Q: I shot driven pheasants in woodland last weekend and made a real pig’s ear of it. We were pegged out for all six drives in narrow rides, which left me only seconds to get a shot off. Most of the other guests also struggled. What, if anything, were we doing wrong?
John Bidwell says: This one has cropped up in this column before so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will cover the salient points of “snap shooting” again.
- You must stay alert and totally concentrated. Let your gaze fix a little ahead of the tree line.
- Assume the ready position with the gun muzzles held high.
- Trust in the fit of your gun.
- Look hard at the bird and ignore the gun totally when the time comes to get the gun in the shoulder.
- Get in the habit of shifting your weight from the front to back foot as you mount the gun. Holding high ensures you see the bird before it passes the barrels. In other words, you manage to create a measure of automatic forward allowance even before you start to mount the gun. Once this has been achieved, concentrate on the bird, keep the swing going and let the momentum of the gun do the rest. As long as you don’t let the bird pass the muzzles before you start to move the gun, you should kill it cleanly.
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