Off-Season Drill: How to See, and Shoot, More Deer

The secret to better accuracy is as simple as opening your nondominant eye

spot deer
See every deer...and be able to shoot it.Kagan McLeod

Closing the weak eye robs you of depth perception and slashes field of view dramatically, which means you can miss important variables, such as wind gusts at the target location…or the fact that an even larger buck stepped out of the woods 10 feet away. If you shoot with one eye closed and then open both eyes, it will take a few seconds for your brain to sort out the differentiated views and those few seconds can be critical. And perhaps most important, shooting with one eye closed leads to what Gunsite Ranch founder Jeff Cooper calls “getting lost in the scope.” You see the animal with both eyes, pull the gun to your shoulder, and then waste valuable seconds waving it around trying to find the target. For those who have shot one-eyed for years, opening both eyes is easier said than done. The off-season is the time to kick the habit.

METHOD

1. At the Range Start off with two strips of masking tape on the outside of the nondominant-eye lens of your glasses (A). This helps prevent the double image that is so bothersome to shooters. As you get used to keeping both eyes open, switch to frosted tape, then try a smear of petroleum jelly. Gradually reduce the amount until you need none.

2. At Home Back up your range practice by dry-firing your rifle. Mount the rifle, acquire the target, then shift your attention between the view in the scope and the other eye, to pick out details of the environment surrounding your target. The trick is to do this while maintaining a strong "cheek weld"—never lifting your face from the stock.

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