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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2011 Digital Edition - Page 38

J.D. Jones HANDGUNHUNTING TIPS, TECHNIQUES AND POLITICALINCORRECTNESS Night Ops f you are an experienced deer hunter, reading this column there isn’t a hell of lot I can tell you. Inexperienced guys? Practice shooting a lot, and not just from a bench. Use at least a .357 Magnum, but not so much power you can’t handle it. Put in a lot of time hunting because if you aren’t out there, nothing is going to happen. Different areas call for different hunting tactics. Hunting around the world often is quite different from anything here. Some of it is done entirely at night. In some hot dry areas, animals don’t come out The shooter’s view of the Eotech shows the easy-to-find red circle/dot. to feed until the dew wets the vegetation. That often means 11 p.m. A hundred miles from that area, tropical jungle may be the only place to hunt, and Bad stuff for bad big guys! This 10" often one of the hunters carries an auto battery on his back to power a Encore with Bausch & Lomb heavy powerful floodlight. In either case, insects may be horrible, requiring duty scope is rugged and works well a mask over the mouth and nose. In Northern Australia, the flies make using spotlight or headlights where legal. life miserable for at least a couple hours each day. I have a photo of one side of my wife’s hat, showing over 200 flies on it. I Night Hunting T he dark doesn’t necessarily make hunting and shooting easier. Yep, sometimes there is that “doe in the headlights” shot, but more likely the shooting may be more difficult and the animals spookier. Sights are harder to see, and if the light is in the wrong position, impossible. Scopes, particularly with illuminated reticules, are great if the light handler knows what he is doing. Red dot sights? Some use a mirror to reflect the dot and its impossible to see anything behind it. Personally I prefer the EoTech if I’m not using a scope. The “dot” is EoTech sight under the Bushnell name. very small, its brightness adjustable, the circle around it is quickly picked out, it uses AA batteries and is literally bulletproof. They just don’t break. Handling a gun and flashlight presents it own set of problems. Muzzle flash has never been a problem for me. It is often quite bright but has never impaired my vision, enough I’ve noticed it. If the animal doesn’t drop in view, following a blood trail is sometimes impossible. On one occasion, while hunting from an 8-wheeled amphibious vehicle in about a foot or two of water, I shot a deer standing beside some small bamboo. Often the bullet is visible in the spotlight and this one went true. The deer jumped forward and to its left into the bamboo. When we got close to it we could see the bamboo thicket was only a few feet wide and the driver crashed through it, unexpectedly into a very swift moving river. We were carried downstream until the driver got the rig under control and found a spot to get out of the river. In this kind of territory a good GPS is essential equipment. That means one tested in that area for accuracy and reliability. Once in South America when my group was testing six different units, only two worked. In Australia I felt it was getting late in the day and asked the guide where he was going? He replied we were heading back to camp. I told him we didn’t have enough gas to go around the world. That particular GPS located our camp about 50 miles from where it actually was. own the t niGht ? hardly. 38 hermal imaging and night vision are legal for some things in some states. My experience with it is very limited but many clients use it. It seems in order to get good serviceable equipment an investment of at least $4K is necessary. Night hunting will provide some interesting experiences. I got hooked on it when I was a kid with a .410 hunting rabbits on bright moonlight nights when there was snow on the ground. Once in Africa on a bright night I found a black mass that didn’t quite look right. Quietly cocking the .54-caliber T/C Scout, I raised it and lit-up the SureFire to reveal a really huge Cape Buffalo about 15 feet in front of me casually chewing. The angle was perfect for a back of the head shot. I didn’t shoot. It would have been just too easy. Just listening to a pride of lions feed in the dark an hour later gave me shivers up my spine. * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2011

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