Monday, November 19, 2012

Hearing and it's relationship to shooting

Okay, getting older has a lot more advantages than disadvantages, but after my last three trips out chukar hunting and my dismal shooting I have found one more excuse for misses. Hearing. In my case directional hearing. After thousands of shots at chukars with no hearing protection I still have decent hearing but have had some changes in my directional hearing. Last night while watching a football game, I mentioned to Barb how the surround sound seemed a little messed up. With her look of "what a dummy" she informed me it wasn't even on. Well, the sounds I was hearing wasn't coming from the direction of the TV. From there my mind (what's left of it) went back to the chukar hills and the events of the past few days. Misses were a big part of it. I'm a little of a fanatic about keeping records of events on the hill while chukar hunting. The shots I was successful on were the ones Riley had the birds pinned down and they busted where I expected them to be. The ones I missed were the ones Riley pointed but didn't flush where I expected. I remember one time even turning the wrong direction as I heard the flush. Even though the birds flushed well within shooting range, by the time I got situated for the shot, they were well out of range. Over the years I have slowed my shooting down. Even though 80% of the birds I get shots at flush at twenty five yards or less, I usually only get one shot. Except when there is a straggler. My reaction time obviously has slowed over the years, so I concentrate on making that one good shot. With this new directional hearing problem I have developed along with a slower reaction time, by the time I am getting to the bird I'm having a hard time catching up to it. I'm shooting behind the bird. That split second of time is making the difference between getting a smooth swing through the bird and not. On the range I always where ear protection and usually know where the pigeon will come from but in the field that isn't always true. I've done some research into hearing protection while chukar hunting, but haven't come up with anything positive. Anything I put in or over my ears seems to enhance the sounds of heavy breathing and also my heart beat which would drive me nuts while walking the steep hills. So I've decided to just put DIRECTIONAL HEARING LOSS into my arsenal of excuses for missing chukars.

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