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Bourjaily: Close Your Eyes & Use The Force

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July 22, 2010

Bourjaily: Close Your Eyes & Use The Force

By Phil Bourjaily

Like Luke Skywalker in this clip, you, too, can use the Force to hit targets with your eyes closed. I stole this trick from Gil and Vicki Ash of the OSP School, and I used it to blow the minds of a couple of high school trapshooters just the other night. It’s a fun drill to try and a great way to learn rhythm and feel for the target. It’s also an excellent method for breaking yourself of the habit of looking back at the barrel to be sure (and by “to be sure” I mean “to guarantee a miss”) before you shoot. Shooting with your eyes closed, you have to let go.

It’s very simple: call for the target with your eyes open. Focus on it, read its angle, and start moving the gun in time with the bird. Then, close both eyes as you start to pull the trigger. You’ll crush the target. Once that becomes too easy, call for the bird and close both eyes a full second before you shoot. Stretch out, use your feelings – all that Jedi stuff – and you will be amazed at what you can do if you read the target’s line and move the gun in sync with the clay.

After I showed this to two of our high school shooters who had bead-checking problems I challenged one of them to shoot a whole round closing his eyes before pulling the trigger. He shot 22x25 and afterwards admitted to opening his eyes twice during the round. He missed those two shots.

“Try not. Do. Do or do not, there is no try.”

Everything I know about shooting shotguns I learned from Star Wars.

Comments (28)

Top Rated
All Comments
from hi_tail wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

I just break them with my mind.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Been dar, tried dat and it works!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil, on the show the other night, the Winchester Model 12, my Father was hell both on Clay's and in the Field. It digested anything you put into it from #9's to Buckshot to Slugs! Don't make guns like that anymore!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

i'll have to try that. can't make my shooting any worse, that's for sure!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from straightshooter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

I've been accused of shooting with my eyes closed for years.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil,
I can't wait... The next thing you'll tell us is "there is no spoon...."

BTW, love the new show. Good stuff!

S Ga

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from yohan wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

This relates to bow hunting with traditional equipmentbut,. same idea.

In the eighties and 90's before range finders were the rule.
I had a little trouble hitting things between 30 yds and 40,yds in the woods ..
Not bad a distances ( from 40 to 50 ) or 30 and under.
But it seened I had developed a blind spot

Keeping in mind I shot ( still do ) a 65# recurve with
cedar arrows ( I make the arrows ) no sites,.instinctive shooting .
Back then I was shooting a minimum of 50 and up to 200 arrows a day and more on weekends ,
I was just into it.

In a ground blind in late Sept,. a doe came through at what I guessed was 35 yds
I would have shot ( at )her,. but she was on my "off" side and she kept going ,.
Thinking a buck may follow I switched positions ..
Just as I got situated sure enough the buck was there ,.
Big body (dressed just over 175 b) but only a raggedy 6 point. Still he was meat,. and I had no venison in the freezer .

He was stopped,. but it was a bad shot.
His front 1/3 was covered by leaves and branches.
So I would have to stand,. to get an arrow to him .
But he had me pinned ,.. looking in my direction.
Dont think he was looking at me however ,. just looking.

He turned and took a step,. which cleared the boiler room completly .
While he was looking the other way ,. I stood ,.
with a quick glance to gage range
I drew and released ,. didnt even look at the deer ( was actualy looking at the ground ) seeing him mentally.
The arrow gone ,.I didnt look up intil it was striking ,. everything was in slow motion,.
Could see the hide seperate as the arrow struck , the blood blossem then the "wet chunk" sound an arrow makes when it hits.
He dug in ,.made one huge leap and he was gone.
Found him piled up about 80 yds away
Didnt intend that to happend ,.and guarantee didnt go into the woods saying,..
To day I will graduate from my grasshoper-ness.

Something way more than day to day presence took over.
Everything was in slow motion, from the act of standing and drawing .. and only snapped back into realtime focus when I heard breaking brush durring what i knew (and Im sure so did he ) was his last futile flight.
No doubt the "zen" part of shooting certain weapons is a fact.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Trust in your inner Midi-chlorians... Humm...

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster..."

-Han Solo

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Reminds me of the shooting house that we used to train in. Multiple 360 targets; some with a bleep of light, some with noises, and some with a blast from a blank fired. All in a blacked out room for your shooting pleasure. Better have the "force" with you on that range!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

PB~

So Phil, last week I remained calm and trusted in your focus point of 5 o'clock. Good news, it worked. Now I don't miss high. Or low.

