Lessons in the 4 Rules

Today’s specific instruction is on Rule #4: Be sure of your target and what is behind it. The impetus for this comes from Stearns County, Minnesota where a young girl found a bullet hole in her pillow around noon on Sunday.

From reading the article, it sounds like someone with a muzzleloader took a shot that missed its intended target, and it flew for a bit and went through this kid’s bedroom wall and into her pillow.

This is really the sort of thing that really emphasizes to me how important it is to be 100% sure of your target, especially when you’re hunting.  I have seen velocities from a modern inline muzzleloader anywhere from 1500 to 2000 fps, and have heard that some go up to 3000 fps; which is plenty fast enough to go a long way if you miss your mark.

I understand that sometimes you’re going to miss. It’s a fact of hunting that you don’t always make the shot. That’s why it’s extremely important to be sure of your target, and what is behind your target. Just because you think you’re Steven Sniper doesn’t mean that you can’t jerk the trigger and miss that trophy buck.

In related news, Sebastian links to a story from the Washington Times that shows that shotgun hunting isn’t really appreciable safer than rifle hunting. Indiana is a perfect example of this foolishness, actually. You’re not allowed to hunt with a centerfire rifle, but you can use a pistol chambered for a rifle cartridge. So your 12 gauge shotgun, or you TC/Encore .308 pistol are both okay, but not your Remington 30’06.

1 Comment

  1. It’s kind of funny that here in Minnesnowta we have the strange laws that:
    – In the Southern/Southwestern part of the state, it’s “shotgun only” during firearms season.
    – In the Northern/Northeastern part of the state, it’s any large-enough-caliber during firearms season. They only recently allowed the use of .30-carbine, and still don’t allow .223/5.56 to be used.

    But during muzzleloading season, it’s anything up to and including a .75 Belch-Fire, all around the state. Huh?

    I think that the original rationale was that shotgun slugs are dumb, slow, and limited in range, while a rifle bullet is going to go a couple of miles (if aimed above the horizon). I’m not sure that distinction is true anymore. The advent of rifled shotgun barrels, combined with the newer-style sabot-slugs, means that a shotgun slug is going to carry almost as far as a rifle bullet under normal circumstances. They used to figure that southern Minnesnowta was more densely populated, with farms and towns, and that limiting people to their old straight-tube shotguns would help reduce accidents.

    One of the reasons that I prefer to hunt deer from a stand is that almost anywhere you see a deer, you’re pointing downward at it when you take your shot. If you miss, that bullet’s more than likely going to bury itself in the ground (ricochets not withstanding).

    Despite having hunted for more than (mumblety-mublety) years, I still get buck fever when I hear my first deer of the year crunching through the woods. And that’s the most important time to remember all of the rules, especially Rule 4, and to remind yourself to only take a good shot, and only point the rifle when you have a clear target and safe backstop, and to not put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. I know it’s hard to do when you’re flooded with the adrenaline, but the possible consequences of NOT following the rules are potentially horrific.

    Safety first, venison second.

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