Shoot Bluerocks to Get in Shape for Bird Hunting Seasons
I like to hunt birds, such as doves, pheasants, quail, ducks and geese, so when I hunt its with one of my shotguns. To keep my shooting skills sharp, I spend a lot of time shooting bluerocks before the seasons open.
I shoot so much partly because I just like to shoot, but also because I know I have to be sharp on the morning of Sept.1, when the first mourning dove speeds past the spot where Ill be set up beneath a tree at the edge of a grain field.
Like most other hunters, I find it more difficult to consistently bag a limit of doves than any of the other birds I hunt.
I really admire the skill of good trap or skeet shooters, but Ive noticed that even the best of them still have problems grassing a limit of doves. I think the reason is that there are some constants in trap and skeet shooting, but dove hunting is an entirely different game.
In my opinion, shooting a few rounds of sporting clays is excellent preparation for shooting game birds. Shooters are faced with clay targets of different sizes thrown at a variety of angles, speeds and distances. You never are quite sure where the clay will come from or which direction it will be headed, which is similar to the shots you get at game birds in the field.
Although not everyone has access to trap, skeet or sporting clays ranges, any hunter can improve their chances for success in the field by preparing and practicing correctly with bluerocks.
Practice is definitely the key to becoming a good wing shot, and how you practice is even more important. You should practice shooting the same kinds of shots at about the same distances and under the same conditions that you will have when shooting live birds in the field. Here are a few suggestions:
Practice enough that you become comfortable handling and shooting your gun. Safely loading, unloading, holding, mounting and firing the gun should become second nature.
Pattern your gun and find the best shotshell brands and loads for your particular gun. Wear the same clothes and practice with the same gun and shells you will use when hunting.
Work on shooting basics – pointing the gun, swinging smoothly and follow- through.
Spend most of your practice time working on the more difficult shots – those crossing shots that make you swing toward your trigger arm and those going straight away or coming straight at you. If you have trouble with a certain shot, practice until you master it.
Practice shooting from a field shooting position – sitting on a stool or an overturned bucket; kneeling; or standing on uneven ground.
Never shoulder the gun before the target is thrown. Instruct the trap operator to throw the clay target at various angles whenever they want, rather than you calling “pull” when you are ready.
Practice following your shot through to train yourself to keep the barrel moving as you pull the trigger, if you stop swinging you’ll shoot behind the target.
In the field, shoot at birds the same way you practiced at the bluerock range. Dont shoulder the gun and follow an incoming bird for a long distance. Most hunters do better if they wait to mount the gun when a dove is in range, then swing and shoot quickly in one motion.
Train yourself to keep your head down and your cheek on the gunstock, if you lift your head to see the target break, youll miss the shot more often than not.
Be tough on yourself when practicing. Safety comes first. Be aware of how you handle your shotgun and dont let yourself get careless.
Its going to be an exciting season for Nebraskas shotgunners from the opening day of dove season until the closing day of pheasant, quail and Hungarian partridge seasons on Jan. 31, 2009. Get out and participate in this year’s hunting seasons as often as you can.