The .308 versus the 30-06 for Hunting: Ballistics & Accuracy Comparisons

When it comes to full-bore hunting cartridges in the USA there are two that, for popularity at least, stand head and shoulders above the others. These are .308 Winchester and the classic .30-06.

As well as legions of happy users both cartridges have groups of diehard fans who’ll insist that their favorite is far better than the other.

As a rule of thumb, due to the outstanding firing power, neither should be used for smaller game like coyotes or rabbits. But because everyone has their own opinion, it can be pretty hard to get at the truth.

Below we get into the gritty details of the .308 vs 30-06 battle and give you our opinion on each.

The .308 and 30-06:  A Brief History

The first key to disentangling the mess is that .308 and .30-06 are actually very closely related. In fact one was developed from the other. This goes back to the early 1950s, when NATO was trying to agree a standard service rifle for all its troops.

At the time NATO members used a pretty wide array of calibers, with the main ones being .30-06 and .303. That ruled out a standard rifle right away, and often meant neighboring units couldn’t even resupply each other with rifle ammunition. To improve the situation the alliance’s all members agreed to choose a standard cartridge, then a standard rifle to fire it.

1. The .30-06 Springfield:

Comparing 308 vs 30-06 Ammunition BallisticsThe US Army insisted that the new cartridge had to be full power, either the .30-06 or something equivalent to it. The British disagreed.

Based on wartime experience and the new assault rifle concept, which originated in the German Sturmgewehr 44 (7.92x33mm) and had already been developed into the AK-47 (7.62x39mm) they argued that traditional rifle rounds were overpowered for the average infantryman and an intermediate one should be adopted.

The War Office was determined to phase out their obsolete, rimmed .303. They’d already developed an intermediate round and a rifle to fire it. The .280 British was an excellent round that was light, low in recoil, flat-shooting and very accurate.

Thanks to its long bullet it retained more energy than the .30-06 at ranges beyond 800 yards.

In fact, ballistically, it was almost identical to the much newer 6.5mm Grendel. Fired from the bullpup Enfield EM2 assault rifle it was an impressive package.

Unfortunately, traditionalist generals didn’t like it. The .280 wasn’t a “proper” rifle round like their beloved .30-06, so they refused to accept it.

As a compromise the .30 Light Rifle cartridge was developed. This was basically a .30-06 with the case shortened by half an inch, from 63mm to 51mm.

The case head and bullet were identical, and modern propellant gave it exactly the same performance, so it satisfied the traditionalists while being slightly lighter and shorter than its parent.

The reduced length meant a shorter bolt stroke, too, so the size and weight of weapons could also be reduced.

2. The .308 Winchester:

At this point politics took over. Winston Churchill reached a deal with the USA – he’d agree to scrap the .280 EM2 and support the .30 Light Rifle as the new bullet, if the USA would agree to the FN FAL as the standard NATO rifle.

The USA later went back on that and updated the M1 Garand instead, but the cartridge survived and became 7.62mm NATO.

The familiar .308 Winchester is simply the civilian version of that, and the rounds are pretty much interchangeable – much more so than 5.56mm NATO and .223.

So does this mean the rounds are identical for hunting? Well, not quite. The military versions have theoretically identical performance, but civilian manufacturers – and shooters – are free to play with loadings a lot more.

There are some differences between them as hunting rounds and it is possible to come up with a clear winner. Let’s look at the various factors involved.

Accuracy and Ballistic Differences:

Despite the identical theoretical ballistics of military 7.62mm NATO and .30-06, when the new cartridge started to come into widespread use something quickly became clear.

It was more accurate than the old .30 round. The difference wasn’t massive. It was however enough to make a difference. In fact, it was enough that the NRA eventually reduced the size of the inner bull on their long-range targets.

Modern loads have reduced the .308’s edge slightly, especially at extreme ranges, but in general it is a slightly more precise round than .30-06.

The difference is marked enough that you rarely see a .30-06 in rifle competitions now unless the rules specify it. For hunters it’s less important.

Accurate shot placement is vital of course, but either caliber is easily accurate enough to get clean kills out to 600 yards or more. That means neither of them has a clear edge in this area.

Winner:  Tie

Power:  Which one packs a bigger punch?

Modern propellant allowed the .30 Light Rifle to generate .30-06 power in a shorter case. But what happens if you put the same propellant in the original case? You can fit in more of it, and that should give you more power. In fact yes, it does.

There are limits to how much extra power you can get out of the cartridge.  Both .308 and .30-06 having the same maximum case pressure of 62,000 psi, but overall it’s possible to get close to 150 fps more out of the older round.

This can be done without creating an unsafe load. What’s more, the older round comes with 18% more powder capacity and has a longer neck than the .308.

So, many experienced hunters have reported loading even 250 grain bullets with the former, which might explain why many of them believe that there’s no game in North America that a .30-60 cannot insta kill. Because the 60 loads heavier, it is the go-to cartridge for very large game like bear and moose.

With most bullets in the 150 to 180 grain range, the .30-60 offers significant amount of energy.  Again, in practical terms it doesn’t matter much as average hunters cannot tell the difference.

Either round will deliver plenty energy, out to maximum hunting ranges, to bring down any American animal except maybe the larger bears. In the field, the extra power of the .30-06 really just translates to extra recoil and heavier ammunition.

Winner: .30-06 Springfield

Practicality: Which one is more available and used?

Comparing the .308 and .30-06 is a long way from comparing either of them to .223. There’s no getting away from the fact that, physically, they’re both big heavy rounds.

Yes, .308 weighs a bit less, but with the amount of ammunition the average hunter carries it doesn’t matter a lot.

Where the difference does become significant is in length. The 30-06’s longer case means a longer bolt stroke. In turn that means a longer bolt, a longer receiver and a heavier weapon.

The difference can be a few ounces, and that does start to matter.

More importantly, if you’re a serious hunter using a bolt action rifle,(check out our favorite bolt action rifles here) the longer stroke slows you down a fraction of a second when it comes to chambering a new round.

The difference isn’t huge but it’s there, and there isn’t any way to get round it. Ergonomically the .308 edges into the lead slightly here.

Many .308 rifles are also being updated to lighter stocks and firearm materials, making it a better chocie if you carry other hunting gear like walkie-talkies or game cameras on your hunting trip.

On top of that, in states with very restrictive gun laws like California some rounds are more readily available (and cheaper) than the other. The .308 is usually the most common version in those areas.

Winner: .308 Winchester

Price: Which one is cheaper?

Finally, there’s one category where a real gap opens out – .308 ammo is usually cheaper.

It uses less brass for a basically equivalent round, and its popularity means bigger production runs and lower price. The difference isn’t huge, but if you shoot a lot it adds up.

Not to mention that from a survival perspective, the .308 is mass produced for  many different types of sporting rifles.

As a result, the .308 Win will be easier to find and use in the event of some type of catastrophic event that requires you to hunt your own food or survive in the wilderness.

Winner: .308 Winchester

Hunting: Which one’s best?

The answer depends on the size of the game. For short to medium range, we feel both cartridges do an astounding job for game up to elk. Beyond elk, you should go for .30-06 Springfield with a heavier bullet like 180 grain due to its bigger punch.

And it’s better to have all the extra power if a big and angry animal decides to charge. So, for deer, big coyote, elk, and even small moose you can confidently use both cartridges with  150- or 165-grain projectiles.

If you insist on bringing the .308 Winchester on a big game hunt, get really good bullets. One added bonus of the .308 Win is that it has less recoil than the .30-06, which translates into slightly better accuracy.

So, when it comes to whitetail hunting both soft-tip hunting rounds are great although the .30-60 might be too much within 100-150 yards.

For small game like squirrel and rabbit, neither of the two are a good choice. Pick something considerably less powerful, unless you want multiple pieces of your dinner whizzing around.

Winner: Tie (.30-06 has the upper hand in big game hunting)

Feel Free to Disagree: Our Favorite Pick:

Overall its slightly better accuracy and shorter case give the .308 a slight, but real, advantage as a hunting round within 200 yards.  It will always hit harder than any type of crossbow hunting you may do.

But both analyzed rounds deliver all the power you could ever need for medium-large game (like deer) unless you’re hunting truly big game.  In that case, you might consider switching to the .30-06 for an extra edge.

The accuracy difference does put the .308 slightly ahead, although not by much.  The fact it cuts half an inch off the bolt stroke is enough to put it just a little in front. If you’re buying a new hunting rifle it makes sense to opt for the NATO round.

For a different take and the main benefits of the 30-06 as a survival cartridge, check out the video below by Langley Firearms Academy.

If you already have a 30-06, and you’re happy with it, however, there isn’t any compelling reason to swap.

Both rounds are similar enough that personal preference is more important than anything.  You should shoot both to see which one you prefer, but we have our preference as indicated below.

Our Overall Winner: .308 Winchester for war, survival, and for rifle hunters starting from scratch; 30-06 for really large game or if you have a hand me down rifle and don’t want to buy a new one.

Best Hunting Jackets For Cold Weather: 2020 Reviews (Camo & More)

Hunting in the cold weather can be any hunter’s worst nightmate if you aren’t geared appropriately for the occasion. There’s nothing worse than sitting out in your stand, patiently observing your prey and realizing you are so cold that you aren’t likely to get a clean shot off if you have the chance.

Bottom line is if you go hunting in the fall or winter, you know it’s cold out, and the cold is your enemy. You must stay warm and hidden, but also be able to move quickly. To keep warm and dry, you’ll want to be prepared with the right hunting jacket for your hunting expedition.

If you haven’t done your research, there’s plenty of different types on the market today, adding to the confusion of what you “need” versus what would be “nice to have.”

In this article, we take a look at some of our favorite options for hunters on a tight budget, as well as what you should be looking at if money is not an issue.

We’ve got our two favorites below, followed by a little bit more detail on each model and a detailed buyer’s guide on seven great options if you are the type of hunter that needs a little bit more in-depth research.

Good luck out there!

Best Overall Pick: Legendary Whitetails Men’s Canvas Jacket

Budget Pick: ArcticShield Men’s Classic Parka

Buyer’s Guide

Hunting jackets come in all shapes, forms and sizes. They all have features that come in handy when you’re out on a small game or big game hunting trip.

But picking the right winter hunting jacket comes down to a handful of considerations.

Your winter hunting jacket should be light, making it easy to move around more. It should also be warm, but not bulky. The top winter hunting jackets use classic hook-and-loop fasteners, particularly around the wrist and neck closures.

They should also have multiple pockets for storage, both interior and exterior. These pockets should be deep enough for holding onto the gear you need to keep close.

It should also allow for freedom of movement so you can keep optics that you’ll use close at hand. Read on to learn what else makes up a great cold weather hunting jacket.

1. Construction & Durability

The right winter hunting jacket will always be durable, well-constructed, and made of materials that are right for the application. Here’s what to look for:

  • Noise: The last thing you need in any hunting jacket is noise. Put the jacket on to see if it creates a surprising amount of noise when the jacket arms brush against the sides. Waterproof jackets are especially noisey. So find something that doesn’t blow your cover.
  • Fabrics: The right material will not only be quiet, but tough and durable enough to handle the brush and moving around in the deep woods. Camo winter hunting jackets shells with poly-tricot are super-quiet and hold up extremely well under difficult conditions. Other shells to consider are the ones constructed from micro-suede or microfiber.
Durability of Jacket
Durability and construction are extremely important qualities.

Any hunting jacket worth its salt will be both waterproof and windproof. They should tape the seams of your hunting jacket to block the wind. Pockets for duck hunting or other waterfowl should also be self-draining.

Make sure the zippers, collar and wrists all seal to prevent the cold, wet weather from entering. Such seals are often hook-and-loop.

Light is the watchword for camo winter hunting jackets. Err on the side of a lighter jacket and buy it up to a size larger if you want to accommodate under-layers.

If you’re doing bow hunting, you’re going to need a thinner jacket than someone who doesn’t need the range of motion that drawing a bow requires.

The lining material must be both lightweight and capable of retaining your core body heat during periods of little to no movement. Fleece or 100 percent polyester with a polyester fill will keep you warm.

Some camo winter hunting jackets have a removable liner to make it easier to wash. If you go for a removable liner, make sure they tape the seams.

2. Linings, Hoods & Seams

When you return the liner to the shell, make sure the seams seal properly. You don’t want to get a cold, wet surprise when during a downpour on your next hunting expedition.

Camo winter hunting jackets with hoods is a must. Many hunters know that one of the secrets to staying warm is keeping your head covered. Being able to draw the hood tightly around your face also provides a camouflage effect.

Hoods and Linings
Make sure you have a hood and decent jacket lining if the circumstance calls for it.

Having a detachable hood comes with its advantages. Hoods attach to the jacket with either a zipper or a button.

They come off easily when the weather doesn’t warrant a hood or if you need to clean it.

Some hunters prefer to leave their hood off to hear what’s going on around them more clearly, too.

The collar on camo winter hunting jackets will keep your neck warm and shield you from heavy winds and rain. Collars should have a fleece lining, with hook-and-loop closures to ensure weather integrity. They should also rise up to fit snuggly under your chin.

Taped seams are an essential element of the top camo winter hunting jackets. If you expect your jacket to remain waterproof and windproof, make sure they tape the seams. Likewise, there should be similar closures around the zippers to lock the warmth in and keep the weather out.

Many camo winter hunting jackets are straight cuts. So if you have a little extra around the middle, you’ll need to order a size up to get a good fit. Also, if you plan to hunt in extremely cold weather, you’ll want to get a larger jacket size to accommodate the extra layers.

