Brats, like Bart Simpson, making use of a slingshot to be a nuisance is nothing new, Dennis the Menace, Calvin, Huey, Dewey and Louie have all been seen wielding them in a harmless, childlike form of mischief, but a slingshot can be a serious weapon. Whether it’s the challenge of hunting with a primitive weapon, a survival situation or preparing for a survival situation, using a slingshot for hunting takes quite a bit of getting used to. We will provide you with several tips about range, accuracy and knowing your prey which will help you to be more successful when you hunt with a slingshot.
Become more accurate with your slingshot
One of the most difficult challenges of using a slingshot for hunting in related to accuracy. Practicing and getting to know how slingshots in general work and how your specific slingshot performs is an essential element to becoming more accurate.
How to aim your slingshot
Learning how to aim your slingshot and finding the most accurate aiming point for various distances can make you more consistent and more accurate when it comes time to hunt. Here are some basic tips on aiming your slingshot which you will find helpful.
- Develop a consistent anchor point for your draw. If you shoot using the over the top method, draw the pouch to a point near your eye line. If you shoot through the forks (with the slingshot turned 90 degrees to the side) draw the pouch to a point near your lip line. Varying degrees of tilt will have anchor points in various locations between these two points.
- Keep the forks perpendicular to the ground when you draw. Regardless of the tilt, to get the best accuracy, forks must run through an imaginary perpendicular line to the ground.
- Keep the pouch centered between the forks when you draw. When the pouch is not centered between the forks, one band exerts more power than the other and the projectile is thrown toward the weaker side as it leaves the slingshot.
- Move your upper torso to raise, lower, or pivot, but maintain the proper relationship between the draw and the forks. This allows you to maintain the anchor point relative to the forks which causes the bands to release the projectile more evenly.
- Smaller movements close are much larger at the point of the target. This is true when aiming any weapon.
- Become familiar with your trajectory and range. Your ammo will travel on a specific arching trajectory based on band strength and the weight of the projectile. We’ll give you some tips on how to adjust for this factor later.
- Find an aiming point between the forks or on the top fork and stick to it.
Some practice tips to consider
Just like with any other weapon, it is quite obvious that you will need to practice in order to become more accurate with your slingshot. Besides the tips we have already provided above, here are some tips for practicing for you to take into consideration.
- Thoughtfully develop consistency. Experiment and become comfortable with a consistent stance and method of holding the slingshot, whether over the top or through the forks. From that position, develop a consistent anchor point.
- Use the same band setup and projectile weight which you intend to hunt with while you are practicing. Variation between practice and hunting will cause decreased accuracy when you go out into the field.
- Practice at practical ranges. Practicing closer or further away from your target than you are likely to be able to approach your prey will also prevent you from being accurate. Range and trajectory play the exact same role in the field as they do during practice.
- Save your ammo when you practice. To become accurate enough to take to the field, you will need to fire hundreds of projectiles, which could become costly. If you set up a backdrop making use of a tarp and draw up its bottom to create a trough or a funnel type (as shown in the video below), you can save the vast majority of your ammo for later use.
Here is how to make a practice backdrop to catch your ammo.
Know the factors which effect range and trajectory
Range and trajectory are directly related to velocity, so you need to be well acquainted with the various factors which have an impact on the velocity of the projectile. You will need to find a balance between the different elements related to the strength of the bands, the weight of the ammo you are using and even the weight of the pouch.
Find a comfortable band strength which fits your arm strength
Because band strength is directly related to velocity, you might immediately assume that more power is better, but there are advantages and disadvantages to having stronger and weaker bands.
- Stronger bands will launch projectiles at a greater velocity and therefore have a greater range and will allow you to shoot heavier ammo. The drawback to a stronger band depends upon your muscle strength to draw it. As your muscles become fatigued from drawing too heavy of a band, your accuracy begins to break down.
- Weaker bands will not allow you to shoot heavier ammo over a greater range because they don’t provide as much velocity, but they may allow you to be more accurate with lighter ammo. Placing your shot in the right place when you are in the field often produces equal or better results than stronger bands and heavier ammo.
