‘Tis the wingshooter’s favorite time of the year. With quail, pheasant and waterfowl seasons open, why wouldn’t it be? Keep these tips in mind this month:
Know the loads you’re shooting. Pellet count, energy and velocity are big deals when wingshooting. The more you know about what you’re firing from your gun, the better you can make adjustments when you’re afield. It’s much easier to diagnose your problems of the day when you know what loads you’re firing.
Shoot the same gun. Being comfortable with a gun never hurts. I’ve seen seasoned hunters shoot a 50-year-old Remington 1100 much better than their younger contemporaries shooting the latest and greatest. The main reason: that old timer has been shooting that same 1100 for 50 years.
High dollar doesn’t mean high success. I’ve been hunting for more than 35 years and have been at Nebraskaland Magazine for nearly 15 years. I’ve photographed hunters of all skill levels and pocketbook sizes, and not one time have I come home after an upland or waterfowl hunt and thought the hunter’s high-dollar gun or shells were the reasons why they shot so well.
The price of shotgun shells varies dramatically, from a few dollars a box for lead field loads to more than $40 a box for some waterfowl loads. Again, find what works for you by researching and journaling, and pay attention to the ballistics numbers on the box instead of the price tag beside it.
Shoot. I stayed away from sporting clay ranges for years because I was under the impression that because the clays slowed down each second they flew, it would hinder me when shooting at birds that never slowed down in the air. I was wrong. What a really good sporting clay course can reveal is what shots you consistently miss, and which ones you should be looking for when hunting. Plus, it allows you to shoot that same gun over and over, becoming more comfortable with each pull of the trigger.
Shoot With Good Shots. I think one of the greatest attributes to my shooting skills is being on dove fields as a kid with guys who shot well. Watching birds fall around me, then picking up a .410 for the first time and going 2 for 50 made me realize I had a lot of work to do. To this day, shooting beside a good shooter makes me up my game, helping me limit my shots to birds in killing range and making sure every shot counts. ■