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Tips on using shooting sticks for elk hunt.
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I'm going on an elk hunt in unit 34 in New mexico. I spoke with the guild and he recommended being proficient at shooting from sticks at a range of 300 to 400 yards. I never feel very stable when shooting from sticks. I bought a tripod trigger style system and I have been practicing some but could use some tips. How do you guys use them while feeling steady when shooting at range?
 
Posts: 484 | Registered: 30 September 2012Reply With Quote
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I’ve shot sitting with sticks for many years on shots that matter. Have learned to hold well enough to kill game cleanly at 3-400 yards no problem. Standing sticks; can’t help you. Would sure prefer that to offhand. Practice practice practice is the answer to about any shooting question. Comfortable position and clean trigger break is what works.


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Posts: 2025 | Location: Where God breathes life into the Amber Waves of Grain and owns the cattle on a thousand hills. | Registered: 20 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Tip? Practice.

I've shot game animals standing on the sticks out to 300 yards but at 400 yards, go prone off a bipod if possible. If not, sitting with a short set of sticks is very solid for me.


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Posts: 11901 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Picture of Charlie64
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.

On those longer shots off sticks (RHS) I often rest my right elbow on the PH's shoulder or if not possible a tree or similar giving me a 3 point rest.

Otherwise +1 on sitting down shots.

.


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Posts: 1648 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Don't forget about dry firing.
 
Posts: 16525 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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By practicing with sitting stix, resting elbows on each leg, I've been able to consistently take game out to 300 meters. I can't give an opinion on the standing stix. It took plenty of practice to be able to consistently use the stix with accuracy - and I still practice with them before a hunt. I also agree strongly with p dog's advice about dry firing (centerfire only). Finally, I'm a fan of practicing with a full size .22 LR. Consistently knocking down the tiny chickens at 50 yards off the sticks taught me a lot about stability, breathing and trigger control.
 
Posts: 104 | Location: Delaware | Registered: 15 January 2009Reply With Quote
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Ok, 34 is about 60 miles from my house. Bill/Oregon lives 10 miles from there.

It is heavily timbered with Ponderosa pine on the west side. The east side is more open and so is the foothills.

It is not overly vertical, once you are on top of the mountain. Though there are parts of the unit that are. It is much less flat than the Gila.

I carry a 5 pound Bogen Manfrotto tripod with a Hog Saddle on it. It is a lot of weight to carry, but I have made 400 yard shots on game with it.

A regular set of shooting sticks will not give you that level of accuracy.
 
Posts: 6931 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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I will try three points of contact and sitting and see how that goes. I'm going to practice all day tomorrow.
 
Posts: 484 | Registered: 30 September 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by p dog shooter:
Don't forget about dry firing.


+2


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Posts: 7351 | Location: Arizona and off grid in CO | Registered: 28 July 2004Reply With Quote
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I carry a set of sticks when I am out west the hunting prairies.

I also have put a pi-pod to good use.
 
Posts: 16525 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Picture of Cajun1956
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Jim with African Sporting Creations sells 3-piece Super Compact Shooting Sticks.

Use the top section alone to shoot from the prone position, connect the top section to the bottom ones to shoot from the kneeling position, or use all three sections to shoot from the standing position.

Their featherweight model weighs approximately 2.5 lbs.

A little expensive but definitely a quality product manufactured by a company that is client focused.


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Posts: 1940 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 20 June 2012Reply With Quote
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I have killed 10 elk in Unit 34 over the last 20 years. The furthest that I have had to shoot was about 150 yards...
 
Posts: 331 | Registered: 27 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Picture of Aspen Hill Adventures
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I'll take a tree to lean on as a rest over sticks if available but I do have a tripod type of folding/collapsible sticks from Cabela's that work well. Still prefer a tree though. Much more solid.


~Ann



 
Posts: 15742 | Location: The LOST Nation | Registered: 27 March 2001Reply With Quote
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Get yourself a set of viper flex shooting sticks from Denmark. 300-400yard shots become very easy with practise!
 
