In this segment I include shouldering the gun, footwork, gun swing and control of the shoulders. Lifting the gun is a complex collection of movements. The gun should be lifted to the cheek, not the shoulder, in a smooth straight line that minimizes vertical and horizontal movement and barrel drift, and then the shoulder brought to the gun. Barrel angle is dictated by target height. Elbows should be loose and downward so as not to restrict body rotation. Continue reading The Art of Shooting High Birds Part 2→
It can be as simple as a kid picking up a shotgun, whistling for his dog, and walking out the back door, or as formal as a duke setting out with a score of retainers to shoot a thousand birds. It is all wingshooting, and it is all wonderful. Continue reading Wingshooting as a World Language→
As we write this we are returning from another Argentina Adventure to three different lodges. John Wiles hooked us up with Ramiro Gonzales Allende of Puelo Expeditions and we visited La Aguada Lodge for doves, Paloma Real Lodge for Pigeons and Pampa Lodge for Ducks. We enjoyed a great time with our customers, teaching them in the field and watching them become much better wingshooters.
All of the hunters were students of ours from the States and knew and understood our system of shooting. All were eager to try the OSP System on real birds, and did it work. The following are three comments from the group that was with us. They all had lessons with us before and were looking at the animations and kill shots on the Knowledge Vault prior to the trip. They all did their gun mounts with the flashlight and practiced the three bullet drill relentlessly. They all picked up the instruction in the field quickly and became lethal in the field by the third Dove hunt. They proved themselves on pigeons and ducks that followed 2 ½ days of dove hunting. Here is just a sample of the comments and what shooters say about the OSP System on live birds:
“Gil and Vicki…. Not only was the Argentina trip great in many ways, but also it gave me a very unusual opportunity to test your shooting techniques, not only on clay bird course, but also in the field. As you recall you came to Chattanooga 1 week prior to our leaving for Argentina. I spent several days refining my shooting style to yours, trying to always be out in front with the gun going the exact speed of the target. I was especially impressed at how this technique made distant and hard shots easier. You are teaching something that no one else is and it really works! I could not wait to try this technique on live birds so I got my chance in Argentina — 2,000 doves and 260 pigeons later proved the point that it works as well on clay birds as it does on feathered birds. Your technique is deadly everywhere! The company was great, the accommodations were outstanding, the shooting instruction was precise and the birds were even more plentiful than on my first trip to Argentina. The week with you and Vicki and the group was the best week of hunting in my life, and I will never forget the experience…. Dr. Dan Fisher Level II NSCA Certified Instructor (alias: “Dano,” the former swing through shooter)”.
“The legendary volume of doves in Cordoba did NOT disappoint, followed by two good days of pigeon south of Cordoba. We then traveled two hours south of Buenos Aires for a great 3 days of ducks and a morning of Perdiz before we left that afternoon. With Gil and Vicki’s one-on-one coaching, our shooting could only improve, which raised the fun factor even more. But the constant laughter and banter throughout the trip made it priceless and resulted in some lifelong memories that continue to put a smile on my face when I reflect on the trip…thanks, Chuck Griffith.”
“It was the second day of the hunt and the doves were mostly incoming and high, and I was frustrated in not being able to hit the more distant birds with a lodge gun that did not fit. Gil came by and watched me for a few minutes and after a while, he said, “Here. try this,” and handed me his Krieghoff K-20 with a slip-on butt pad they always carry when teaching. I took it, paused for a moment and all of a sudden I was “in the zone.” Using the shooting instruction techniques that Gil and Vicki had taught me on several advanced shooting classes at the 74 Ranch, I put it all together and seldom missed a bird! The gun fit was perfect and birds were falling at each shot. Gil was looking at me with that big smile of his that meant, “I see all those lessons have paid off,” and even the bird boy was amazed at my ability to connect with the birds! Gil was gracious enough to let me use his gun for the rest of the afternoon, and what a great afternoon it was! …Tom Puccio”
Even though we have been shooting a long time and each have 30,000 plus hours of coaching time, we still learn things on each and every outing. Here are a few that we learned on this trip:
Keep the muzzles well in front of the birds as you mount the gun and let the bird come to the lead as you accelerate the muzzles to the speed of the bird. There is something about seeing the bird come to the muzzle as you begin to accelerate to the bird’s speed and stabilize the picture that is just magic and lethal as all on the trip learned. The trick on incoming doves is to elevate your muzzles so you see the bird under the gun, which would mean that the muzzles were already in front and with minimum movement (less flared birds) it is easy to mount to the line in front of the bird and merge their speeds together as you took the shot. If you did find yourself behind the bird, don’t swing through the bird frantically trying to get in front as your eyes will invariably go to the gun and if you hit the bird, it was that bird’s day to die because you had nothing to do with it. When you find yourself behind, come under the bird with the muzzles and ease up to the line and adjust gun speed to bird’s speed and take the shot.
When you get to a place to shoot, take a second and just watch the birds fly. There will be a pattern. Vicki and I were shooting pigeons on the second day and did not do this for the afternoon shoot. It took a few shots to get the panic out of our games. She finally stopped and said, “We are acting like a couple of rookies. We need to stop and watch for a few minutes!” It was magic. We not only knew where to look for the birds, we knew the critical places we needed to be when they came from different directions. When you arrive at your shooting positions, take some time to look around at your surroundings and look for patterns. There will be patterns. This will better help you to anticipate the birds and take the panic out of your moves and improve your successes.
In the duck blind the seat will be positioned facing forward, but it needs to be positioned so that your feet will already be in the shooting position. Bring a facemask even if the outfitter says you won’t need them. The real romance of a duck hunt is watching the birds work. I don’t want to spend 80 percent of the time on the duck hunt with my head down. Bring more than one and try them on before you go to your hunt, which means at home. Even go to the range and shoot in it so you can confirm which style fits your head, hat and glasses combination.
Always come up to the line on all birds as the gun and bird merge together!
Make a short pig tail out of an extension cord with a place to charge your phone, computer or tablet all at the same time, this will allow you to charge multiple devices on one adaptor.
If using lodge guns, find out what kind and bring a shim kit for that model of gun so you can put drop and cast in it and it will fit you better. Another way to tackle this problem is to find out what kind of guns they have and buy a wooden stock for that model and have it cut to your dimensions and take the stock with you. This requires no permit and when you arrive at the lodge. Put your stock on their gun and your gun will fit you.
These were just a few of the things learned. We are sure there will be more on our next trip to teach wingshooting in Argentina. Hope to see you there!—Gil & Vicki Ash