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Both sides also are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to sign off on the pact and issue a permanent injunction barring the city from seizing lawfully possessed firearms. Barbier didn’t immediately rule on the agreement, which doesn’t involve a monetary award.

Commentary by Glen Wunderlich follows.

If you ever doubted that there are officials in power that would love to get citizens’ guns, the evidence is clear that you have been naive at best. The idea that honest people being robbed of the very essence of Second Amendment assurances, just when they needed protection most, is frightening.

If the NRA didn’t stand for freedom, who would have in this case?

Obama Campaign Steals Pro-Gun List

NEWTOWN, Conn., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

The Obama campaign in Indiana, on September 27, unlawfully obtained and made unauthorized use of a proprietary media list belonging to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry. Sen. Obama used this list to e-mail a press release (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-003.pdf) concerning National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Earlier today, NSSF sent a “cease and desist” letter (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-001.pdf) to the Obama campaign demanding that they immediately stop any further unauthorized misuse of its proprietary media list.

The list contains the names and addresses of members of the media that attended the NSSF Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) – the world’s largest firearms trade show and the 23rd largest trade show of any kind in North America.

The list can only be obtained from NSSF and its use is tightly controlled by NSSF (http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/100808-002.pdf). Neither the Obama campaign, nor its operations in Indiana, obtained any rights from NSSF to use the list.
NSSF’s letter also demands that the Obama campaign destroy all copies of the list, identify how they obtained the list and pay monetary damages to NSSF for its misappropriation and unauthorized use of the association’s intellectual property. NSSF demanded an immediate response from the Obama campaign and has threatened to file a lawsuit against the campaign if its demands are not met.

“NSSF will not sit idly by while its legal rights are harmed, particularly for partisan political gain,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.
NSSF is also encouraging all sportsmen and gun-owners to visit the NSSF Voter Education Web-site (http://www.nssf.org/VoterEd/) and educate themselves about the candidates records and positions on issues important to them in this election.

SOURCE National Shooting Sports Foundation

Michigan CWD Update

Since the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a Kent County, Mich. captive whitetail, an aggressive testing program launched by the Michigan DNR has screened more than 500 wild deer without finding another infected animal.

Wolf Control Approved in Michigan

The Michigan Senate voted unanimously Thursday, September 25th to allow farmers to kill gray wolves attacking their livestock and let the owners of hunting dogs kill wolves that attack their dogs. The measure would become effective only if and when the DNR removes the wolf from its threatened species list.

Obama Hopes to Deceive Gun Owners

In an appearance in Nevada, anti-gun presidential candidate Barack Obama told his followers: “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.

“And if they tell you that, ‘Well, we’re not sure where he stands on guns.’ I want you to say, ‘He believes in the Second Amendment.’

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