The first thing you should do after taking a hunter safety course is to go to the nearest shooting range and ask for help in getting to know your rifle. The rifle you choose for hunting is a debate that is never brought to a single conclusion …
So, let’s say you will hunt deer, bison, moose and caribou … I have shot moose with many calibres but, once again, it’s debatable which rifle you should use. Personally, I chose a 30.06-calibre rifle and use only 180-grain bullets. Sited in at 25 yards and always using 180-grain bullets (the best combination), the bullet crosses the point of aim at 25 yards, considering trajectory, and is one-inch high at 100 yards, two-and-one-half inches at 150 yards, and right on the line of sight at 200 yards. At 200 yards, it will still maintain 20/20 foot pounds energy—and that is killing power. It is the two best matchups in rifle and bullet grain for all-round hunting.
Next is Lisa’s (my wife’s) mod. 70 Winchester 270-calibre rifle (I have killed moose with a 270, with one bullet). The matching grain is the 130-grain (all-round). Your foot pound energy at 200 yards is 1920. Even at 300 yards, the 270-calibre, using the 130 grain, will have 1550 foot pounds killing power. Of course, there are other calibres, but we are not talking overkill or insufficient killing power, only all-round killing power.
I strongly believe every hunter should have to qualify, finally, at a shooting range. It’s great to know about trajectory, bullet weights, killing power of bullets … but, in the final analysis, the actual shot (in the right place) is what makes a hunter and not a wanna-be hunter.
I practised for two years, on target ranges, and finally went moose hunting and killed my first moose with a bow and arrow, with the moose travelling just 60 yards after being hit.
This kill is registered in the Pope & Young Records of North America. When I was a conservation officer, back in Ontario, I found far too many deer that had been wounded and wasted. Of course, hunter safety has improved greatly in their mandatory courses, but in the long run it is the person pulling the trigger at the right time for a positive kill.