Cover That Bird

dog-with-birdWing shooting is an art form, and one of the biggest challenges in the art is doing something that doesn’t feel artistic. Painting is always about drawing an inspiring picture. Shot gunning is usually about drawing a perfect picture, specifically the picture of a shotgun barrel and bead passing the leading edge of a bird. Sometimes though the perfect picture will miss the bird or shoot it in the wrong end. Sometimes you have to “cover the bird” behind the barrel in order to make a clean kill.

Take for instance a flushing straight away pheasant or quail on the rise. The tendency is to put him right on top of the barrel and miss every time. The bird is going up, so to make a clean shot you have to swing through the leading edge of the bird, which means pulling the barrel up so that you cannot see the bird while pulling the trigger. This can be very counterintuitive for many shooters, myself included. Overhead shots can pose the same problem.

The solution is simple, practice swinging through the leading edge of the target even when the barrel obscures your picture perfect target. Because the real perfect picture is your dog retrieving a rooster, not tail feathers floating in the wind.