Friday, December 11, 2009


Shooting chukars can be described by many in shooting sports to be as frustrating as most people in the sports world consider golf. There is no way to duplicate many of the shots you will encounter.

While at the sporting clays range or out on your own there are many ways to change angles, speed, and presentation of the targets. But you are always aware of where the target is coming from and when. You have two feet on the ground and have time to square your feet to the target. You still can practice your tough shots, but you are just prepared for them.

When actually hunting, you can never prepare yourself for the shot you're about to encounter. You try, but the shot very seldom presents itself like you imagine. Even when hunting behind a pointing dog who is locked on birds. There are many factors that all of a sudden can come into play.

First of all ,the birds are very seldom exactly where the dog is pointing, so it is very hard to square your shoulders to where the birds take off at. If you aren't square, the angle of your body may stop your follow through. Follow through is so important in all shooting. It is probably the biggest factor in poor shooting.

You also have to be so conscious of the surroundings. Where is your dog? Is he liable to react in a way to impede your shooting? Where are your hunting partners? Are there any other dogs that may be in the line of fire? When at the gun club you don't have to worry about these things but in the field they are always on your mind.

When the birds flush they usually flush as a group. It's hard to pick just one bird and stay with it when there are so many birds flying around. Stay with that bird throughout the shot and don't change suddenly because there is a bird that looks easier. If you change, I guarantee you'll miss 90% of the time. Make sure of your first shot. Too many times a person shoots fast so he can get a second or third shot thus missing them all. Concentrate on getting the first one first.

Down hill shots are my hardest shot. It's hard to shoot under the bird. But that's where they are going. You are not on level ground which compounds the matter. Sometimes both feet aren't on the ground.

Take your time while approaching the dog. Rushing up to the dog will only excite the dog and get you more out of breath. Move slow and calm. It not only helps your shooting it helps calm the dog so he'll hold point better.

When I approach a pointing dog I try to approach in a matter to flush the birds in a direction that might improve my odds. I know I shoot left to right crossers better than any other shot. So if possible I try to get the birds to flush that way.

Another thing I often do to try to improve my odds for a double is to shoot the bird in the back of the covey instead of the lead bird. That way after the shot and if I'm following through properly my swing is already taking me towards the next shot instead of having to hesitate for the remaining birds to catch up. The less jerky motion the better.

Age has something to do with shooting also. Especially when it comes to reflexes. I hate to admit it but I have slowed down quite a bit over the years. Many times when on down hill slopes I don't even get a shot. I'm concentrating so hard on getting my footing that by the time I get the gun up the birds are out of range. Most of the time I find it a lot better to concentrate on one good shot.

Ah! Going through slumps. It's going to happen. The more you let it bother you the longer it will last. We all go through it. We also have the times when it seems like we can't miss, although the slumps seem to come more often. Just keep shooting and things will come around.

Shooting 50% is great shooting when it comes to chukar hunting. Most people I talk to shoot about 20% of the birds they shoot at. Remember you're out there to enjoy yourself. Keep it that way.

1 comment:

larry szurgot said...

I went out chukar hunting today to a new place. It was private property and there were a few cows scattered around. At times I was within a couple hundred yards of a major highway. I shot terrible. It shows that if you have too many distractions your percentage drops off. I did the right thing by thinking safety first. I won't hunt this place again even though I saw plenty of birds. I'd rather know that when I'm swinging my shotgun there is going to be nothing behind my target. I'm sure my shooting will improve again this way.