The History of Wing Shooting
Wing shooting is of comparatively modern origin. To hundred years ago very few birds were killed in flight, and those with a long-barreled old flintlock that usually had double sights and was fired with what we consider a slow, pottering aim. Wing shooting really dates from the invention of percussion caps in a practical form, about 1830, and the present style of shotgun shooting is of very modern origin.
Naturally the rifle method of aiming had its influence for a good many years, a full half-century in fact, long after the invention of breech-loading guns. The old manner of shooting a shotgun was to close one eye and squint low over the breech, theoretically never pulling the trigger until the front bead was accurately aligned with the target. Many old veterans still speak of “drawing a bead” on game.
The “one eye” method of sighting in a shotgun is not altogether obsolete yet. Many a veteran sportsman has shot long and successfully in this way and will not change; neither is there good reason why he should, for it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, nor does he learn them quite so well as he knew the old. Nevertheless it is true that few or no expert shots ever close an eye in aiming to day, though some of them in effect sight exactly the same as though they did.
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