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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This last weekend I went on my first dove hunt. Apparently I suck. Granted it was noon to three and there were not a lot of birds flying so I didn’t really have an opportunity to figure much out. I had an opportunity at 7 birds fired off 12 shells and came home with one bird. And that bird was one that I watched land in the field, walked over and jump shot it; I was 0-6 on crossing birds. Most shots were about 30-40 yards. One was closer but it was the first bird of the day and I pulled the trigger, pulled again, pulled again, and watched the bird fly out of range. I realized after the bird was out of range and shot by another hunter that I hadn’t taken the safety off. :doh:

One question I have is, how can I up my efficiency? I read that most beginning hunters don’t lead enough. I started off leading about one bird length and by the end of the day I was leading the 90 degree crossers (most were flying with the wind) by about 4 bird lengths. Is that not enough lead? Then again, it could just be poor shooting by me. We shot clays before the hunt and I was only hitting about 6/10 on the much slower moving and closer clays.

I know I need more practice, but any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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Don't feel bad :sad: My shooting skills suck also,or maybe its the gun:mrgreen:
 

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Just by reading your post I can tell you that you shot behind every bird If you were trying to use a sustained lead.

In shot gunning I have found that most people who shoot wild birds have to allow their brains to do the math to place the shot on target......shoot reflex in other words;-)

The problem is a bird is never moving the same speed or angle every time like a clay is. In clay shooting you can train your body for a sustained lead as you know the path and speed of your target.

I would get out and set shoot some clay's again but this time practice by pulling the gun up after the clay is in the air, make sure you make solid contact with your butt stock to your shoulder, don't look at your bead or rib and swing the barrel through your target while not trying to guess a lead, keep your head down and pull the trigger.

As soon as you start getting a few breaks your mind and body will get the correct information it needs to start doing the math to put your shot on target. At this point you just need to do your part, condition your body for proper foot placement, smooth mount to your face, keeping your head down and then don't over think things. In shooting your biggest enemy is yourself and overthinking why you missed.
 

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I disagree hammerin...every single scattergun I have consistently shoots behind and low...no two ways about it...I need a gun that shoots where it should and not where it's pointing. ;-)
 
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JMgardner
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being that I'm from not very far from where you're hunting, i can tell you about 4:30 or 5 is really when they fly. so thats not your fault. and also around that swan creek area there are thousands of acres of corn farms so if you're not in corn, you're at a further disadvantage because there is so much readily available food.

as far as your shooting, i used to be very happy with myself if i could get 5 birds per box. you're not far off that in your ratio. just my thoughts though
 

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Start hunting ducks. If you think doves are fast wait until you get a flock of teal bombing in.
Especially greenwings flying 9 bazillion miles an hour like they're drunk...you gotta aim where they ain't to hit one.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the input! Lots to think about, but I'll try not to over think it. Responses below:

They say 7 shots per dove killed is the national average haha. They are fast and hard to hit. How far were the shots?
Yeah I'm definitely pushing that average up. Most shots were around 30-40 yards. I may have been pushing it on the longer shots. I was using a modified choke.

Start hunting ducks. If you think doves are fast wait until you get a flock of teal bombing in.
I'd love to start on ducks. I just got my own shotgun this year and want to get in on as much wing shooting as I can. Unfortunately I'm over budget on hunting this year already and also have no idea what I'm doing in duck hunting.

Just by reading your post I can tell you that you shot behind every bird If you were trying to use a sustained lead.

In shot gunning I have found that most people who shoot wild birds have to allow their brains to do the math to place the shot on target......shoot reflex in other words;-)

The problem is a bird is never moving the same speed or angle every time like a clay is. In clay shooting you can train your body for a sustained lead as you know the path and speed of your target.

I would get out and set shoot some clay's again but this time practice by pulling the gun up after the clay is in the air, make sure you make solid contact with your butt stock to your shoulder, don't look at your bead or rib and swing the barrel through your target while not trying to guess a lead, keep your head down and pull the trigger.

