First of all, we here at The Outdoors & Adventure Blog would like to express our sincerest sympathy to the people of Zimbabwe and all the people in the world who condemn the brutal killing of a mighty creature – Cecil the Lion. While we feature hunting as a sport here, I hope our readers know that the hunting excursions that we talked about are done in the most humane way possible. Furthermore, hunters get permits to kill animals in order to control or balance their population against their environment and they don’t use it as an excuse to be cruel to these animals.
In fact, most tourism agencies that feature hunting in their list of fun things to do have certain rules and guidelines for people who like to hunt wild bears, elks, African buffaloes, lions and other big game hunting animals. For aggressive and dangerously powerful animals, they recommend the large hunting rifles while less aggressive animals can be taken down by airguns or bow and arrows. Tourism departments of countries like Canada, the United States, Russia and other European countries require hunters to be physically fit in order to survive the harsh conditions of the hunting grounds and, if absolutely necessary, survive animal attacks. That’s because out there in the wilderness, the hunter can quickly become the hunted.
The problem with Dr. Walter Palmer is that he didn’t follow any of these rules when he set out to hunt which ended in a very brutal and inhumane killing of a cherished animal. According to the news, he initially poisoned Cecil with raw meat when he lured him for a clear shot of his bow and arrow. But when that didn’t work out, he had the lion suffer for over 20 minutes before the poison killed him slowly, then shot him with a 0.22 caliber hunting rifle and decapitated the poor lion for trophy. That is a lame and lazy way to hunt, he paid the department of tourism of Zimbabwe to torture and kill animals and not to hunt, in fact, he shouldn’t even be called a hunter or an amateur hunter, because he displayed no such characteristics and he made other hunters (real hunters) look bad.
Personally, I think hunting should only be done in areas where predators outnumber humans like the northern forests of Canada and Russia and not in places like Africa. The lions there have a strict territorial system tha they claim, they don’t invade human settlements or threaten their existence and they don’t grow too many for the environment to sustain. I think African nations should ban the killings of endangered species all together!
Pretty soon if the outcry is too great and animal cruelty becomes too much, I may have to re-brand this blog as simply just “The Adventure Blog.” It doesn’t feel right anymore in writing about stuff that involves a lot of violence like this one.
At the moment, the whole world is outraged at what had happened. In fact, they are angrier over this situation than terrorist attacks and other human rights abuses that have been going on lately (I do hope that we will be angry over those stuff too, but being angry about Cecil the Lion is a good start though) and they want to extradite Dr. Palmer and file a lawsuit against him for killing Cecil. However, I hope that this issue will gain enough traction that those who also care about white rhinoceros and elephant hunting will stop permanently and poachers be prosecuted for what they have done.
On personal notes, ancient kings and warriors in the past demonstrate their courage by facing the alpha male lion of their pride and challenge it to the death. They used knives, spears or just their bare hands. That was brave. What Dr. Palmer did was an act of cowardice and he should be ashamed of himself for doing so.
Learning from expert hunters and a few of my own personal experiences is a precious thing. Basically there is no definitive hunting textbook and you learn the basics, and then learn the rest when you’re out in the field. You can’t learn everything in books or class discussions.
Here are a few hunting tips that I want to share with you.
Adjust your Learning with the Right Pacing
The first thing to learn in this quick hunting course is learning how to shoot a rifle. Regular hunting rifles use 0.22 caliber munitions which is lethal at 100 yards or less for beginners and much much further away for pro hunters. Whitetail animals tend to have a quick foot and can sprint so fast that they’ll be out of sight in less than 5 seconds, so don’t rush the shot. This is the part where you need to take your time to aim right in order to get the kill-shot. For instance, deers and elks have relatively large body size where you can pick a spot to aim, and in most cases the bullet wound it will get from your rifle is deadly.
You can also learn from the pro hunters at our Pursuit Channel hunting shows on how to aim and make that lethal shot in hunting animals.
As much as possible, aim your crosshairs near or at the vital organs of the animal, which is right behind the front legs – that’s a 90% kill-shot. Aim right then, follow through. Support the butt of the rifle adjacent to your shoulder and squeeze the trigger, don’t pull too quickly. Loosen your grip before firing up a shot and only hold the gun steady after you make the shot. Prepare to fire another shot in case the animal is still moving as it might try to get away if the bullet wound is not fatal. Big game hunting can be a tricky business but it’s all fun and games once you’ve learned how to do it.