Posts: 265 | Location: Limpopo, South Africa | Registered: 13 November 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Aspen Hill Adventures:
I'll take a tree to lean on as a rest over sticks if available but I do have a tripod type of folding/collapsible sticks from Cabela's that work well. Still prefer a tree though. Much more solid.


Where I hunt in northern Wis it is very heavily forested. I don't think I leaned/rested my rifle against a tree.

More then twice in 52 years of hunting and a couple hundred deer.

Good idea but there never seems one available in the right spot at the right time.

To move to a tree many times would mean the deer spotting you and taking off.

I did use one to shoot my first elk but it was 297 yards away and movement wasn't that critical.
 
Posts: 16525 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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I've carried sitting shooting sticks for years. I can't remember the name right now but they are essentially like aluminum tent polls that fold out with a flick of the wrist. They weigh about as much as a deck of cards. Steady stix maybe? They work well for me in the mountains.

I never understood those heavy bipods attached to the rifle. It seems everybody wants a lightweight rifle then adds pounds of bipod and observatory size scope on it. Well it ain't lightweight no more. If I felt the need to shoot prone I have a pack to rest on. I also don't get those who think they 'need' to shoot at extended ranges. Practice is fine but often being a better stalker is a better solution for all envolved.


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Posts: 2328 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Charlie64:
.

On those longer shots off sticks (RHS) I often rest my right elbow on the PH's shoulder or if not possible a tree or similar giving me a 3 point rest.

Otherwise +1 on sitting down shots.

.


This advice may be the most important of all. If you can get another rest or anchor point with the back of rifle, or at least with your elbow on trigger hand side, you’ll find shooting accurately off sticks to be much easier
 
Posts: 3172 | Location: California | Registered: 01 January 2009Reply With Quote
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I made a set of two legged sticks and practiced on them a lot. When I was fairly comfortable with them I went to three legs. That made three feel really steady. I found reactive targets seemed to help also. Plastic jugs of water! It's a mess to pick up the pieces but the instant gratification was way better than just punching paper! Don't over look a good shooting sling. A little practice with natural point of aim and breathing will have you rock solid in prone!
 
Posts: 492 | Location: South Central Texas | Registered: 29 August 2014Reply With Quote
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Picture of Buglemintoday
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I have the same set that Cougarz is speaking of. Stoney Point Steady Stix I believe.

I have the version for sitting and the version for standing. I love how light they are. They add very little weight to a day pack.

With that being said, I haven't practiced with either out to 400 yards and I think the shooting sticks that were offered here on AR in the classifieds (for 175$?) that support the rear of the gun as well may be a better choice for a longer shot.

I did bring the sitting shooting sticks with me on my Colorado elk hunts, but never planned on shooting past 250y.
 
Posts: 3071 | Location: Permian Basin | Registered: 16 December 2006Reply With Quote
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Picture of crshelton
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What Fjold said ++++++

Practice, ,,

For what it is worth, my two longest shots at game with my M70 .308 were sitting, both on a forward slope and both connected.
300 yards on a mule deer and 400 on a whitetail.
Most of my shots are under 200 and anything less than 250 is a chip hot for my rifle. This Pronghorn was taken in 2019 at 235 ; standing with a rest.

Oh yes, remember to practice.


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Posts: 1873 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 25 May 2009Reply With Quote
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I have no use for sticks, I can find a rock or tree if I need a rest, but I shoot a lot off hand, if you can shoot decent off hand you don't need stix.. Packing stix around is just that much more crap to carry. A rifle, binocs. chewing gum, a Hershey bar and a stick of jerky has been my choice for 60 years, Nobody had sticks until fairly recently. Still don't see many in the US where I hunt anyway, its an Afrian thing but thats probably changing as I see them for sale in most sporting goods stores.

African phs, refused me the use of sticks, I missed every shot, so they made me shoot off hand and that worked great. I just never could get the hang of shooting over sticks....

Even so I recommend lots of off hand practice in other words learn to shoot..The sticks may come in handy as you age..


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Posts: 37192 | Location: Twin Falls, Idaho | Registered: 04 June 2000Reply With Quote
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I hunt with a Hog Saddle and a Bogen tripod.

The combination weighs 5 pounds, but I have shot game at 400 yards with it sitting.

