At the beginning of each Pheasant shooting day listen carefully to the safety brief and ask any questions about anything you wish to be made clear. “He who asks a question feels a fool; but he who doesn’t ask remains one”! There is nothing like feeling a little foolish to completely ruin your day.
Having to be asked to break your gun’s action or have the drive stopped because you are doing something you shouldn’t will bring huge embarrassment to you and annoy everyone else. Listen carefully and make the most of your day, after all you don’t get to do this very often. An accident or injury will ruin everything for everyone else too, so get plenty of rest and have your wits about you.
- When each drive begins you may get the onset of adrenaline or ‘butterflies’ as the birds begin to fly and the guns begin their continuous firing.
- Keep both eyes wide open to pick and sight just one bird; keep yourself under control and mount the gun to your shoulder in one smooth action.
- Fire at the appropriate time. Count. One. Two. Fire. Follow through on the shot by continuing to track the flight path of the bird. Do not ‘poke’ or ‘stab’ the barrels at it!
- Keep your eyes on that ‘one’ pheasant you have selected.
- Using your feet to there best advantage, keep your balance by placing one foot forward (hopefully you have practiced this before the day) and lift your rear heel slightly off the ground. This puts most of your weight on that front foot and gives you greater control, it also prevents you from being knocked over or unbalanced by the recoil especially on uneven ground.
- Keep your eye looking down the rib of the shotgun throughout the shot and follow through (keep tracking the bird even after it is shot).
- If the bird flies overhead it may visually ‘disappear’ behind the barrels as you take the shot. Do not be tempted to lift you eye from the rib as you fire and watch the shot ‘strike home’ you will miss every time. If the temptation for you is too great and you ‘have’ to see the shot stand square to the incoming bird and take the shot as if it were a very high crossing bird.
- Keep it simple and success will follow. Do not lose your temper or get angry in any way this guarantees misses. Just take two moments to collect yourself, pause for a moment remember the basics and get back in to it.
An experienced shooters common reason for missing is ‘getting used’ to shooting high pheasants all day long, only to have a lower, slow easy partridge missed by firing ‘way in front’ as you miss-time your swing or confuse your lead on the target.
Article Pheasant Shooting Technique