How To Shoot And Fire
A Hunting Catapult Properly
For some people, hunting with a catapult has been a lifelong process. But for quite a few people, actually knowing how to aim, shoot and fire properly, as well as accurately is not quite as easy as it seems.!
* Introduction To Firing Techniques:
If you own several different models, you will, no doubt, find yourself making little changes in order to suit your personal firing needs - these are small refinements and changes needed to compensate for your personal style of hunting, your physical strengths and weaknesses for your own ways of shooting.
You will, most definitely, find yourself experimenting with different types of ammo sizes and even shapes - as well as changing the power band strength to see what really works best for you.
Anyone who is serious about hunting finds that a bit of experimentation is the only and best way to be the most consistent and accurate for their needs.
You must experiment if you want to progress and get more accurate and proficient at this type of hunting and food procurement. Therefore, this short article is aimed more specifically at the beginner and intermediate user, rather than the experienced hunter.
* Basics First - TARGETS
All hunting has to be divided into the two main groups -
- PRACTICE - this is generally referred to as "Plinking"
- HUNTING - the practice of actually stalking down and killing game.
Before you even consider going out into the woods and hunting for real,
it is very important to become proficient at hitting a target first.
DO NOT go out with the intention of hunting unless you re confident and accurate at shooting.
Using targets for practice is essential: Below are a small choice of the type of thing you will need:
* Improve Accuracy
To really improve in your accuracy you must practice.
There are quite a few target aids available to help you gain more accuracy.
This can be as simple and easy as a few old tin cans in the back yard, with stones as ammo.
Or you can invest in a knockdown target.
These targets come in various shapes and sizes and really are a good way to 'get your eye in' and perfect your technique.
All these types of targets are designed to help with your target accuracy and well worth investing in.
If you use ball bearings for ammo, then I would suggest investing in a different style of target - one that collects the ball bearing at the back in a tray.
This will save you some money in the long run, as well as being more convenient for collecting your ammo up.
Initial cost for a target like this is around £30, as opposed to £10 - £20 for the other styles.
*Mind you, steel ball bearings are also very cheap; 1/2p each, so not a massive expense...
But before you do anything: THINK ABOUT YOUR CATAPULT SAFETY FIRST:
It is very important to think of abut safety just like any other weapon - any weapon if used in an unsafe and irresponsible manner, will very easily injure, maim and even kill a human.
They are most definitely not toys - especially when you consider that they are specifically designed to hurl a projectile at some very impressive speed with an inertia that will do some serious damage.
You really do not want to find yourself on the receiving end of a steel ball bearing travelling a hundreds of feet per second.!
* Basic Catapult Rules
Always apply the same sensible rules as you do with any weapon:
- Never use against another person, in the United Kingdom, it will be regarded as an offensive weapon and the law will treat it as such.
- Never point at anyone
- Do not let anyone use unsupervised - especially children.
- Wear safety glasses.. a power band can snap and recoil - it will take your eye out.
- Wear a glove and if possible wrist protection against 'band slap' - this will start to hurt after a while..!
They offer you a very low cost, low tech alternative way to go out into the woods and be able to learn how to stalk your prey, without carrying around a load of cumbersome equipment, weapons and ammo - essentially it is a 'low tec', and extremely lightweight, compact, very easy to use, hunting tool.
Add to that, they can be very accurate and and great fun to use.
But please - always remember to be ethical about your hunting practices.
All hunters want a clean, fast kill - that's why it is so necessary to actually practice and get yourself proficient with your weapon well before you actually go out into the wild looking for game to hunt.
The average quality will very easily take down many of the smaller animals like rabbits, pigeons, squirrels, pheasants - AT CLOSE RANGE
I think, essentially, that is where the actual skill comes in, you really do need to learn how to silently stalk your prey.
Learn and practice your stalking techniques and then ensure you can get nice and close to make a clean shot.
Fortunately for us, you will find that some animals and birds, especially rabbits and pheasants will tend to hold still long enough for you to take a good aim and some will even allow a second shot if needed..
* importance of practice
But again, I cannot underestimate the need to practice.
It is essential you are more than able to reproduce the firing action and technique you use when plinking at a target - regular practice will ensure you build up 'muscle memory' and use exactly the same action when your heart's pumping and you're all crouched up on the ground trying to aim at your prey for real.
Whether your left or right handed, makes no difference when it comes to how to shooting and firing properly - what does make a difference is finding a firing position, stance and technique that suits you personally.
As a general rule 90% of hunters will pull the pouch straight back to around the chin area, below the 'aiming' eye, with a straight arm holding the catapult body.
Remember that the power bands need to be adjusted to give you just the right amount of 'stretch' to ensure you are not struggling to pull back, especially over the last few inches.
You must be able to comfortably pull back to achieve maximum power without having to struggle - if you find you cannot hold the pouch 'fully cocked' without wobbling then you must extend the band length to suit you body size, strength and style.
It is far better to give away a bit of power than constantly struggle with the band force and subsequently miss your target.
As you get more confident and muscle memory kicks in, you will find it becomes easier to maintain a constant aim with less effort.
You'll find the key to successfully aiming, firing and hitting a target is very much an instinctive action, that gets better the more you practice and develop that muscle memory that is so important for hitting a target repeatably.
Know You Trajectory:
By keeping you aiming arm steady and in the same place fro every shot, pulling the bands back to the the same length and same position will increase your success rate to the point where it become second nature.
Becoming an accurate shot is actually quite easy, and you will surprise yourself at how quick the progress is once you get into it.
Get to know exactly how it performs and work to those conditions.
Practice different distances and become familiar with the amount of trajectory needed for the different shots you may need to make.
You will need to know this, especially when stalking bird in trees.
* Best Catapult Ammunition
I find this is an area where some people prefer to use large ammo and others smaller - there's no definitive answer to ammo size or type.
As Preppers, it makes sense to practice with all types and sizes, but especially with FREE AMMO.. the type you find on the ground, namely stones.
For consistent results, you will need consistent ammo, and that normally means steel ball bearings.
Fortunately, steel ball bearing are relatively cheap to buy and always consistent in their size and weight.
Which makes them also consistent in their flight path, speed and trajectory.
Ball Bearing Specifications:
* How To Be Consistent
Try to use the same power bands whenever possible, and, of course, always carry a spare set - again, a cheap item to buy, light weight to carry around and compact - so no reason to scrimp on extra bands.
They will snap, I can guarantee that, and there's nothing worse than getting all set up, having good ammo and a target sitting right in front of you, only to have a band snap and no replacement.
This is a typical quality hunting catapult - with a spare set of power bands the whole set-up costs around £30, so not an expensive item considering the usefulness to us preppers.
Kotila UK Powerful New Steel Handle Sling Shot Outdoor Game Hunting (Camouflage)
Outdoor Hunting Trumark heavy duty +2PCS Rubber Bands Replacement Animals Heavy Pull+50PCS 7mm Ball Ammo
* Final Thoughts
My final words are, go out and have fun - knowing how to aim, shoot and fire a hunting catapult properly takes a bit of time and a bit of practice, so get yourself one and some ammo, and go out and enjoy yourself.
Steve Hart - UK Preppers Guide