A couple of weeks before the season starts. Usually a few weeks before the new season starts is a good time to check the schedule. What are the dates of your upcoming hunting events? What is the characteristic of the hunts? A lot of these information might help you choose the right setup – gun, ammo, optics. For me, it is usually one of three scenarios:
A) A typical driven hunt, with rather short shot distances, beaters with dogs, and fast-moving game. As a blood tracker, it is my duty to help with finding wounded animals after the hunt. I always choose my work horse for that. That is a so-called trail or tracking gun – with a short 8x57JS barrel, synthetic stock, and a red dot sight. I have no problem shooting with it up to 100-120m, but its virtues show when a large (unlimited) field of view is required in a close-up situation or when I need to fire a fast, instinctive shot in a close-up situation. I would say – that is my setup for 80-90% of the season.
B) Sometimes the game plan is different – there are only two or three long drives the whole day. The beaters are spread out on a larger area and move without making excessive noise. The game is not pushed too hard and moves much slower, often stopping to read the situation. The hunters are often placed on high seats and are allowed to shoot at longer distances. If I am not working that day, I usually take my custom rifle in 300H&H with a telescopic sight. It is more precise beyond 100 meters and it gives me a great joy to hunt with it.
C) Obviously, the wild boar and deer are the main target during the driven hunt. But on some occasions, the menu also includes small game such as hares and pheasants. That is when my old drilling comes into action. With the 8x57JRS, perfectly suited for the larger game, in the lower barel and two additional shot cartridges in the upper barrels it is really something different. I use a low magnification scope or go with iron sights only.