As soon as you start getting a few breaks your mind and body will get the correct information it needs to start doing the math to put your shot on target. At this point you just need to do your part, condition your body for proper foot placement, smooth mount to your face, keeping your head down and then don't over think things. In shooting your biggest enemy is yourself and overthinking why you missed.
Sounds like some good advice. when shooting clays I currently don't start with my gun on my shoulder because I won't have it that way when hunting. I really don't care if I'm breaking clays if it's not helping me get ready for hunting. I think I'll work on your suggestions and also move to a full choke when practicing too. If I can consistently dust clays with a full it can only help if I go back to a modified for birds right?

being that I'm from not very far from where you're hunting, i can tell you about 4:30 or 5 is really when they fly. so thats not your fault. and also around that swan creek area there are thousands of acres of corn farms so if you're not in corn, you're at a further disadvantage because there is so much readily available food.

as far as your shooting, i used to be very happy with myself if i could get 5 birds per box. you're not far off that in your ratio. just my thoughts though
Yeah I wanted to stay longer, but I had some family stuff I had to attend to. I'm planning on going out again Saturday, but It'll be later for sure; we'll probably go at three and stay till dark.

I actually hunted the Piney Chapel Fire and Rescue fund raiser shoot this last Saturday. It was near Swan Creek but not actually in the WMA. They were on a huge corn field that had been shelled the week before. This next Saturday I'm debating between going to the fund raiser shoot again or going to Swan Creek. SC might be a little less crowded and there are quite a few fields that have been planted in corn and have been/will soon be harvested.
 

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JMgardner
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Those fundraiser fields they usually purposely leave extra corn on the ground. And honestly I'd take the crowded field over swan creek. Keep the birds in the air means more fun for everyone
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Those fundraiser fields they usually purposely leave extra corn on the ground. And honestly I'd take the crowded field over swan creek. Keep the birds in the air means more fun for everyone
Thanks. That's good to know. I'll probably drive by and check it out on my way to SC. If it looks like we can get an okay spot we'll stop in. Only thing that has me worried is that we'd be getting there so late, all the good spots might be gone.
 

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I struggled my last time out as well, Partially because I have a new gun and partially because I haven't practiced enough. I have been watching videos on better shotgunning and picked up some tips. Practice a perfect mount in the mirror everyday (Leave your wife out of this and just use the shotgun:grin:) also It was suggested earlier in the thread to mount the gun firmly to your shoulder, While its good to do this always mount the gun to your face first and in the exact spot every time and then seat against your shoulder. Watch some youtube videos and they can explain it well. Also if the shotgun is not fitted it could throw your shots off dramatically. I intend to take the new gun out and do some patterning and I bought a franchi so it came with some stock shims to adjust if needed. In my opinion, if you don't have private land access its harder to find the doves than it is to shoot them! so you already have the hardest part figured out. This is my first year actively pursuing them and i'm hooked its so much fun!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I struggled my last time out as well, Partially because I have a new gun and partially because I haven't practiced enough. I have been watching videos on better shotgunning and picked up some tips. Practice a perfect mount in the mirror everyday (Leave your wife out of this and just use the shotgun:grin:) also It was suggested earlier in the thread to mount the gun firmly to your shoulder, While its good to do this always mount the gun to your face first and in the exact spot every time and then seat against your shoulder. Watch some youtube videos and they can explain it well. Also if the shotgun is not fitted it could throw your shots off dramatically. I intend to take the new gun out and do some patterning and I bought a franchi so it came with some stock shims to adjust if needed. In my opinion, if you don't have private land access its harder to find the doves than it is to shoot them! so you already have the hardest part figured out. This is my first year actively pursuing them and i'm hooked its so much fun!!
Thanks for the tip. I looked up some things about "properly" mounting a shotgun quickly, but for whatever reason I didn't think about checking Youtube. One of the drills I've been trying is to look at something across the room, close my eyes, mount the gun without moving my head, and open my eyes. At first the shotgun was always off where I was looking. But, I have been practicing every night, and I've gotten much better at having my weapon pointed where I'm looking.

I know what you're talking about it being addicting. It was my first time and all I can think about is going out again. If all wing shooting is this fun, I may sell my rifles and go buy more shotguns and decoys... Well probably not but I'll definitely be spending a higher percentage of my hunting budget on chasing birds.
 
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