Monday, December 12, 2011


I'm probably not the best person to give advice on shooting, but after a frustrating day for a fellow hunter I thought I might mention what works for me.

Tom and I went our separate ways about 9 this morning,  as we often do when chukar hunting. It was a calm clear day and you could hear the report of shotgun from a great distant. Tom heard me shoot several times and I also heard his shooting. Four and a half hours later we met back at the truck. I could tell Tom had a frustrating day when he said, "I hope you shot better than me today."  I had an extremely good shooting day for me and Tom asked how I do it.

First off, I have to admit to not shooting well all the time. In fact, in all honesty, I shoot about 65 % when it comes to shooting chukars and huns. But there are many things a guy can do to improve success on shooting the devil bird. I have shot clays with Tom, so I know he is very capable of shooting well. His gun fits and all the basics are there. I just don't think he plans for success.

I could go on and on telling you what I do that works for me, but I think it's more important that you find what works for you. It's not as simple as "Wow my dog is on point, I'll walk up there and shoot the bird!" If you're going to be a successful bird shot there are variables that can improve your percentage. They are all simple things, but when added together they can make a huge difference in your game bag at the end of the day.

Knowing your dog and how he will react at the shot is a must. If you're looking out for your dog, you're not concentrating on the bird. Safety is a must and your dog is far more important than any bird so this involves training as well as common sense. Try and move in on the point in a way that takes a hazardous shot out of the equation. Have in your mind where the no shot zone is and stick to it. When the bird is out of that zone it's a green light and the only thing on your mind is to swing through the target as you shoot.

How do you shoot best?  Is it a left to right crosser, a right to left crosser, straight away, or what? You need to know which shot you shoot best and try and position yourself for that shot. I know this is not always possible, but when it happens your mind is already saying dead bird on this one.

I'll bet most everyone shoots singles better than covey flushes. You have to shoot the first bird before you can get a second so concentrate on a single bird and shoot it. Another big flaw in shooting is changing from one bird to another. Very seldom is that a good idea because there is too much gun movement. Pick a bird and stay with it and more often than not it will drop out of the sky.

Age. I almost hate to add this into the equation but I have to. I have noticed the last few years that I have lost some of my speed and agility and there is nothing I can do about it. So I just slow myself down a little more and usually only get one shot off. It works for me.

Chokes, gauges, fit of clothes, hunting into the sun, windy conditions, and many other variables influence shooting in hunting situations. The thing you have to do is find out what works for you. When you find those things, go in with confidence that you are going to make the shot. It's like anything else in life, you have to PLAN FOR SUCCESS.


Karl DeHart said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I just had a hunt with the Sisters and on 3 of the 5 pointing ops I wasn't sure about the dogs and missed every time. I knew where they were but my minds eye was too focused on their position to bead in on the birds.

larry szurgot said...

Absolutely. I'm sure your percentage was much higher shooting over Z and will be back up there each year with Sky. Multiple people around also adds a little more distraction as you found out I'm sure.