By S P Griffin
Shooting a shotgun is as much mental warfare as it is fundamentals.
This past Saturday my brother, my dad, my two oldest sons, and I went to the skeet range. We decided to shoot a round of trap since the skeet range was packed. All of us, except Dad, had not shot trap before. It looked easy enough, actually I thought I would be really good at it. WRONG, I hit the first one and missed the next 10. My brother, who shoots sporting clay tournaments, shot 12 out of 25. I ended up tied with my 14 year old at 6 of 25. Embarrassing, to say the least.
Once I started missing it was over, I started riding the targets, closing one eye and absolutely fell apart. I had changed chokes from improved to modified before we started, so in my mind that was the problem. I changed back after going 2 of 15 and finished 4 of 10 with an improved cylinder, not much better. It wasn't the choke, it was my brain that got in my way.
It happens at the skeet range and in the dove fields, and is very difficult to overcome. Here are some tips to avoid a mental breakdown.
Do you remember the movie Tin Cup? Kevin Costner was warming up to play in the biggest golf tournament he had ever played in. The normally calm Costner couldn't hit a straight shot to save his life. He kept shanking the ball down the line of other golfers and the more he did it, the worse it got. His caddy and long time friend made him turn his hat around backwards, pull his pockets inside out etc. etc., and then made him hit the ball again. After some resistance, Costner did it and low and behold he hit his next drive perfect. Although this was a movie, there is some truth there. If you can do something that takes your mind off of missing you have much better chance of overcoming it. Turn your hat around, take your glasses off, do something different just to take your mind away from the fact you are sucking it up. Keep positive, negativity is the enemy.
When analyzing the miss, concentrate on why your fundamentals broke down. Don't dwell on where you missed, let's face it you were most likely behind it or over it. Instead answer these questions: Did you have the right focus as you shot? Were you on the line of the target? Was your move and mount smooth? Did you have the right muzzle speed? One of these will answer why you missed.
Okay, you've turned you hat around backwards, figured out why you missed and now it's your turn again or a dove is coming by. Shoulder your gun correctly, use good footwork, and follow through with your shot. Don't focus on anything but the bird, forget about the last station, the last dove, or the bill you forgot to pay. ONLY THE BIRD! The good news is it only takes one good shot to erase 10 bad ones.
Just like a good shooter in basketball, you have to keep shooting and being consistent. The moment you start to doubt yourself, your accuracy will drop. Keep your confidence high and don't start trying to modify your form or how you normally shoot your shotgun.
A side note to the skeet outing is that my 10 year old made fantastic progress for only his 2nd time shooting. He only shot 2 the first time, and only hit one shooting trap so his confidence was in the toilet. As he began to shoot skeet I was worried, but he hit 1 out of 4 on the first station and that was all the confidence he needed. He shot 10 for 25 (with a 410), including both of them on the last station (the hardest station). A little confidence goes a long way. Happy shooting.
Hello, my name is S P Griffin and I've recently started a blog about dove hunting, hunting dogs, and shotguns. It's kind of ironic that the name is Dove, Dogs, and Shotguns isn't it? At http://www.dovehunting101.com/ you can find everything from how to articles on hunting, shooting, dog training, to hunting supplies and accessories. Check it out and feel free to leave your comments about the site.
Article Source: Shooting a Shotgun - Mind Over Matter
Welcome back for the second and final part of the article where we will continue to discuss about the best guns for upland bird hunting.
We've left off the first part on the gauges aspect of the guns. The 20-gauge runs a close third to the 12 and 16 and it is very well possible to load a 3-inch 20 with up to 11/4 ounces of shot but you need to understand that it patterns best with 7/8 to 1-ounce payloads. In most cases, the 20 is enough for everything up to pheasants (including) at medium ranges and the good thing is that on the market there are plenty of light and slim 20s to choose from. The 28-gauge is lethal inside 30 yards although it packs only 3/4 ounce of shot.
Moving on to the weight and barrel length. You shouldn't pick a gun that has a curb weight of more than 7 pounds. More than that, there are lots of hunters out there that have problems shooting with guns that weigh below the 6 pounds mark. Thanks to their low weight, they carry divinely and mount pretty fast. However, you need to understand that they lose momentum very fast and it is too easy to overcontrol a wisp of a gun. This means that the ideal weight of an upland bird gun is 53/4 to 7 pounds.
Despite the fact that a regular gun for upland hunting needn't have the muzzle-heavy feel of a target gun, you should know that a smidgen of weight up front will help smooth your swing. The minimum length for barrels is 26 inches but most experienced hunters prefer 28-inch barrels. Although the muzzle-light, short-barreled guns are quick to the target, follow-through is very important in upland hunting as this is what kills the birds. Taking into consideration the fact that double guns are already compact, there is no need to pick super short barrels for the brush.
Lastly, you need to think about the chokes. Despite the fact that the screw-in types will allow you to fiddle with various constrictions, we recommend that you should leave the fast choke changes to the clay-target shooters. You must learn that most of the upland birds usually fall within 30 yards of the gun. Improved Cylinder or even Skeet in the first barrel and IC or Modified in the second covers the majority of upland situations.
Upland bird hunting should be done with a gun that is capable of shooting rounds very fast. If you still have not made up your mind and do not know which sort of gun to pick, it is highly recommended to talk to a professional hunter or a gunsmith that can point you into the right direction about which gun and ammunition you should buy for your next upland bird hunting expedition. After buying it, don't take it immediately out to the hunting field, practice for a little while until you get the hang of it.
As they say, practice makes perfect so spend some time improving your shots.
Article written by Adrian Padeanu. Find out useful details about shotguns by accessing the following website: http://www.huntingriflesreviews.com - your best source for information regarding the best hunting rifles in the world.
Guns For Upland Bird Hunting - PART 2
For start, you should know that a good upland gun mustn't be heavy as you will need one that you can carry around for miles and miles of tall grass and also through acres of dense thickets. When you notice the birds at your feet, the gun you have been toting the entire time must swing, mount and shoot with barely a conscious though on your par. In this article we are going to recommend what would be a good choice for an upland bird gun.
First of all, let's start with the action. Basically, a pair beats a flush in the uplands but you should know that a third shot can taken down the birds that you have missed with the first two. However, the two-barreled guns have a lively feel that only just a few repeaters can offer. Of course, two barrels means two chokes, which means that you will get a wide spread of shot for the flush and a tighter pattern for the follow-up shot. In addition, there is another advantage to take into consideration: the hunter can easily open a break-action with a flip of the lever in order to safely jump creeks, fences and slide down banks.
Side-by-side or over & under? It is up to you to decide this one. The hunters that are used to shot with autos, pumps and those that have done some clay-target shooting prefer looking down the narrow plane of an over & under's vertical barrels, while others enjoy the sensation of peering across the broad expanse of a side-by-side's paired barrels. You need to know that due to the popularity of the over and under's, there are more stackbarrels than doubles to take your pick. The side-by-sides weighs less in comparison to over & unders and their shallow frames nestle low in the hands of the hunter for natural and easy pointing. In order to take full advantage of the instant choke selection that the two-barreled has to offer, the hunter must shoot a two-trigger gun, which in most of the situations is a side-by-side.
Moving on to the gauges. You need to understand that an all-around upland gun has to be capable of handling loads from 7/8 to 11/4 ounces of shot, which means that only a few gauges can qualify for this. Your best bet would have to be anything between a 12 and the 16. Some say that the perfect upland gun would have to be a proper 16 that is built on a small frame, which means that it will be nearly equal to the ballistic of a 12 gauge and also approximately one pound lighter, making it a lot easier to carry around the hunting field. However, not many of the 16s amount to nothing more than 16-gauge barrels stuck on the 12-gauge receivers. As far as the 12 is concerned, it patterns an ounce of shot as well as or better than just about any other smaller gauge and you also have the possibility to load it up to 11/4 ounces if you need the extra reach.
Join us again for the second part of the article where we will continue to offer a few instructions about choosing efficient guns for bird hunting.
Article written by Adrian Padeanu. Find out more information about hunting rifles by visiting us at www.huntingriflesreviews.com where you will be able to discover interesting details regarding hunting shotguns and many other topics as well.
