Field Journal's Including Deer and Turkey Hunting, Zeroing Scopes, Trophy care .
There is no question that deer herds must be managed. Because of
human populations and changing land practices have led to less
land while deer herds have continued to increase, which has led to an
overpopulation of deer in many areas. This has compelled people to take
does to keep the balance wildlife.
The deer management practices revolve around the need to balance
the deer herds in relation to the habitat while still trying to keep
populations high enough for hunting, with hunting as the primary method
of deer reduction. The current practice of keeping deer populations high
enough that they can be hunted, and the past management practice of
bucks only hunting, combined with the belief by many hunters that they
only shoot bucks if they want to keep deer numbers high, is precisely
the reason why there are too many deer, particularly does.
It is usually too many does , not too many bucks in a herd and
eventually this becomes a cycle and both the deer and the habitat
effects of this cycle generally result in low buck:doe ratios and lower
numbers of dominant breeding bucks, which leads to rut periods that are
later, and longer, than they should be. Resulting in poor survival rates
To add to the problem of too many deer, and less bucks, the
interest in trophy hunting for white-tailed deer has become overwhelming
in the past
few years. This interest in whitetail racks by numerous hunters puts
more pressure on the already depleted number of large antlered animals,
further lowers the number of available older dominant breeding bucks.
Less numbers of bucks, particularly older dominants, result in less
between the does and the dominate bucks. When these contacts are absent
the does may come into estrus from as early as mid-October to as late as
Sex, Social Class and Antlers
Speaking of animals that produce horns or antlers such as deer and
elk, and those that don't such as horses. Generally speaking the horns
antlers of individual species are larger on males than they are on
females, causing males to look different than females. This in
the males to be more susceptible to injury and death due to predation
and to hunting pressure. Because of this increased predation and hunting
pressure males that carry antlers learn how to avoid predators, usually
at a young age.
Antlers are shed yearly by male animals, making it difficult to
tell the difference between the males from the females while they males
carrying their antlers. The absence of antlers makes the males less
conspicuous and therefore less susceptible to predation, giving them a
chances of survival. However, because antlers are used as a means of
expressing dominance, and are used to attract females during the rut,
often present during the rut, making antlered males highly conspicuous
Prime age males often carry the largest antlers which makes them
conspicuous and highly susceptible to predation. Senior males, may start
losing antler size but, may still carry large antlers, making them also
susceptible to predation. Because their advanced age does not allow
males to escape as easily as younger males they are extremely
vulnerable. Both prime age and senior males must try to avoid predation
The older the animal; the less likely that it will participate in the
rut, and the more likely it will choose secluded home ranges, travel at
night, and limit it's movements.
In the case of the heavily hunted white-tailed deer, which is
prized for large antlers, they either learn to avoid hunters, or they
are shot at and
may die. Each year that a buck survives it will learn more about when
and how to avoid hunters. Because of this older whitetail bucks are
and warier than younger bucks. These large deer are less likely to be
While dominant floater bucks are active in the rut, they learn to
move at times and places where they are less likely to be seen. Senior
(which may have large or heavy antlers) on the other hand, do not
participate in the rut and move less or at night. Some younger bucks may
participate in the rut low testosterone levels, and other factors.
Because bucks look different they are forced to react differently
than does in order to survive. It is also known the older the buck is
it becomes at avoiding hunting pressure and contact with humans.
Because hunting has the ability to affect deer health and security they
considered as Deer are subjected to different behavior throughout the
When to hunt?
Before we can answer the question of when to hunt, we need to go over
a few things about deer. Deer are nocturnal animals. Nocturnal means
deer can see at night, which is one of the reasons they are more active
at night. Deer have more light-detecting cells in their eyes than
which aids their nocturnal vision. However, a deer's nocturnal vision is
not perfect on a very dark night. A deer will spend more time looking
food and less time eating food on a dark night, than they would on a
clear night with a full moon. Deer tend to be the least active on days
following a clear night, because their stomachs are usually fuller and
they are content to stay near their bedding area until sundown. As
approaches the deer will start the feeding cycle all over again.
