If I had it my way, I would hunt all year. However, family, work, and life are important too. So, I look forward to the fall hunts. With that break, a hunter, particularly a long-range hunter, can become rusty. I am blessed with a career in the shooting industry, so I get my fair share of target practice throughout the year. That said, nothing compares to a real-life hunting situation to stay dialed.
Early Season Warmup
Gunwerks hosts a plethora of different long-range shooting classes throughout the year. Some of the most popular include a hunt with the training class. Our New Mexico hunt and class combo may be the most popular. The home base for the class is the NRA Whittington Center, which is a destination in and of itself. The world-class shooting venue hosts our learning and range portion of the class, along with lodging in on-site cabins. A nearby ranch with tens of thousands of acres provides the guided antelope hunt. The environment is “target rich,” as they say. Everyone gets a chance to shoot at an antelope buck.
Each year, I look forward to attending the New Mexico antelope hunt and class as an assistant instructor with our LRU training team. Students attend from all over the country, some of which have never seen or shot an antelope. The class offers a step-by-step transition from classroom learning to live range shooting to in-field hunting, all within a matter of days. Evenings back at the cabin are filled with comradery and storytelling. Northern New Mexico in early fall is a special place.
The most successful students use the New Mexico antelope class as their first hunt or “tune-up” training for the year’s upcoming hunts. Although the ranch is bursting with antelope, they are not stupid. After the first hour of the first-morning hunt, the antelope stand around for about 0 seconds once they see a truck or hunter from a distance, utilizing their near 8X power eyesight sight in the wide-open New Mexico flats. This presents an inherent challenge, and shooting opportunities are rarely inside 400 yards. Long-range shooting antelope-sized targets at 500+ yards will test and hold any long-range hunter accountable!
Practice Pays Off
Last year, after all the students had gone through class and taken their antelope, Chris and I got a chance to hunt a couple of antelope ourselves. Chris utilized a sitting tripod shot at 623 yards. I was able to get prone and took my antelope at 725 yards. I was able to take an almost identical shot later that year on my Nevada bull elk at 790 yards. The experience early in the hunting season is a priceless reminder that long-range shots are never to be taken unethically or irresponsibly. Hunters should understand their equipment and have the proper training to understand their max effective shooting range in a hunting scenario.
Consider attending our 2023 New Mexico antelope class. I’m always excited about the confidence students gain from the class and how it sets them up for success in their fall hunts. Students often send success photos and stories only weeks or months after their once-in-a-lifetime sheep hunt or an incredible shot of their best bull elk.
The old adage “don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong” rings true. We look forward to seeing you at our 2023 New Mexico antelope class!
Click here for more details on this hunt and other LRU training and hunting events!