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Shotgun Tip: Let Birds Come Into Your Field of Vision

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June 14, 2012

Shotgun Tip: Let Birds Come Into Your Field of Vision

By Phil Bourjaily

 

People keep asking me “Are you still on TV? What happened to the Gun Nuts?” Good news if you’re a fan: Season III debuts on the Outdoor Channel on Wednesday, June 27. Dave, Eddie and I are back for another thirteen new episodes. The show airs at 7:30 p.m. EST (that’s 6:30 CST or “real” time), then again at 11:30 p.m. EST and, if you absolutely can’t fall asleep after that, you can see it yet again at 3:00 a.m.

We have added some new segments and kept most of the old favorites. This is a “Shoot Better in a Minute” in which I am discussing where to put your eyes when you hunt upland birds. Trying to see the bird burst out of the grass doesn’t give you a head start, it makes the bird seem to get up and away from you as a blur. If you keep your eyes up and let the bird come to you it will look much bigger and slower, a point I think the camera work makes well in this clip.

I always liken upland hunting to driving a car: in driver’s ed they taught us to “aim high in steering” that is, to get the big picture by looking down the road. It works in driving and in bird hunting.

We shot some good stuff this season, and I hope you will enjoy it.

Comments (10)

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from Sue Bookhout wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good advice Phil. I am notorious for getting excited and shooting too early when I flush a bird, so I think this could help me overcome that problem too. It's a catch 22 on the ruffed grouse, because you often only get a little window of opportunity.

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from RES1956 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Ya, I suppose, but it's so dang hard not to look into the stubble when a big old cackling rooster takes wing. I understand that if you let the bird fly into where your eyes are focused, it will indeed seem bigger and slower, if you can do it.

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

That sounds like a great tip if you have the presence of mind to act on it. It's definitely worth a try. Thanks.

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

May I add this to your blog. When hunting birds in a popular area it could be extremely dangerous to take a sot at a low flying bird. I, myself have been hit three times while bird hunting. Nothing serious. Best advice I can give is just do not shoot any lowfliers

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from azduane wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice. Now I can't wait for quail season. Gambels quail are notorious for surprising you as are most quail.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good tip Phil, but I have the necessity now as I am older to have to look down to see where I am walking, and that is a real handicap, and I know it. And that is why I said to the guys that shoot more clay targets than upland birds, that the upland bird hunter likes his gun to fit him looking up, not bent down over the gun. Having your gun fit with a straight neck, and gun coming to your check is better for the upland bird hunter than having to bend the head down on the gun stock. You do not get that total view/perspective that slows down the bird.

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from buckstopper wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Butt,Beak, Bang. The swang is the thang!

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from NorCal Cazadora wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Does this method also help you avoid the heart attack that happens when a bird bursts at your feet?

Nice tip, Phil.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good advice, Phil-
Happened like that for me while skirting a small pond, snow on the ground, noticed some bird tracks by the edge of the cattails when i lifted by eys to scan the pond for a full view a pat took to the air. Picture perfect shot of the bird fling directly away from me; BOOM-Dinner served!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

You know, that was some good advice. I have never considered that and find myself doing the former when it makes such good sense to do the latter. No wonder the birds sometimes get up and away while I'm still standing there thinking about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Sue Bookhout wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good advice Phil. I am notorious for getting excited and shooting too early when I flush a bird, so I think this could help me overcome that problem too. It's a catch 22 on the ruffed grouse, because you often only get a little window of opportunity.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

May I add this to your blog. When hunting birds in a popular area it could be extremely dangerous to take a sot at a low flying bird. I, myself have been hit three times while bird hunting. Nothing serious. Best advice I can give is just do not shoot any lowfliers

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Ya, I suppose, but it's so dang hard not to look into the stubble when a big old cackling rooster takes wing. I understand that if you let the bird fly into where your eyes are focused, it will indeed seem bigger and slower, if you can do it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

That sounds like a great tip if you have the presence of mind to act on it. It's definitely worth a try. Thanks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from azduane wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice. Now I can't wait for quail season. Gambels quail are notorious for surprising you as are most quail.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good tip Phil, but I have the necessity now as I am older to have to look down to see where I am walking, and that is a real handicap, and I know it. And that is why I said to the guys that shoot more clay targets than upland birds, that the upland bird hunter likes his gun to fit him looking up, not bent down over the gun. Having your gun fit with a straight neck, and gun coming to your check is better for the upland bird hunter than having to bend the head down on the gun stock. You do not get that total view/perspective that slows down the bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Butt,Beak, Bang. The swang is the thang!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Does this method also help you avoid the heart attack that happens when a bird bursts at your feet?

Nice tip, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

Good advice, Phil-
Happened like that for me while skirting a small pond, snow on the ground, noticed some bird tracks by the edge of the cattails when i lifted by eys to scan the pond for a full view a pat took to the air. Picture perfect shot of the bird fling directly away from me; BOOM-Dinner served!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 43 weeks ago

You know, that was some good advice. I have never considered that and find myself doing the former when it makes such good sense to do the latter. No wonder the birds sometimes get up and away while I'm still standing there thinking about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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