Our Top Picks

 1. Legendary Whitetails Canvas

Product


Legendary Whitetails Canvas Jacket

Top Overall pick

  • Heavy duty 10 oz. sanded canvas
  • Features a full 210 grams of insulation
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • Double interior pocket
  • Zip off hood

Our rating

Details

  • Heavy duty 10 oz. sanded canvas
  • Features a full 210 grams of insulation
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • Double interior pocket
  • Zip off hood

The Legendary Whitetails Canvas is one of the top camo winter hunting jackets for hunting and regular outdoor use. It holds up extremely well when moving through heavy brush, yet it’s lightweight enough to make moving comfortable and easy.

The jacket is a straight-cut, so the chest size is identical to the waist size. Take this into consideration when ordering to ensure a good fit, especially if you use layers when the weather gets deeply cold.

This is a tough hunting jacket with a shell of heavy-duty, 10-ounce sanded canvas. It features 210 grams of insulation as well. The shell is 100 percent cotton, and the lining is 100 percent polyester. The fill is also 100 percent polyester, making this a warm, durable jacket.

The zip-up hood is perfect for hunting, allowing you to keep the hood on for maximum warmth or remove it so that you can hear a rustle in the forest. Legendary Whitetails is a company known for making durable products, and this winter hunting jacket is no exception.


2. Coleman Men’s Waterfowl Fleece

Product


Coleman’s Waterfowl Fleece Jacket

Great for Waterfowl

  • Shell Upper Body 100% Polyester Brushed Twill
  • Shell Lower Body 380 Gram Brushed Polyester Fleece
  • 10000 W/P, 10000 MVT,DWR
  • Lower kangaroo zippered pockets
  • Neck at back is higher in back for extra wind protection

Our rating

Details

  • Shell Upper Body 100% Polyester Brushed Twill
  • Shell Lower Body 380 Gram Brushed Polyester Fleece
  • 10000 W/P, 10000 MVT,DWR
  • Lower kangaroo zippered pockets
  • Neck at back is higher in back for extra wind protection

The Coleman is the second top camo winter hunting jacket on this list. Although it is great for duck hunting, it is also the choice for cold weather hunting. The most surprising thing about this jacket might be how inexpensive it is compared to some of the others. The outer shell features classic mossy oak duck blind camo. Also, it is extremely quiet when you’re moving around.

This is a surprisingly durable jacket that will serve you well for quite a few years. It will hold up under the toughest use. The fleece liner is both windproof and waterproof. The insulation is thin enough to allow freedom of movement, which is important if you’re a bow hunter.

They cut this jacket to accommodate layers, so when it gets below 30 degrees, you add a sweater. As a waterfowl jacket, it’s cut to the waist, allowing for waders. The neckline is high enough to keep the wind out, too.


3. Browning Pheasants Upland

Product


Browning Pheasants Forever Jacket

Popular Pick

  • Products designed in the USA with quality materials
  • High tensile and durability with all Browning gear
  • Whether you’re an avid outdoors man or recreational, good for all…

Our rating

Details

  • Products designed in the USA with quality materials
  • High tensile and durability with all Browning gear
  • Whether you’re an avid outdoors man or recreational, good for all…

Browning makes a wide variety of hunting gear, and the Pheasants Forever jacket is an excellent option for hunters. It is lightweight, yet warm. It has an orange/tan pattern to stand out when hunting in the woods or timber. The outer shell is cotton canvas. The canvas material is both durable and whisper-quiet. The jacket has lined interior, and zipper cuffs with slash pockets both inside and out.

One of the great things about the Natural Gear Waterfowl Jacket is that it has a bloodproof front load game bag for easy cleaning.  But whether you’re hunting waterfowl or deer, this jacket will keep you comfortable during the long stretches of sitting in a blind. This hunting jacket is easy to manipulate, even with gloves on, making it a great choice for cold weather.

Unfortunately it doesn’t have a hood, but you can pair it with a hoodie, making this the overcoat to keep you extra warm.  The heavy-duty zipper that closes it up makes it easy to get in and out of. The numerous pockets give you lots of places to store your gear. The jacket’s thick insulation keeps you warm yet it doesn’t inhibit you when the time comes to move.


4. Onyx-Arctic Shield-X-System

Product


AcrticShield Men’s Classic

Budget Pick

  • Waterproof, windproof, relaxed fit
  • Adjustable drawcord hood
  • Zippered chest and side pockets
  • Adjustable wrist cuffs w/hook and loop tabs
  • Durable polyester tricot outer shell

Our rating

Details

  • Waterproof, windproof, relaxed fit
  • Adjustable drawcord hood
  • Zippered chest and side pockets
  • Adjustable wrist cuffs w/hook and loop tabs
  • Durable polyester tricot outer shell

If you’re looking for the ultimate in warmth without the heavy bulkiness with many camo winter hunting jackets, the Onyx-Arctic Shield X System jacket is the way to go. This jacket is windproof and water-resistant. It also uses Arctic Shield technology to capture and return up to 90 percent of your body heat.

The jacket shell features the popular Realtree camo pattern. They made it of micro-suede, which ensures both durability and silence when you’re walking through the woods. The liner and the fill are polyester, too.

The wrist cuffs are neoprene and have adjustable hook-and-loop tabs, allowing you to seal them tightly and keep the wind out. The jacket also features a two-way front zipper and several pockets on the outside with an interior patch pocket. The waistband is elastic for additional comfort and fit, while the collar has a fleece-lining for the same effect.

You may need a breathable outer raincoat for wet weather, although the jacket is water-resistant. Its wind protection will perform well even under extreme conditions. If you’re looking for a lightweight, warm, quiet, and compact jacket, this is for you, especially if you plan on sitting for long periods of time.


5. Carhartt Men’s Quilted Flannel

Product


Carhartt Men’s Quilted Jacket

Popular Pick

  • 12-ounce, 100 percent cotton duck with real tree camouflage…
  • Quilted-flannel lining in body, quilted-nylon lining in sleeves
  • Att ached quilted-flannel lined hood with draw-cord closure
  • Two large lower-front pockets
  • Two inside pockets

Our rating

Details

  • 12-ounce, 100 percent cotton duck with real tree camouflage…
  • Quilted-flannel lining in body, quilted-nylon lining in sleeves
  • Att ached quilted-flannel lined hood with draw-cord closure
  • Two large lower-front pockets
  • Two inside pockets

This Carhartt Men’s Quilted Flannel hunting jacket is a great choice for any hunter. It is windproof, waterproof, and breathable, providing warmth and comfort. It features two snap-secured front pockets that are deep, along with several other pockets to store your stuff. There’s even a protected interior pocket for your cell phone or walkie-talkie.

The side entry pockets have a fleece lining for warmth, and it has a bi-directional zipper in the front, which is protected with a storm flap. There’s a detachable drawstring hood with hook-and-loop and snap closures for extra security. Also, this jacket has netted cuffs so they’re extra comfortable and retain heat. They also seal with the classic hook-and-loop strap.

They made this jacket for use with zippered bibs, which makes using the outdoor facilities much easier. This is a great option for hunters that are on a really strict budget. This is one of the camo winter hunting jackets that fits true to size. It keeps you exceptionally warm even under the coldest of conditions and long stands.


6. Rocky ProHunter Insulated Parka

Product


Rocky ProHunter Insulated Parka

Best All-Purpose

  • Guaranteed Rocky Waterproof construction
  • Removable hood
  • Front zipper with storm flap
  • Polyfill insulation
  • Drawcord waist
  • Adjustable cuffs

Our rating

Details

  • Guaranteed Rocky Waterproof construction
  • Removable hood
  • Front zipper with storm flap
  • Polyfill insulation
  • Drawcord waist
  • Adjustable cuffs

This is a lightweight and warm jacket especially designed for late fall hunting. It will keep you warm in cold temps down to 38 degrees F or 20 degrees F if you wear the right extra layers. The jacket is stormproof, waterproof, and comes with a removable hood to keep you extra warm and dry when Mother Nature is having a fit.

The insulation consists of high-quality polyfill fabric (don’t expect down at this price point), cuffs are adjustable to keep cold air out and warmth in, and the front zipper comes with a handy storm flap. The storage capacity of this hunting jacket is impressive too. There are inner pockets for your valuables and two exterior pockets for your whatnots.

Plus, the material feels great, the pattern looks amazing, and the coat is true to size.


7. Banded White River Wader Jacket

Product


Banded White River Wader

Best Mid-Weight

  • 100% Polyester
  • Made in the USA or Imported
  • Machine Wash
  • SHEDS waterproof breathable technology
  • Anatomical tri-adjust hood
  • Weather-resistant YKK zippers
  • PrimaLoft silver insulation provides extra warmth
  • Zip-out liner can be worn as a standalone garment

Our rating

Details

  • 100% Polyester
  • Made in the USA or Imported
  • Machine Wash
  • SHEDS waterproof breathable technology
  • Anatomical tri-adjust hood
  • Weather-resistant YKK zippers
  • PrimaLoft silver insulation provides extra warmth
  • Zip-out liner can be worn as a standalone garment

The maker of this hunting jacket claims that the coat has “40 grams of the world’s most advanced insulation.” Indeed, the jacket comes with a down filling that can keep you toasty down to 32 degrees F (we haven’t tested it in subzero temps yet). The waterproofness of this coat has let us a bit down. The jacket is more water resistant than waterproof which is a big difference.

The Banded White River Wader Jacket is durable, warm and can stand up to a lot of abuse when out in the woods. The extra features like magnet-close bellowed shell pockets, fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, and the zip-out liner that can be worn on its own are some nice additions that can be rarely found in such abundance at this price point.

Be wary though that the jacket runs a bit small. If you’re a tall guy, check out Banded’s sizing chart first as you might need to order the next size up.


Parting Thoughts

Any of these seven camo winter hunting jackets will help you stay warm when you’re out in the cold woods or sitting in a blind during a varmint hunting trip.

The right camo winter hunting jacket will also give you the freedom of movement at the right time to make a big shot count. With any of these jackets, you’ll be ready to brave the cold and concentrate of the hunt.

You should always have the right gear at your side if you are planning on having any type of successful hunting trip.  There are so many things that go into planning how to track your prey, that worrying about the elements shouldn’t be on the top of your list.

How to Shoot A Crossbow for Beginners

The crossbow, based on the traditional bow, is a mechanical device that shoots projectiles called bolts. It’s capable of cleanly taking down the biggest North American game, and it can be deadly accurate.

The crossbow is used in many states for many different types of hunting.  While it is banned for use in some states, depending on what you hunt, the hunting crossbow is one of the most uniquely used hunting tools on today’s market.

While you won’t get many bowhunting tips in this article,  you will definitely learn the basics of how to shoot a crossbow once you’ve found the right crossbow for your hunting expeditions.

Step 1: Cock the Bow

Cocking the crossbow takes a little patience to learn. There two methods for cocking the bow: Manual and crank-operated.

To cock the bow manually, put your foot in the stirrup at the front of the bow and pull the crossbow string back evenly across both sides of the barrel until it is cocked.

This is something of a chore with modern hunting crossbows, which unlike common recurve bows or compound bows, have draw weights over 150 lbs.  If you don’t pull straight you can misalign the bow and your aim will be off.

A rope cocking tool can make the manual cocking process easier, helps center the string better, and is recommended by a lot of hunters. A rope cocker is essentially a simple pulley system.

To use a rope cocker, first get the cocker into position, insert your foot into the stirrup, grab the rope cocker’s pull handles, and pull the handles up until the crossbow string is cocked. Once it’s cocked, store the rope cocker until you need it again.

A crossbow crank will definitely be easier to use than manual cocking, but it will take longer. A lot longer, so if you’re in a hurry the crank isn’t the way to go.

A crossbow crank is nothing more than a winch. Some cranks are separate devices, and some are integrated into the bow. To crank cock a crossbow, engage the crank, and turn it until the string is cocked. Then put the crank back into place, or into its holder.

Step 2: Load the Bow

Once the crossbow is fully cocked, place an arrow in the barrel of the crossbow, aligning the cock vane of the arrow in the barrel channel. Nock the arrow securely into place.

Step 3: Aim

Hunting crossbows are equipped with a sight pin arrangement or mount scope through which to aim, such as an optical scope with a reticle. You need to sight in, and prepare to shoot.

But first… A word of warning: Make sure there are no obstructions that could get in the way of the limbs when they snap forward or injury is likely. Similarly, do not wrap your thumb around the crossbow forearm.

Step 4: Shoot

Once you have the target sighted, squeeze the trigger just as you would a rifle’s, keeping the target aligned in your sights. As you squeeze tighter you’ll hear the pop of the trigger release as the bow fires and the bolt hurtles toward the target.

Getting your scope set up properly with your crossbow will take some adjustments, much like the adjustments you make to your rifle. But once its sighted in and you’re hitting the bullseye, you’re ready for action!

Where to Shoot Deer with a Crossbow

When bowhunting you cannot pull off a nice clean shot by head shooting a deer since you don’t have the tremendous fire power of a rifle to penetrate the skull. So, you’ll have to go for the vitals.

Many beginner bulk hunters wonder where to shoot deer with a crossbow for an (almost) instant kill to minimize animal suffering. You should be aiming at the deer chest area, which is a rather generous place but with caveats.

We do recommend studying deer anatomy so that you can visualize the best shot placement when target shooting or when out in the field. As a crossbow hunter you’re aiming for the thorax, where all the important vital organs lie: the heart, the liver, and the lungs.

The best ethical shots are attained by piercing the lungs (good) or the heart (best) since these organs are fairly large and can lead to massive blood loss when hit. Skip the liver as a beginner since that one is very narrow and requires tons of practice.

One key to successful bow hunting is inflicting massive blood loss with one shot so that the deer dies within 100 yards. Otherwise you will have to track it down for hours, risk losing sight of it, or, even worse, the animal might die in excruciating pain.

Massive bleeding is achieved by:

  • Hitting the vitals
  • Using razor sharp broadheads (an absolute must!).

