Shooting Sticks Bipods Tripods and Quads
During the summer months when the under storey is up to your waist and crops in the adjacent fields are at full height, the possibility of taking prone and kneeling shots is negligible, and other alternative shooting positions must be adopted.
(Above: Shooting of a set of Quad Sticks)
Indeed even during the winter months, woodland stalking requires an ability to shoot standing off sticks. As a professional stalker in the south east I would guess that about 75% of shots are in fact taken from shooting sticks.
In the past a single stick was carried to steady the stalkers aim, however today most stalkers use a Bipod or tripod of some variety. This sometimes takes the form of a couple of bean poles bound together, or for some who love their kit the very latest tripod or Quad sticks on the market.
I am often asked which to go for? Well I am pleased to say that I have tried all varieties in the field and have seen differing degrees of success with each.
There is no doubt in my mind that the most stable is the Quad or 'Quad Pod', currently for about £70-00 they provide great stability for both the front and rear end of the rifle stock and in my view give the stalker the ability to take longer shots with greater stability than might otherwise be achieved. (See Pic' above).
(Above: Shooting off a Tripod)
Second to the Quad in terms of stability is the tripod variety. (The cheapest of which can be purchased for around £35-00). This may not come as too much surprise, after all, the very idea of additional legs is with stability in mind!
So this begs the question why doesn't everyone (myself included) use them? Personally I currently use a fairly basic extendable bipod. These can be purchased for around £25-00 or if you don't need to be constantly adjusting the height can just as simply be made.
Personally I carry the bipod version not just because I am a 'tight ar*e', but also because when it comes to stalking I consider myself a minimalist. I dislike the extra weight of tripods and Quads, but more importantly I do so because too often opportunities are missed because a stalker is fussing over their kit.
Whichever you choose, the important thing is to become confident with your choice, and this means practice. Practice not just in the shot but also in discreetly and speedily deploying you kit. If you are going to be successful on a regular basis as a deer stalker you must be able to shoot with confidence and accuracy from a variety of positions, and perhaps the most important position especially for the lowland stalker is standing, off sticks.
Editors note: Since writing this article I have been well and truly converted to the benefits of the Quad stick or Quad pod design. Why? Well it may come down simply to practice, having now used quad sticks for several years I am a 'dab hand' in their deployment and as a result can set them up quickly and without fuss. Add to this the additional stability and I am a changed man!
For more on my new choice of Shooting Sticks the 'Quadpod' follow this link: the-quadpod-rifle-rest-review