Concentration in Wing Shooting
Whatever his/her knowledge of firearms and there use, a man cannot be considered reliable with either rifle or shotgun without the ability to fix his mind upon one thing to the utter exclusion of everything else in the world.
A rifleman who shoots upon the range with other shooters must so train himself that he will not hear the gun that is discharged within four feet of his head. The pigeon shot who could not prevent his mind from dwelling upon the previous misses would never excel in the sport. I have heard of two crack quail shots that when a bevy broke, they crossed guns and one of them shot the muzzle off the others shotgun. If, after selecting one bird of a bevy at which to fire, the marksman still sees other birds, the chances are that he misses them all. The shooter who can see trees that are liable to interfere with his aim would probably miss the target were the trees absent.
Some sportsmen cannot shoot well in company from inability to free their minds of some faint knowledge of what companions may be doing. When tow men have both decided to fire at a bird, and the knowledge of what the other is to do is known to both, the bird will be more likely to escape them if but the one gun was fired - this is because the minds of the gunners are divided between aiming and a consciousness of what the other hunter is doing. One bird of a bevy is harder to kill than a bird rising singly for a similar reason. The match shooter who could feel an earthquake while aiming a shot would be the wrong person to place money on.
I once knew a man who was slow with his second barrel and I consented to coach him. He was a fiery man, but usually pretty reliable with his first shot. When the bird jumped, I said, sharply, ”second barrel, second barrel,” with the certain result of his rattling off both barrels without touching a feather, he flew into a rage finally.
A good shot with a trained mind, capable of a high degree of concentration, would never have heard a word I said. I have known men in brush shooting to strike a limb and push it along sufficiently to get an aim and kill the bird without knowing the limb was there until afterwards. With his mind divided a marksman can no more shoot straight than he could throw baseballs with both hands at the same time.
Here are a few guidelines to remember: When aiming see nothing, feel nothing, hear nothing, think of nothing except the work in hand. While shooting solve the problem that is before you, and not the one that is past. Always kill the first bird shot at if you have enough loads in your gun and never mind the others in the bevy.
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