Related: Best Broadheads for Hunting: Expandable & Mechanical Broadhead Reviews

Another key to successful hunting when shooting deer with a crossbow is shot placement. Archery buck hunters’ arch enemy when it comes to shooting deer is a thing called the scapula (brachial plexus). This is a dense shoulder bone with a ridge that’s almost impenetrable by most arrows even with an ultra-sharp broadhead.

The scapula rotates as the deer moves its legs covering the vitals. So, it is important to shoot the deer when the scapula has rotated away from the vitals. The scapula is out of the way when the deer’s front leg is forward – you should shoot just above the leg – or when the deer puts its head down.

When it comes to the best shot placement when hunting deer with a crossbow, you should also  take into account the fact that the deer might “jump your string,” namely quickly squat when they hear the arrow whizzing at them.

This can happen in the blink of an eye and you would need a crossbow with 600 fps to hit a vital organ instead of just missing or hitting a shoulder. But some of the fastest crossbows currently on the market like the Scorpyd Aculeus 460FPS ACUdraw Crossbow (check it out here) don’t go past 460 fps.

So, it is best to aim at the lower third of the chest cavity to halfway up to have enough wiggling room for a clean shot. Just visualize and split the vitals area into 3 horizontal sections and go for the bottom third. Do practice a lot on 3D deer targets beforehand.

Related: For all the tidbits on the best shot placement check out our dedicated post: Where to Shoot a Deer – Aiming for the Best Kill Zone Shot Placement

Some experts recommend using heavier arrows, with at least 14% front of center (FOC) to make your bow and arrows quitter and prevent string jump, but that’s no longer a beginner’s cup of tea.

Image credits: Internet Archive Book Images on Flickr; Larry W. Brown on Flickr

The Best Crossbow For The Money [2020]: Our Top 11 Picks Reviewed

When contemplating purchasing the best crossbow for the money, the first question people often have is why should I choose a crossbow over a compound, recurve, or long bow?

Now obviously, if you are physically impaired, then a crossbow may be your only option and some states do limit the use of crossbows for hunting to those who are handy capped. However, other states are not so restrictive and allow any hunter of legal age to use a crossbow.

But, that does not answer the original question and thus, some of the many answers to the question of why choose a crossbow are: because both hands are used to draw the bow, a crossbow can be drawn more easily than a compound bow, recurve, or long bow.

Once a crossbow is drawn and cocked, it does not have to be held in the drawn position by the shooter and crossbows can be mounted with sophisticated aiming systems which provide pin point accuracy.

So, for those of you who are considering making the move to this not so primitive weapon, below you will find a list of our three favorite crossbows for that allow you to find your best crossbow for the money.

Top Picks

Our rating

Barnett Jackal

BEST OVERALL

Centerpoint Sniper

Our rating

CenterPoint Sniper

BEST VALUE

Barnett Ghost

Our rating

Barnett Ghost

HIGH END

In the remainder of this article, we’ve given you 7 additional choices to look over for a total of our 10 favorites which we break down in more detail. Please use the quick reference guide navigation menu below for easy navigation if there’s a model that you are particularly fond of that you feel you need some more details about.

Don’t forget to check out the buyer’s guide below so you can check all the important facts off the list as you move forward with your best crossbow for the money.

Buyer’s Guide & Walkthrough for Buying the Best Crossbow for the Money:

When purchasing the best crossbow for the money, what do you look for in order to get the best bow for your particular purpose? Well, the three criteria that most people consider most important are that the bow be fast, compact, and lightweight.

However, cost is often a limiting factor in our pursuit of these goals and in fact, crossbows can range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

However, that does not automatically mean that the most expensive crossbow is also the best crossbow for you.

Therefore, when choosing the best crossbow for the money, you will first need to determine whether you prefer a compound or a recurve crossbow?

While it’s true that compound crossbows are faster than recurve crossbows of equal draw weights, a compound crossbow is also heavier and generates more noise.

Next, you will need to determine what draw weight you prefer. For instance, bows with heavier draw weights will generate faster arrow speeds and thus, flatter trajectories but, will also be more difficult to draw.

Therefore, although most states only require a minimum draw weight of 75 to 125 lbs., most hunters prefer a draw weight of at least 150 lbs. But, for those hunters who intend to pursue truly large game such as Elk, Moose, or Brown Bear, then draw weights of 175 lbs. to 225 lbs. are in order.

Another consideration is whether or not you will require a cocking device to cock your new crossbow and if so, does the model you are considering have an integral cocking device or must it be carried separately?

In addition, you should consider the physical weight of the bow since, even a few ounces can sometimes make a huge difference on a long hunting hike. Last, you need to contemplate what type of sighting system you would like to have on your crossbow?

For instance, you can use a simple sight pin arrangement or mount scopes, red dots, holographic sights, lasers, or just about any other sighting system on a crossbow.

As a result, when purchasing the best crossbow for the money, you should keep in mind all of the factors listed above and choose your new crossbow accordingly.

Our Top 10 Reviews to Help You Find the Best Crossbow for the Money:

It should be noted that although most modern compound crossbows feature a conventional limb design, some manufacturers now produce “reverse-draw” models which place the riser (and the balance point) much closer to the shooter’s shoulder and thus provide a much steadier aim.

Because of that, while choosing the best crossbow for the money using this list, we have included both conventional and reverse-draw compound crossbows in addition to recurve crossbows.

1. Barnett Jackal:

Barnett Jackal Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3 - 20-Inch Arrows...

  • Speed: 315 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 12 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 26.25 in. (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 35.5 in.
  • Mass Weight: 7.7 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Barnett Jackal features a highly ergonomic and lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip stock design with a carbon fiber riser with strings and cables for speeds of up to 315 fps!

However, the stock does not contain an integral cocking device and thus, the bow must be cocked manually but, with a draw weight of just 150 lbs. doing so is within the capacity of most shooters. In addition, it comes with a very capable red dot scope that is specifically calibrated for crossbow use.

It also has a and a light, crisp, 3 1/2 lb. trigger pull thanks to Barnett’s new ADF MIM trigger components for superior accuracy.

Plus, it also comes equipped with a pic rail as a mounting platform and is manufactured in the USA. This is one of the best crossbows for the money for someone that’s just starting out and not looking to break the bank.


2. CenterPoint Sniper 370- Crossbow Package:

  • Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 15.375 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 20 in.
  • Overall Length: 37.375 in.
  • Mass Weight: 7.2 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: Optional

The CenterPoint Sniper is unique in that it features the only carbon fiber riser available on a crossbow and it is specifically to reduce the weight of the front end by as much as 43% and thus dramatically shift the balance point rearward toward the shooter’s shoulder for a significantly steadier aim.

Also, it features the Shoot Thru Riser which increases the length of the power stroke without placing the string out of reach and also serves as an integral stirrup which strengthens the riser to deliver speeds of up to 400 fps with a 400 grain arrow.

In addition, it features a highly ergonomic pistol grip stock design that can be outfitted with an optional integrated cocking device and includes a 3 x 32 mm, illuminated, 3-dot/multi-reticule scope that has been specifically calibrated for crossbows to provide superior shot placement combined Metal Injection Molded trigger components that create a light, crisp, 3 1/2 lb. trigger pull along with a machined aluminum barrel and an anti-dry fire mechanism to prevent accidental damage to the bow.

Plus, the Anti-Vibration Isolation Technology reduces both vibration and noise up to 30% by overmolding the limbs and other components with a layer of noise dampening material which also helps to prevent nicks and scratches.


3. Barnett Crossbows Wildcat C5:

BARNETT Wildcat C5 Crossbow Package (Quiver, 3-20-Inch...

  • Speed: 320 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 12.25 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 26 in.
  • Overall Length: 36 in.
  • Mass Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Barnett Wildcat CD features an ergonomic and lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip gas assist molded stock with a machined aluminum riser for increased accuracy to generate arrow speeds of up to 320 fps.

In addition, it comes with a light, crisp, trigger and a dry fire inhibitor along with a 4 x 32 mm scope for safe operation and superior accuracy.

Plus, it also includes an ambidextrous quiver bracket with a 3-arrow, quiver and three Headhunter arrows.


4. Barnett Vengeance:

  • Speed: 365 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 18 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 23.25 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 33.75 in.
  • Mass Weight: 7.9 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Barnett Vengeance features a highly ergonomic and lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip stock design and an adjustable pistol grip fore end with a machined aluminum barrel combined with Barnett’s Carbon Lite riser and a reverse-draw limb design with an easy-to-draw, 140 lb., peak weight to launch a 400 grain arrow at 365 fps.

However, it can be outfitted with an optional, integrated, cocking device to make drawing the bow even easier. Also, it includes Metal Injection Molded trigger components that create a light, crisp, 3 1/2 lb. trigger pull combined with an anti-dry fire mechanism to prevent accidental damage to the bow.

In addition, it includes a 3 x 32 mm, illuminated, 3-dot/multi-reticule scope that has been specifically calibrated for crossbows to provide superior shot placement and, Anti-Vibration Isolation Technology reduces both vibration and noise up to 30% by overmolding the limbs and other components with a layer of noise dampening material which also helps to prevent nicks and scratches.

Plus, it also includes an ambidextrous quiver bracket with a quick detach, Cross Carbon, 3-arrow, quiver and three, 400 grain, carbon fiber, arrows.


5. Horton Storm RDX:

Horton Innovations NH15001-7552 Storm RDX Crossbow Package...

  • Speed: 370 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 165 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 15.5 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 23.25 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 35.25 in.
  • Mass Weight: 7.7 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: ACUdraw

The Horton Storm RDX features a highly ergonomic and lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip stock design with an adjustable, 7 position, cheek piece and an adjustable, 3 position, butt plate so that you can customize both eye alignment and length of pull to suit your individual needs.

In addition, it also features a machined aluminum barrel and a machined aluminum riser combined with reverse-draw limb design.

It has a self-locking limb pocket and cap system that prevents limb twist and provides cushioning to reduce vibration along with a custom RDX Cam System and DynaFLIGHT 97 sting and cables to produce speeds of up to 370 fps with a 400 grain arrow!

Also it is available with an integral ACUdraw cocking mechanism which enables shooters of all ages to draw and cock the bow. In addition, with an axle-to-axle length of only 15.5 in. at brace and 10 in. cocked, it is one of the most compact crossbows on the market.

It also includes a Horton Multi-Line 4 x 32 mm scope with fully coated optics and three, duplex, crosshairs calibrated for 20, 30, and 40 yards along with a light, crisp, trigger for superior accuracy.

Plus, it also includes an ambidextrous quiver bracket with a quick detach, 3-arrow, quiver and three, 400 grain, carbon fiber, arrows.


6. CenterPoint Sniper 370:

CenterPoint Sniper 370 - Camo Crossbow Package

  • Speed: 370 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 13.5 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 18 in.
  • Overall Length: 25 in.
  • Mass Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The CenterPoint Sniper 370 was specifically designed for those hunters who are begging to hit their next hunting expedition with a fully capable and equipped crossbow package.

It features a highly ergonomic and very lightweight, pistol grip stock design and a machined aluminum barrel combined with a machined aluminum riser and Compact Recurve Technology recurve limbs with a 185 lb. draw weight that will launch a 350 grain arrow at an amazing 370 fps!

However, it should be noted that the stock does not contain an integral cocking device and thus, the bow must be cocked manually and, with a draw weight of 185 lbs, the average shooter may require a separate, mechanical, cocking device.

But, it does feature an anti-dry fire mechanism to prevent accidental damage to the bow and a built-in release enables easy decocking of the bow without having to fire an arrow.

Also, the integrated string suppressors reduce recoil, vibration, and noise for a more accurate shot. Plus, it includes a 4×32 Multiplex Scope with a dual red or green reticule and adjustable multiplex crosshair system for superior aiming accuracy in low light conditions.

Lastly, it also includes an ambidextrous quiver and 4-arrow, quiver and three 20″ carbon fiber bolts.


7. Arrow Precision Inferno Fury:

Arrow Precision Inferno Fury Crossbow Kit (175-Pounds)

  • Speed: 235 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 175 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 10.5 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 18.5 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 34.5 in.
  • Mass Weight: 4.84 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Arrow-Precision Fury features a cost effective, highly ergonomic and lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip stock design and a machined aluminum barrel that can generate arrow speeds of up to 235 fps.

However, the stock does not incorporate an integral cocking device and thus, the bow must be cocked manually but, with a draw weight of 175 lbs., even shooters with smaller statures shouldn’t have a problem cocking the crossbow manually.

In addition, it includes an adjustable Weaver style scope mount and a 3 dot multi range scope, combined with an ambidextrous, manual, safety for safe operation.

Plus, it also includes a quick detach, 4-arrow, quiver and four arrows. This small & lightweight crossbow makes an excellent choice for beginners and hunters looking to carry light on their next hunting trip.


8. Stryker Solution Luxury Series (LS):

  • Speed: 390 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 155 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 15.5 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 19.36 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 35 in.
  • Mass Weight: 6.9 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Stryker Solution LS features a highly ergonomic and very lightweight, camouflaged, pistol grip stock design and a machined aluminum barrel combined with a machined aluminum riser.

It also features an ultra-compact, conventional, limb design but incorporates a new, stronger, laminated, limb material for greater durability and a newly redesigned, more aggressive, cam that increases arrow speed while also making the bow easier to draw; thus generating arrow speeds of up to 390 fps with a 385 grain arrow!

However, the stock does not contain an integral cocking device and thus, the bow must be cocked manually but, with a draw weight of just 155 lbs., doing so is within the capacity of most shooters.

In addition, it comes with a multi-reticle scope (the manufacturer’s web site states neither the magnification nor the size of the Objective Lens) and a light, crisp, trigger along with a dry fire inhibitor for superior accuracy and safe operation.

Lastly, it also includes an ambidextrous, side-mount, quiver bracket with a quick detach, 5-arrow, quiver and five, 385 grain, carbon fiber, arrows.


9. TenPoint Venom:

TenPoint Venom Crossbow Package with ACUdraw

  • Speed: 372 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 13.5 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 17.6 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 34.6 in.
  • Mass Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: ACUdraw or ACUdraw 50

The TenPoint Venom crossbow features a highly ergonomic pistol grip stock design combined with a 19.9 inch barrel made from woven carbon fiber and a high speed version of their XLT bow (which has a parallel limb design) to create an extremely light, ultra-compact, crossbow that delivers an amazing 372 FPS with a 370 grain arrow!

Also, the stock contains an integral cocking device which is available in two different models that will enable shooters of all ages to effortlessly cock the bow.

In addition, it has a a Rangemaster Pro 1.5-5 x 30 mm, multi-reticule, scope that is specifically calibrated for crossbow use and a light, crisp, 3 1/2 lb. trigger pull thanks to its Metal Injection Molded trigger components combined with an automatic safety and a dry fire inhibitor for superior accuracy and safe operation.

Furthermore, the limbs are fully isolated from the riser for superior vibration dampening by the Over-the-Top Limb Pocket/Zytel limb suspension system and the Vibra-Crush bow-to-barrel mounting system and the Bowjax crossbow noise dampening kit also helps to eliminate vibration for ultra-smooth shots.

Last, it includes an ambidextrous Side-Mount Quiver Bracket with an Instant Detach 3-Arrow Quiver and six, TenPoint Pro Elite, 370 grain carbon fiber arrows.


10. Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme:

  • Speed: 365 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 13.375 in.
  • Axle to Axle Length: 19.875 in (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 34.2 in.
  • Mass Weight: 7.1 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

The Barnett BCX Buck Commander Extreme features a highly ergonomic, grip stock design and a machined aluminum barrel combined with a machined aluminum riser and conventional limb design and ultra-high performance twin cams for arrow speeds of up to 365 fps!

Where the Barnett Buck Commander differs from other models is that it comes with an integrated scope right out of the box. This reduces the money you’ll need to shell out if you plan on grabbing an aftermarket scope.

The small & lightweight design of the Barnett Buck Commander make this a formidable crossbow for any type of hunting and one of the best crossbows for the money:. It’s specifically engineered for deer, but you’ll need to read up on local laws in your area to ensure that hunting bucks with a crossbow is allowed.


New Entry: Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR:

  • Speed: 375 fps.
  • Draw Weight: 185 lbs.
  • Power Stroke Length: 15 7/16”
  • Axle to Axle Length:18.125 in
  • Overall Length: 34.875 in
  • Mass Weight: 6.6 lbs.
  • Integral Cocking Device: None

If you’re into deer hunting, for the price, you cannot go wrong with the Barnett Whitetail Hunter STR. When it comes to force, speed (375 fps!) and accuracy, this bow has the ‘wow’ factor to it.

It can accurately hit a target at 40 – 60 yards with flying colors. Some hunters claim that they managed to take down game even farther, but we take those claims with a grain of salt.

This bow comes mostly assembled and it takes less than 10-15 minutes to get it ready to shoot even by complete newbies. It comes with some neat accessories: three 22” bolts with 100gr target tips, string strops, 4×32 millimeters Multi-Reticle Scope, quiver, rope cocking device, and lube wax.

280 lb deer taken down with the Hunter STR at 48 yards

The illuminated scope is great at dusk/ dawn or on overcast days but it could have been better.

We believe The Hunter STR would benefit from some uprades like a better scope, the Barnett Crossbow De-Cocking Bolts (as not all users have mastered cocking using the cocking rope), and a compatible Barnett crank cocking device if you want it to be perfect this upcoming archery deer hunting.


Final Thoughts for Choosing the Best Crossbow for the Money:

At the end of the day when it comes down to choosing the best crossbow for the money, the most important factor to keep in mind is that you are looking for the best crossbow for your particular needs. Not only you should consider the price, you should also consider what type of crossbow is best for you, the arrow speed, the draw weight, the physical weight, the overall length, and whether or not it incorporates an integral cocking device.

Be sure to also check out our related posts:

Our top 10 breakout guide serves as one of the most comprehensive guides on the web to help you choose the brands and models that are most aesthetically & ergonomically pleasing to you in order to help narrow those choices by providing you the right information.

We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you in order to help you find the best possible crossbow for you & your hunting needs. If you feel like there’s a model that needs to be added onto this list, please feel free to drop us a line on our contact page as we plan to update this guide frequently in order to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information possible to choose the best crossbow for the money.

Featured Image Credit: Kiki Nusbaumer on Flickr

How To Hunt Raccoon: 12 Tips For Hunting During the Day & Night

The raccoon is one of the most iconic animals of North America. With its telltale bandit mask reminiscent of a bank robber and the striped tail that calls to mind prison uniforms, the raccoon certainly looks like trouble.

Anyone who’s had to tangle with an unwanted raccoon on their property likely already knows how easily these predators and scavengers can live up to their reputation.

People who hunt raccoon frequently run into a number of issues along the way. These small critters are actually quite survival savvy, so you’ll need all the help you can get if you want to successfully hunt one (or more) of them down in the near future.

There are certain raccoon hunting tips to keep in mind when you’re chasing down local ringtails. Understanding your prey and being equipped with the right gear means having a better chance.

1. Where to Find Them

For many modern homeowners (and renters alike), the raccoon is a source of constant annoyance. Once they determine that your home or neighborhood is a good source of food, they will keep coming back.

Unlike some other pests, the raccoon has deft little hands and excellent problem-solving abilities. Unlike wild boar, they can outsmart many kinds of live traps. People have long hunted these savvy mammals.

 

While raccoon are common in rural areas, they can also make homes for themselves in urban and suburban areas as well.

They are opportunistic and smart, so they can live just about anywhere minus hotter climates and deserts where you are more likely to see other varmints like coyote or other small game.

2. Never Underestimate a (Hungry) Raccoon

A starving raccoon can kill off a flock of birds by itself in less time than you might imagine. Raccoons can also set up shop in tall trees on your property or inside your attic, causing loud noises during mating season and general mayhem all year round.

Trash bins, gardens, and even pets or small farm animals could end up endangered by the presence of a raccoon on your property.

Raccoon are relatively small but big enough to cause trouble. They can range in weight from seven to 20 pounds and may be up to 55 inches long if you include the tail. Their overall diminutive stature makes it possible for raccoon to access all kinds of inconvenient places, while their dexterous fingers help them pry open coverings and rip into containers.

The truth is, however, that once one raccoon realizes your property has everything they want (such as a safe place to live and a source of food), that raccoon is likely to bring a mate or have some babies, resulting in a full-blown infestation.

3. Where There’s One, There Must Be More

A group of raccoons, also called a gaze, can cause a lot of trouble in very little time. They can and will tip over trash cans, emptying the contents into your driveway or yard.

They will manipulate the latches and closures on chicken coops and other poultry buildings, often with fatal results for your flock.

They are also very observant, and quite likely to toddle off to darkness and safety whenever you’re nearby.

A single-family unit can include two adult raccoon and a pair of babies, which quickly grow into maturity. Even at young ages, these robust critters have great skill at climbing and getting into trouble.

Their parents will quickly teach them everything they have already learned about manipulating your property, from latches to locations of trash bins or compost piles.

For the average homeowner, a gaze can be a source of annoyance and lost sleep. For farmers, they can decimate laying flocks, devour meat birds, and destroy gardens.

In some cases, farmers will offer to pay local hunters to come and remove the raccoon from their property. Other times, hunters will offer the service for free in return for hunting access for other animals, like rabbit, deer, or turkey.

4. Plan Carefully If You’re After Pelts

Even if you don’t find the local raccoon population to be pesky, you may still be interested in hunting them. After all, hats made from raccoon pelts and tails are iconic and much envied by children.

You can even mount the pelts themselves as a display, or the whole raccoon, if cleanly killed, could be turned into a hunting trophy through taxidermy.

It’s also possible for these common reasons to hunt raccoon to intersect. People can want to retain pelts of raccoon they’ve hunted due to nuisance issues.

Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to add to your trophy collection or a frustrated property owner, learning how to hunt raccoon can help you improve your chances of success in obtaining a clean, visually appealing raccoon pelt.

5. Look for Prey During Mating Season

If you’re hoping to catch some raccoon toddling around in the open, mating season is one of the best times to go looking. Raccoon mating season typically starts in January.

It can last for a few weeks or longer, depending on the density of the local raccoon population. When raccoon populations are mating, they are more likely to be out and exploring for potential mates and den sites.

In late January or February, the males go into rut. You may want to try using “squaller” calls that mimic the noise creating by fighting animals. Any males in earshot are likely to come over to assert their dominance.

6. Check Dens During Nesting Season

After successfully mating, pregnant raccoon females look for someplace warm, dry, and hard to access. They will hole up in all kinds of places, from attics and crawl spaces to haylofts and inside hollow trees.

Raccoon nests in chimneys are also relatively common. They will stay in these dens for months, sometimes until June, when the babies are big enough to move around freely.

Signs of nearby nests or dens include food scraps, raccoon scat or bathroom sites, and minor damage to roofing, fencing or siding. If they get into your home, you may hear thumping sounds in the evening and at night as they move around.

You can use calls to draw whole family groups to you. Chittering and purring calls will sound like the noises made by juvenile raccoon.

That can draw the attention of parents and youths alike, making it possible to catch an entire family infesting your property in a short period.

7. Consider Using Bait

You can use bait in one of two ways. You can place bait directly in a live trap, allowing you to catch and cleanly kill local raccoon. You can also place the bait in an area you monitor as you wait for your prey to show up.

Whichever way you go, you should make sure to use the right bait to increase your chances of attracting the right animal.

Many old timers will recommend that you use wet cat food as a bait. It’s certainly got a strong smell, sure to attract anything nearby looking for a quick meal. Turkey and smoked tuna are also great lures.

However, raccoon are omnivores that will eat just about anything they can get their paws on, including trash. Raccoons aren’t called “trash pandas” for nothing.

People also report good luck with hard-boiled eggs or, believe it or not, marshmallows. Waiting at the closest source of water is also a good option. And there’s always the commercial options: raccoon lures and bait especially formulated for the pesky critters.

Just pout the bait inside an empty can so that the raccoon cannot remove it from trap via the sides. Watch the video below to learn how to do it right.


8. Test Your Traps

Many people enjoy placing live traps and catching raccoon that way. The chances are good that with patience, good placement, and the right bait, you’ll have at least one trash panda end up in your live trap.

However, you need to take care when selecting your live trap, as not all brands are created equal.

Some medium-sized life traps, intended for predators like raccoon and possums, have wire mesh over the back of the trap, while others are simply made of welded wire. If the gaps in the welded wire are larger than a half inch, you could end up losing your bait to clever raccoon.

Pick traps that have very small or reinforced gaps near the pressure plate, or you may not catch anything. Also, be wary that not every trap advertised as a raccoon live trap is large enough for a raccoon. A decent trap needs to be at least 32″ long and 12″ wide.

9. Going After the Raccoon

If you plan to hunt the raccoon(s) thrashing your property, hunt the critters downwind or crosswind to hide your scent from them. Or you could use tried-and-tested odor-absorbing technology like a full Scent Lok outfit (check Amazon price here).

Before you venture into the wild, you should also learn how to actually track a raccoon. They are very elusive animals, but with the right knowledge, you can outsmart them and even learn to make the difference between an active den and an abandoned one.

 

Look for raccoon tracks in the moist soil along rivers and creek banks. Their paw prints are easily to tell from other wild animals’ prints as their digits are slim and long with claw marks on each paw track since they cannot retract them.

If you’re not sure whether raccoons have infested your property, also look for raccoon droppings. Raccoons tend to defecate in the den area or at the base of trees or roofs.

However, do not touch raccoon droppings as the animals may be infested with a parasite that can be transmitted to humans through inhalation or ingestion.

But what does raccoon poop look like? Raccoon droppings are of tubular shape and dark in color. They are very similar to a dog’s poop but they often contain traces of undigested food, especially berries.

Here’s an unsavory sample.

But a surefire method to track a sneaky raccoon is a strategically placed trail camera. Get an outdoor unit that is motion activated and that has infrared tech for nighttime tracking too.

Check out our previous related post on the topic for the best products currently on the market: Best Trail Cameras for Hunting – Ratings and Reviews.

10. A Hunting Dog Could Help… A LOT

Specially trained hunting dogs can make tracking and catching elusive prey like raccoon or even fox much simpler. Dogs can locate these animals even while they are holed up in their dens.

When properly trained, hunting dogs can alert you to nearby raccoon or lead you right to them. If the raccoon attempts to flee, your dog can give chase through areas where you would struggle to follow.

Once treed by a dog, a raccoon will be much easier to shoot. You don’t have to worry about any sudden movements or escape attempts. Your dog can also help protect you if a rogue raccoon decides to try charging you instead of running away when confronted.

11. Lure Them In with a Game Caller

If you need to thin out quite a dense population, you’ll need help from a game caller to lure the raccoons out of their hiding places to you. This device is a must have especially during daytime hunting trips.

A game caller, or an e-caller, is a hunting device pre-loaded with various sounds (vocals, prey distress sounds, mating sounds) that are bound to lure in predators such as coyotes, wolves or raccoons.

Some e-callers even have a camera to record the hot predator action out there. Others have timers to help your determine when to call it quits in a specific area, such as the Fox Pro E-caller which many hunters swear by.

Here’s a short clip of two lads successfully using a game caller in a raccoon killing spree that one can rarely see (we almost felt sorry for the coons).


12. Use The Right Caliber

Despite what you may have seen in horror movies, killing an animal with a shovel is neither quick nor clean. Blunt trauma from larger calibers will damage the pelt, and you run the very real risk of injuring but not killing the raccoon, potentially making it harder to catch and kill in the future.

A gun is the only real solution to quickly and efficiently dispatching a rogue raccoon.

Generally speaking, smaller caliber rifles like .22 LR or .17HMR are the absolute best firearms for hunting smaller animals like raccoon. This is especially true if you’re looking to turn the pelt into a trophy. Most people prefer rifles, as opposed to shotguns, for hunting raccoon.

If you’re only worried about dispatching a raccoon already cornered or in a trap, however, a shotgun may well serve that purpose.

One of the simplest mistakes made by first time raccoon hunters is using the wrong kind of bullet or cartridge. Simply put, the generic ammunition you use in your gun may not be the best option for putting down a raccoon.

You should look specifically for predator and varmint cartridges, designed to take down even the toughest predator.  Hunting bows or compound bows like these are usually not recommended for any type of small game.

Raccoon may not have the thick skulls of possums, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to kill. You want bullets that will offer accuracy for a clean shot while penetrating the tough hide and protective fat of the raccoon’s body.

A specialized scope could help you improve your accuracy when hunting raccoon, especially if you’re hunting at night.

To Wrap Up

If you’re hunting for sport, you’re likely to locate raccoon easily by offering to take out annoying animals on local classified boards or social media pages.

There is no shortage of these four-legged bandits, and many people dealing with them will jump at the chance to have the local raccoon population removed. A single hunt may be sufficient for you to find and eliminate a raccoon.

If you’re trying to address an infestation on your own property or farm, however, you can’t just roll in for one night and expect the problem to go away.

Even if you successfully locate and kill one raccoon, there could very likely be more nearby. You will need to continue monitoring the area for signs of raccoon activity, including scat, food scraps, and disturbances to birdhouses or trash.

While many people think of trail cameras as tools for deer hunting, they can also help with raccoon elimination as well. These cameras, which are usually motion-activated, record in night vision.

They can help you determine where raccoon are coming from and how many you have wandering around your property.

It’s important to remember that more raccoon may move into a vacant area when you remove the ones who were already there. Unless you address what attracts them to your property, there will almost certainly be more of them in the future.

Just because you’ve read about how to hunt raccoon doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed success in getting rid of these intelligent little pests.

Setting traps out routinely, securing trash containers, and regularly checking your home and any outbuildings for signs of incursions are all good ways to deter raccoon infestations.

Of course, when they do show up, if you know they’re there, you can put your raccoon hunting skills to good use.

Suggested Recurve Bow Draw Weights

The fact that many people still consider the ancient practice of archery to be an enjoyable recreational sport is evidenced by the numerous different local archery shops in any given location.

However, when first entering the sport of archery, one of the questions that inevitably comes up is “what draw weight bow do I purchase”? Well, the obvious answer to that question is to purchase a bow with the maximum draw weight that you can comfortably draw.

That answer really only applies to those archers who intend to hunt game with their bows because, the truth is that archers who only intend to shoot targets can get by with bows with much lower draw weights.

There is also the matter of traditional bows versus compound bows because traditional bows do not reach their peak draw weight until full draw and then, the archer has to hold that entire draw weight whereas, with a compound bow, peak draw weight is reached one half to two thirds of the way through the draw length and then, let-off occurs so that the archer is holding only a percentage of the peak draw weight.

Consequently, the proper draw weight not only depends on the purpose for which you intend to use it but, also on the type of bow you choose.

Recurve Bows for Target Shooting:

When choosing a recurve bow for target shooting, bows with draw weights ranging from 15 lbs. to 70 lbs. or more are perfectly acceptable. However, bows with draw weights ranging from 25 lbs. to 35 lbs. are most common.

Also, the type of target archery you intend to pursue should also be considered. For instance, when shooting at known distances as in the discipline of Field Archery, because the target is always located at a known distance from the firing line, having a flat arrow trajectory is not nearly as important as having a consistent arrow trajectory.

Minimum Recurve Bow Draw Weights for Hunting

State

Minimum Draw Weight

Other Restrictions

Alabama

30 pounds

Alaska

40 – 50 pounds (depends on game size)Arrow at least 20 inch long

Arizona

no minimum draw weight

Arkansas

40 lbsbroadheads 7/8-inches wide or larger for deer, turkey, bear

California

35 lbs.

Colorado

35 – 50 lbs. (depending on game size)Scopes, electronic devices, and pneumatic tech banned; min. 7/8-inch broadhead

Connecticut

40 lbsfirearm while bow hunting prohibited

Delaware

35 lbs

Florida

35 lbsmin. 7/8-inch broadheads for deer, hogs and turkeys

Georgia

no minimum draw weight

Hawaii

35 lbs

Idaho

peak draw weight < 40 pounds up to or at a draw of 28″

Illinois

30 lbs at some point within a 28″ draw lengthmin. arrow length: 20 inches: broadheads are a must

Indiana

35 lbs

Iowa

no draw weight restrictionmin. arrow length: 18″

Kansas

no minimum draw weight

Kentucky

no minimum draw weight

Louisiana

no minimum draw weight

Maine

35 lbs (for deer)

Maryland

30 lbs (for deer and bear)

Massachusetts

40 lbs. at 28 inches or at peak draw (for deer)min.  7/8 inch-wide well-sharpened steel broadhead blades

Michigan

no minimum draw weight

Minnesota

30 pounds at or before full draw

Mississippi

no minimum draw weight

Missouri

no minimum draw weight

Montana

no minimum draw weightbow must be at least 28″ long and arrow at least 20″

Nebraska

125 pounds

Nevada

n/afor big game, bow must be able to throw 400 grain arrow 150 yards over level terrain

New Hampshire

40 lbs (for deer)archers must etch their names and addresses on arrows; min. ⅞-inch fixed blade broaddheads

New Jersey

35 lbs

New Mexico

no minimum draw weightscopes may not magnify game or project light; broadheads must have steel cutting edges

New Jersey

35 lbs

New York

35 lbs

North Carolina

40 lbsmin. 7/8 inch wide broadheads for bear, deer or wild turkey

North Dakota

35 lbs (for deer), 50 pounds (for elk and moose) of draw at 28 inches

Ohio

40 lbsarrow tip must have min. two cutting edges, which may be exposed or unexposed and a minimum 3/4-inch width

Oklahoma

40 lbs

Oregon

40 lbs, except for elk (50 lbs)

Pennsylvania

35 lbsarrows must have min. 7/8-inch with no less than two cutting edges, which shall be “in the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface”

Rhode Island

40 lbs (with fixed blade broadheads), 50 lbs (with mechanical broadheads)arrows must be broadhead tipped (min. 7/8  wide) with min. metal cutting edges

South Carolina

no size restrictions

South Dakota

40 – 50 lbs (for big game depending on type of broadhead used)

Tennessee

no minimum draw weight

Texas

no minimum draw weight

Utah

40 lbs

Virginia

no minimum draw

Washington

40 lbs measured at 28″ or less draw length (for big game)for big game, arrows must be minimum  20″ long with a minimum arrow weight 300 grains

West Virginia

no minimum draw weight

Wisconsin

30 lbs (for deer hunting)min. 7/8 inch wide broadheads and kept sharp (for hunting deer)

Wyoming

40 lbs (for big horn sheep, black bear, deer, goat, mountain lion or gray wolf), 50 lbs (for elk, grizzly bear, or moose)broadheads or extended points with min. cutting width of 1 inch after impact are mandatory

State and local rules and regulations regarding the minimum draw for recurve bows while hunting may change. We last updated this list in March 2020. If you believe that we might have missed an update in your state, please let us know via our Contact Us form. We’ll make the necessary corrections in this chart.

Therefore, most Field Archers choose to shoot recurve bows instead of compound bows because of their light weight, lack of recoil, and consistent performance.

But, when shooting at unknown distances such as in the discipline of 3D Archery, because the targets are located at unknown distances from the firing stakes, having a flat arrow trajectory becomes very important because a flatter arrow trajectory helps to compensate for minor miscalculations in the distance from the archer to the target.

Therefore, most archers choose to shoot compound bows instead of recurve bows due to their significantly faster arrow speeds and, of course, the maximum draw weight that an archer can comfortably draw and hold when shooting either type of bow is best for this type of target archery.

Most 3D archers who shoot recurve bows chose draw weights ranging from 50 lbs. to 60 lbs.

Recurve Bows for Hunting:

When hunting with a recurve bow, most states do have a minimum draw weight restriction which is commonly 45 lbs. Thus, to hunt legally with a recurve bow in your state, you will need to comply with whatever the minimum draw weight for your state is. However, a recurve bow with a draw weight 45 lbs. will launch an arrow with surprising speed and thus, they are perfectly capable of taking down any North American game species from a reasonably close range.

But, like the 3D target shooter, hunters also gain the same benefit of automatic compensation for slight miscalculations in range in addition to that of deeper penetration and a greater ability to pierce bone from choosing heavier draw weights.

Therefore, although most states have a minimum draw weight restriction of 45 lbs., the rule of thumb for compound bow archers who are switching to a recurve bow is to choose a recurve bow with a draw weight that is 10 to 15 lbs. less than that of your compound bow and, for those of you who are not compound bow shooters, a recurved hunting bow with a draw weight of 45 lbs. is a good choice for youth and female archers whereas, most male archers prefer a draw weight of 50 lbs. to 60 lbs.

On the other hand, it should be noted that a recurve bow requires a couple of hundred shots before it “settles in” to its final draw weight. Also, it should be noted that the archers muscles will adjust to drawing the bow so that, between the bow settling in and the archer’s body adjusting, any new recurve will seem to get easier to draw at first.

Wrap Up & Final Thoughts:

So, when choosing a recurve bow for target shooting, you will likely want to choose a relatively light draw weight ranging from 15 lbs. to 35 lbs. depending on the physical stature of the intended archer.

But, when choosing a recurve bow for hunting, then you will need to choose a bow with as much draw weight as you can handle and thus, draw weights from 45 lbs. to 65 lbs. are most popular.  Some Archers prefer a lower range for compound bows.

Therefore, it should be noted that sets of extra limbs in different draw weights can often be purchased for most take-down recurve bows from the bow’s manufacturer which is very convenient because it enables the archer to tailor a single bow to different purposes simply by changing the limb sets.

Best .22LR Rifles For Hunting Small Game & Survival: Rimfire Rifle Reviews

Most shooters start out with a .22LR rifle. It’s the ideal gun to learn on before you move to a bigger caliber like a 30-06 or a 308.  It’s light, manageable and the ammunition is cheap. But the legendary .22 isn’t just a starter caliber and there are many options to pick from when trying to find the best .22 rifle for your hunting expeditions.

The .22LR also has a lot of practical uses. If you want a cheap weapon for backyard plinking it’s unbeatable.  Nothing else can match it when it comes to cost and hunting prowess in such a small package. The .22LR is one of the most effective cartridges for hunting small game and is also a favorite of just about every survival expert out there, making it a great value for your money.

There’s plenty you can hunt with a .22LR. It doesn’t have the power to guarantee a humane kill on large game or go duck hunting with man’s best friend, so you can’t legally use one on deer, but it’s ideal for a lot of small critters. Most birds can be cleanly dropped; so, can rabbits, squirrels, and possums. Large rats in the barn? A .22 will work just fine.

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This rimfire round is a highly versatile caliber that makes a lot of sense for hunting small game and pests.  While there are probably several that would fit the bill as the best 22 rifles for your next hunting trip, we’ve broken down our favorite rifles to launch it with below.

Our Top 12 Choices for the Best 22 Rifle:

1. The Legendary Ruger 10/22:

This neat semiauto is practically an American icon by now. Ruger has been making it since 1964 and its popularity has never faltered. It’s well made, reliable and incredibly easy to maintain; a handful of simple tools lets you replace any part, even the barrel.

A stock 10/22 is fed from a ten-round rotary magazine that tucks neatly under the action. Ruger also makes five-round versions for states that restrict magazine capacity, as well as a 25-round box.  The Ruger is about as American as hunting with a crossbow, recurve bow or compound bow out in the wilderness.

Aftermarket box, coffin and drum magazines are available with capacities from 25 to 110 rounds; the larger ones are great for plinking, but for hunting the standard drum is fine and will keep weight down. Some of the 25 round magazines made by Ruger make this rifle exceptionally fun to shoot.

There’s an almost endless range of both factory and aftermarket options for the 10/22, including tactical stocks and an assortment of barrel lengths and styles. You can set the rifle up as anything from a close-quarter rapid-fire rabbit blaster to a precision system that can cleanly drop a squirrel a hundred yards away. This is a truly excellent, flexible light hunting rifle that’s been able to stand the test of time for over 50 years.

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2. The Marlin Model 60:

Marlin has been making their Model 60 for over 50 years, and it’s still one of the most popular in its class. Inexpensive, but simple, robust and accurate, it’s an ideal weapon for taking small game or clearing out troublesome critters.

The semiautomatic Model 60 is fed from a 15-round tubular magazine under the barrel (older models have an 18-round capacity). This system is slow to reload but holds more than enough ammo for hunting purposes anyway. The magazine tube is brass, giving it excellent corrosion resistance.

One real strong point of the Model 60 is the excellent barrel, which has 16-groove micro rifling and a very high-quality crown. This makes it inherently very accurate; the receiver is grooved for scope mounts, so you can exploit that to the full. Typically, available for well under $200, this is a very affordable and practical hunting rifle for any small game expedition.

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3. The CZ-455 American:

An update of the classic design from legendary Czech firm Brno, this variant of their long-running bolt gun has been tailored for US tastes. It incorporates Brno’s new common receiver design and quick-change barrel system and is also available in a combo package with bot .22LR and .17 barrels. Selling at around $400 for the basic rifle it’s an excellent light hunting choice.

