Use a Rest to Kill More Predators

You zero your scope on a bench but try to freehand a shot in the field on a predator. Don't do that. Use a rest in the field, too.

Use a Rest to Kill More Predators

Al Morris with Foxpro Hunting TV uses a Bog-Pod tripod rest for his rifle while hunting coyotes. 

More than 20 years ago I had a great weekend turkey hunting with the legendary Col. Tom Kelly, author of "Tenth Legion," "Better on a Rising Tide" and other books revered by those of us with the springtime affliction of chasing gobblers.

Kelly was, at the time, leading the annual Westervelt turkey school in which hunters attended to learn about turkeys, hunting, swap tales and tactics, eat well, and imbibe in a little brown water each evening. Kelly's wisdom was soaked up, stories and strategies detailed and explained by all, and if things worked out we'd have a gobbler of several hanging by the lodge at lunchtime.

Kelly is now 93, lives in south Alabama and when he can still goes afield for doves or other game. His best days have passed of deftly, quickly and quietly scuttling around a swamp in the morning darkness to listen, or to do the same to the edge of a hardwood thicket well before the last star disappears. You can learn more about his past, and can purchase some great reading material, at his website.

Two cool things about that weekend stick with me, among others from the overall experience. One is that Kelly had a paddle-box call the size of a loaf of bread that made an incredibly horrible screeching sound. Turkey hunters often say that real hens sound ugly. This box call would've been the ugly hen that fell out of the tree and hit every limb on the way down.

However, Kelly said he knew of the history and it had called a gobbler within range in the late 1800s, during the 1900s, and he planned to do the same after 2000 to cap the trifecta. I asked him once about it at the NWTF Convention and he said he did it. Pretty cool.

Get To the Point, Man

The other neat thing, and this is something all predator hunters can do, that Kelly did is to insist that I use a gun rest after we got set up. He had one that he carried made of length of finger-sized river cane with a Y-shaped rest stuck in one end.

Find a tree, he said, get set up and then put your gun on the rest between your legs. If it's on your knee you'll wiggle and fidget. If it's on your lap or the ground, you may miss a shot. If you lose the rest or it breaks, you haven't wasted money. Get another cane and Y-branch, carve it with the pocket knife every red-blooded American man should carry, and you'll be set.

He's right. A rest is invaluable for certain hunting situations, including for predators. If you've watched any of the Foxpro Hunting TV videos with Al Morris on the gun, he uses a Bog Pod tripod rest. It's stable, adjustable, quiet, light, swivels and is a great tool to have in the field. Watch the video at the bottom of the story to see it in action.

I have a Bog  Pod tripod and like it a lot for predators. It also works with a crossbow or rifle for deer hunting in a blind or on the ground. As you might expect it's super for kids to help them gain confidence and make a good shot. For turkeys, I prefer to go lighter with something like Kelly made from the woods.

I've also used the Pole Cat shooting sticks, including the monopod and tripod. Primos has short and long models; the short one is great if you're sitting on the ground. If you want one with more features, the Primos Trigger Stik has a well-designed head that swivels, pivots and works with camera gear.

If you want something that offers a bit more rigidity and security, the Ulfhednar Deadlock clamp might garner a look. Based in Norway, Ulfhednar products are designed for tough use afield in severe conditions. The Deadlock clamp moves easily, locks securely, helps absorb vibration, grips your rifle forearm or guard securely, and the head's threads allow direct mounting on most standard tripods or ball heads.

Why Do They Work?

We shoot our long guns off a bench at the rang to zero a scope and dial in ammo. Yet, in the field we want to be Timmy Toughguy and freehand the shots or make do with something off our knee while leaning against a tree.

I get that some people don't like carrying a lot of gear in the field. I'm a minimalist, too. But using something that can help you make a quicker, cleaner kill on game by ensuring a good shot simply is the smart thing to do.

In the field we get excited when we see a coyote or bobcat, or a deer or turkey. Our heart rate increases. Adrenaline starts coursing through our bodies. As mentioned above, if we're propping a rifle or shotgun on our knee all kind of things can happen and several are bad.

A gun rest helps. Whether it's a tripod or one you make yourself, use a rest and make better shots. It's that simple.

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