I agree irons are a good skill for the skill quiver. Actually for hunting under 150 yards, a red dot or irons is ideal.
If your whole point is hunting, generally fast, efficient scope use is the best skill to practice.
Might I suggest a 2x(100 yds avg deer shot), 4x(200) or 6x(300) fixed power scope when you move to the hunting rifle? It will ease the process and generally be a better optic for shooting. Binoculars and spotters are better for finding and judging game.
Have fun with your 22!