Yep, after years and years of hunting i now have something 'niggling':hmmmer: me and i will appreciate your comments / convictions on this, please. When hunting, when do you load and lock your rifle? For myself, since i started hunting many moons ago - my chamber remains empty untill i arrive at the designated place where we get off the vehicle to continue further on foot. Then i load and lock and safety on, carrying my rifle in hand (not slung over shoulder) with the barrel quartering away to my left side. My reason - I do not want to be surprised by a sudden appearance of my quarry (happens every year) and then still have to load and lock and aim. Seasoned hunters will agree with me that Oryx / Kudu and Eland (what i hunt annually) allows the hunter 3-5 seconds when you are spotted, and then they make dust in the opposite direction:elch: - not leaving time to load and lock and aim. On a very recent hunt i had a hunting partner - also no novice to hunting -but first time we were hunting together. He keeps his chamber empty untill the guide spots the game or both parties spot each other, and then he load and lock and aim. I became very frustrated :doh2:as he had 3-4 good opportunities with Kudu and Oryx standing 50-80 metres away staring at us. When he then loaded and locked, the action-sound made them depart rapidlly and we 'footed' it on and on to repeat the same thing 3 times in one morning from 6 to 11 with no shot fired and ample opportunity.:banghead: I will sincerely appreciate response from the PH members and seasoned hunters here on AH please. What is your take on the condition of your rifle while afoot in your immediate hunting area?