Essentially, you can apply these methods to target shooting also. Try not to take too long to aim your hunting rifles or bow before you take the shot as this will mess up your aim more and will cause you to miss.
Watch Your Step
Not being careful while out in the field hunting big game and other animals could cause you injuries and some might even lead to death (God forbid). Watching where you land your feet and your immediate area could save your life! For instance, what if you were so focused on your target that you forgot there’s a poisonous snake on your path just a few feet away from you? Yes, although this doesn’t occur often it is better to be safe than sorry. Might as well bring with you some hunting dogs to warn you in advance.
Pro hunters in our Pursuit Channel hunting shows always emphasize awareness and presence of mind. You’ll often see them talk about the basic rules in hunting while in their camps or hunting lodges before heading out into the wilderness.
Do not use the Gun Sparingly
You didn’t bring your hunting rifles and a bag load of ammo just to get that one clean hit now, did you? Even seasoned hunters and expert marksmen would prefer to have more bullets than they need. That’s because of the unpredictability of things and you can never be too sure always. I will be blunt and honest in this hunting course, you will make mistakes out there hunting animals, the law of averages will have its way one way or another; and that’s a fact.
Sometimes even a direct hit, the animal can survive a 0.22 caliber bullet wound and escape, but if you fired a second and third shot, then that will kill ‘em dead. Let loose and don’t hold back! Your goal is to bring that buck home with you and not let it escape.
Gun Care is Paramount for Effectiveness and Gun Safety
The chances of hunting rifles or hunting bow malfunctioning will be greatly reduced if you keep them in the best shape possible. In my five years as a big game hunter, I’ve always used the Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather SS. During hunting season I would always remove its individual parts, clean and lubricate them and then put them back together again; and I do this every dawn around 4am just 2 hours before we set out to hunt. As a result, I have a high hit ratio and am one of the best hunters among my buddies. I took good care of my gun and it took good care of me while hunting.
Use your Five Senses and Instincts to know when Game is Coming your Way
Around 150,000 years ago, before we relied on technology to survive, we first developed our five senses to hunt food or defend ourselves from predators. And now that you’re back in this hunting course once more, I would advise you to use them for this purpose again. Your eyes and ears would be the primary game detectors when they’re coming your way. While your sense of touch, smell and taste are used for when you are the one chasing the animal that you’re hunting.
If the animal is coming your way, then that’s a better deal for you as you just have to lie and wait until you get a clear shot. Aim your rifle in the general direction where you hear or see the animal is coming from; however, do not point it straight right away. Instead aim it to the ground or up towards the sky until the animal gets into the clearing and you can identify it; otherwise you might shoot another hunter or an innocent camper/hiker. As for me, I do what the experts do in those Pursuit Channel hunting shows – get hunting dogs to aid me in hunting. But do use your five senses, it helps a lot too!
Lower Your Aim
For conventional sights such as scopes and iron sights used on hunting rifles; it’s good to lower your aim slightly in order to anticipate the “kick” when you fire off a shot. But not so much with tree stand sights as used on bows as they work differently. If the angle of the shot is particularly steep and precise shot placement is required, then you need to aim lower at about 1 or 2 degrees. For example, when you’re hunting smaller animals like the squirrel, you’ll need to aim and hit precisely. But when you’re hunting a big game this is not required as your hunting rifles are quite accurate within a 5-inch diameter.
Expect the Unexpected
It isn’t always sunny in Minnesota and it sure ain’t gonna stay the same in British Columbia either, so be ready for anything. You need to be able to roll with the flow whenever the situation calls for it. When you go out hunting always have the initiative that at some point in time you might be camping also. It be better if you have sleeping bags, rain coats, tents and other camping supplies, but the safety of hunting lodges is unbeatable; as they serve both as a staging point and base camp for you and your fellow hunters. Bringing along hunting dogs would be essential too!
Be the Last One Out
Don’t leave early because you’ll never know what you will miss. It’s simple math: less hunters in your area means more opportunities to come across a game.
From firsthand experience, I’m always the last one to leave the hunting grounds and I often go back to the hunting lodges with a catch – sometimes bigger ones! These days ever since my buddies found out my secret to success, they would stay late too but we spread out at about 400 yards apart from each other. Now almost all of us has a catch when we go back to the cabin.
I hope you enjoyed this hunting course and picked up a few lessons worth learning. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Pursuit Channel hunting shows in Roku, Direct TV and Dish Network as well.