- Find a balance in band strength. You need enough velocity to achieve the necessary range for the weight of the projectile you use. Heavier ammo needs stronger bands, so adjusting band strength to fit your strength for drawing in relation to varying weights of ammo is part of becoming more accurate.
Find an ammo weight which is best suited for your band setup
When you draw back on the bands of your slingshot, you create stored up energy in the elasticity of the bands. That stored up energy is held in place until you release it. At the moment you release it, the energy is distributed between the bands, the pouch and the projectile in proportion to their weights. A projectile which is too heavy takes force away from the bands and decreases velocity, which in turn decreases range.
Heavier ammo will drop rapidly with too little band strength, but ammo that is too light might not have the kill force necessary for the game you are hunting, whether its rabbits, squirrels, ducks etc. You have to balance out the ammo weight with the band strength that you are able to comfortably draw and with which you are the most accurate. Make yourself familiar with ammo weight and energy charts and try to arrive at the proper balance between accuracy, range and kill force.
Even the weight of your pouch can affect range and trajectory
Though it doesn’t have as great of an impact upon range and trajectory as band strength and projectile weight, the weight of your pouch does take away some of the stored energy upon release and has an effect on velocity. A narrow, durable and lightweight material which is sufficient for holding whatever ammo you use is your bet when it comes to getting the most out of the built up energy of your draw. Experiment with various pouches until you find the one which works best for your band setup and the ammo you use.
Know Your Prey
What you are hunting has a significant impact on what ammo you use, the range you can expect to need, how well you will have to blend in, and how patient you will have to be in order to make a kill. Here are some tips related to knowing your prey which will improve your hunting with a slingshot.
What is the right ammo for various types of prey?
A responsible hunter shoots to kill. Shooting to kill requires that your slingshot with its setup and the ammo you use has sufficient force to create the blunt force necessary to kill your prey with a single shot. Various sizes and types of prey require more or less force in order to accomplish a kill. Most hunting ammo is either lead balls between .36 caliber and .45 caliber, steel balls between 3/8” and ½”, or hex nuts between 8 and 12 grams in weight. Add increased size of your ammo to the size of your prey.
Which habitat tends to be best for your prey?
Knowing where your prey tends to be found not only saves you some time in wandering around to find them, but allows you to create strategies that will reduce the range needed to accomplish a kill. Rather than trying to find them, know where they are and be ready for them to come to you.
Learn how to blend in to the habitat
Blending in with a blind or by using camouflage is another way to reduce the range required to make a one shot kill. Additionally, being able to blend in will make it possible to take more than one animal. Here are a few tips on blending in:
- Hunt downwind in order to avoid casting your scent over the area.
- Breakup your outline using natural cover which isn’t out of place in the habitat.
- Avoid having anything on your person which will reflect light and startle your prey. That includes painting those glowing white cheeks.
- Clothing should blend in to the habitat or create a shadow effect.
Patience is the key to slingshot hunting
Remember that patience is the key to hunting with a slingshot. You might have to wait for several minutes before your prey moves into proper range for a successful, one-shot kill. You might also have to keep from getting frustrated and giving up too quickly whenever you miss.
Be a Responsible Hunter
Just because you are carrying a slingshot instead of a rifle, doesn’t mean that you can relax on safety. Here are some very basic hunting tips to keep in mind.
- Always be sure of what is beyond your target.
- Do not shoot in the direction of other hunters or animals you do not wish to injure or kill.
- Never shoot at a range that is likely to wound rather than kill your prey.
When hunting with a slingshot, just like when using any other weapon, there are no guarantees that you will come home with the game you set out to hunt. Knowing and blending into the habitat of your prey increases your potential to at least get off a shot, but accuracy and being within the proper range to accomplish a kill also depend upon the setup of your slingshot, the ammo you use will also make you more successful. By utilizing the tips we have provided for you above, you are more likely to become successful.