Deer travel to their feeding area from their bedding area in the
last minutes of daylight. On the reverse trip they travel from their
to their bedding area in the first minutes of daylight. In most areas
you are allowed to hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes
sunset. This one hour time period is usually the most productive time of
day to hunt. Many hunters seem to avoid this hour of daylight, I guess
is just not convenient for them. If a hunter is going to waste an hour
of their hunting day, they should choose one at mid-day when deer are
A deer's behavior is not set in stone. Their behavior is easily
altered by several factors. The most common of these factors are
wind, hunting pressure and the rut. Deer will usually stay in their
bedding area during times of heavy rain or snow. When the storm stops,
will start moving for a couple of reasons:
The trees and brush are usually dripping with rain or snow and this
noise will make the deer nervous, so they will move about.
- They will also start moving if the storm lasted through their
feeding period. They will be hungry and out looking for food.
When the wind blows it becomes noisy in the woods and the deer can't
hear approaching danger, so they get nervous and start moving. Windy
the woods can be very dangerous for hunters. The wind can cause tree
limbs to fall and even trees can topple over. If you choose to hunt on
days use extra caution.
Deer hunters roaming through the woods will cause deer to move
from their bedding area. If other hunters are in your hunting area, this
might be a
good time to stake out a deer trail or crossing and let the other
hunters chase the deer to you.
The rut is the period of time when bucks mate with does. The rut
usually lasts about a month. In most parts of the country the rut occurs
November, although this varies depending on geographic location. During
the rut all deer are more active, especially the bucks. It is not
to see a buck chasing a doe during the middle of the day, when they are
normally resting. It can be said that the rut clouds a buck's judgment
they are often seen doing things they wouldn't normally do. I have
observed a similar behavior in other animals, down at the bar on Friday
One last factor that seems to have an affect on deer movement is
the position of the moon. Most of you have probably heard that the
position of the
moon plays a big part in the activity of fish. The moon also seems to
have an effect on deer movement. The peak of this activity is when the
is directly overhead.
Determining what call to use is not a matter of which rut phase you
are hunting, but which sex and age class of deer you want to
respond to distress calls and Maternal/Neonatal calls primarily out of
maternal instinct. All bucks respond to any call, which may lead
them to an
estrus doe; particularly a Social Grunt or a Low Grunt. Dominant bucks
also respond to Mating calls and aggressive grunts out of the
exert dominance. Subdominant bucks may respond to these Mating calls
during the breeding phase, but they may not respond because they are
encountering a dominant. If you are hunting for any legal buck it may
best not to use mating calls or aggressive grunts.
There are four basic techniques for calling deer that can be used
anytime during the rut. The fourth technique is not as effective during
Phase and Post Rut because the bucks are exhausted, not as aggressive,
and not as interested in breeding.
- For does and young bucks; Distress Call or Fawn Bawl.
- For any deer; Social or Low Grunt.
- For all bucks; Social/Low/Tending Grunt.
- For dominant bucks; Social/Low/Tending Grunt or Grunt Snort.
White-tailed Deer Communication
White-tailed Deer use different sounds to keep in contact with each
other . Deer also make sounds associated with courtship and breeding
behavior. The tone of the call usually depends on the deer; older and
larger deer, especially bucks, tend to make deeper sounds.
The Snort is an intense blowing sound produced by expelling air
through the nostrils. Deer that see or hear a disturbance but cannot
smell the source often use repeated low snorts, foot stomping, head
bobbing and tail flipping, to alert other deer of danger. The head
bobbing and foot stomping may be used to startle a predator so it may
give itself away. A deer's sense of smell is thought to be independent
of conscious discrimination, and deer that smell danger usually snort,
then flee while flagging the tail.
The Grunt is used in three different forms to express dominance
or to threaten another deer. It is also used to locate other deer, which
causes them to respond by coming to the call, or by announcing their
location by returning the call.
The Low Grunt is used by both does and bucks throughout the year.
This is the first level of aggression, used to displace lesser deer.
If the lesser animal does not move it is usually rushed and may be
kicked with a forefoot by the dominant.
The Grunt-Snort is used most often by bucks during the breeding
season in more intense situations. One or more snorts are added to a
The Grunt-Snort-Wheeze is the most intense form of an aggressive call.
It consists of a grunt-snort followed by a drawn out wheeze through
The Social Grunt is often performed by members of a doe group when
they become separated, and it may help deer stay in contact when they
can't see each other.
The Maternal Grunt is a low, quick grunt performed at short intervals
when a doe approaches the fawn's bedding site. The fawn generally
leaves it's bed and joins the doe.
The Mew is used by the fawn when it wants attention, or is given
in response to the maternal grunt of the doe.
The Bleat is the fawn version of the bawl, it is given by the
fawn when it wants urgent attention, is hungry, or wants care.
The Nursing Whine occurs while the fawn is nursing or searching
for a nipple.
The Tending Grunt is a low grunt used by bucks when pursuing an
estrus doe. It may consist of a single short grunt, several grunts or a
long drawn out grunt.
The Click is a clicking sound bucks may make when looking for of
following estrous does. It sounds like someone slowly running a
fingernail across the teeth of a comb.
Where and how you place your decoy may determine how successful you
are, and what deer respond to the decoy.
- For safety use a decoy with blaze orange, hang fluorescent tape
nearby, or hunt from an elevated stand.
- Don't get unnatural scent on the decoy. Use gloves or wash
hands with a scent killing soap when carrying and positioning the decoy,
spray it with cover-up scent.
- Place the decoy in a high use area; near trails, rubs, scrapes,
bedding, staging or feeding areas with nearby cover so it can be seen by
- Don't place bedded decoys directly on trails. Use standing or
feeding decoys because deer don't usually bed on trails.
- Place decoys upwind of where you expect the deer to appear. Bucks
like to approach downwind from cover if they can. This also helps the
deer from picking up your scent.
- Place decoys in a comfortable shooting distance in a clear shooting
- Place a doe decoy facing away from you . Bucks often approach does
from the rear or side, presenting you with a shot.
- Place a buck decoy facing toward you for a shot. Bucks generally
approach another buck cautiously from the front.
- Don't place the decoy in between you and where you expect the deer
to come from, the deer may see you. Place the decoy off to one side of
your stand or blind to distract the deer's attention from your position.
- To get the buck's attention on the decoy, place a small white piece
of cloth on the ear and tail area, so that it can blow in the wind, or
use one of the new tail motion decoys.
During the frenzied mating season, toms strut around full of sexual
frustration and pent-up energy. They let off steam by "shock gobbling"
owl's hoots, a crow's caws, a coyote's howls or other calls of the wild.
You play off this by using locator calls in the spring to yank gobbles
from roosted or strutting birds. Once a tom shock gobbles and reveals
his location, you then move in, set up and work him with hen calls.
Mimicking the 1- to 8-note hoots of a barred owl is the most
popular way to make turkeys gobble. Learn to owl hoot with your voice or
reed-style hooter (most every turkey call company sells a model). Owl
hooting is most effective when gobblers are still roosted at dawn.
The best locator call going is a crow call. Simply blow it hard
and loud to make turkeys shock gobble anytime of day (series of 3 or 4
great). Other good locator calls include a coyote howler, a hawk
whistle, a woodpecker call and even a peacock screamer.
Pack at least 3 locating devices in your vest. Sometimes a tom
won't gobble at hoots, but he'll roar like a banshee at caws, howls or
Most long, rectangular boxes are built from maple, cherry, walnut,
poplar and other woods. Boxes and their handles are held together with a
screw on one end. You chalk the handle and scrape it over the calls
sounding lip or board to talk turkey.
Box Calling Tips
- Lay a box lightly in your palm, and keep your fingers off the calls
sideboards. Hold the handle in your fingertips and scrape it lightly
the sounding board. Gradually increase handle pressure for louder calls.
- Try the vertical hold (my favorite). Place a call in your palm, turn
your hand sideways and work the handle up and down.
- To yelp move a handle an inch off one side of a box and work it
gently. Don't lift the handle off the sounding lip, just scrape it
- To cluck, lift the handle slightly and pop it on the sounding board.
String fast, irregular clucks together to cutt.
- Box calls are hand-tuned by manufacturers, but you can get higher or
lower pitches by adjusting the handle screw.
- Use dry, wax-free chalk on a box (many call companies sell green,
brown or blue chalk for the job). Chalk a box periodically during a day
These friction calls have slate, glass, aluminum or ceramic surfaces
glued into wooden, plastic or graphite pots. To talk turkey you run a
glass or graphite peg across the striking surface.
Pot calls date back to the late 1800s, and they are more popular
than ever today. I believe every hunter should carry at least 2 of them:
aluminum or glass pot for loud, high-pitched calls, and a natural slate
for softer clucks and purrs. You should also carry a nice mix of wooden
synthetic pegs. Switching pegs on various striking surfaces allows you
to make different turkey tones and rasp.
Pot Calling Tips
- Cradle a pot lightly in your palm and up on your fingertips, where
notes can resonate out of the holes in the bottom of a call. Hold a peg
like you would a pencil and angle it slightly on a surface to call.
- To yelp make dime-size circles or little straight lines
without lifting a peg from a pot. Work near a call's outer edges for
high-pitched notes and in the middle for softer, raspier yelps.
- To cluck pull a peg inward on a pot in short pops. To cutt do
the same thing, but bear down harder on a peg and string together 8 to
- To purr pull a peg lightly across a surface in small lines or
semicircles. Master purring on a pot and you'll close the sale with a
- To maximize friction between a peg and striking surface,
roughen a slate call frequently with fine-grade sandpaper or an abrasive
heavier sandpaper or a sanding stone (sold by some call companies) on
aluminum, glass and ceramic pots. Also, occasionally sand the tip of a
This type of friction call is comprised of a little wooden or plastic
box with an internal spring-loaded peg that contacts a sounding
push or pull a rod connected to the peg to reproduce turkey
Push-Peg Calling Tips
- For one-handed yelps, hold a box in your palm and push the rod with
your forefinger. Or you can hold a box and pull the peg with the fingers
your other hand to produce louder yelps.
- To cluck hold a box and tap the peg with the palm of your
other hand. Speed up series of clucks to
Diaphragms have thin latex or prophylactic reeds crimped into small
aluminum frames. Most calls have a single frame, but some models feature
even 3-stacked frames. A tape skirt covers the frame(s) and acts as an
air seal when you call.
Hundreds of diaphragms are available from all the turkey call
manufacturers. They typically feature 1 to 4 rubber reeds. Many
diaphragms have cut,
split or notched reeds. A diaphragm with fewer reeds has a higher pitch
and lower volume. Calls with 3 or 4 notched reeds are generally best for
loud, raspy yelping and cutting.
Diaphragm Calling Tips
- Slip a diaphragm into your mouth with the frame's open end pointing
outward. Put the short reed of a multi-reed call down against your
- Place a call halfway between your front teeth and the back of
- If a diaphragm feels too big or bulky, you can trim its tape
skirt with scissors. But be careful! Too much trimming can destroy a
calls air seal.
