After two hours crouched in the shrubbery, sweat dripping, heart racing, you finally have the buck in your sights. Before you take the kill shot, consider these four things. 

Am I ethical?

As ethical hunters, we want to ensure we take a clean shot. Wounding and not recovering an animal is not an option. Will your firearm, distance, and aim ensure that you can harvest the animal as quickly as possible? Is the animal in a recoverable location? These are essential things to take into consideration.

Am I stable?

Being stable and comfortable will ensure you can take a clean shot. Not every hunting situation is alike, so it’s best to get comfortable with a few different shooting positions. Hunters most commonly use prone, standing, or sitting positions. Once in place, ask yourself. Am I comfortable? Am I stable? Rushing can lead to a wayward shot. 

Am I relaxed?

Staying relaxed is one of the hardest things to practice. That’s because you’ll never be able to simulate the rush of endorphins you feel when the bull of your dreams is in your sights. Once in a comfortable and stable position with your target in the crosshairs, ask yourself, is my breathing under control? Am I shaking? How is my grip? Without asking yourself these questions, it can be easy to forget to relax and hastily send a shot off target.

Am I safe?

As any responsible gun owner knows, always ensure you are safe to shoot. Is my line of sight clear? What’s beyond my target? Getting caught up in the moment and forgetting about basic firearm safety can be easy. These little reminders will help avoid that.


Whether shooting rounds at the range or dryfiring at home, visualize different scenarios and practice using a mental checklist. Practicing this routine over and over will engrain the process, so when the time comes, you will automatically run through it, putting your shot perfectly on target.

What’s your pre-shot routine?

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