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May 10, 2017 - Lee McClellan of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife has some pointers for you dove hunters.
And while many of us are old dogs, it wouldn't hurt us to learn a few new tricks. Or rather, revisit some fundamental old ones. More from Lee:
A dove comes into your section of the field on opening day. You crouch behind a row of sunflowers and excitedly wait for the dove to come into range.
The dove keeps coming and you jump up, shoulder your shotgun and fire, followed by another shot and then another, none of them threatening the bird. The dove keeps flying out of the field.
The opening weekend of dove season can bring frustration to wingshooters as dove hunters, even highly experienced ones, start missing shots they normally make. The misses snowball and aggravation mounts.
“Then, when you are struggling, you tend to think more, take more time, concerned about laying the bead on the target in an effort to not miss,” said Mark Marraccini, executive staff advisor for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “But, by doing this, you are guaranteeing you will miss.”
Sloppy fundamentals are usually the root cause of missed birds, particularly improperly mounting the shotgun. “Bad habits are easy to get into and ingrain your muscle memory,” said Marraccini, who is a competitive shotgunner and teacher of shotgun skills. “They can be hard to get rid of because you can’t see yourself shoot.”
McClellan says if your upper arm and shoulder are unusually tender after a day of wingshooting, you likely mounted the shotgun too low.
And it helps to move the shotgun out in front of your body a bit and bring the butt of the gun stock straight back into that shoulder notch, instead of sliding the stock up your body when mounting your shotgun, he said.