Many hunters standing in cold deep brush peer through leafy branches from inside a makeshift blind, waiting for hours with the taste of roast duck in the back of their minds. As they wait to take their shot, they may see their “dinner” out in the distance well beyond the range of the shotgun.
As the birds begin descending through the canopy they can quickly make their way to a location within range. Once a group of ducks enters the ideal pattern of the shooters’ guns, the hunters will quickly begin firing away. Missing the first shot, they will re-aim and fire twice more. Only then do they realize they have succumbed to bad shooting habits, missing their target all three times.
Correcting through Self-Analysis
Through self-analysis there is an effective way to understand exactly what went wrong. More than likely, they are a victim of one of the following bad shooting habits. These bad habits include:
- Shooting the Wrong Gun – There is nothing worse than going hunting with a poor-fitting gun. Just because it was expensive, or seems to fit well in the hands, the hunter might not have the physical characteristics for that specific gun to create the most successful results.
A properly fitting shotgun will feel comfortable and mount to the shoulder easily. It will feel as though it is an extension of the hunter’s arm. An easy solution for determining if the gun is a proper fit is to take the unloaded shotgun and select an imaginary target at a range of 10 to 15 feet away. Without closing either eye, take an imaginary shot quickly. Next, close one eye and focus while looking down the barrel. If the gun’s sight is relatively on target the gun is likely as close to fit as possible.
- Forgetting to Focus – Simply aiming at the mass of ducks flying by and shooting is not good enough to be successful. Take proper aim by focusing on a specific duck alone. Even if the shot is missed, re-aim on the same duck and take a second shot. Many hunters will only have a single shot in the gun at one time to help improve their concentration, knowing that though only have one chance to get it right.
- Analyzing Every Shot – This is not to suggest that analyzing every shot is not important. In fact it is. However, it is a process that should happen on the practice range, and not when out in the field hunting. At this point, when the duck is in flight, all of that practice from the months before should make the shooting instinctual.
- Shooting Out Of Range – Being overly eager is a bad habit, and one that should be broken as quickly as possible. Becoming too anxious when birds are out of range is a quick way to lose all opportunities for a hit. If this is impossible to correct, consider giving that responsibility to a shot caller in the hunting party. When that individual says “shoot!” that is when everyone shoots, and not before.
- Not Understanding the Quarry –The most successful waterfowl hunters in the world are those that truly understand their quarry. They have taken the time to understand eating habits, behavioral patterns, and how the birds react to all types of weather conditions.
While breaking all of these bad habits will certainly create better success when hunting, it is important to note that even the finest marksmen will occasionally miss their shots. On top of that, there are days when the marksmen will miss most of their shots.
Cameron Lair is an outdoorsmen who grew up in Houston and created TopFlightLeather.com with his best friend. Aside from hunting, he enjoys creating fine leather accessories from hunting dog collars to duck and quail carriers.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia