8 shooting lessons from my son’s hunting game

As I mentioned earlier this week my 8 yo has become fascinated by shooting. He is watching the Outdoor Channel every chance he gets and even got me hooked on a game called “Deer Hunter 2014.”

So far this free game has been downloaded to a Kindle HD, an iPad, an iPod Touch and my Galaxy Note 2 and probably gets played more than is healthy but it is allowing me to teach him a little more about shooting so that is good right?

Lesson 1: Bring Enough Gun

Like any game you start with a relatively weak gun and earn credits by playing that allow you to buy better guns. As the game advances the game gets bigger and you need bigger guns to bring them down or you need to shoot them twice. The game even hobbles game that you don’t kill.

I may be a softy, but even in the game I don’t like seeing an injured animal and have not completed a few hunts wasting time trying to drop an injured animal instead of just making a good shot on another one.

It also does a decent job of rewarding the player for picking the right gun between a rifle and shotgun.

One issue though is that it isn’t a hunting game… it is a poaching game. There is no penalty for using an elephant gun on a small deer and there is no over penetration.

Lesson 2: Have a Plan

There are many hunts when you have to shoot multiple targets and nothing starts running until you fire your 1st shot. This gives you the opportunity to plan out your next target and even rehearse it before you go. This is similar to the competitive shooter observing a situation and thinking about it like a stage.

If you are the initial victim and didn’t see the attack starting maybe it doesn’t apply, but if you are witness to the start of an active shooter situation… maybe it does.

Lesson 3: Perspective Matters

While there is little left to right movement available, it is required to see game that is hidden/obscured by the landscape. This is a good reminder that threats (or game) can be closer than they originally appear and that familiarizing yourself with the environment is a good thing.

Sometimes a small movement can permit you to get eyes on 2 or more animals to facilitate a faster transition (ties in with making a plan).

Lesson 4: Shooting Moving Targets

Shooting a moving target can be difficult, but there are 2 techniques that can make it easier.

  1. Tracking – This involves holding the sights on the target and following the animal.
  2. Ambush – This is placing the sights in the animals path and breaking the shot when it crosses the sight picture.

On a touch pad tracking can be tricky if it requires a lot of movement, but it is in real life too. If game is running directly away or directly towards you, they might as well be standing still. However if they are running past you to either side the effective movement is huge. Also a target that starts and stops can be difficult because you are always trying to reacquire it.

Ambush is easier to set up but its major drawback is that you are limited by the field of view and miss an animal that changes directions outside of your field of view.

Note: The game doesn’t require lead and this really messed me up at the beginning.

Lesson 5: It is possible to have too much magnification

The biggest issue with high magnification scopes can be distortion, but this is a game so the biggest issue field of view and losing track of game.

This can be improved by practicing your mount to get you directly on target, by mounting onto a feature line that you can follow to the target or by mounting at a lower magnification and then increasing the magnification once you are on target… but having a scope with too high of a low magnification is often worse than not having enough.

Lesson 6: Awareness while manipulating weapon

One skill that is critical in this game, competition or any dynamic shooting is the ability to do 2 things at once. The only way to be fast enough to make many of the shots is to acquire the target and prepare the mount while the game is cycling the weapon.

Lesson 7: Understanding the required sight picture

This doesn’t work for rifles, but the game does permit you to shoot without a sight picture for the shotgun using stadia lines on the screen. This isn’t nearly as accurate, but it does permit you have a much better field of view and place rounds on target faster.

This is critical for fast moving game and game birds in the game and is much closer to the real experience shooting a shotgun.

Lesson 8: Animal Anatomy

On some hunts the game specifies lung, heart or brain shots and has an “infrared” option that shows the internal organs. Aiden can now identify the kill zones on many North American game animals.

So it is just a game… and can eat up ALOT of time and data, but like all things you can learn something from it (or at least be reminded of lessons you have already learned) if you pay attention.

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