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The Roving Sportsman…

Using Time Wisely

The corona virus pandemic, along with all of its resultant restrictions and behavioral guidelines, doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. As the Federal, State and local governmental agencies scramble to come up with a vaccine and control the current spread of the virus, we, as individuals, can do little outside of our own small world regarding the worldwide, countrywide or statewide spread. We can only do what is best for us an individual or what is best for our “at home” family unit. Beyond that, we can only hope that the government will do “the right things” – somewhat of a scary thought! So, let’s focus today on what we can do to improve things within our own household to better our lives and help insure our own and our family’s safety and health. Beyond the “social distancing” and stay-at-home guidelines, there are a lot of things we can do to use this unprecedented time at home in a wise fashion.

Make or update an inventory of your more important or costly sporting equipment. Gun theft is an all too common occurrence these days. Whether it occurs at your residence, while traveling on a hunting trip or when attending a sporting event, having the stolen item in your detailed inventory will go a long way toward recovering it. Firearm listing should include serial number, make and model, barrel length, caliber or gauge, and any custom or distinguishing features. Date, place and price of purchase can also be helpful. Any other costly sporting gear, such as pricier fishing, camping or photography items can also be included in the inventory, along with their detailed description in case of an insurance claim or attempt to recover from having been stolen. Photographs can be essential to include, along with a photograph of any receipt or bill of sale. The inventory can be kept as a printed document or as a digital file and kept at your home in a place away from where your firearms are kept. A second copy of the inventory should be kept in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or relative.

We have certainly all heard the saying that “practice makes perfect.” With this in mind, there are numerous activities we can engage in during this stay at home time to better our performances in the things we enjoy doing.

“Dry practice” with firearm handling will go a long way to being smoother and more proficient, as well as improve your accuracy. For shotgunners, mounting your shotgun from the ready position to the shooting position over and over will create muscle memory and a much smoother final mount, which will result in greater accuracy. A friend of mine once asked Vincent Hancock, a world-famous Olympic shotgun shooter, if he practices dry mounting his shotgun at home and, if so, how many times. His response was that he “does it every single day and does so 100 times per day.” That is what makes him the champion that he is.

For handgunners who are interested in maintaining proficiency at the range in presenting and aiming your handgun at targets, dry practice is essential and can be safely practiced at home. After properly clearing the chamber and magazine, you can safely work on drawing the weapon from the holster, presenting it to “the ready position” and consistently aiming it in the correct fashion and following up with the proper reholstering of the gun.

Whether you are a fly fisherman or prefer bait or spinning tackle, practicing your presentation during this time away from work will really aid in making accurate casts to a rising trout or feeding bass. For this, you might want to step outside however! Snip off the hook of the fly you practice with or use a similar weighted sinker when bait casting or spin casting. Use anything from a paper plate to a football or soccer ball as your target and vary your distances as you work on your proficiency.

No matter how good you may think you are at calling turkeys, you can always benefit from brushing up on your calling techniques! Box calls and slate calls seem to be the easiest for most hunters to use, with the mouth calls being the more difficult. But, practicing with each of these calls will help your rhythm, volume control and ability to duplicate the varied sounds that live turkeys make. You may be banished to the basement by your out-of-patience spouse, or asked to take a hike to the nearest park or woodlot, but dedicating time to work on your calling technique with various calls will result in greater success when actually hunting.

Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, the stay at home restrictions will be lifted and we will find ourselves back at work with little time to do the things that have been suggested, but, in the meantime, use your time wisely, and it the interim, be safe, be smart and stay healthy!

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