Hide Or Seek
Air Gunner|June 2020
Peter Yeats explains the importance of cover when hunting; a hide can increase your success
Peter Yeats

Carefully making your way around your permission, or permissions if you’re lucky, seeking your quarry, is a real pleasure, although it is the most challenging air rifle hunting technique, by far. It provides the excitement of a challenge, as well as the intense satisfaction of getting it right, and following the mantra, ‘move a little – look a lot’ is a good starting point, but much practice is required to master the environment. Until you hone your skills to a high standard, your quarry is likely to spot you first – after all, you’re in their backyard and a threat – but that certainly doesn’t mean you have to forego success as you acquire experience. Knowing your quarry and where it’s likely to be gives you an advantage, and static concealment will provide shooting opportunities. It’s all about not being noticed, and goes beyond camouflage clothing, gloves and veils.

When stalking, pay very close attention, during those still moments of intense observation and concentration, to any fallen foliage or branches that will provide cover, or large trees that you can keep between you and your quarry. Move slowly from one to the other – in effect, from natural hide to natural hide. If you should find one of these to be a particularly effective location, then develop the position by encouraging the natural vegetation to thicken your cover. If this isn’t possible, build up the cover with naturally fallen branches or twigs. Don’t be tempted to cut leafy branches because they will become unnaturally limp and discoloured, and will stand out to your quarry, rendering the whole process ineffective or even counter-productive.

HIDE AND SEEK

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