- You can also bend an aluminum frame slightly to ensure a tight
- The key to using a diaphragm is jaw movement. Raise and lower
your jaws while huffing air up from your chest and across a calls reed
- To cluck say "puck," popping a short burst of air over a
diaphragm's reed(s). String some loud and excited "pucks" together to
- To yelp you must tighten and loosen tongue pressure on a
diaphragm to make it roll over into 2-note "kee-awks, kee-awks." It's
pretty easy to do
if your work those jaws!
- Before calling to a gobbler for the first time, roll a
diaphragm around in your mouth for 10 to 20 seconds. This lubes and
loosens the reeds and allows the call to roll over into nice yelps.
- Clean mouth calls with cold water every once in a while.
- Store diaphragms in the fridge; they should last several
Primos, Quaker Boy and other companies make a black rubber hose (with
an internal reed) that you shake to mimic a turkey's gobble. Gobbling
type of device in the spring is a good way to make other toms shock
Defensive Turkey Hunting Tactics
A safe turkey hunter, like a safe driver, is defensive minded. Below
are tips one should consider.
Select the largest stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider
than your shoulders and higher than your head to place your back against
when calling; a hunter is more likely to spot another hunter when
moving to the front or side than from behind.
Eliminate the colors white, red, black and blue from your hunting
outfit; this includes handkerchiefs, socks, underwear, etc. These are
the colors of a turkey gobbler.
Select your calling spot in open timber rather than thick brush;
eliminating movement is a key to success, not concealment.
Be discreet when imitating the sound of a gobbling turkey.
A good woodsman can always detect movement in the forest by watching
other game or listening for the alarm cries of Blue jays, crows,
squirrels or woodpeckers. Be alert.
When songbirds, crows or your turkey shuts up, look out. There's a good
chance another hunter is moving in on your bird.
Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your
presence. Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your
presence. These tactics are safer than quick movements. Use common
Fall Turkey Hunting Playbook
Well, it's that time of year again. The leaves are beginning to turn,
the air is crisp and fall turkey hunting is just around the corner.
Don't wait until spring to fire up the calls and get after some
fast-feathered action. Odds are, there's a fall season near you. Here's
how to get in the game:
While I rarely think to tote a compact, fence-style ground blind to
stake around me in the spring, you can bet it is a part of my must-haves
when hunting the fall. Less cover combined with the possibility of more
eyes converging on my setup as I work a regrouping flock make the
advantages of added concealment impossible to ignore. Not only does it
allow you to manually work calls like boxes or slates without fear of
your movement being spotted, but if you are hunting in the company of a
turkey dog, it is helpful in keeping him hidden from approaching birds
(and the approaching birds hidden from him!)
Once you get a turkey or turkeys to respond to your calls, match
them call-for-call, note-for-note. Doing this will often work young
birds into a fevered pitch of calling, which not only makes the hunting
more intense, but will often bring the birds right into your setup.
Of those who have tried it fall hunting with dogs where allowed, I've
never met a person who preferred to go the turkey woods alone again.
Just as canines add enjoyment to other types of hunting, whether it be
the disciplined point of a quail dog or a Lab's determined retrieve, the
excited barking of a turkey dog on the flush is enough to snap any
hunters heart into overdrive.
But be ready, when you hear the barking that indicates your dog
is busting birds, you may be able to take one on the break. If not,
determine where you first heard the barks, round up your dog and get
comfortable, you have a short while before you need to start working the
flock back in for a shot. I know a good number of hunters who prefer
fall turkey doggin' to anything spring has to offer.
Besides the company, a good turkey dog cannot only help you in
spotting turkeys scooting over the next ridge ahead of you, but bar
none, they offer the safest, most effective way to bust a flock.
Any breed that can cover a lot of ground, bark on the flush, then
sit still while a hunter works birds back in can be a turkey dog.
Historically, hunters used a dog, called a fyce. But Virginian John
Byrne, today's most prominent turkey dog breeder, raises a line of dogs
developed from a Plott hound. Other breeds resemble setters, pointers or
While a hunter or hunters walk the woods, a turkey dog will cast
out like a bird dog working the surrounding area out and away from the
hunter looking for the scent or sight of turkeys, occasionally checking
back in with the hunter.A turkey's scent has to be less than an hour old
for the dog to smell it. That is unless it is a really large flock.
