By Montana Grant

Posted: August 15, 2021


Now is the time to PULL the trigger! If you are an upland bird hunter, or hunt waterfowl, shooting birds on the wing is a perishable skill. Practice is important to be able to hit the fast-moving targets.

We have all hunted with the guy that never misses a clay target at the skeet or trap range. When they go to a Sporting Clays field, no target gets away. It is easier to hit a target when you call for it by saying “PULL!” There is no surprise in that. The targets are always the same size, speed, and on your command.

This same Sure Shot often sings a different song when hunting wild birds afield. When these shooters step on a big Cockbird, grouse, or a covey of huns, suddenly. they can’t hit the side of a barn. The excitement of rising birds is unsurpassed and thrilling. You need to learn how to stay calm and focus when shooting afield. You also need to deal with the excitement safely. Know where the dogs and other hunters are before you pull the trigger.

Here are some tips on how to improve your shotgun skills.

Practice Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays, and hand thrown targets. Each sport has a different challenge and requires a different skill.

Use the same gun to practice with that you plan to hunt with

Shoot Low Gun. This is called International Style. Hold the gun, safety on, as if you were walking. Mount the gun when the target appears. Not before.

Don’t call for the target. Let the puller surprise you.

Never stop swinging the gun. Swing through the target.

Mount the gun the same way and into the same spot every time. Make sure that you gun fits you properly. If you are not sure, find a Mentor to help. You need to be looking down the barrel, not through it. The stock height, length, and material can impact where the gun fits.

Use your dominant eye to know which shoulder to shoot from. If the right eye is dominant, shoot right-handed. If this is opposite of what you prefer, get shooting glasses or a prescription, that blurs the lens on the eye that is taking over. This is especially an issue for aging shooters. You should always wear shooting glasses anyway.

Shotguns are appointed, not aimed. Its all about hand eye coordination. If you point your forearm finger at the target, on your front stock, your eyes will follow. Shotguns can be equipped with a scope, for big game hunting, but that is a different application.

Keep your face/cheek on the stock through the shot. Don’t lift it to see if you hit the target. Stay on the target and watch it fall. Mark the spot.

Practice, Practice, Practice. That one great shot is the result of hundreds of practice shots. The only way to become a better shooter is to shoot!

Shoot more, Shoot often!

Montana Grant

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