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HUNTING TIPS

 

Alpine Hunting Firearm Recommendations:

Try and obtain a rifle with reasonably priced ammunition. (If you join the Alpine you will be undertaking a lot of practice shooting). A military round like .308 WIN is great on the range, as ex-army ammo is both cheap and available.

When buying a rifle scope get the best scope you can't afford! We recommend spending nearly as much on your scope and mounts as you spend on a standard commercial hunting rifle.

Hunting is an expensive sport when you factor in the costs of safe storage, fuel, licenses, 4WD vehicles, specialist equipment and memberships etc. So look for bargains and 2nd hand quality. Many dealers have excellent second hand rifles and bargains can often be found in the SSAA magazine private sale section or at the various SSAA ranges.

When hunting trophy or game animals don't ever use second rate ammunition. We also recommend that you use projectiles suited to the game you are chasing.

Most open hunting is best done at 6 power magnification and a fixed power scope is more reliable and accurate than a variable scope. Stay well clear of even moderately priced variable scopes. However, if you can afford quality, a variable scope is ideal for sambar hunting and other thick scrub hunting. We have found that the ideal close range shooting power is 4 power magnification. An ideal scope being an expensive 3 to 9 variable.

Acquire a good quality gun case that will ensure that your rifle and scope is not knocked around or damaged when you are travelling.

If possible get a reasonably light firearm as carrying a heavy lump of steel up mountains causes significant pain. We recommend stainless steel for weather protection and ease of cleaning.

If you hunt Sambar Deer, most of your shots will be standing shots and many will also be running shots. Practice shooting standing up in a non-rested position. (Our Club has numerious shooting events at Malabar that facilitate hunting practice. Come along as a visitor and give it a go).

If you are going to hunt Deer in Victoria, get yourself a blaze orange cammo cap. (It is a real problem when the human body is hit by a bullet designed to harvest deer!)

Alpine Hunting Calibre Recommendations:

As a guide the following information is provided for new shooters. Obviously, everybody has personal preferences and second hand purchasers are best to look for a bargain in the first instance. However, the following works for us:

If you are interested in regular target shooting, meat hunting, hunting outside NSW, and you are NOT interested in reloading, then we strongly recommend that you purchase a .308 WIN. (When deciding on the rifle consider magazine capacity, weight, finish and cost).

If you are only interested in hunting in NSW, (or you are happy to hire a Club Rifle when you are hunting in Victoria) then we strongly recommend that you purchase a .243 WIN or a 7MM-08 Remington or an equivalent. (A .243 WIN has a 6mm projectile in a resized .308 WIN cartridge, a 7MM-08 REM has a 7mm projectile in the same).

If you can afford two rifles then we recommend you acquire a .22 Magnum and a .308 WIN or 7MM-08 Remington (or for NSW only hunters a .243 WIN).

Once you have a couple of years hunting and target shooting experience and if you wish to become a regular large trophy hunter and or a regular Alpine Sambar hunter and or an international hunter then we recommend you acquire a .338 Win Mag or equivalent.

Why do we recommend a .308 WIN?

A .308 WIN is a proven medium game rifle and it is a good calibre for hunters new to Sambar Deer Hunting. (Sambar Deer being Australia's premier game animal.) A well placed suitable projectile from a .308 WIN will on most days bring down any sized animal. Although not ideal, it can also be used to shoot both Roos and Buffalo.

In addition, it is great for trophy pigs, all but the largest deer and large vermin like donkeys, and wild horses etc. The only downside to the .308 WIN is that it has considerably more recoil than a .243 WIN and it is not as flat shooting. 

When acquiring a rifle consider that muzzle blast (noise) effects a shooter's ability to avoid flinching. Flinching is the main cause of missed shots. If you are silly enough not to use ear muffs in the field, avoid short barrels, muzzle brakes and magnum rounds that will certainly send you part deaf very quickly.

Make sure that you mount your scope with enough eye relief to prevent a recoiling rifle smashing your eye with the edge of your scope.

Remember that within reason accuracy is more important than the power of a projectile. A projectile needs to strike an animal in the correct place to 'knock it down'. The knock down comes from the lack of blood in the brain, 'winding', or a direct hit to the brain, spine or support bone structure, not the force of the bullet. Animals (and people) hardly feel a bullet - its power is less than the recoil on your shoulder! Unless rapid blood loss results, bullets only cause long term infection.

Velocity is important to ensure a bullet expands and thus makes more of a wound channel and resulting blood loss, however, the main benefit of velocity is that a faster bullet has a flatter trajectory and thus is easier to shoot accurately.

Anybody that thinks the force of any bullet (even a .50 Cal) will knock a balanced medium size animal or person over needs either talk to a physics teacher, stop watching Hollywood movies or feel a shot from a firearm whilst wearing a vest!

In summary, we recommend that hunters practice accurate shooting. Clearly, bullet placement is the key to successful and humane hunting.

Accurate shooting in the field is harder than on the range. Regularly simulate hunting conditions at practice by doing 20 push ups etc. & then shooting.

WHY DO WE RECOMMEND A .22 MAGNUM?

The Magnum has at least an extra 40 metres range over the .22 Long Rifle. .22 Magnum solids are ideal for shooting foxes, hares and rabbits without significant tissue damage. This aids in the quality of the skin/eating. Competent shooters are also able to head shoot goats and roos under spotlight. A .22 Magnum is also reasonable on your ears and has no recoil, thus being especially good for young shooters.

WHY DO WE RECOMMEND A .243 WIN (OR EQUIVALENT)?

As an all round NSW hunting catridge it is second to none. A .243 WIN is ideal for shooting pigs, roos, goats, foxes, and most deer (in NSW). It is also an effective target shooting round. Its recoil is slight, its projectiles are good in windy conditions, it is extremely flat shooting and it is reasonable on your ears.

What about projectiles?

In summary it is all about trade-offs. Hollow points are the most accurate. Solids penetrate the best. Speer point boat tails are the most efficient. Round noses are the most deadly (at a reasonable cost). You need a projectile that can hit the target, pentrate to the vitals and mushroom to cause the biggest wound channel.

What is the worst bullet?   The one that misses!

Confused about which rifle to purchase? Join our Club to find out what best suits you.

FUNDAMENTAL ALPINE TIPS

Make sure that your range rifle has a four or more round capacity and purchase a second magazine.

Always hunt downwind of game. Animals have a keen sense of smell and hunting upwind of game is a waste of time and effort.

Which two colours are like beacons to colour blind animals such as Deer? Join our club to find out.

Eliminate UV brightness from your clothing by washing hunting clothes in specialist hunting cleaners or the secret Alpine formula. Want to learn about the inexpensive Alpine formula? Join our Club today.

Hunting boots should be supple, light and have flexible soles. Avoid heavy boots that are too noisy. Want suitable quality specialist hunting boots? Join our Club for supplier discounts.

Reduce the weight of your daypack to the absolute minimum. This reduces noise and conserves energy. (It is very difficult to stalk silently when you are exhausted or carrying too much weight.) Want specialist survival fire starting equipment at discount rates? Join our Club today.

Use natural scents to hide body odour and especially avoid aftershaves and deodorants. (Daily washing is highly recommended.) Want to find out about an inexpensive product that works in Australia? Join the Alpine.

When walking and especially when stalking attempt to reduce the typical human walking sound signature. Vary movements and frequently stop moving. If you accidentally crack a stick etc. freeze and watch for spooked game.

When walking in cover focus at the extremities of your vision. Take another 8 steps and then refocus on the new extremity. This technique picks up a lot of game.

Learn to read spoor (game prints and droppings) and track individual animals. Anybody with keen eyesight can become a good tracker.

When hunting in a remote place hire a satellite phone for safety.

Want to learn about techniques that reduce the number of your large game lost trophies? Join the Alpine.

Acquired night vision equipment yet havn't been able to get results when attempting to cull feral animals? Join the Alpine and learn the best techniques.

Want access to the best guides and best professional experts? Join the Alpine.

Want to learn how to dress, process and cook game animals? Join the Alpine.

What is the biggest mistake reloaders can make when selecting a Sambar bullet? Join the Alpine and we will tell you.

Want to learn the best techniques to prepare trophies? Join the Alpine.

Please join us in the field to pick up other effective and less known tips plus share your knowledge with people interested in your sport.

If you wish to join our Club feel free to visit us at Anzac Range Malabar on a Saturday.  RSVP Mark Guest on (04)1924 1031 (after reviewing this website). 

WHY LARGE CALIBRE RIFLES?

In reality more Australian Buffalo have been shot (culled) with .308 WIN army solids than any other calibre put together. However, would we shoot a Buffalo on foot with no back up with a .308 WIN or even the more powerful .270 WIN? No. The Alpine would not recommend shooting any dangerous animal without back-up regardless of calibre.

What about Sambar deer? Plenty of shooters lose Sambar deer and blame the calibre they were using. The fact is that a .308 WIN will drop a Sambar (and a Water Buffalo) in its tracks if the bullet placement is right. Unless you use an exploding light cannon projectile, a gut shot Buffalo or Sambar Stag is not going to drop in its tracks! A front or angled shot that takes out one shoulder is also not going to stop a good stag. An animal only needs three legs to get away from someone with two!

Our members have consistently shot Sambar and Buffalo with .270 WIN, .303 and .308 WIN. The few members that have lost Sambar did so even with a .375 HH Magnum but it was poor bullet placement, or the wrong type of bullet, not its size or velocity. Where should you aim ? Join our Club and we will show you.

This all stated, consider that free range Alpine conditioned Sambar are hard to 'put down' - especially mature stags that are quite frankly huge. Bullet placement is usually difficult given a running target, a standing shot and often brush imparement. Hunter exhaution, 'buck fever', and wet conditions, all explain why deer get away. Thus if you become a keen Sambar hunter we recommend that you eventually upgrade to a specialist rifle, noting that you will need to learn to handle the extra recoil and noise.

Thus if you are trophy hunting Buffalo or Scrub Bulls on foot then consider buying or borrowing a .338 WIN Magnum or a .375 HH Magnum etc., however, don't think that you will be safe making a poor shot! Accuracy always remains the key consideration.

Finally, Sambar Deer and large game do not fall over dead like shot movie criminals. If you hunt large game you will need to learn to track running animals. If you are shooting large Sambar or other dangerious game, keep firing until the game is fully down. Also be careful about the 'dead' target that springs back to life and then proceeds to disembowel you or worse!

WHAT ABOUT MEDIUM CALIBRE RIFLES?

Our Club has an ex-professional New Zealand Deer culler Board Director. What rifle did he use? A .243 WIN. "Knocks them down, and the noise doesn't scare everything else away".

What does Dennis Foster from SSAA Australian Shooter say? "I use a .240 Improved but, given my time again, I would opt for a standard .243 WIN."

What does our Club Executive Director say? "I have two .243 WINs neither has yet let me down. Bullet placement is far more important than bullet power."

What about Sambar Deer? "If you can handle something large 'go for it', because if you haven't yet lost a deer you obviously aren't doing a lot of Alpine Sambar hunting! However, if I was a new shooter I would purchase a .243 WIN and borrow the Club .308 WIN until I decided to become serious about large Game hunting".