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Got Aim?  Try This Game!
The Presidential Safari - Hunting With Washington And Lincoln
By Pete Kautz 2009

Like many shooters, during the winter every time there is break in the weather I like to get outdoors and do some practice.  So when the mercury creeps up past 20 degrees I'll try to go out and fire at least for 15 minutes.  If it's 30 degrees then it's usually at least a half-hour.  By the time it's 40 degrees I'm practically barbequing and outdoors for hours!

Now that the snow is melted though, and the grass is all yellowed and beaten down it's a great time of year to do coin shooting!  That way I can still find them when they hit the ground - or at least usually find 'em.  On a regular lawn in summer the coins just seem to vanish when they hit the deck and that's a shame.

One of the solo shooting games I've created for Instinctive Shooting practice is what I call "The Presidential Safari".  Here are the simple rules:

Pete Kautz's "Presidential Safari"
1) Put 100 coins in your pocket on the side you're going to throw with - pennies are perfect for this
2) Take out a coin and throw it into the air with that hand - try and shoot it
3) If you miss, pick the coin up throw it again
4) If you hit, pick the coin up and put it in your opposite side pocket
5) Safari ends when all the coins are in your opposite side pocket - "you win"
6) Otherwise the safari ends in one hour - good hunting!

I consider this a good general test of one's ability to consistently do Instinctive Shooting.  In fact, some Instinctive Shooters might feel that having a full hour to hit only 100 coins in the air is incredibly generous, and it really shouldn't take that long to complete.  I agree with that assessment, but I want to open this game up to a wider audience.

In the fall I was using a mix of 100 coins including quarters, nickels, and dimes but that's gotten too pricey, so two bank rolls of pennies is the game now.  That way it only costs a buck to do, and I just love the sound they make, like a tiny bull-roarer - VVVVVVVT! - even the smallest of coins makes a great sound as it spins in the air from the impact.

A sampling of pennies after a recent safari

When I want to use bigger coins like quarters I'll just use 10 of them and hit them 10 times each before putting them in my other pocket.  This is what a set of 10 quarters looks like afterwards:

Note - Not all hits are visible on coins - Edge hits especially are hard to see unless you handle them

Or sometimes just for fun I'll use a single quarter for all 100 hits.  By 30 hits it starts to get dish-shaped, by 60 hits it's almost like a Frisbee, and by the end it is hardly recognizable as a quarter as you can see here:

The one word unmarked and clearly visible after 100 hits on this quarter - TRUST!

As I was out "hunting with Mr. Lincoln" the other day a flock of geese passed overhead, returning North as the weather gets warmer.  I stopped what I was doing to watch them.  It was amazing how slow and big they appeared to me compared to the airborne pennies I'd been shooting, and just how much time I would have had to shoot while they were in range of a 12 gauge shotgun.  I could have easily filled my fridge in the time it took them to pass.

By the time I finished up my afternoon safari and went in, I felt refreshed and ready to get back to work.  It seemed like a long time had gone by but it had been about 45 minutes.  That included time to shoot 100 pennies, pick up the coins after each shot, talk to the UPS driver who was dropping off a package, and say hello to my neighbor - not bad.  When I'm going fast I can hit a quarter 100x in under 15 minutes, but usually I prefer to just take it easy and enjoy my time shooting.

It was a beautiful day to enjoy some time outdoors too, sunshine and about 33 degrees or so with almost no wind and a clear blue sky.  In that way, although shooting isn't "healthy" in the same way as an aerobics class is, it gets you outdoors in all kinds of weather, breathing the fresh air and soaking up sunlight which are all very beneficial for your health and well being.  Especially in winter when I get so accustomed to artificial light I feel an extra need to spend time outside.

All I can say is try my Presidential Safari game for yourself, it's a lot of fun and a good test of your instinctive shooting skills.  If you can complete it with coins of any size then you're well on the path to being a deadeye shot!  If you don't think you could complete a safari yet, no problem, I'd be happy to show you how.

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz

PS - Though less Presidential in nature, you can always start with a Beer Can Safari (100 hits on cans in under an hour).  This is much easier and can be done by an experienced shooter in 10-15 minutes, basically just as fast as they can cock the gun and throw.  It is also a perfect use for those old cases of "Billy Beer" you might have sitting around.  (For you young'uns, Billy Beer was a failed attempt to spin then President Jimmy Carter's brother Billy into a beer pitch person!)

PPS - If the Presidential Safari is too easy for you, try this twist.  If you are right handed, then try shooting the whole thing left handed!  Because it's an instinctive process this should be no problem for you.  I do this on a regular basis - it's a lot of fun!


American Instinctive Rifle Seminar DVD
Aerial Target Coaching Clinic
Quick start progressions for teaching new shooters how to nail those aerials!  Both the physical skills and "how to coach" so they learn fast plus coin shooting details, walking & shooting, alternate ready positions, more!
Read About The Aerial Target Coaching Clinic HERE


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