Article Source: Guns For Upland Bird Hunting - PART 1
By Jake Theron
Don't mean to make fun of a long-gone relative, but she came over on the boat, landing at Ellis Island. Never met her, but older generations would always snigger when she told her story of emigrating from her homeland.
She used to say she came to America because in her home country she dirt poor. She explained that she was a "Pheasant."
A thing that some hunters truly enjoy about the fowl is its gamey flavor. Here's how to enhance that experience: Hang it by its legs in a cool place for a couple of day. This not only adds that special treat to the palate, it likewise makes the bird a bit more tender. Make sure the temperature doesn't rise above 40-degrees. You could end-up with more than just a meal - like a bacterium that'll send you to the doctor.
After a few days, when the Pheasant gets its game on, place it on a clean working surface with its belly-up. Start at the breast and yank-away until you reach its neck. You're not doing this as if it's a freshly-picked daisy and you're playing "she loves me, she loves me not." Grab a small clump of feathers with your pointing finger and your thumb. Give the bunch a hearty pull. You're going to want to follow the exact direction the feathers are pointing. Using this method you're less likely to tear a hole in the skin.
Don't grab a fistful of feathers, a few at a time will do. Your mission is to try not to rip the epidermis.
Running into an issue with plucking the feathers with your fingers? Bring a pot of water to a boil. Take it off the heat. Wait a minute then submerge the foul into the liquid for a few seconds. Don't overdo it. You don't want to cook the thing, just loosen the feathers.
Taking this route means you're going to have to roast the bird immediately after the plucking.
At the neck, start near the head rotating the Pheasant until you get around half-way down the pipe. Have some tweezers near-by in case any of the obstinate pinfeathers refuse to let go.
Move on to the legs and tail. Warning: the tail may give you some trouble so be careful. You don't want to rip-off any of the skin. Unlike other game birds, this fellow is thin-shelled. Be gentle.
Putting the bird on its back, stretch the wings and with a sharp, strong pair of kitchen scissors, slice through the joints at the center wing hinge. Tweezers won't work for this part. Grab some pliers to yank-out the stubborn, remaining feathers.
Got a cleaver? Good, slam the business-end down on the neck. Try to get as close to the body as you can. Save the head for some later Voodoo experiments, but it's probably best to thrown it on a neighbor's lawn that has young children.
Just kidding. Bag it and toss it in the garbage.
With said cleaver, chop-off the bird's elbow joints to disconnect the feet. Let them dry. They make great ornaments for the rear-view mirror on your truck.
Got you again. Thrown the damned things away, O.K.?
Jake Theron is an avid dog trainer and hunter who loves to give people his wisdom. He tends to spend most of his time nowadays either training his companions or fulfilling his need to spread his knowledge by writing for Versatile Dog Supply An Online supplier of Hunting Dog Equipment and Hunting dog Equipment.
Article Source: Plucking Your Pheasant
By S P Griffin
Who hasn't done it, shown up for a big dove hunt and put yourself in a bad spot. It is simply miserable to listen to all the blasting around you as you contemplate everything from moving spots to what you did to deserve this. The best bullets, most expensive shotgun, and best trained dog cannot make up for picking a bad spot when dove hunting. Let's look at how we can prevent singing the 'no dove blues'.
First we will look at the three basic ways to get a good spot when dove hunting and then we'll breakdown what to look for when scouting.
If you don't have a sixth sense like my dad does, then it will pay to do a little scouting before you show up for the hunt. You can learn a lot about the dove in just one afternoon. Pay attention to their flight patterns, the sun, and the time they start to fly. Pick a few spots that look promising, just in case someone beats you to your first choice.
And the early hunter gets the spot and the birds. It's really not a good plan to scout out your spot and come driving up too late to get it. Surely, if you've picked a decent spot it won't last long. Whether you are hunting the morning hunt or afternoon, don't dally, get to the field, take your spot and prepare to be the one making everyone else jealous.