The CZ-455 American has a high-quality 22.5-inch barrel mounted to a completely machined receiver. The adjustable trigger is crisp, and the weapon feeds from a five-round detachable magazine.

There are a lot of CZ models on the market but this one is designed for an optical sight; the beautiful walnut stock has a high comb, there are no iron sights fitted as standard, and the receiver is both grooved and tapped for scope mounts.

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4. The Marlin XT-22:

This is a relatively new .22 bolt action, which went on sale in 2011. The basic design is available in several .22 calibers and with a choice of removable or tubular magazine, but the one to go for is the .22LR with a seven-round box magazine.  The XT-22 is a conventional bolt gun, but a nicely made one.

It comes with a choice of stock options including the standard walnut; which we think is the best looking, but the synthetic ones are more durable and can be had in camo. It’s fitted with effective open sights, and while many shooters neglect these, they’re ideal at short range or against fast-moving critters.

If you prefer a scope the receiver is grooved for tip-off mounts and tapped for fixed ones.  Marlin’s 16-groove micro rifling makes this a very accurate gun, and with prices starting at around $200 it’s also reasonably priced. It’s not quite as precise as the Anschütz which we cover below, but it’s easily good enough for hunting and well under half the price.

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5. The Marlin Golden 39-A:

This rifle’s claim to fame is that it’s the oldest continuously-produced long gun in the world. In fact, it first came out as the Model 1891, and you can probably guess what year that was. It’s stayed popular ever since, mostly because of its distinctive Western-style, but it’s also a practical hunting rifle – and one of the few you can take down with just a coin.

The 39 is a lever-action, loosely styled on the iconic Winchester Model 1873. Its tubular magazine will hold 19 rounds of .22LR, and while reloading is fiddly there’s plenty capacity for hunting. The high-quality 24-inch barrel gives good accuracy, and the solid receiver is tapped for a scope mount if the iron sights aren’t precise enough for you.

Picking the Marlin Model 39 gives you a rifle that’s ideal for pest control and bagging small game, but also awesome for plinking. With its classic American looks and heritage – Annie Oakley used one for many of her shooting feats – this is a gun that’s great in every way. At under $600 it’s also reasonably priced.

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6. The Mossberg 715 Tactical:

No list of modern .22 rifles is complete without at least one or two AR15 replicas, and the Mossberg 715 is a very nice one. Selling for around $300, it’s a reliable and accurate weapon that will serve well for both fun shooting and varmint control while being easy on your wallet.

Externally the 715 looks very like an M16-series assault rifle, but inside it’s a fairly conventional blowback-operated semiauto. There’s a dummy AR15 cocking handle but the actual one is on the right of the receiver, so don’t buy this for practicing your drills. However, do buy it if you want a military-style rifle that’s ideal for small-game hunting.

The 715 Tactical has a built-in carry handle and iron sights; there’s also a short M1913 rail on the handle and four long ones on the RIS fore-end. This can be tooled up with all the usual military accessories, and some of them make a lot of sense for pest control. Its layout makes this a very intuitive- quick-handling gun, so if you want to clear out rats or pigeons the 715 is an excellent choice. Below is a great video from Gear-Report.com on the inner workings of the Mossberg 715 Tactical.

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7. The Anschütz 1416 HB:

German gunmaker Anschütz is famous for its high precision target rifles, but they make a range of excellent hunting guns as well. Their 1416 HB is a real contender for anyone who wants an outstandingly accurate weapon for small game hunting or pest control.

Built around a classic bolt action and taking a four-round magazine, this is a rifle for skilled hunters who only plan to need a single shot. As you’d expect from Anschütz the barrel is first class – in this case it’s a heavy 18-inch model. The receiver is immensely strong and houses a miniature Mauser bolt.

There are no iron sights as standard; Anschütz can supply them, but this little beauty is just begging to have a good scope fitted. It can also take a bipod, making for a real tack-driving weapon system.

German quality doesn’t come cheap and a new 1416 retails for around $1,250, but in return you get unbeatable build quality and unrivaled precision.

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8. The AR-7 Henry Survival Rifle:

Originally an ArmaLite design produced for the US Air Force, this is now made by Henry Rifles. It’s one of the most unusual rifles out there, but works very well if you spend a lot of time outdoors and want a rifle that’s easy to carry when you’re doing other things.

The AR-7 was designed to be as compact as possible when stowed, so it’s a takedown design that breaks into four components – the stock, receiver, barrel, and two eight-round magazines.

When broken down all the other parts fit inside the stock, which forms a sealed waterproof case. Overall it weighs just 3.5 pounds – and amazingly, considering the barrel is 16 inches long, the whole package is only 16.5 inches when stowed.

Despite its tiny size this is an effective little semi-auto. Ten and 15-round magazines are available (although they won’t stow in the stock). Various models are available, from ArmaLite, Charter Arms and Henry; the Henry is the one to go for. It’s made from updated materials, the stock has been slightly modified so the receiver can be stowed with a magazine fitted, and as well as the slightly crude iron sights it has an M1913 rail for a scope.

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9. The Savage Mark II:

Another long-running American design, the Savage Mark II has been around for decades but still has a strong following. For a sub-$250 price it gives you a solidly made bolt action, with a reasonable magazine capacity and all the accuracy you need to keep the pot full of squirrels and rabbits.

The Mark II has a conventional bolt action fed from a ten-round detachable box magazine, and the trigger is surprisingly good for the price – not a match for the Anschütz or Brno, but perfectly adequate for hunting. It also comes with a wide range of stocks in both wood and synthetic. If you want a no-frills but serviceable .22LR hunting gun (it’s also available in .17) this will do just fine.

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10. The Smith & Wesson MP 15-22

The Smith & Wesson MP 15-22 packs a host of features that are similar to the Mossberg 715 yet bear the reputable brand name of Smith & Wesson.  The MP 15-22 is a tactical looking 22 LR rifle and the rifle designers did a great job making this rifle look the part of an edgy more high-powered piece of weaponry.

The MP 15-22 does a good job of offering a tactical style model rifle that’s in the same wheelhouse as an AR-15 stylistically allowing it to serve as a viable practice rifle for anyone that has an AR-15 and likes to shoot it but doesn’t like to spend the money that it requires when buying 223/556 ammunition.

You can’t go wrong with the MP 15-22 for any hunting scenario as it will stand up to all the abuse you can put it through while still being as compact and almost as reliable as the Ruger 10/22. It’s our favorite choice for the best 22 rifles in the tactical category and the fact that it’s American made certainly doesn’t damage the credibility.  Below is a great breakdown from Guns & Accessories that shows just how much fun the MP 15-22 is to shoot.

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11. The Remington 597

 

If you’re looking for a reliable rimrifle for small game hunting, vermin control, plinking, and general target shooting which won’t break the bank, the Remington 597 is for you. Remington has designed this semi-auto rimfire rifle chambered in .22LR as a beginner-friendly alternative to a 10/22 (which usually needs some modifications before it can take off.)

It can also be turned into a heavy-duty utility rifle if you’re living out in the sticks, as it can cycle cheap ammo like there’s no tomorrow, it is accurate, and comes with smooth action. However, it can be rather finicky when it comes to ammunition. You might want to consider investing in a Volquartsen extractor, if you want to use this workhorse a lot or with fancy stuff like subsonic ammunition.

In general, the Remington 597 is fairly reliable as long as you feed it the right ammo (or it might just be a quality control issue observed in some models). We do advise getting a model with standard iron sights if you plan to use this rimfire on close range, for target practice, or for quick draw hunting. You can add a scope later (some models come with a stock scope but without the sights.)

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12. The Tikka T1x MTR

The Tikka T1x MTR 0.22 LR

The Tikka T1x MTR (Multi-Task Rimfire) shines bright in the quality and accuracy sector, just like Tikka have accustomed us with their tremendously popular Tikka T3x centerfire line. The Tikka T1x MTR is the Finnish gun maker’s first rimfire .22 LR, but due to a happy mix of Tikka centerfires’ best features and a good dose of versatility and user-friendliness, the Tikka T1x was an instant hit.

Tikka has placed a heavy emphasis on accuracy with this hunting rimfire rifle and it has borrowed heavily from its T3x line when it designed this beauty. The T1x MTR and most T3x centerfires share the high-performance bedding footing, the single-stage trigger mechanism, the synthetic stock, and trigger plates.

If you get to test the T1x MTR, you will be surprised by how lightweight and yet accurate this modular rimfire rifle is. Even though a 0.22LR does not have the recoil or heat output of a classic centerfire,  Tikka T1x’s semi-heavy barrel was designed to keep everything cooler and steadier than a thin barrel, which can only add bonus points to the accuracy department.

Another well-thought element of design that contributes to the T1x MTR’s outstanding accuracy is its bedding footprint, which was also borrowed from Tikka’s centerfires and which can withstand nearly the same recoil forces of a centerfire. What’s more, the T1x MTR’s synthetic stock (with around one-third being made of fiberglass) shows increased resistance to temperature variations, which also adds to the rifle’s accuracy.

Everything about the Tikka T1x MTR screams quality and attention to detail. That’s why believe this rimfire can easily rival many American classics in its league.

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Wrapping Up & Parting Thoughts:

Finding the Best 22 Rifle for your next hunting trip doesn’t have to be difficult.  Nine times out of 10 the Ruger 10/22 will get the job done and will do so on even the tightest budget, leaving you with extra funds to pick up a rangefinder, a pair of hunting binoculars or two-way radios to go right along with it.

Anyone of the 12 rifles on our hunting list will make your next hunting excursion more enjoyable depending on your price point.  If you are looking for the absolute best 22LR rifle for your money, then the Ruger 10/22 is hard to beat in just about every category.

Best Climbing Tree Stands for Rifle and Bow Hunting in 2020

Hunters, experienced or green, the best climbing tree stand can elevate your hunting to the next level (sorry, pun intended!). While a climbing tree stand may be a pretty specific tool, when it works there’s no replacing it.

The right tree stand for your needs makes all the difference. Of course, there’s no single stand that works best in every scenario for every hunter. But if you have to set up and take down your tree stand at a moment’s notice, the best climbing tree stand may be the one thing that ensures a successful hunt.

Choosing the Best Climbing Tree Stand for Hunting

As you know, hunting is a challenge that requires you to understand your prey. Knowing the way the deer move and the terrain you’re hunting in makes all the difference.

If you can’t set up a stand to come back to, you need a stand you can set up and take down when you’ve found the perfect spot. That’s where the best climbing tree stand comes in. Knowing how and when to use this tree stand can completely change your hunting experience.

Image via Flickr

Choosing the Right Type of Hunting Stand or Blind

There are two common types of hunting cover: tree stands and hunting blinds. Hunting blinds provide ground cover, and they’re perfect for when you need to hunt at ground level. Using a ground blind is ideal for hiding out in underbrush and watching high-traffic areas.

Ground blinds have a few other advantages. Many shelter you from wind and precipitation. They’re more comfortable to move around in, so you can wait for the perfect moment to take your shot. But, hunting blinds can limit a lot of your field of vision and make even small noises and smells problematic.

When it comes to tree stands, these are much more versatile to a variety of situations — as long as you have appropriate trees available. They elevate your scent above the deer, and a high-angle shot is safer. You may also have better visibility of the area around you.

But tree stands can be dangerous to set up without proper safety equipment, and make noise when you’re setting them up. Some are also difficult to relocate. We’re going to cover tree stand types, quickly, for those who aren’t fully sold on climbing tree stands yet — you can skip to the next section if this info isn’t for you.

Types of Tree Stands

Once you’ve decided that a tree stand is the best for you, you’ll have to pick between hanging, ladder, and climbing tree stands. Hanging tree stands are most common. They let you set up anywhere there’s a tree, and you can leave them and come back.

But, you have to be able to climb the tree using branches or a climbing system.

Ladder tree stands are the easiest to get into, but the bulkiest as well. They aren’t tree stands that you would use if you need to pack them in and out on the same day. Ladder stands are often the most stable and comfortable, though.

Finally, climbing tree stands loop around the tree with serrated bands that dig into the bark. Then, you crawl yourself and the stand up the tree like an inchworm. You can’t leave them behind, but you don’t need anything other than the stand itself to get up to hunting height.

Why Use a Climbing Tree Stand?

As we mentioned earlier, climbing tree stands have a lot of mobility and versatility while also giving you the elevation bonus over a ground blind. With them, you can move to a new hunting spot if you need to. All you need is the right kind of tree.

Climbing tree stands work well when you have straight, branchless trees to climb up. However, they can make a lot of noise and don’t work on twisted or branch-covered trees. Because of this, they don’t work in every area the way a hanging tree stand would. Without the right tree to work with, these stands can be all but useless.

One of the best parts of the climbing tree stand is that it’s easy to relocate. In a hunting location that won’t let you leave tree stands behind, such as many public hunting areas, you’ll be able to put it up and bring it back down without a trace. It will also help you move with your prey as you find where the hunting is best.

Even the best climbing tree stands have a limited use range.

Their climbing mechanisms mean they only work on straight and smooth trees. If you plan on leaving your stand up for a while, you might want to use a different design or at least bring separate climbing gear. But if you need mobility and the terrain is right, this kind of tree stand is perfect.

Related Read: Here’s How to Use a Climbing Tree Stand

women learning how to use tree stand

Image via Flickr

What Makes For the Best Climbing Tree Stand?

When deciding which is the best climbing tree stand for you, there are a couple of major things to think about.

The first one is what kind of weapon you use to hunt. Climbing tree stands often include a shooting rail. These are comfortable and helpful for rifle hunters. On the other hand, bowhunters who don’t want to stand up to take the shot should look for a stand that either doesn’t have a rail or has one that can move out of the way.

Another critical aspect of any climbing tree stand is its weight. If you’ve got miles to hike to your hunting spot, you’ll start to feel that extra weight. But, extra weight can correspond to extra features. Cushioning and other comforts add weight, so don’t write off a few extra ounces.

