Safari (always ready) Rifle Sling
Has anyone ever used the Safari Rifle Sling?
A couple of years ago I was hunting elk in my native Montana when I heard a rifle shot just over a ridge from me. I hadn’t been seeing any elk or even any sign of elk in that area, which normally held significant numbers.
My son and I had seen three mountain lions (A.K.A.: puma, cougar, catamount) leaving their mule deer kill site a few days prior to that morning and lion tracks were in the snow all around the area. I was already blaming the cats for routing the elk population from that favorite elk hunting spot of mine.
After hearing that shot I was discouraged, thinking that a deer hunter had probably just driven any remaining elk out of the area. So, I immediately headed for my rig, determined to hunt somewhere else for the rest of the season.
A couple of hours later, while I was packing up my truck, an acquaintance stopped by and asked how hunting was going. I told him that I was discouraged by all the lion sign and sightings. “Was that you that shot?”, I asked. He said, “Yeah. I just shot a lion in self-defense!” He was waiting for the game warden to come so he could show him the unauthorized kill.
He explained that he was walking through some brush and walked right up on a mountain lion on a fresh deer kill. The lion immediately crouched and was clearly ready to pounce on him to defend its kill. The animal was so close all he could do was point his rifle and fire. (The game warden saw no reason to question his story, so it was a ruled an unavoidable, self-defense kill.)
I asked him what would have happened if his rifle had been slung on his back. He turned out to be one of those hunters who do not use rifle slings, because they don’t want to be tempted to put their rifles on their backs. For most, it is probably more a desire to not miss a quick shot opportunity on game, so they carry their rifles at the ready without a sling. For this particular hunter, avoidance of a traditionally shouldered rifle now carries a deeper significance.
I stopped putting my rifle on my back many years ago when I discovered the Safari Rifle Sling in a sporting goods store. I have them on all of my big game rifles and haven’t used a traditional sling since.
I am not in the business of selling Safari Rifle Slings. In fact, I have a little trouble finding them myself, without an Internet search. After checking the Internet just now I only see one place to buy them: Cabela’s. There are several other rifle slings that are called “safari” slings, but they are all traditional slings.
I understand how important tradition is, but I just can’t see why the vast majority of hunters prefer to have a gun slung over one shoulder on their backs. I never mastered a fast technique of swinging a shoulder-slung rifle into a ready position. I guess I’m in good company, because the military uses designs similar to the Safari Rifle Sling.
You can see a photo of my youngest son using a Safari Rifle Sling on my website home page: Elk Hunting: Practical Elk Hunting Tips for the Realistic Hunter. This sling is always at the ready and does not require constant hands-on attention to keep it in place. It might swing back and forth a little while walking, so a light hand keeps it steady. The sling is designed so that the length can be quickly and easily adjusted without removing the sling from the shoulders.
I would think that more hunters would want this type of “at the ready” sling when hunting dangerous African game. Not to mention the advantage of the increased comfort of having the weight of the rifle spread across a larger area of the shoulders. This type of sling has the option of also slinging the rifle over your back, but I never find a reason for doing that. I like the at-ready convenience and comfort it provides, as well as the safety factor, in case of a bear or mountain lion attack.
So, what do you guys think? Why is this type of sling not used more? Or, is it and I just don't know it?
Bowtech Pro Staff, Slick Trick Pro Staff
Originally Posted by Gerhard
I have killed bulls two years in a row using Slick Tricks from a Bow Tech. Good stuff! Are you still part of their staff?
Hunt Moose with a Safari Sling
I have seen the Safari Sling in use over many years. Although I have never used one myself (I am a shoulder, or no sling carrier) I can see the advantage as well as the disadvantages of them.
One day I would like to try them out on a moose hunt. I hunt moose in British Columbia Canada and have taken many over the past 25 or so years with both a rifle and a bow.
The typical moose hunting rifle would be well suited to one of these slings. Moose are hunted in more open areas than that of the thick brush you may find in Africa, I don't believe the sling would create much of a snagging problem.
I guess I'll have to get one to see just how good (or not) they would work.
Has anyone ever used one of the Safari Slings on a moose hunt?