Because they’re so close people often think they’re too easy. As a result they don’t give the bird the attention and concentration it deserves and, quite often, they’ll miss.

It doesn’t matter how close the bird is, you’ll still need to give it a bit of lead to ensure that the shot stream collides with the bird. The old adage ‘shoot where it’s going, not where it is’ will always run true, irrespective of the distance.

Another thing to consider (and remember) when shooting ultra-close targets is that you might not have the benefit of the entire shot pattern to help you if you’re slightly off the flight line of the bird – the spread of the shot pattern might not have had time to develop fully before it approaches the target.

In this situation, although the density of the shot will be greater, remember you won’t have the spread so you will have to be a lot more accurate with the amount of lead you give the bird.

Timing is important for close birds as they often won’t be in view for long. Make sure you know where the visual pick-up point and the intended kill point is before you call for the bird. Shooting gun up – if the discipline allows – can give you an edge over your fellow competitors.

Just because the clay is close doesn’t mean you can simply point the gun and fire. Always remember to keep the swing going after you pull the trigger and don’t stop the movement of the muzzles.