This past year was an unusually active one for me. I dragged my rotting carcass across both oceans and to a number of states, and took 11 head of big game, with big game being defined as a wild swine or larger.

Looking over the whole business, a number of things stand out. The longest shot I took was at an elk. It was 160 yards. The two shortest–at a red stag and a mule deer–were around 30 yards. The average for everything was 80 yards. None of this is long-range shooting, and leads me to wonder, where are all these 500-yard shots everyone is obsessing about? During the whole season, one person I was afield with took a long shot–400 yards–at an elk, hit it and was unable to find it. In the real world, at least from my experience, things still happen well inside 200 yards.

Second, of the shots I took, six were offhand. This was a lot; usually I can kneel or find a rest of some sort. And it points out that you should get the hell away from the benchrest and practice shooting on your hind legs, because not infrequently, you are going to have to do it for real.

Finally, in every single case but one, I had to shoot fast. This was because what I had in the crosshairs was either very close or already on the prod and if the wind had shifted or someone farted, it was going to leave quicker than you can say “vanishing hindquarters.” More often than not, shooting at game is something you do as fast as you can positively identify the target and get your gun up. Be advised.

And now for something completely different: In a week I will be going out to the SHOT Show, and the folks who put this website together have asked me to ask you if there is anything you would like me to look for and report on. And no, that does not include booth babes. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.