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    Make Your Own Shooting Sticks
    by Mark Hollen (aka GonHuntin)

    Most of us have used some type of portable shooting rest for handgun hunting, I have personally built several different sets of shooting sticks with mixed results. The biggest complaint I have with most home built shooting sticks is the bulkiness, they usually get in the way and are just something else to carry. I liked the looks of the Stony Point sticks but I too cheap to pay what they cost. Then, I stumbled across a "tent pole kit" at the local discount store and I knew that better sticks were just an easy project away.


    Many folks are familiar with dome type tents that use hollow folding fiberglass poles held together with elastic shock cords, the "tent pole kit" I found is a repair/replacement kit for lost or damaged dome tent poles. The kit consisted of: six 26" long pole sections, two plastic pole caps, ferrules (to connect the pole sections together), elastic shock cord and a piece of wire used to thread the shock cord through the pole sections. A stop by the local archery shop produced two field points made to fit wooden arrows, just the right size to fit over the end of the tent pole, and a tube of Ferr-L-Tite hot melt glue. I also stopped by the auto parts store for a section of fuel hose that would tightly fit over the pole.

    I decided on a finished length of 42" for each leg of the shooting sticks, this gave me plenty of elevation for shooting in high grass. I cut each pole section to so that the finished length, including ferrule, would be 15", this resulted in an assembled length of 42". Before cutting the fiberglass pole sections to length, I wrapped a few layers of tape around the pole, at the location of the cut, to prevent splintering. I then used sandpaper to round and smooth the edges of the cut. Next, using sandpaper, I tapered one end of each bottom pole section (like sharpening a pencil) so that it would slide into the field tip. With the cutting, tapering and smoothing done, I glued the ferrules to the tops of the bottom sections (opposite the ends tapered to fit the field points) and the tops of the middle sections. This left the bottom sections ready for the field points and the top sections ready for the plastic caps. Once the ferrules were glued in place, I assembled the sections and pushed the wire through so that it stuck out both ends. I then tied a knot in the end of the shock cord, taped the other end to the wire and pulled the shock cord through the assembled legs, stretched it and tied another knot. When done correctly, the sections are held together, when assembled, by the tension of the shock cord.

    Now the tricky part, starting with a 4" section of the hose, I measured 1" from the end and cut half way through the hose and did the same to the other end .. I then cut the hose lengthwise, connecting the ends of the previous cuts. This resulted in half of the middle of the hose being cut away. The result was 4" of hose that was solid on each end with one side of the middle section gone.

    The top of one leg was then inserted through the middle cutout of the hose and about 6" out one end. I did the same thing with the other leg, pushing it out the opposite end of the hose an equal amount. The hose now connected the two legs and formed a rubber "V" to hold the forend of the firearm. I then glued the caps on the top of the legs and the field tips on the bottom, gave it a light coat of dull paint and called it good.

    I have used this set of sticks extensively and have found them to be very handy. They accompany me on most of my predator calling trips and on all of my handgun hunting trips, when I hunt from the ground. They are light and fold to a very compact size that fits perfectly in my backpack.

    Proper height is achieved by varying the spread of the legs and the field points are pushed into the soil to prevent the sticks from spreading while in use. Last minute elevation adjustments can be made by simply leaning the sticks forward or back to change elevation.


    Supplies:
    • Tent pole kit $8
    • Archery Field points $.50
    • Hot Melt Glue $2.50
    • Fuel hose $1.00

    Tools needed:
    • Hacksaw with fine tooth blade
    • Sandpaper
    • Knife
    • Heat source to melt glue (lighter)
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