There are a handful of different options to assist a hunter with stabilizing the rifle. The options include, but aren’t limited to, utilizing different natural objects, hunting packs, shooting bags, shooting sticks, rifle slings, and more. The techniques and tools provide different levels of stabilization which I welcome with open arms when a shot at a game animal presents itself and excitement builds. As of writing this, the BOG DeathGrip Tripod is my favorite rifle stabilization tool.
I’m going to preface this with the admission that this is my first shooting tripod and, as such, I don’t know too much about them. That said Paul Butler, from Evolved Ballistics, and I got into a discussion about tripods as we discussed my first deer hunting experiences while I was receiving my first long distance shooting instruction from him. Paul also turned me onto Rauch Precision, another one of Paul’s businesses that happens to specialize in selling quality rifle precision products including tripods. Unfortunately, the tripods sold by Rauch Precision are a bit out of my price range, but I mention it so that readers are aware there are higher end specialized products available in the market (as well as lower priced ones).
So why a tripod? Hunter’s will know what I am talking about here. Every time I’ve been out hunting and I see a harvestable game animal through the binoculars an excitement begins to build. This yields a physiological response to the stress. Heart rate increases. Breathing pattern changes. As the rifle comes up, the physiological response intensifies. This makes the reticle of the scope begin to float and wobble which significantly increases the shot difficulty. There are breathing techniques to make the wobble of the reticle predictable and the techniques also help to slow the heart rate. However, the physiological response continues to build as the decision to take the shot is made, the safety is disengaged, the hunter begins to press the trigger, and finally reaches its peak when the shot breaks. I’ve experienced a similar, but much more subdued, stress response when shooting competitively. Suffice to say, the more stable the shooting platform is the smaller the wobble. The great thing about a tripod is that it can be configured to create a very stable shooting platform in just about any situation and environment regardless if the shooter is prone, kneeling, seated, or standing. I’d argue it can achieve the most stable platform short of a shooting bench.
So why the BOG DeathGrip Tripod? After a bit of research, I landed on searching for a tripod that was relatively light, very stable, easy (quick and quiet) to deploy, and versatile enough to work for various shooting positions. I also wanted something that wasn’t going to break the bank. One could say I was looking for a bit of a unicorn. Coming in under $200, I found this tripod to tick all of the boxes well enough at a price that I found to be reasonable. It’s not the lightest tripod and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles (like multiple levels or the fanciest ball head) that the high end specialized tripods offer, but the features it did have were good enough for the typical box blind (or compartment) deer hunting that I tend to do. The decision was even easier to make since a hunting buddy picked up the aluminum variant of this tripod (for about $50 less) and I had the opportunity to play with it first.
The carbon fiber variant I picked up weighs in at 7.5 pounds. This is essentially the weight of a second hunting rifle, which is not ideal for situations where weight is a concern. For those situations a lighter more compact shooting stick might be a better option, but that will come at the cost of less stability. That said I found spending the extra cash to shave off a pound over the aluminum variant to be worth it.
For the price, the head on this tripod is great. I’ve had no problem adjusting it quietly to securely hold several different rifles in different shooting positions. The padding on it has never left a mark on a rifle. Frankly, the head was one of the top selling points for me and is available for purchase separately.
My favorite feature is the three position leg lock. The locking positions are a 20º lock with is ideal for setting the tripod up in a small space (like a box blind) or for standing positions, a 45º position which is ideal for kneeling or seated positions (such as shooting from a folding stool or three-legged blind chair), and an 85º position which works great for low to the ground and even prone positions. The locking positions can be mixed and matched to allow configurations for different improvised shooting positions on various terrain with different obstacles. This is one of those features that allows for quick and quiet setup of the tripod.
Again, I’m not going to blow smoke up anyone’s skirt and claim that the BOG DeathGrip Tripod is the end-all be-all shooting tripod in the market. In my opinion however, I think it’s a good option for hunters who are looking for a solid versatile stabilization tool and aren’t overly concerned with adding weight to their load out. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a permanent addition to my deer hunting load out at least until I find something better that I’m willing to spend my money on.