Also, pay attention to how easy a stand is to carry. Weight will be the least of your problems if the stand is clumsy and awkward. The best climbing tree stand also assembles soundlessly, so you don’t scare away the deer.

Of course, there is one consideration that trumps all the rest. Any time you’re up off the ground, you run the risk of falling. So, make sure you always look for safety first.

Thankfully, climbing tree stands have significantly improved over the years where safety is concerned. Make sure the best climbing tree stand is one that helps you bag your game, and get home to enjoy it.

How We Chose The Best Climbing Tree Stands

Image via Flickr

When it came to selecting the best climbing tree stands, we used two sources of experience. One, expert reviews, which gives us the point of view of those who know just what to look for in a climbing tree stand. The other, customer feedback, is from folks who use their tree stands the same way you do.

Professionals have a major advantage in that they review hunting gear for a living. This line of work gives them the experience and the resources to compare tree stands to each other. Given the cost of tree stands, that’s something that most hunters can’t afford.

Because of this advantage, expert feedback allows you to see how each climbing tree stand shapes up to the others. Rather than just saying one is the best, they show you how each tree stand performs.

Customers usually can’t afford to do this, but they do have a distinct numbers advantage. The number of customer reviews can range from a dozen or two to a few thousand.

A customer consensus can make or break a product. So, every candidate for the best climbing tree stand has to have 4.0 stars or more out of 5 on Amazon.

We’ve listed our choices for the best climbing tree stand below. You can find them in alphabetical order.

Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo


With the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo, you can get the best of both hanging and climbing tree stands. It’s a lightweight tree stand that doesn’t skimp on comfort.

The main draw of the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo is that it has everything larger Lone Wolf stands do. It has a contoured foam pad for maximum comfort, as well as a molded plastic bow holder.

On top of that, it has a six-point fall arrest system, so there are plenty of backups should you take a spill.

On Amazon, 32 customers rated the Lone Wolf Assault Hand Climber Combo tree stand 4.5 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Light and compact for easy carry
  • The stand is silent while climbing
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Stand may be too small for some hunters
 

Lone Wolf Wide Sit & Climb Combo II


The Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II is the pinnacle of comfort and ease when it comes to climbing tree stands. This stand has a full-sized platform and a two-panel foam seat for maximum comfort.

This stand’s molded foam seat will make you feel right at home out in the woods. You’ll be able to wait all day for the right target to come along. And the best part is, you have help when it comes to getting up the tree. The Sit & Climb refers to an attached bar that gives you some support when shimmying up to hunting height, and turns into a rifle rail.

Twenty-nine Amazon customers gave the Lone Wolf Sit & Climb Combo II 4.4 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Packs up very small
  • Comfortable for 6 hours or more
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Others recommend replacing the straps
  • May get the same quality with cheaper stand
 

Ol’ Man Multivision Tree Stand


The OL’MAN Multivision Tree Stand has a few features that make it ideal if you like to switch up your hunting style. For one, it has a reversible gun rest and foot stand which moves out of the way for bow hunting.

This tree stand also has a fixed bar if you only hunt with a rifle. It will keep your arms comfortable and your gun steady. However, this tree stand suffers a little in terms of weight. It is nearly 30 pounds. Plus, the netting-style seat may not be the most comfortable for long stretches on the hunt.

Amazon customers rated the OL’MAN Multivision Treestand 4.1 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Netting means the seat can be comfortable without being level
  • Steel frame is much stronger than aluminum construction
  • 300 pound weight limit

Cons

  • Some safety straps may need to be replaced
 

Summit Treestands Goliath SD


This is an aluminum tree stand, which you may think is lighter than the previous OL’MAN steel stand. However, it weighs nearly as much. But that doesn’t mean you should write it off, because all that weight comes with some bonus features.

For one, this tree stand is covered in camo where it isn’t bare metal. That doesn’t just mean your stand will stay invisible to prey. Everywhere that’s camo is also cushioned, from the full chair and armrests to the gun rest. Not only is this tree stand sturdy, it’s comfortable enough to post up in all day.

More than 90 customers on Amazon rated the Summit Treestands Goliath SD at 4.7 stars out of 5

Pros

  • Rugged foot clips for easy climbing
  • Comfortable enough to spend all day in
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Straps and bungee cords wear out quickly
 

Summit Treestands Titan SD


The Summit Treestands Titan SD is one of the top of Summit’s climbing tree stand line. It features a suspended foam seat that’s as comfortable as any on the market. And, it can hold hunters up to 350 pounds so that you’ll always feel secure in your perch.

If you’re worried about being uncomfortable in your seat, the Titan SD is actually adjustable. You can raise or lower the chair relative to the platform, so you have the perfect amount of space for your legs. If you’re worried about falling, this treestand has a full-body harness to keep you secure as long as you’re up in the air.

On Amazon, dozens of customers gave the Summit Treestands Titan SD a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

Pros

  • Larger than other Summit tree stands
  • Securely supports even the largest hunters
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Makes more noise than others due to size
 

Summit Treestands Viper Steel


The Summit Treestands Viper Steel is the closest thing Viper has to a budget option. Its steel construction makes it cheaper than aluminum models, and still not too heavy at 29 pounds. You don’t have to break the bank to have a high-quality climbing tree stand.

This tree stand is smaller than others that we’ve reviewed here, but it still has plenty of space for most hunters. It holds up to 300 pounds. Its QuickDraw Cable Suspension System lets you rapidly secure it to the tree, and know that it won’t let you down. It may not be the most deluxe tree stand, but you’ll be sure to get your deer.

The Summit Treestands Viper Steel earned 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

Pros

  • Larger than other Summit tree stands
  • Securely supports even the largest hunters
  • Holds up to 350 pounds

Cons

  • Makes more noise than others due to size
 

Summit Treestands Viper SD


Don’t be confused — the Summit Treestands Viper SD is a different tree stand from the Viper Steel. While it might not weigh as much as its heavier counterpart, it does hold the same weight.

This lightweight aluminum stand has a comfortable, suspended foam seat that will go easy on you for long hunts. Every cushion, from the gun rest to the armrests, is covered in forest camo from Mossy Oak. The closed-front stand and the full-body harness will make sure you won’t fall from a dangerous height.

On Amazon, 208 customers rated the Summit Treestands Viper SD 4.6 stars out of 5. It is also for sale on Summit.

Pros

  • Intuitive to setup and use
  • More comfortable and safe than other stands
  • Holds up to 300 pounds

Cons

  • Foot platform is a little small
 

Xtremepowerus Tree Stand Climber


The XtremepowerUS Tree Stand Climber is far and away our budget option for the best climbing tree stand. But the low price doesn’t mean your hunting will suffer.

This tree stand is aluminum, so it’s not going to break or bend while you’re out in the woods. Camouflaged cushions on the gun rest and seat make sure that you stay blended in. But the weight of the stand may turn you off the price, because it’s nearly 40 pounds.

On Amazon, the XtremepowerUS Tree Stand Climber earned 5.0 stars out of 5, from one review.

Pros

  • One of the least expensive stands we recommend
  • Front bar offers support while climbing
  • Weight limit 300 pounds

Cons

  • Heaviest climbing tree stand
 
 

Hawk COMBAT Hang-On Treestand


The Hawk COMBAT climbing treestand offers an amazing value for the price. It has a 300 lbs maximum load limit, a 3” seat that flips up and it is extremely comfortable for prolonged sitting, a sturdy steel 21”x27” platform welded in all the right points, and a glossy powder-coated finish.

The seat comes with an adjusting knob if you need to change the angle for sitting. The Teflon washers and over-molded attachment hooks ensure that this stand is as silent as it can get, making it ideal for hunters.

The Hawk Combat stand comes with a full-body safety harness and Tree Digger teeth for extra safety and stability. Everything about this stand was built with hunters’ needs in mind. There’s even a Mega version, which is better for bowhunting (check it out here).

 

Pros

  • Textured mud paint finish for the perfect camo
  • Premium feel
  • Comfortable, durable and lightweight
  • Amazing value

Cons

  • Shoulder carry straps are not padded

Which is the Best Climbing Tree Stand for Your Hunt?

Choosing the best climbing tree stand can still seem difficult, even with our selection here. All of them are excellent choices, but there are a few that stand out for specific purposes.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive option that will still hold you up, the Summit Treestand Viper Steel is both rugged and low-cost. Should you want to make a bigger investment, the Summit Treestands Titan SD is a better option. It’s more expensive, but can support about anyone who needs to use it.

Featured Image via Flickr

How to Hunt Squirrel: 13 Hunting Tips (Best Times, Guns, & More)

It’s a question that drives you nuts. Should you hunt squirrel? Also, how do you hunt squirrel? Thankfully there is an answer to each of these questions.

Finding squirrels like the red squirrel, western gray squirrel, round-tailed ground squirrel or tree squirrel in the woods is exhilarating. You can get quite a bit of squirrel meat off these small game mammals, too.

Squirrel meat can be delicious when you beer batter and fry it. You can also use it in stews or barbecue it. Some people wrap the legs in bacon and toss them on the grill, too.

Squirrel hunting helps control overabundant squirrel populations. You can use a squirrel’s coat or hide for many purposes. Squirrel hunting requires planning and preparing, as well as having the right gear and equipment.

Always keep an eye on what you are doing when hunting squirrels. Safety is a crucial factor when you are out there on the hunt for these pesky little rodents. Take the time to find the best weapon to bring along, so you can be safer and more successful during your small game hunt.

1. Review the Legal Terms

Most importantly, you must have the legal right to go squirrel hunting. Before you head off to the woods, get a small game license (you need licenses for almost all types of game) for the place you are going to hunt.

The terms for attaining a license vary by state or province. So, review the regulations for hunting squirrels in your specific area.

You might only be able to go hunting during specific times of the year when it is squirrel season. This season takes place in most regions during the fall and winter months. The dates vary by each place. There are also rules on where you can hunt.

You may be allowed to hunt on a certain state or provincial park grounds. Some places require you ask for direct permission from the property owner before you start hunting.

Check the bag limits, too. There may be a limit to how many squirrels you can hunt in one day, as well as during an entire season.

2. Choose the Right Time

Look for squirrels during the early morning or late afternoon hours because squirrels are most active at these times. Morning is when squirrels go out to look for food.

It is easy and necessary for them to find food early in the day when they are at their hungriest.  Avoid hunting squirrels in inclement weather, as like deer, they move around and can be harder to track.

Late afternoon to early evening is when squirrels bring food back to their habitats. This is when most squirrels are busy foraging, so you should be able to spot them moving around.

3. Look in the Right Places

Plan your hunts in areas where you are the most likely to find squirrels. Check areas where there are lots of trees. These include trees that produce nuts and other items squirrels commonly consume. An oak tree is one of the most popular places to see squirrels.

Any tree that produces the types of nuts or fruit that squirrels enjoy is the place to locate squirrels. Be aware of the type of trees in the area, so you can determine if they are places squirrels may be searching for food.

4. Find the Best Weapon for Squirrel Hunting

Shop around to get the right squirrel hunting weapon before leaving on a hunting trip. Do some target practice using a small game weapon that works best for squirrels.

In the end, choosing the right squirrel hunting weapon boils down to personal choice. Here are the best weapons for squirrel hunting in my opinion:

The Shotgun

Shotgun Squirrel Hunting

Use a shotgun to cover a larger amount of space during your hunt. The spread of a shotgun shell can cover much of a squirrel’s body at once, thus ensuring a better chance of a kill without damaging too much meat.

Be sure to aim the shotgun carefully so it targets the precise area you want to shoot.

Look for a six-shot because it is large enough to target a squirrel without ruining the flesh. Also, choose a barrel 26 inches in length or greater so the shell will move precisely.

Remember, a shotgun will make a loud sound with each round. The noise will most likely scare the other squirrels away. Focus on being precise and cautious when shooting at squirrels or any other small game, for that matter.

When you take aim, remember that the spread on the shotgun shell will move outward a few centimeters after you shoot.

The .22 Caliber Rifle

22 Rifle Hunting Squirrel

The second option for a weapon to use is a .22 caliber rifle (my favorite). This rifle uses a smaller ammunition that targets the squirrel  and other smaller game with precision.

The ammo will not damage much of the squirrel meat, either. A .22 caliber rifle produces a longer range than a shotgun. The rifle also lets you go after just one part of the squirrel’s body.

Aim to be accurate and hold your firearm steady. Fortunately, most .22 caliber rifles come with an automatic reloading feature. This feature lets you add multiple rounds into the rifle before you start shooting and release one of the rounds every time you fire the trigger.

Be sure to regularly clean the muzzle and barrel to get a more accurate shot.

This rifle works best when you attach a scope to it. A scope gives you a clearer view of your target. It is also important to take wind, elevation, and distance into account when using a scope.

Bow and Arrow

Bow Hunting Squirrel

Another option for hunting squirrels is with a bow and arrow. But take note that most squirrels are small and less than a foot in length.

Because they are so small, it could be difficult to hunt squirrels with a large bow and arrow.  In other words, leave your deer hunting bows at home.

You should sharpen any arrow you use so it can pierce the squirrel’s body with ease. Even so, any arrow you aim incorrectly could cut through too much of the squirrel’s body, leaving little meat or fur to use.

The Air Rifle

While this might not look daunting, an air gun can be deadly to squirrels, and it is the cheaper option of the bunch. Air rifles are best suited for small game like fowl, rabbits and squirrels.

The only major downside is that it requires a lot of practice for a humane kill, as the area that you must hit is very small for an instant kill.

If you want the animal to die instantly and avoid needless pain or tons of frustration, aim for a head shot, which is also difficult to pull off on such small targets. Plus, larger squirrels can absorb multiple hits and evade if you miss the head.