If you're new to dove hunting, then you probably haven't witnessed a pair of incoming dove break into evasive maneuvers on the slightest movement by you. After a dove has been shot at a couple of times or, as Tim Lilley from Game & Fish calls it, educated, they become very jumpy and will change course on any ground movement. This can be devastating to even the best spot. Expert dove hunter, Will Jester, thinks that being still and keeping your dog still is more important than the fanciest camo you can buy. Sure, you'll want to wear some camo but if you are jumping up to shoot way to early the camo won't help.
Those are the basic steps to getting a good spot to hunt. Now let's look at what actually look for when scouting or looking at a field for the first time.
Get your bearings and figure out east from west and then position yourself with the sun at your back. The sun can really hinder your ability to spot dove much less shoot dove. If having it at your back is not possible try to face where it is not directly in your eyes.
Dove structure is basically something other than food or water that attracts birds. These structures effect the dove's flight patterns in a field. It could be anything from a group of trees to an old barn in the field. These structures will be a staging area for the dove to hold at until they leave to feed or water. Finding a position within range of these structures can make for some prime real estate in the field.
A bare spot in the field can be a great place to find holding dove. Dove need to have a certain amount of gravel and sand in there diet. Will Jester says, "These areas can be ideal, food on the ground all over the field will obviously scatter and disperse the doves. A hunter sitting near a visible patch of grit will often get a concentration of birds headed for one place that offers more than one of the things they need." Of course you don't want to sit in the bare spot, just in shotgun range of the spot.
Dove usually go to water after they eat. Keep this in mind if your considering setting up near water. If there are many hunters set up where the food is, they will get the first crack at the dove. Don't get me wrong there can be some fantastic shoots by water, but if it is a large field with many hunters, I wouldn't recommend it as your primary spot.
If you take these points into consideration when scouting, or heaven forbid, just showing up to hunt, your chances of a successful hunt will improve greatly.
Hello, my name is S P Griffin and I've recently started a blog about dove hunting, hunting dogs, and shotguns. It's kind of ironic that the name is Dove, Dogs, and Shotguns isn't it?
At http://www.dovehunting101.com/ you can find everything from how to articles on hunting, shooting, dog training, to hunting supplies and accessories. Send me the reviews of the places you have dove hunted on, good or bad. I'll post them to the site.
When a shotgun shooter first starts to shoot the first thing that they must do is to find out whether their dominant eye is either their left or right eye. There is not only the right or left eye dominance, there are a lot of shooters who have central vision, which is neither the left eye or the right eye which is dominant.
It is estimated that 40-50% of all shooters have some problem with eye dominance, 48% of all babies are born left handed, by adulthood there are less than 15%. Therefore at least 33% of all shooters will probably have a master eye problem, to a greater or lesser degree. Eye dominance can change as well, due to, tiredness, ill health, age, damage to head or eyes, or even to the type of employment, sitting in front of a computer for long periods, this could account for up to 20% of right handed and right master eyed shooters having a master eye problem. Your master eye, for a lot of shooters, does not mean either left or right eye dominant, you could have central vision, left central or right central vision, all of these problems will more than likely affect your shooting accuracy.
In the past, if a shooter had a left eye dominance problem, the recommended cure was to close their left eye before shooting, the problem with this is that it takes over a second after closing the eye for the Visual Cortex to adapt to the new situation, making it more difficult for the shooting eye to lock onto the target.
There is also the problem of changing from binocular vision, to monocular vision, the field of vision is vastly reduced, the ability for the brain to calculate depth perception and the perception of speed are also greatly reduced. Humans have as we know, have two eyes with overlapping field that use parallax to give depth perception, to remove this ability by closing one eye, can only make shooting more difficult.
With both eyes open the eye/brain is only capable of processing information at 16 frames per second, therefore, we are always seeing the target a little behind, due to our brain processing time, if one eye is closed just before shooting, this small delay, plus over a second further delay for the brain to adjust to monocular vision, means that we will be seeing the bird in the past, making it more likely that the shot will be behind the target.
John Humpfries started shooting when he was 13 years old and has enjoyed the sport ever since. There are various products available to help the dedicated marksman with eye dominance correction - and you can find out more at http://www.eyedominance.co.uk