Be GOOD with the Gun from Day ONE~!
Every opening day someone seems surprise that they can’t hit birds consistently. When asked ‘When was the last time you shot?’ Frequently you hear, “Last fall”.
To be good with the gun from day one, you need to get prepared. Here are a few thoughts on preparing to be “drop dead on” by the opening of early goose season.
Live birds can provide great pre-waterfowl-season shooting practice.
A dove field is one spot a waterfowl hunter can improve his skills.
Another is in a crow field.
Both provide the type of shots most often encountered when targeting ducks and geese. I like to try to use up my ‘easy misses’ on these birds.
Shooting sporting clays is another way to gain some needed practice. Sporting clays mimic different bird hunting scenarios. Some can mimic the overhead, right to left, left to right, and incoming shots all waterfowl hunters will see if they spend enough time in the field.
Chances are you can do a quick search on Google and find several shooting ranges offering sporting clays near your home. Shooting a case of shells over a couple of visits can vastly improve your shooting on opening day.
A couple of additional tips to consider.
Don’t race to the shot. Communicate prior to the birds coming in on which zones each shooter will focus on. On singles call out one shooter only. Before you rise for the shot take a deep breath, consciously relax, and then “takem”.
Get out in front.
On high left to right or right to left shots, most misses will be behind the bird. Train yourself to get out in front and hold more lead than you think you need. As you reach that lead point, pull the trigger and maintain your follow through.
Cover the bird.
When birds are flying over, let them get into range, raise the gun from below the bird, cover the bird with the barrel and pull the trigger.
Shoot their feet out.
When ducks or geese are dropping into the decoys, (my favorite kind of duck), shoot their feet. Their path pulls them into the shot string.
Don’t over think it.
I tend to focus on my cheek being on the stock and then seeing the bird over the bead. I look at the beak or the feet depending on trajectory and I shoot. Don’t get caught trying to figure range, speed of the bird, pattern size and all that.
Most important; while you are shooting at birds DON’T be thinking about that last miss. Clear your head and do the deed.
And remember above all else; be safe, be good, and be LUCKY!