Here’s some smooth action with an air rifle:

5. Spotting Squirrels

Spotting Squirrels when Hunting

Once you have the weapon of choice primed and ready to go, it’s time to search for areas where you are more likely to find squirrels.

Begin by looking at the types of trees and foliage where squirrels like to forage and live.

There are a handful squirrel hunting tips you can use for finding squirrels. Some tips don’t necessarily require visually spotting the squirrels, but rather hearing them.

Be sure to look or listen carefully, so you know exactly what you are shooting at:

  • Listen to squirrels as they move through the leaves. Squirrels often hide in foliage and other shady, protected areas.
  • Listen for the sounds of cutting, hulling and scrapping. This is when squirrels scrape and nibble at nuts and acorns, dropping pieces on the ground and leaves. It sounds similar to raindrops. Also, look for cuttings on the ground. This is a sign that a squirrel is up in a tree and eating something.
  • Squirrels often make noises as they climb trees. You should hear the sound of tree bark rustling or sections of bark falling.

Also, remember that squirrels have many colors to their coats. While most squirrels have brownish coats, you may also see some gray, red or white tones. Some squirrels in Canada have shiny black coats, too.

6. How Big Do Squirrels Get?

A typical squirrel can weigh from 0.75 to 1.5 pounds. This small size makes it all the more important to be precise when shooting at a squirrel.

You must be as accurate as possible when shooting so you do not damage the meat that could happen when hunting these small mammals.

7. How Far Can You Shoot?

You should shoot a squirrel from approximately 20 to 35 yards away. This distance is far enough to allow your shotgun shell or arrow to target the proper spot. It also helps you avoid scattering the rest of the squirrel’s body far and wide.

Although you can shoot further away when you use a .22 caliber rifle, you will be more likely to get an accurate shot from a closer distance. Consider your weapon and the size of your target when hunting squirrel.

8. Moving While Hunting

Be cautious when moving around while hunting. You need to be as quiet as possible. Avoid stepping on anything wet or damp. Stay away from sticks and other items, too. Debris and wet surfaces make more noise than other things.

Avoid walking directly towards a squirrel to get a better shot. The squirrel will most likely notice you as you get closer and scurry away instantly.

9. Use Bait If You Can

One helpful tip for hunting squirrels is to add bait to the area. The right kind of bait can attract squirrels effectively.

Peanuts, sunflower seeds and other common nuts are worth adding to your bait trap. After all, most squirrels cannot resist such treats.

Nuts, seeds and fruit can create an irresistible smell for squirrel – and from a decent distance. Add peanut butter to your bait to create an even stronger smell.

Oranges or other fruit make a sweet-smelling bait. Make sure they are fresh, so the fruit will produce a strong smell and squirrels will spot them easily.

Always keep the bait in a contained area. Put the bait in a space that encourages the squirrel to stick around for a while. Observe how the mammal moves around and if it stays in the same spot while eating.

By keeping the squirrel still, you get some extra time to aim and shoot the squirrel.

10. Where to Shoot a Squirrel

The best place to shoot a squirrel is in the head area. The brain is the best spot as it ensures the squirrel will die nearly instantly. This lessens suffering, and preserves the fur and meat.

If it is too challenging to aim for the head, aim for the heart. It is located near the upper body not too far from the neck. Shooting the body, like a deer – isn’t something you should consider if you are trying to retain any edible portions of meat.

Watch the squirrel carefully when aiming, and try to shoot at it while it is still. Shooting while a squirrel is moving around could hurt your chances of getting a clear shot while also ruining the fur and meat.

Try not to shoot a squirrel directly from the front or behind. Wait to get a perfect side shot of a squirrel. Shooting such a small mammal from the front or back could force the bullet or arrow to penetrate too much of the body.

This will cause too much damage overall, so you’ll end up poor quality meat.

11. Ground Squirrel Hunting is Best

It is safer to shoot at a squirrel on the ground. You may have the opportunity to shoot at a squirrel in a tree, but that could be risky. If you happen to shoot a weak branch of a tree, it could come down on you.

Also, the squirrel could fall off the tree and hit the ground hard, causing damage to the meat. Even worse, you could shoot at a squirrel in a tree that may just stay there, especially if the tree branch or ledge is thick or large.

12. Safety Points

Before you go out hunting squirrel, make sure you know the top safety rules for hunters. Some are simple common sense, while others may be new to you. Be sure to take all the precautions you can to stay safe while out in the field, such as:

  • Check your firearms before you go out hunting. Keep the muzzle and chamber of your gun clean, so no debris is in the way.
  • Stay far from the squirrel if possible. Use binoculars to see from a far distance.
  • Avoid hunting near damaged or broken trees. Branches and other parts of the tree—if not the entire tree—could fall off and hurt someone.
  • Point your firearm down to the ground when you are not using it. Make this a habit every time you go hunting.
  • Do not place your finger on the trigger guard area until you are ready to shoot. All it takes is a slight movement to make a gun go off, so be aware of where your finger is at all times.
  • You and everyone else in your hunting party should wear bright clothes. Such outfits make everyone easier to spot.
  • Check how clear your line of fire is before shooting. Do not shoot until you can see the target perfectly.
  • Never go after a moving target. Always go after squirrels that are sitting still so you can aim better.
  • Avoid hunting when it is windy out. Wind can cause your ammo to shift and miss its target. The wind speed is especially important for a .22 caliber rifle, because the bullets are small and lightweight.

13. Patience is a Virtue

The most important aspect of squirrel hunting being patient. Squirrels are highly energetic critters, so they move around a lot. They are quick and hardly ever sit still at certain times of the day. Wait and be careful when you aim at one.

You might have to stay in the same spot for 10 to 30 minutes at a time. But, when you are patient, you will eventually get the shot you want.

The perfect shot will give you the most out of your hunt. If you have never gone, squirrel hunting is a fun activity worth trying.

It’s a thrill to find and hunt squirrels because you get food and fur to use. It is also a outdoor pasttime more people are enjoying nowadays.

Just make sure everything you take with you is safe to use and do it legally. Be safe and enjoy the squirrel hunt by preparing and packing the right gear.

Coyote Hunting 101: Outsmart Any Yote with These Pro Tips

Coyotes are an essential part of North America’s ecosystem  But they can also be a pest.  They’re notorious for eating pets and small livestock.

They’re also numerous in many areas, so their numbers need to be controlled, and the most effective and humane way to do that is by shooting.

Some places even allow coyote hunting year-round to thin the population as these predators are extremely prolific. In times of excess culling, females tend to litter more, so as soon as the population thinning is over, they rapidly bounce back.

The good news for hunters is that coyotes are a challenging and elusive quarry that makes for great sport.  The bad news is that it’s challenging enough that many find it hard to settle on the right techniques.

Plus, there’s a difference between Eastern and Western coyotes, the former having inbred with grey wolves, therefore being larger and having the tendency of roaming in packs and even attacking humans when food is very scarce.

But as tricky as it is, coyote hunting is probably the fastest-growing genre in the USA. The main reason for this is the rise of coyote calling. Coyotes are solitary animals that cover a lot of ground and can be extremely stealthy.

Just staking out a likely spot will probably give you a lot of frustrating days and few or no coyotes.

However, if you imitate the call of a coyote mating cry or the sound of a prey animal such as a raccoon or squirrel in distress, you can easily lure them towards your position.

Picking the Right Weapon for Coyote Hunting

The ideal weapon for coyote depends on the terrain you’ll be hunting over. Most hunters use a rifle with a caliber between .220 and 6mm. If all you have is your deer rifle that will be more than enough to do the job.

Semiautomatics in .223 are becoming very popular for this task.  Some people use high velocity ammunition in their .22LR rifles to do the task, but this is less humane as some coyotes are borderline larger animals.

The .223 is fast becoming the perfect choice because they’re accurate, flat-shooting, have enough punch and they allow a rapid follow-on shot if required.  

Some people like to bow hunt coyote by using a crossbow or a large compound bow (here’s our selection of the best compound bows for hunting) to practice their skills for larger game hunts like deer.

Nine times out of ten a rifle is the ideal weapon if you aren’t into bow hunting, but there is an exception. If you’re going to be calling in dense terrain a shotgun is far better.

In woods or areas with thick brush, and at night, a coyote can get pretty close before you spot it. If one pops up thirty yards away a 12-gauge gives you a much better chance of bringing it down with a single conclusive shot.

A pump gun with a tight choke is the ideal setup; for ammunition, go with magnum loads and No. 4 buckshot. This combination will put a tight, hard hitting pattern into a coyote up to around 35 yards away.

Warming Up & Finding the Right Coyote Hunting Location

The next priority is camouflage, and this area needs to be done up tight. Coyotes are among the wariest North American animals, and they’re easily spooked by anything that’s even slightly out of place.

Camouflage is a must, and make sure any exposed skin is concealed too. Military camouflage cream works, or you can go for gloves and a face veil.

Your scent is also an issue as it can easily give a coyote a hint on your presence if the wind is not working to your advantage. Many seasoned hunters swear by odor-concealing products, like the Hydrocide Extreme when out hunting (check its Amazon price here).

Using compact hunting binoculars or a laser rangefinder will help scope out areas properly and help judge the appropriate distance without getting too close.

Coyotes are very good at spotting movement, so once you’re in position stay as still as possible. If you’re in a sitting position a cushion can make you more comfortable and less likely to fidget.

Keep sound to the minimum that starts as you move into position.  No slamming the car door, or talking on the walkie-talkie, and if you’re hunting with a friend don’t chit-chat as you wait for your prey to show up.

Don’t smoke or chew either. Coyotes will pick up the smell a long way off, and they associate it with people.

When you’re choosing your position come in from downwind, and try to set up with some kind of obstacle behind you. Given the chance coyotes will try to circle round anything that interests them and approach it from downwind, so they can scent it as early as possible.

If you can place yourself with a road or open field behind you that should deter them and help you spot them right away.  If they do get downwind they’ll be on you before you know they’re there.  The surprise of finding a hunter rather than whatever animal they were expecting can trigger aggression.

Once you’ve settled into your position allow anywhere between five and 15 minutes’ soak time before you start calling. That will let any disturbed wildlife settle back down, so an incoming coyote won’t sense anything unexpected. Then you can get down to business.

Many coyote dens are surprisingly located very close to the places with plenty of prey or food. Look for deserted fox dens as coyotes have this habit of making them their own. Dens are usually passed down from one generation to the next.

Coyote Calling: Tips, Gear & Techniques

Coyote Hunting Tips

Calling coyotes is an art, with many hunters needing years to perfect it. You need the right equipment and the right techniques, or you’re still likely to end up with an empty bag.

You also need to take some care. Coyotes are predators, and while they’re much smaller than the closely related gray wolf they might still attack if cornered or threatened.

A big Eastern coyote might weigh close to fifty pounds and can deliver a nasty bite.  They can also carry rabies like many other wild mammals such as raccoons, foxes, and skunks. 

It’s vital for you plan your hunt so that you keep the advantage over the animal at all times. Part of that is picking a suitable weapon.

Some coyote hunters have a single call they swear by.  It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a selection available. That lets you tailor your technique to the location and season.

If you do decide to go with one, a rabbit distress predator call like the Dan Thompson Jackrabbit Call (pictured left, check Amazon price here) is a very popular option. In fact anyone who’s going after coyotes should have one in their arsenal.  

The sound of an injured rabbit in distress should draw in any coyote in the area. Calls mimicking other small prey species can work well too.

If you’re hunting in midwinter be aware that that’s the coyote mating season.  You can take advantage of it. Get a coyote howler and practice mimicking the invitation call of a female in estrus, then sit back and wait for any nearby males to head towards you.

There are a variety of other calls too, some of which work all year round. Coyotes are territorial and will respond to challenges from other males; they also react to the distinctive squeal of a coyote in distress.

They’re very vocal animals, with quite a complex social life, so learn all the sounds they make and use the ones that fit the situation best. But to make your life a lot easier, bring with you a FOXPRO Shockwave predator caller (check Amazon price here).

It has all the distress calls coyotes (and other predators) find hard to resist, and some more.

One example of coyote sociability is the way females without pups will often help another to raise hers. They’re protective of pups, so if you can mimic the distinctive rapid squeal of pups in distress you can get some very good results.

Try this tactic in late winter or early spring, when the pups are usually in the den and the mother will probably be out searching for food.

Whatever call you use, put some feeling into it. Work to make them as realistic as you can; that will make a huge difference to your results.

Also give coyotes something visual to focus on if you’re in open ground – they’ll expect to see something, and it’s a big help if you can draw their attention away from you.

An old stuffed toy will do, but a better option is a battery-powered decoy that moves realistically.

Don’t spend a fortune on one that mimics an exact prey species; as long as it moves like something fuzzy-looking (pictured left, check Amazon price here), ideally with an intermittent motion like a wounded animal, it should grab any coyote’s attention.

Place your decoy upwind of you and in a location where you can get a clear shot at the decoy and the approaches to it.

Some patience is needed for successful calling, so don’t give up if coyotes don’t appear right away; keep calling for at least 20 minutes before relocating.

When you do give up on that spot, back out of it as stealthily as you came in, then move across the wind at least half a mile and set up again. Settle in for a while then repeat the process.

Eventually your calls will reach the ears of a curious coyote, and the hunt is on. Get your technique right and this is a really worthy form of hunting against a smart and resourceful prey, so it’s definitely worth the effort.

Start Prepping for Your Next Coyote Hunting Trip

If you’ve done what we have outlined by picking the right guns/gear, finding the right position and picking the right call/calling techniques, it shouldn’t take long for you to bag your first coyotes out in the wild.

Coyotes are some of the easiest game to get permits for as they run rampant in many areas.

If you stick to our guide that just walked you through how to hunt coyotes, you should end up in great shape on your next outdoor coyote hunting excursion.

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