If you have a rifle, or can borrow one pre-season, find a nearby range and get some practice in. It’s your muscle memory that will allow you to pull off that perfect shot when it counts. Hunting deer is never as easy as the anti-hunters would have you believe. Even from conservatives, I’ve heard the “unfair fight” complaint too often. The fact is, a good rifle only makes success *possible*, not guaranteed. Under picture-perfect conditions, it takes a steady hand, controlled breathing and practice to nail a 200 yard shot.
Sighting in your rifle is easy. You might need to start out shooting at a close target to get your sights in the vicinity of the target. You can then back it up to 100 yards if you or your range have the room. Once your sights are dialed in enough to hit the target (anywhere) at 100 yards, place 3 careful shots into the target. The center of the triangle between these shots is where we’ll assume the gun was aiming. Adjust your sights to move this spot closer to the bullseye. Rinse and repeat, taking as many 3-shot groups as needed to dial in to the perfect scope/sight settings.
Be aware that different brands of ammo will shoot differently, and your gun will “like” one brand/style more than others. The more types you try, the better ammo you’d find. It’s not always about price. Last year, it was the cheaper of the Wal-Mart ammo (still a reputable brand) that shot the best out of my gun. The fancier stuff didn’t pay off.
At home, you can practice by picking up “dummy rounds” at Bass Pro or Cabela’s. They’re not actual bullets at all, but fit into your gun like regular rounds. They allow you to pull the trigger repeatedly without damaging the gun’s firing pin. Focus your scope or iron sites on something small and as far away as possible, and practice taking slow and steady shots without jumping when you pull the trigger. Pull the trigger slowly, and you should actually be surprised when the gun fires, because you don’t know the exact moment your finger pressure will be enough.
One word of caution: be aware of where you’re pointing your gun, even when loaded with dummy rounds. If you’re looking out a window, be sure nobody outside can see you. They don’t know you’re just practicing, and you’d be freaked out if you saw somebody pointing a gun toward the street.