Tips & Tactics

Gun Slings: To Remove or Not to Remove?

Gun Slings: To Remove or Not to Remove?

By Joe Palermo

Photo: Joe Palermo took this gorgeous Kentucky buck in November of 2015. Joe has contributed numerous tips to Buckmasters Tip of the Week, including this week’s thoughts on detaching gun slings.

Gun slings are one of the handiest things most hunters use, yet we rarely give them much thought.

You don’t always need to have a sling, but try hiking a long distance or dragging a dead deer without one and you’ll see very quickly why they’re useful.

Still, what to do with your sling once you’ve settled into your stand?

Some hunters remove them completely, while others like to keep them attached.

Most of the time when I get to my treestand or blind I remove my gun sling completely. It’s easy enough to do if you have a detachable sling.

On rare occasions, the sling acts as a buffer between my hands and a cold gunstock, so I leave it on.

When I decide to leave it on, I take out most of the slack and let the sling hang to the inside of my legs. When I raise my firearm, there’s less chance it will catch on my knee than if the sling hangs to the outside of my leg.

The last thing you want is to have your sling inhibit your ability to maneuver your firearm quietly and discreetly when a shot opportunity finally comes along.

Removing your sling completely takes away any chance of struggling with it at the moment of truth, and that’s what I prefer to do.

— Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin

I’m one of those hunters who prefer to remove my gun sling completely in the stand. It’s one of the last things I do in my routine of settling in for a long sit.

Years ago, I learned the hard way about the perils of leaving a gun sling attached.

It was one of those quiet winter afternoons when you can practically hear bugs crawling on the ground.

Just before dusk, I heard footsteps approaching from directly behind my stand, but I could not move for fear the deer might hear my climbing stand creak. It was that close.

Eventually, the deer passed beneath my stand. It turned out to be a nice 10-pointer that had just risen out of its bed for a long night of doe chasing.

My sling was still attached, and when I raised my rifle to shoot, the swivel attachments rotated ever so slightly, creating a metal-on-metal sound … SKREEEEEEEE.

On a windy day, I would’ve gotten away with it, but not that day.

Hearing the buck snort and watching its white flag waving goodbye taught me a lesson. I’ve been a sling-remover ever since that day.

— Photo Courtesy of Joe Palermo

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd