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Blowguns, also known as blowpipes or blowtubes, were often used in regions of South America and Southeast Asia where they served as weapons and aided in hunting. Today in the United States, blowguns are used for recreation, loaded with paintballs or darts. They can also be loaded with tranquilizers and used by wildlife rangers to stun and capture animals.
Keep your elbows down for stability when aiming. Keep the barrel clean by wiping condensation out with a swab of cotton after shooting.
Don't blink or flinch when you exhale; it will throw off the position of the blowgun.
Find a secluded area to practice shooting in. Never shoot in an area where people and animals are moving within range. Mark a spot on the ground for you to shoot from and place the target 10 yards away. Your target can be anything, but it must designate a spot for you to aim at. As your shooting improves, move the target back and at different heights to strengthen your scope.
Pick up your dart and turn it point-side-out. Place one hand on the center of the blowgun and hold it steady. Keep the gun horizontal and insert the dart into the mouth of the gun. Never inhale when loading the gun. The dart could easily be sucked in, causing damage to your esophageal tube and mouth.
Choose your shooting style. For beginners, the most popular way is to place your hands one before the other around the pipe to hold the gun horizontally. If you find this uncomfortable, place one hand close to your mouth and the other hand three-fourths of the way down the pipe to steady and aim the gun.
Put the blowgun up to your mouth and keep both eyes open; you should see two blowguns. Center the target between the two guns and take a deep breath; the deeper the breath, the more powerful the shot. Check alignment after taking a breath to ensure your gun is still focused on the target, and then powerfully blow into the tube. Test shooting in both styles to see which way you shoot best. Try to blow the same amount of air every time to find your average distance.
Currently working at the University of Houston, Jillian Holden has been writing since 1999. She is multi-published, with works featured at Associated Content, Examiner, and "North Texas Daily." Holden holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in journalism from the University of North Texas.