Naturally, the more birds, the stronger the scent. Because deer often
frequent the same woods as turkeys, you'll need to break hounds quick
from chasing them, or you'll waste your time on too many false breaks
and looking for a dog that has run off to the next county behind your
In the fall, the chief way to hunt is to scatter a flock, then try
calling it back in. But don't assume because the birds flew or ran off,
that you got a good break. If they all flew off in the same direction,
you still have work to do. The goal is to scatter them to all points of
the compass. These tips should be consider before making the break:
First try to call members of a flock in using lost calls. If
unsuccessful, sneak, as close as possible, using whatever cover is
Identify what the flock is made of (i.e. hens and young birds,
gobblers); this will affect the way you call and what strategy you will
After setting your gun safely down or unloading it first, move quickly
toward the turkeys, making as much commotion as possible. Many hunters
shout or fire their shotguns in the air. This is an excellent method,
but only if you make sure not to shoot so closely that you accidentally
cripple a turkey; nor should you ever run with a loaded firearm.
If the flock is scattered in all directions, set up at the exact point
they flushed and begin calling. Groups of hens and young birds will
often return to the call almost right away, unless it is late in the
day, in which case they may wait until the next morning. Mature toms may
take much longer to call back in, though they will occasionally come
right in as well.
If the birds spooked in a single direction, don't give up. Mark their
landing area and quickly move to that spot to attempt another break.
Dress for Success
Want to dodge the wary eyes of a wild turkey flock? Then chunk that
springtime camo - decorated with the bright greens of spring leaf out -
into your closet or gang box and pick up the drabbest item you can find.
While terrain will naturally differ throughout North America, in most
areas once the color explosion has expired, the woods fall into dominant
shades of brown and gray. Go with a darker pattern that mimics your
current surroundings; something that offers a slight mix of beige or
muted yellows similar to the hue of reeds or fading leaves.
Also, mornings are going to start getting cold, so swap your mesh
facemask and light cotton gloves for something heavier, perhaps even an
insulated mask and gloves. Make sure your gloves aren't so thick,
however, that it makes it impossible to pull a trigger or work a call.
If you aren't wearing it out the door, at least make sure you have an
insulated coat in the truck or in camp should you need it on certain
mornings. It's hard to sit still when you are shivering from a
combination of cold and flock-calling excitement. Regardless of the time
of year, always dress in layers, so you can peel clothing off or put it
on to suit the changing temps and your activity level.
Step Out In Style
With cooler temps comes the need to keep feet warm. The un-insulated
snake boots you donned during spring may leave your toes twitching for
warmth on frosty morns. Because you're still likely to do a fair amount
of walking in the autumn woods (some hunts it seems that's all I do),
you'll want something lightweight, comfortable, still waterproof, but
with a little insulation or Thinsulate in the lining -- 400 to 800 grams
of the latter should do nicely. Avoid heavy, bulky boots. Merino wool
socks or foot liners made of modern synthetics will help wick sweat away
from your skin adding to your comfort and warmth while reducing the
chance for blisters. Stick with a camo boot when possible as it will
help add to your total concealment at a time of year when vegetation to
keep you hidden is on short supply.
One other thing, because you are likely to do a good deal of
walking, make sure new boots are broken in well before you hit the
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of fall turkey hunting is
finding the turkeys. Although flocks of three to 300 seem like they
should be easier to spot, the focus of autumn birds often lies in
finding and feeding on mast, which means they keep to the woods.
Flocks can also range between 250 and 400 acres. This means where
you find them one day, may not necessarily be where you find them the
next or the next ... or the next.
Fall birds can be elusive. Not only can they be hard to spot, but
also unless scattered apart or dropping from the roost, they remain for
the most part, silent. Following are some keys to finding fall flocks:
- Preseason scouting is crucial. Because a turkey's focus is on food
at this time of year, search for mast, such as dropping acorns in oak
stands, waste grains in field, wild berries, etc. Keep an eye out for
scratching?large v-shaped disruptions of leaves with turkey tracks in
the soil?as evidence of where turkeys have been feeding. If the soil is
still dark and damp, chances are that the birds have been there in the
past few hours, something to keep in mind particularly once the season
- During the season, get to a good listening spot before daybreak.
Young flocks often make a ruckus when descending from their roosts and
looking for each other on the ground. Listen for frantic wing beats,
loud yelps and cutts and the kee-keeing of young birds. Be quick to
locate them though as once flocks gather, they usually go silent except
for soft purring, the occasional yelp and the scratching of leaves.
When working a busted flock of mature gobblers, set up quickly and
use only single-note gobbler clucks (deep and raspy sounding) mixed with
the occasional keouck- keouck raspy yelp of an old tom. Gobbles can
also work. The sparse calling is true to a longbeard's silent nature in
fall. Keep your eyes peeled. The only heads up you'll probably get is
the sound of turkey feet shuffling toward you or the cluck-like putt
that lets you know he made you and the hunt is over!
Zeroing your scope
You will save a significant amount of expense and frustration by
pre-sighting the scope to the rifle before you take it out for zeroing.
Collimating, the most accurate and simple technique for pre-sighting,
is the system most often used by gunsmiths. It can be done quickly in
shop before leaving for the range.
If a collimator is not available, you can still do a good job of
pre-sighting by a method known as " bore-sighting". At the range, set
rifle up on sandbags or other steady rest and place a target at 100
yards. With the bolt removed, look through the chamber and move around
until you can see the bulls eye centered in the bore.
Without moving the rifle from this position, glance through the scope
and note where the reticle is positioned on the target. If the scope
not closely aligned to target center, you need to adjust the base
mounting screws. Do not use the scope windage and elevation adjustments
pre-sighting adjustments or you will run out of adjustment for final
All ABO (USA) serviced scopes are tested to be certain that they provide
maximum internal adjustment range. After testing, the reticle is
the scope optically and mechanically. However, variations in rifle
receiver dimension, mounting holes drilled out of alignment with the
barrels threaded into the receiver at an angle will cause initial scope
Therefore, it is important to make all major bore sighting adjustments
using the mount adjustment screws. Make only final adjustments using the
scope's internal windage and elevation screws. This will prevent running
out of internal adjustments.
There is no acceptable way to increase elevation adjustments except to
shim. Shim stock .010" thick, placed under the rear of the mount base
raise the point of impact about 7". To lower the point of impact, place
the shim stock under the front end of the base.
Zeroing a scope
The range at which a scope should be zeroed is a matter of personal
judgment. If you anticipate using the scope at distances of 100 yards or
naturally a 100 yard zero is appropriate. Mid-range trajectory would be
about 1" above the line of sight and you could hold directly on target
the way out to about 125 yards. If the anticipated hunting distances are
200 yards or more, you should zero your rifle at the longer ranges. The
for a rifle zeroed at 200 yards is minimal for most cartridges (usually
about 1.5" to 2") and you can hold directly on target for ranges out to
slightly more than 200 yards.
If a 200-yard range is not readily available, you can obtain a
satisfactory 200-yard zero on a 100-yard range by zeroing about 1.5 .
A good rest, such as sandbags or steady rest to reduce sighting errors,
will help you hold more steadily on target. Rest the forearm, not the
on the rest. If possible, zero in a no-wind condition to establish a
standard zero. If you must zero in a wind, make a note of the amount of
attributable to wind effect and when finally zeroed, make a compensating
adjustment to leave the scope at standard (no-wind) zero. For example: a
15MPH wind from the right at the 3 o'clock position will normally drift a
.30-06 factory bullet about 1.5" to the left. When you have finished
zeroing in a 15MPH wind, simply adjust the Windage knob 1.5" to the
left. This will result in standard no-wind zero.
