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Master the Basic Shooting Positions in Hunting

by NOMAD Outdoor January 12, 2016

Everyone who hunts with a bow, shotgun, rifle, or handgun knows that proficiency is essential. You need to know your weapon inside and out, including proper loading, unloading, firing, and safety procedures.

You also need to be skilled in accurate shooting, which will not only help you harvest more game, it will ensure you make quick, clean, and humane hits. A perfect shot is essential for avoiding crippling wounds. An accurate hunter is a responsible hunter.

Rifle hunting, where shots can come over hundreds of yards, requires a significant amount or practice. So you head to the range and sit down at a shooting table. Stop right there.

In the woods, fields, and wetlands, you don’t have a comfortable shooting table with an adjustable seat and a steady place to rest your barrel, so why would you practice this way?

Instead, step away from the table and master the basic rifle shooting positions. You’ll be a much more effective hunter, and you’ll also find that target shooting is more challenging, interesting, and rewarding. 


This is the most accurate and easiest position to master, and although you’ll probably have fewer chances to use this position, it should be one of the positions that you can use comfortably and effectively. Simply put, you will lay belly-down behind the rifle, with your weak-side elbow (for right-handers, your left elbow) on the ground, supporting the front of the gun. Your body will be at a slight angle towards your weak side. You can also include your pack, giving you a steady place to rest the front of your front rifle.

Cross-Legged or Sitting Low

All too often, vegetation gets in the way, making the low profile of a prone position ineffective. The next option is the sitting position, where you have your butt on the ground and your legs crossed. You need to be fairly flexible to master sitting, and you should practice it often so you can get into position without thinking. After you’ve crossed your legs, place your elbows on your knees for support and lean slightly forward.


It’s not as steady as sitting or laying down, but it’s quicker to achieve and provides much more accuracy than standing. Your weak-side knee should go forward, towards the target. Drop your weak-side elbow to the knee and use it to support the front of the rifle. Your strong side will have the knee to the ground with your trigger arm firmly pulling the butt to your shoulder.


This is the most challenging of all shooting positions, so it takes practice and repetition to be accurate. Put the butt of the gun securely to your shoulder and keep your arms down with your elbows at about a 45-degree angle. Twist both hands downward slightly, as if you were twisting out a towel. This will help you to control the recoil when the rifle is fired. Stand nearly square to your target, with a slight angle towards your strong side. Your knees should be slightly bent, and you should lean forward, into the rifle so you maintain balance after the shot.

It should be noted that standing is the least steady and consistent. Therefore, it should be avoided, especially for inexperienced shooters or long-distance shots. Whenever possible, seek a lower stance. When it’s just you and the rifle, the lower you get, the more accurate the shot. 

The Right Hunting Apparel is Waiting for You 

These shooting positions take comfortable, flexible apparel, and that’s exactly what you’ll get from NOMAD. You can find layered hunting apparel that is noise and scent resistant, making you a more effective hunter all season long.

NOMAD Outdoor
NOMAD Outdoor

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