Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Creating An Inexpensive Shooting Platform

One of the things that a hunter should take seriously is the actual spot that they will be sitting and shooting from.  All the preparation in the world will not result in success if you cannot take the shot with confidence when it avails itself to you.  Taking the time to do this bit of diligence, can save you from a heart full of frustration if you have full use of your body.  Iff you are in a wheelchair, it is critical.  The real trick is to do it without breaking the bank and today I am going to show you how to do just that.

Shooting PlatformLet’s start with a platform.  It doesn’t matter if you are choosing to have your blind up off the ground a bit or directly on it, you need to think about the ease of moving your chair around and how much noise this may make. For the sake of the article, I am going to use the example of sitting at ground level.

A simple solution that is prefabbed, strong, and durable is pallets.  These amazing structures are used by all kinds of companies in receiving products and can hold amazing amounts of weight.  They are also FREE!  That’s what I’m talking about right?  We found a fresh looking pallet that measured 4ft X 6ft as the base for the shooting platform.

Scrap Wood
A problem that pallets present is that they have gaps.  This is quickly resolved by adding discarded pieces of quarter inch plywood or particle board that you collect over time.  If you don’t have any around the house, just start asking people.  Just about everybody has a small amount of wood lying around that they are never going to use and will gladly give it to you.  We also added a piece of plywood as a ramp for getting on and off the platform easily.  An important point here is that the entire top of the pallet doesn’t necessarily have to be covered.  Test it and make sure that you can maneuver with ease on what you have added.  Whatever works for you right?  So long as there was a large area in the center that was covered, the edges didn’t exactly matter to me.  All I really wanted was a nice level area to place my shooting tripod on and the ability for me to make a minor adjustment with my chair if necessary.

Adjustments and deer do not exactly mix.  Deer have almost super-hero hearing and are rather skittish if they hear metal on metal.  That isn’t exactly a natural sound you know? Solution, a friend had some old carpet from when his house was built.  We placed it on top of the plywood pieces to add a layer of quiet between my chair and the platform.  This also helps with any small gaps that irregular shaped plywood pieces may create and allows the wheelchair to roll smoothly without dipping into a gap.  Go to a local warehouse that sells carpet and ask for remnants that have been cut.  Many times they will give this stuff away and I love me some free!

Have you ever noticed tennis balls on grandma’s walker?  They do this so that the walker is easier to move around.  I added them for a two-fold reason.  True, it does make the tripod easier to slide inside the blind.  But, even more important is it gives your tripod some stealth because you can move it with almost zero noise.  I asked the tennis coach at the High School where I teach if he had any old tennis balls.  He gave me a whole bag...for free.  Are you picking up on the theme yet?

Once we had the platform assembled, I got on it and my buddy placed the blind over me.  We made sure to adjust it so I had ample view of my shooting lanes.   This way I know what to expect instead of guessing when the shooting is for real.  It is wise to even take some practice shots from your platform so you are super-confident. Now all we have to do is wait for the season to open.  I can make a good shot with confidence.  If I have to make a small adjustment, I am also confident of a greater chance of not being detected.  A platform also helps keep my wheelchair up out of the mud as the fall rains come in.  You can use these same ideas to build something up off the ground but it may cost you a little more than free!

- Scott Anderson

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