These simple tips will help you break more targets and bag more birds.
You can increase your shooting scores by simply using good equipment that compliments the rest of your gear. Follow the rest of these simple tips for better shotgun shooting.
1. Use better ammo
Don’t use the promotional, cheap stuff, which is usually dubbed pheasant or squirrel. Premium ammunition provides better patterns and impact, resulting in more one-shot kills and broken targets.
2. Change your patterns
You can easily do this by changing your choke or changing your shot size. If you hit birds with just one or two pellets, try using a tighter choke. If you mis close-range birds, use a more open choke.
3. Dry fire and mount
Practice your gun mount at home, with safety precautions. If you have snap caps, mount the gun, take the safety off, then swing and pull the trigger. Have a shooting partner shine a flashlight at a wall and move the beam. Practice mounting and following the beam. Each time you mount your gun, you develop muscle memory. The whole act of mounting and firing will eventually become instinctive.
4. Learn a proper stance
Shotgunning and rifle shooting are not similar. A lot of novice shotgun shooters use a wide stance and often have their feet 90 degrees to the line of their target. In wingshooting, your feet should be no more than shoulder width apart and the toe of your lead foot should point toward the target.
5. Let birds get up and out
Most hunters tend to shoot at flushing birds when they first come up off the ground. Have patience. Shooting too quickly usually results in a miss. Say to yourself “move, mount, shoot” on close, quick shots. Say “butt, belly, beak, bang” on longer shots.
6. Concentrate on the front end of the target
Most misses on crossing targets are due to shooting behind the target. This phenomenon often occurs when the shooter stops the gun after he or she sees the bird, or the shooter shifts focus to the shotgun bead. Make a conscious effort to look for and focus on the bird’s head or the leading edge of the target.
7. Get your nose over your toes
Shotgun shooters should not lean back nor bend at the hip. Proper shotgun shooting involves leaning your weight forward.
8. Fit your gun properly
Much like a tennis racket or golf club, a shotgun should be an extension of your body. Many modern guns have stock shims. Spend time on the pattern board and get a professional gun fitting. Your eyes are the back sight of the shotgun, and it should shoot wherever you look, as long as your gun mount is consistent.
9. Keep a journal
Document your equipment, field conditions, and any other noteworthy details. It is a good way to make comparisons later and see your progress.
10. Seek instruction
Don’t keep repeating unsuccessful strategies. Likewise, if you keep changing your strategy, you will never be consistent. Learn new techniques, tips, or ideas and practice them. Books, articles, and videos are a good place to start, but professional one-on-one instruction is priceless.
You’ll be a pro shooter with a full bird bag in no time if you follow these simple tips!