Modern recreational hunting is an activity enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Australians every year, across every state and territory. Just as each state and territory have their own rules and regulations, each hunter has their own way of hunting, each hunter has their own style, and their own purpose for hunting. Due to these differences, there are numerous tools used in the hunt. This article is going outline one such tool, the rifle.
Hunting with rifles: the different styles
There are thousands of rifles of the market, with different actions, various weights, stock styles and shapes are numerous, sighting systems, and more. With this, a hunter can really personalise their rifle and make it unique. Because of this, one article cannot possibly convey all of the various combinations of rifle setups, however it can provide some insight to what some Australian rifle hunters may use.
The lightweight loadout
Some of the hunting in Australia is done over long distances on foot, harsh terrain, and through thick scrub, all for the perfect shot on a perfect animal. This means the weapon of choice needs to be light but sturdy. A bolt-action rifle with a “sporter” barrel is utilised and is usually paired with a composite stock. This minimises the strain on the hunter, allowing for a better shot.
Not all hunting is done on solitary animals. Hunting done on agricultural land is often done for pest management, with target species being in packs, such as a mob of pigs. In these situations, quick rapid-fire shots in succession are essential. Both pump-actions and lever actions shine for this type of hunting. These are generally light and short, equip with a red dot sight or 1-4x scope, which allows for quick target acquisition and ethical dispatch.
The spotlight setup
A portion of hunting in Australia is done via a vehicle at night-time, known as spotlighting. This method utilises a spotlight that searches paddocks and fields and when a target animal is found, it’s shot. Both large and small game is hunted via this method, from foxes to pigs and more, and almost every calibre and rifle type is used – largely whatever is available. However, dedicated setups for larger game are usually a rifle with a “bull” barrel – a barrel that is thicker and able to withstand more shots in a single session. The hunter will usually use a rest over their vehicle window and a scope with a large aperture to transmit as much light as possible.
This article has given some insights into a few of the many hunting styles that Australians use. Besides rifle hunting, there’s shotguns – of both mammals and bird, bowhunting, spearfishing, trapping, and there’s variations within those types.
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