Real good advice sportnclays.
Back when I was much younger one of our hunting group consistently shot about 23 out of 25 on the trap range. However, he just couldn't hit a thing when it really counted (hunting).Quote:
When I shoot trap, I always know when and where the clay is going to go, but in the field of course, I never feel prepared for the flush...even though I can tell when my dogs are getting birdy, it seems like I am never ready and when I am, the bird is gone!
As Lainee said, in the "grand scheme of things" (hunting), thinking too much about the shot will often lead to frustrations. Habits and expectations must be nurtured.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your gun consistently mounts toward the target. Put a small piece of tape on a mirror. Do NOT see the gun sight or barrel......look only at the target as you hold the gun in a normal walking/hunting motion. Focusing only on the tape, snap your gun up to a shooting position and then visually check the alignment of the barrel with the target. Does the gun consistently point at what you are looking at? Practice this mounting process (in front of the mirror) until it is automatically correct all the time. Gun fit and consistent mounting are two huge issues that are rarely dealt with properly.
Just when you seem to have this taken care of, the "hunting clothes of the day" can change how the gun mounts. In additoin, if you think too much about lead, wind, feeling rushed and have little confidence....poor results are inevitable.
When I'm at the trap range most are shooting for a high score. When I shoot trap, I practice like I hunt. Using the gun I normally hunt with, I do not have the gun mounted until after saying "pull" and I do not always face in the exact direction the "pigeon" is expected to appear from. Practice getting the gun into the correct postion and looking at the "pigeon". Until this is accomplished, you will not really know where your gun is aimed. Practice until it just is!
For "swing" I start behind, under or over the target and swing in the correct direction based on the speed of the bird. The key is to "catch up" to the target while swinging. Practice swinging through the target faster than it is moving. Not all swings are the same speed. A second shot may find you thinking "catch up you fool". The third shot (automatic) usually means "see you later'. When I see the bird/clay pigeon and continue the barrel movement, I shoot (looking ONLY at the clay targert or bird). I do not track, "reach" a lead and hold it (ever). This evidently makes me more of an instinctive shooter. I can live with the results. ;)
"Swing" is different depending on direction. Shooting for ducks or pheasants is usually "different". Ducks are more often than not passing shots or incoming. Pheasants are most often flying away (flushed). On an away shot, the usual error is shooting under/behind.
A properly mounted gun, learning how to "swing" based on the kind of bird and velocity in flight, practicing with different layers of hunting clothes and confidence need to be dealt with in that order. Then you have to think about your foot work.
Pheasants won't be dropping until you expect it to happen. Expectations are best established by following a plan not based on "a wing and a prayer".
A couple of lesson and good gun fit help immensely but there is nothing like more time afield with live targets. Hook up with a great snow goose guide where you can unload 100-200 rounds a day at live birds and watch the improvement. Farm raised just ain't the same caliber. TX mid January and MO for the conservation season come to mind first.
Jacduck...That sounds great....U payin for me to get there? (wink, wink)
I think the use of a certified instructor could be really really helpful, I know gun fit is importent, but it is highly unlikely I will be modifying my dad's gun...it is too cool to be in anything but it's original, very used condition! One thing I forgot to mention (though some of you may know) is I am a women.
I think I will need to save my $$ and buy myself a gun and have it custom fitted. (I'm alittle tapped out right now as I just bought a new rifle for deer hunting next week). I also think some of you are right...I may be rushing the shots, as I am alittle anxious. I really don't understand the whole right eye, left eye, dominent eye thing...I don't even know if I am shooting with both eyes open or not? I think I am, but will have to pay more attention next time...anyone want to explain the eye thing?
If you figure out how to hit birds better particularly those evil little dove things let me know ;). Still what has helped me was getting a lesson, and finding out my gun didn't fit me (thus I wasn't mounting it right) and finding out that I was about 100% left eye dominant, which put my shot ~ 3ft in the wrong direction when I shot. Corrected those issues was able to hit Ducks most of the time, not those stupid dove. Still wild pheasants are about the toughest creature on earth, we had three guys shoot and solidly hit one bird on opener (golden pheasants, nitro's, and high brass steel 3;s), knocked it backward, yet it still got up to run.
Went to a Ladies gun seminar awhile back , of 10 women 9 of them were left eye or center eye dominate, the one righty had a astigmatism in her left eye. So I'd look into that
Or put shot gun up look out, at a fixed object. Do you see two barrels, that intercept in the center? (left or center eye) Both eyes open Do you see the strip down the barrel with the sight or do you see, the side of the barrel? (side of the barrel left eye) Do you get dizzy when you throw a gun up quickly, and have to adapt you eyes to make a shot? Get a pair of sun-glasses, mount gun look out beyond the gun. Close right eye take a chap-stick and blur out the piece of barrel you see in the left eye. open both eyes and you should see only one barrel, the correct one. Eye dominance solved ;)
What I would really like to learn how to do is to toss a duck or pigeon and shoot it myself. I can throw them or I can shoot them (preferably with backup) but I can't do it all by myself. That would be useful.