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Summer Time Bullet Points To Help You Be Ready For This Fall

Summer Time Bullet Points  To Help You Be Ready For This Fall
Summer Time Bullet Points 
To Help You Be Ready For This Fall

Below are a handful of bullet points and their meanings to remind you what and how to practice this summer so that the beginning of the next season is not wasted on refreshing your memory. Along with your occasional recreation shoot, practice these empty gun routines at home. The small amount of time it will take will make a huge difference this fall.


  • Use your live-in instructor. The mirror is your next best thing to a real-life instructor. Use the reflection of your right pupil as your target (left pupil if mounting off of the left shoulder). Once the gunmount is made the mirror will show instantly where the pupil is in relationship to the shotgun rib. The goal is dead center with the rib dissecting the very bottom of your pupil. If this alignment is not correct make the necessary adjustments, remembering that it is not just the head carriage that makes the perfect alignment happen but also foot stance and weight distribution. Once you see what adjustments you had to make then incorporate them into your gunmounts until all the movements appear to be done as one.

  • Don’t spill the scotch. What you think you gained by moving fast into the gunmount when the bird flushes is completely lost with the inefficiency of the move. Typically when the gunmount is rushed, in hopes of getting on the bird quicker, it creates a need to then search for the bird with the muzzle in a separate move. You need to learn to drive the gun with your forehand in a way that puts the muzzle on the bird at the same time the stock anchors into the cheek. Imagine a tumbler of your finest 18yo single malt resting on the top rib of the gun. Mount the gun with the two hands working in perfect unison so as not to spill the scotch. If you drive the gun with your grip hand first, you will push the muzzle down, spilling the scotch and forcing the muzzle to take an indirect route to the bird. Speed will not correct the problem, but efficiency of movement will.

  • Learn to dance with the bird.  In most disciplines the target shooter knows where they are going to take the shot. This allows them to address the break point with a stance of stability and use minimal movement at the core to swing the gun. At best, the only thing predictable when bird hunting is where the bird is going to come from, and that is only an educated guess. So that you can move with or reposition for, you need a stance of mobility. A narrow, comfortable stance will allow you to transfer weight from one foot to the other or reposition your feet 180 degrees for that hooked bird. Utilize the lines in your house to represent flight paths of game birds. For the straight away flush, face the corner of the room starting the muzzle at chair rail height with equal weight on both feet. The left hand follows the line up to the corner of the ceiling while the grip hand hinges to the cheek and the body weight transfers 70% on to the leading toe and 30% on the back toe. Face the line between the ceiling and wall in the center, track the line to the left corner while hinging to the cheek, and open up your swing by lifting the right heel. Go back to center and move to the right corner lifting your left heel. It should be a feeling of pivoting and not sliding. If you find yourself off balance, correct with more pivot so you don't push yourself off your foundation regulated by the width of your shoulders.



  • Practice slow to move fast. Not every bird is fast. In fact, due to the type of game bird, habitat, and angle of flight (quartering, crossing, incoming, etc.), you will see birds moving at a number of different speeds. You don't have control over that, the bird dictates how fast you move and when the gunmount is complete. So why are you practicing fast gunmounts? If you work on how many practice mounts you can do in a short period of time, and how hard you can hit your two anchor points, then that will be the only gunmount you will have. You will not complete a disciplined gunmount at slower speeds when needed. You need to practice in a way that develops high quality muscle memory, in other words, practice a slow (painfully slow) move with both hands working in unison with a finished press into the anchor points. This isn't isometrics, make sure your  back, shoulders, and arms are relaxed with a gentle hold on your gun. If you can make a finished gun mount in slow motion then you will have a well practiced gunmount for all speeds.

  • Go bird watching.  This discipline is easy to practice but the most difficult to retain. Whereas everything else is based on muscle memory and becomes automatic, reminding the brain of its job has to be a constant. Focus is the most important component for successful wing shooting. The brain can easily be distracted or be lazy. When sitting on the patio, riding the lawn tractor or taking a walk, look at just the head of the dove, blue jay, crow, etc. that flies by. It can be very easy to be distracted by the wing beats or larger body portions of the bird. Maintain a hard focus on the head and let the rest of the bird be part of your subconscious vision.

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