If you haven't sighted in your hunting rifle, then you should - soon. And, if you don't plan on doing so until the morning of the hunt, then there's a good chance that when the shot comes you'll miss.

Rifles go out of adjustment. Scopes can be bumped and sights can be damaged.It is therefore important to take out the hunting rifle before the hunt and put a couple of bullets through the barrel.

Following are a few tips on getting the rifle on target.

- Check the mount screws on the scope to make sure they are tight.

- Check the stock to make sure everything is solid and screws are tight.

- Start sighting the rifle in first at 25 yards. Shoot three shots and aim right for the very center of the target, the bull's-eye, and adjust the scope (most scopes show that one click of the adjustment screw is equal to a quarter-inch movement of the bullet at 100 yards, so at 25 yards four clicks would equal one-quarter inch) until the bullet hits the center.

- Wait about 60 seconds between shots to give the barrel time to cool.

- Once the rifle is sighted in at 25 yards, move to the 100-yard range and repeat the process, always shooting three shots and waiting the 60 seconds. At 100 yards the grouping should be centered between 22/3 and 3 inches above dead-center. with this pattern, hunters should be able to hold exactly on target at anything up to 250 yards and be accurate.