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Bob Wise, Governor
Ed Hamrick, Director

News Release
For release: September 2, 2003

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3380
Contact: Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief (304) 558-2771

Hunters Reminded to Sight in Hunting Firearms


  With the opening of small game season just about a month away, the Wildlife Resources Section would like to remind all hunters that now is a great time to visit our public shooting ranges and sight in your hunting guns and don't forget to take a youngster with you.


  The Youth Squirrel Hunt is scheduled for October 4 and these young hunters should be familiar with their firearms prior to taking them afield. Most youngsters start with either a .410 or lightly loaded 20 gauge shotgun and practice at the range should be informative and enjoyable for them as well as an opportune time to remind them about safety rules. Kids can practice at ranges from 20 to 40 yards and be confident that they can contribute some squirrels to the “pot” come opening day. This may also be a good time to let them practice with a rifle, even a rimfire, since the Youth Antlerless Deer Hunt is scheduled for November 1. Squirrel hunting with a .22 rifle can be a great confidence booster for later deer hunts.


  Adult hunters should check their new loads and shotguns if they are planning to hunt squirrels with a scattergun. Shotgun shell manufacturers may change components from year to year and the newer ammunition may show improvements in pattern density and velocity from year to year. These changes may have an impact on the way your particular shotgun handles these new loads.


  More and more hunters are going afield with rimfire rifles and small caliber muzzleloaders in pursuit of squirrels. Rimfire rifles are much more impacted by varying brands of ammunition than are most other firearms and preseason targeting is a surefire way to insure that you rifle is hitting where you aim and guarantee squirrels in the bag.


  Muzzleloaders are also discovering the challenge of small game hunting with .32 and .36 caliber rifles. These small bore rifles can be very particular in finding the correct powder charge for optimum accuracy thus spelling bad news for the early season squirrels. Time spent at the range shooting various combinations of powder and ball will pay big dividends when the season opens. Squirrels taken with a rifle are also easier on the teeth as there are none of those pesky shotgun pellets to bite into.


  So get the kids, the guns, the ammo, pack a lunch, and head out to the range to spend a day reviewing safety rules, sighting in your various firearms, and just enjoy some shooting. It can be great recreation.






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