The hog saddle is a rifle clamp, and the weight to the bipod allows for fairly precise shooting off the tripod even when standing. I have sighted in many big bores this way.
 
Posts: 6931 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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I carry in my pack a set of light weight fold up cross sticks I bought for those rare times I need a support in an odd place. Most time I dont use anything. I have used cross sticks made with bamboo for 30 years when setting in one location but stalking I carry the fold ups.


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Posts: 377 | Registered: 28 August 2014Reply With Quote
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I use cross sticks of bamboo that fold together and then used for walking stick. Very light and allow for a great set up on a deer stand. Helps threading a shot through an opening in thick cover.. often if I am just setting up a stand to use at a later time I will cut two sticks and tie them together and then I need to carry no sticks but still have my shooting aid.
 
Posts: 718 | Registered: 25 February 2009Reply With Quote
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I don't really know much about hunting / shooting elk...but just get an adjustable Harris Bi-Pod, that's all you really need.


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Posts: 4849 | Location: Boise, Idaho | Registered: 05 March 2009Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Aaron Neilson:
I don't really know much about hunting / shooting elk...but just get an adjustable Harris Bi-Pod, that's all you really need.


I have shot 10's of thousands of rounds off bi-pods at P-dogs. They are a great aid.

But they have there limitations.

The last four mule deer I have shot one was off the bi-pod at 305 yards the other 3 were shot standing.

As the sage and limited time did not allow the bi-pod to be deployed.

The last elk I shot was shot using a tree at 299 yards. Couldn't have used the bi-pod.

Sticks are very handy and a useful shooting aid. Plus a good strong pair make a good walking aid also.
 
Posts: 16525 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Aaron Neilson:
I don't really know much about hunting / shooting elk...but just get an adjustable Harris Bi-Pod, that's all you really need.




I actually did a spit take when I saw that.

Glad it was a dry bite.

Kind of like John Elway not knowing how to throw a football.
 
Posts: 6931 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Aaron Neilson:
I don't really know much about hunting / shooting elk...but just get an adjustable Harris Bi-Pod, that's all you really need.


Or let Joyce shoot it for you.


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Posts: 7058 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 05 February 2008Reply With Quote
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Basically shooting sticks are nothing but a rifle rest.

Use it as best as you can.

Nothing to it.


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Posts: 54381 | Location: Dubai, UAE | Registered: 08 January 1998Reply With Quote
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Hey you guys, Remember when we were young we could hit a pop can all day at 70-80 yds off hand with iron sights? Now I need sticks to do it at 50yds.
 
Posts: 2589 | Location: Kamloops, BC | Registered: 09 November 2015Reply With Quote
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Picture of MacD37
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quote:
Originally posted by Saeed:
Basically shooting sticks are nothing but a rifle rest.

Use it as best as you can.

Nothing to it.


Right!!! I have used snap on tripods hooked to the forward sling stud on a lot of hunting rifles, to use when shooting from a prone position for very long range shots. However I have often used a rest by putting my for arm against a tree or rock for some distance to steady my hold on target. But my most often rest is sitting with each of my elbows resting on each knee from a sitting position where possible. In country like mountain or canyon slopes I like to use a walking stick that was the center bloom stalk from a Yucca plant. Those things weigh almost nothing, and work for steady walking on steep slopes and and will steady my forehand for long off hand shots where I must shoot from a standing position.
The key is to all this is practice with what ever you use, and most will work with the amount of practice you work with. Like anything else, PRACTICE IS THE KEY To SUCCESS!

.................................. old MacD37


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Posts: 14523 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: 08 June 2000Reply With Quote
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Picture of Use Enough Gun
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quote:
Basically shooting sticks are nothing but a rifle rest.

Use it as best as you can.

Nothing to it.



What Saeed said. I won't hunt anywhere without adjustable shooting sticks. I use the Trigger Sticks. Longest shot off of them for me while standing up was 430 yards on a Vaal Rhebok while hunting with PH Charl van Rooyen. While sitting longest shot was 510 yards in Mexico on Coues Deer while hunting with former Borderland Adventures Guide Vince Martinez. Both times shooting my MG Arms 325 WSM. They do work.
 
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