Wing Shooting Part 4 - Time for Moving Targets
Having learned to strike your target with a gun moving fast or slow, with the line of sight swinging in every direction except down, you now have command of the shotgun and can take up the second problem of wing shooting, exchanging the stationary target with a moving target. Here is where shooting schools are an advantage since they have movable targets, which travel across a backdrop at any desired angle, with the rate of speed that can be regulated. The benefit of a flying target with a background that would instantly show the impact of the pattern is not to be doubted, faults in shooting being detected instantly. However shooting schools are not very common in the United States, though in their place we have skeet and trap shooting ranges, although without the backdrop.
If you have access to the grounds of a trap or skeet-shooting club, go there for practice. If you do not, I would highly recommend your purchasing a clay target thrower, either mechanical or hand held, they are inexpensive and truly allow you to fine-tune your wing shooting skills. If you will have to practice alone, several manufacturers of throwers offer foot and string activated throwers that will allow you most of the benefits of clay target practice, while allowing you to practice alone.
If possible enlist the services of some more experienced friend who can point out your errors and instruct you as to where to hold on the targets. Stand as close to the trap as you like and take only easy, straightaway, low flying birds in the beginning, later changing to quartering targets. Becoming skilled enough to his these, go out into the field and have birds thrown past you at different distances to one side or the other.
NOTE – Be sure to always know where the person operating the trap is located and refrain from shooting at the “bird” in there general vicinity.
Endeavor to obtain every description of shot that is likely to be afforded while field shooting. Have birds thrown while walking up on the trap with gun down in its ordinary carrying position, and instruct the trap operator to start the target at unexpected times, even when you are looking in the wrong direction.
Naturally the nearer conditions can be made to approach field-shooting conditions the more valuable the practice will become. Standing behind the thrower and shooting targets at the same angle and speed with the gun already positioned teaches very little except mechanical regularity of performance which will serve you little in the field. But correctly used, artificial targets can be a very beneficial experience to the novice and veteran wing shooter alike.
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