The first time about 25 yards out from the muzzle. You can utilize this
fact by firing your first zero shot at 25 yards target. If the first
prints very close to the center of the bulls eye at this range, you can
be confident that it will print on paper at 100 yards. If there is a
significant error at 25 yards, make compensating changes to bring the
point of impact to zero. Since the distance is only 1/4 of the 100 yard
zero distance, you will need to make 4 times as much adjustment as you
would at 100 yards.
For final zero, move the target to 100 yards (assuming this to be the
desired zero distance) and fire at least 3 shots to establish a pattern.
the center of this group as a reference, make any necessary adjustments
to move the point of impact to center. You should fire another group of
shots to verify that this adjustment was correct. Do not trust a
one-shot zero as accurate.
For maximum precision, allow the barrel to cool between shots. A warm or
hot barrel shoots differently than a cold one. In the field a shot
game is usually from a cold barrel, so you will want to have your gun
zeroed when cold.
Making windage and elevation adjustments
The elevation knob is marked "UP" with an arrow indicating the direction
to turn the knob to move the point of impact up on the target. The
knob is marked "R" with a similar arrow indicating the direction to move
point of impact to the right.
Many scopes have a graduated scale around the adjustment knob which
increments representing a certain amount of point of impact movement on
target. The most common increment is 1/4 minute of angle which means one
click or per increment adjustment moves the point of impact 1/4" at 100
CARING FOR YOU TROPHY.
You can figure on spending a pretty good amount of money these days to
have a shoulder mount of that trophy buck done by a competent
So it makes sense to do everything you can to ensure that your buck of a
lifetime is a mount, which you are proud to display in your home.
The first step is choosing a taxidermist. How do you select a
good one? That's easy: just look at their work. Shop around and visit a
of taxidermists. You don't have to be an art critic to pick out the deer
that look the best to you. And don't let money be your deciding factor.
it is tempting to go with that $200 special, but only rarely will you
get the same quality for bargain prices.
It is your responsibility to see that your buck gets to the taxidermist
in good shape. To ensure that it does, follow these suggestions:
Avoid A Neck Shot
Many hunters like a neck shot, but if you plan to have a deer mounted, a
neck shot is risky. If that bullet exits it might just blow a big hole
the cape. Aim for the shoulder instead. And if a deer is down, but you
need to deliver the coup de grace, don't shoot it in the head or neck if
plan to have the deer mounted. And for heaven's sake do not cut the
deer's throat to bleed it out.
When field dressing the buck, do not cut up the chest past the
breastbone. You can reach up in the cavity to remove the lungs, heart
without splitting the buck from stem-to-stern, as they say.
Handle With Care
Many capes are ruined or damaged during transport. If you must drag the
buck, do not tie the rope around its neck or the base of the antlers.
keep the head and neck up off of the ground as you drag the deer, or
better yet lay the deer on a sled, cart or tarp.
Don't Snag Hair
When you load the deer into the back of your pickup or onto a
four-wheeler, lay the deer onto a tarp so that the hair is not snagged,
bent or broken.
Get To The Taxidermist ASAP
And then get the deer to the taxidermist as soon as possible. Most
taxidermists charge a little extra for skinning and caping, but it is
If Not ....
If you are not able to get the deer to a taxidermist right away, follow
- Start about a foot behind the legs and make a cut completely around
- Cut around both knees;
- Cut up the inside of each leg to the armpit (leg pit?);
- Cut to the original cut you made around the body;
- Take your time to avoid mistakes and skin towards the head of
- When you reach the skull, use a meat saw to remove the head;
- And store the head and cape in a freezer or a cool place until
you can get it to the taxidermist.