Maybe you’re just a seasonal duck shooter or maybe you sleep in your facepaint and refuse to shave for the duration of the duck hunting season. Either way – when you head out hunting, you want to make sure your shot is on point and we all know that when you shoot better, you enjoy your hunting more.
Well we’re here to help with that! Put our top tips into practice and you’ll stay one step ahead of your opponent – the duck!
Be a Naturalist
Many hunters spend hours hunting ducks, but very little time observing them. To be able to recognise a pattern in the duck’s behaviour, it’s important to understand why duck do what they do. Start with food sources. Make mental notes of when food preferences change from aquatic invertebrates to grains and seeds. Identify water depths favoured by diver ducks. All of these elements can be later used to predict what the ducks will be doing when it’s time to hunt them.
Be a Shotgunner
Shotgunning is an art form and much different than the deliberate aiming of a rifle or handgun. In order to be a good duck hunter you need to understand the purpose is to spread a moving pattern of shots in the same direction as a moving target – timing it so that they both end up in the same place at the same time.
Make Sure Your Shotgun Fits Your Body
Your shotgun should flow naturally and smoothly to your shoulder – cheek to stock and master eye looking straight down the barrel. When your shotgun fits, the transition to the shooting position becomes second nature. If you are unsure, take your shotgun into a reputable gun shop like Gun Emporium and ask them to check its fit against your physique. If it’s a misfit, they will be the people that can recommend or make adjustments so it will rise and point naturally.
Preseason Practice Makes Perfect
All too often duck hunters leave their weapon in their gun safe until the day season opens. And they are unable to understand they are unable to hit their target. The easy is simple – they’re out of practice. This problem can be easily corrected by undertaking some pre-season shooting practice. Shooting sporting clays is possibly the best practice option available unless you have access to another form of winged game shooting.
The most common reason for missing your target is shooting too fast. Some hunters believe they have to shoot quickly before the ducks flare out of range. Reality is – when hunters wait that extra second (or two) as ducks are coming n, then rise up to shoot, there’s ample time to take two deliberate, well-spaced shots before they get too far away. Remember – pace yourself and focus on solely hitting your target.
Shoot One Duck at a Time
When a skein of ducks comes into the decoys, many hunters shoot – at the flock! They don’t single out one bird and concentrate strictly on it. Always remember – don’t let the excitement of the moment shatter your focus.
Aim for the Trailing Bird in a Flight
When ducks are about to land its expected that most hunters focus on the closes, lowest and easiest shot. Results in two (or more) hunters shooting at the same bird. Instead, take a trailer with the first shot. If you do this, your shotgun will be in the right position to shoot flaring birds on the second, and consecutive shots.
Don’t Stop Swinging
The most common reason a hunter misses ducks is because he stops the swing with the shotgun. We cannot reinforce enough – you MUST always follow through with your shot. Keep the barrel moving after firing. Having a good follow through is the proper conclusion to any athletic effort.
Lead More than You Think You Need To
On long, passing shots the main reason for missing is shooting behind the duck. Force yourself to hold more lead than you think you need to and again, keep the barrel moving.
When Ducks Come in Head On – Blot Them Out & Fire
When a duck is coming in head-on and level wait until it’s in range then mount the shotgun so that barrel is below the target and swing up and through the duck. When the front of the barrel blots out the target – pull the trigger. If the duck is coming in head-on and descending, holding slightly beneath the bird so your shot column intercepts its glide path.
The bottom line on becoming a good shot on duck and how well you shoot depends on how much effort you put into it. Sure, talent plays a role, but dedication and effort can largely make up for a lack of natural aptitude. Dedicate yourself to improving, then put our tips into practice. We guarantee that your shooting average will go up, and the ducks will come down.