I admit. I’m not a crack shot when it comes to running game. Whether it’s a dashing whitetail or a dodging coyote, the running shot usually brings my shooting average down. Don’t let it cause depression on your next predator hunt. Try a couple of these exercises to increase your success when predators decide to don their Nikes.
First, ensure your rifle is driving tacks from the bench. Match it up with quality ammo and tweak your shooting until you have a rifle shooting 1-inch groups or less at 100 yards. If your rifle shoots ½-inch groups or less you’re ready for running or long-range.
Next, study the methods of running shot strategy. Basically you’ll discover two schools that most employ to hit a homerun when game dashes. You can either swing through them as you would while hunting flushing game with a shotgun, or match their speed and follow along pulling the trigger when the lead looks correct. Practice will reveal which method works for you. So how do you practice the running shot? Don’t con your buddy into holding a target high behind a berm and running like a madman.
A handful of old tires doctored with plywood in the center is a better idea and it doesn’t ruin friendships. Choose a safe shooting backdrop and have a buddy begin rolling tires. Once the tire is a safe distance from your buddy who has moved safely behind a backstop, let lead fly. For me, the shotgun style works best and I believe that comes from my upbringing in South Dakota’s pheasant country. I start out behind the target and swing through it, depressing the trigger along the way. It’s important to have a steady follow through because when your crosshairs get up to the shoulder or head, you want the gun to go off, yet keep swinging through the target.
Option number two goes this way. When you match the speed of the target you simply pull out in front of the target, again matching the animal’s pace, and pull the trigger when the lead looks correct. How far you lead in either school depends on animal speed, distance, wind gusts and a mathematical equation that would have Einstein scratching his squirrely hair, at least for a minute anyway.
The dog days of summer are the perfect time to prepare your rifle for the fur season ahead. Start at the bench, but quickly move your practice session to the field. A few old tires can add fun and practical experience to your outing. It can also be the motivation to get rid of those old tires stacked by your garden shed. What’s to lose?