But isn't shooting at a moving clay with the peepers shut alot like running with scissors. Or, trimming the fat off of backstraps while watching Predator Quest?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Yoda very wise ... rub off on PB.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

And when you have reached Shoodi Master, you just do it up and shoot!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Sounds like point kill, until the part about closing your eyes. Instinctive shooting works well, but I will have to try it with my eyes closed before I get to be a believer. How does it work on doves?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All this razzel dazzel reminds me of this video, if your going to do, just do it and make it 2nd nature!

http://s625.photobucket.com/albums/tt334/rla1942/?action=view&current=Wh...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil, had a similar scenario hunting grouse in Montana. The bird got up, I was tracking and ready to shoot when it flew behind a tree - totally out of sight. In an instant I thought: your on him, its a lightly leafed tree, and your shooting a heavy load, shoot. I did and he fell dead. I was amazed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Clay Cooper -- Amen to that on the M12.
SgaRedneck -- Of course there's no spoon. Everybody knows that. Thanks for the kind words about the show.
Z41 -- It is cool to hit a grouse you can't see. If you can read the target's line and get the gun in front of it and pull the trigger, you'll probably hit it.
CRM3006 -- this doesn't work as well on doves because they cheat and don't fly straight like clay targets do.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Interesting advice. It makes sense -- I'll give it a try. Does the Force help with finding lost birds?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Steve in Virginia

Nah, you need a good black dawg for that!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Can it be yellow if it is a Lab? Mine works....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

We used to clean our quail after every hunt and inevitably my father would have several birds with no lead in them... I always asked him what was up with that, did he scare them to death? No, he just said he lead them enough to only hit the head. Never figured out if he was kidding or not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

Yep, them yeller dawgs just show more dirt. LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Try that with our Texas Panhandle bobwhites or doves with a 35 mph wind under their ass Obi Wan Bourjailly and you will need more than a Jedi master to help you connect.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Few long time shooters will be the least bit surprised by this. So-called instinct will allow you to do most anything. Speaking for myself, I never see the gun as I fire, just the target, live or clay. Impossible to explain. Going back a few years, I seldom missed anything with shotgun or rifle. My dove average was way over 90% when I used to hunt doves in Nebraska. Thinking about your target and looking at the sights on a shotgun is usually fatal. Don't do it! I suspect that with the right training, most anyone can become truly deadly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All this reminds me of the list in the newspaper, if you did all the stuff from checking the tire pressure to no jack rabbit starts about 15 in all, why isn't my 10 MPG truck producing gas. On the same token if you do all this razmataz stuff, the gun should load, shoot, field dress, load your game in your truck and butcher it all for you! All this stuff cracks me up!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

O' I forgot one, gun should be self cleaning!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buck20 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All I need to do is think about it... that's the end of that pigeon!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Hunting snows on the Eagle Lake Prarie with heavy fog that had lifted maybe 20 yards off the ground, so visibility at ground level was pretty good for a long distance. Geese passing over were invisible, but you could hear them so we called and had had some pretty good shooting. Some groups would circle and drop down out of the fog over the deeks, while other might drop down a hundred or so yards out and zoom into the spread. Several groups had dropped down and started in then picked back up, seeing something they didn't like. About the third time that happened, I had my I on a 'bald-headed blue' and the rose back into the fog. I kept swinging and as they passed overhead(you could hear their wing beats), I fired. Took some immediate grief, then -- 'whomp'; about 30 yards behind us the bald-headed blue hit the ground, stone dead. Sent Rocky (lab) to fetch it and settled back into my shallow pit, with only a #$%&-eat'n grin on my face. Later, there were lots of wagers made on a repeat performance, but the situation never presented itself again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Trust in your inner Midi-chlorians... Humm...

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster..."

-Han Solo

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from hi_tail wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

I just break them with my mind.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from straightshooter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

I've been accused of shooting with my eyes closed for years.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Reminds me of the shooting house that we used to train in. Multiple 360 targets; some with a bleep of light, some with noises, and some with a blast from a blank fired. All in a blacked out room for your shooting pleasure. Better have the "force" with you on that range!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Clay Cooper -- Amen to that on the M12.
SgaRedneck -- Of course there's no spoon. Everybody knows that. Thanks for the kind words about the show.
Z41 -- It is cool to hit a grouse you can't see. If you can read the target's line and get the gun in front of it and pull the trigger, you'll probably hit it.
CRM3006 -- this doesn't work as well on doves because they cheat and don't fly straight like clay targets do.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

i'll have to try that. can't make my shooting any worse, that's for sure!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil,
I can't wait... The next thing you'll tell us is "there is no spoon...."

BTW, love the new show. Good stuff!

S Ga

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from yohan wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

This relates to bow hunting with traditional equipmentbut,. same idea.

In the eighties and 90's before range finders were the rule.
I had a little trouble hitting things between 30 yds and 40,yds in the woods ..
Not bad a distances ( from 40 to 50 ) or 30 and under.
But it seened I had developed a blind spot

Keeping in mind I shot ( still do ) a 65# recurve with
cedar arrows ( I make the arrows ) no sites,.instinctive shooting .
Back then I was shooting a minimum of 50 and up to 200 arrows a day and more on weekends ,
I was just into it.

In a ground blind in late Sept,. a doe came through at what I guessed was 35 yds
I would have shot ( at )her,. but she was on my "off" side and she kept going ,.
Thinking a buck may follow I switched positions ..
Just as I got situated sure enough the buck was there ,.
Big body (dressed just over 175 b) but only a raggedy 6 point. Still he was meat,. and I had no venison in the freezer .

He was stopped,. but it was a bad shot.
His front 1/3 was covered by leaves and branches.
So I would have to stand,. to get an arrow to him .
But he had me pinned ,.. looking in my direction.
Dont think he was looking at me however ,. just looking.

He turned and took a step,. which cleared the boiler room completly .
While he was looking the other way ,. I stood ,.
with a quick glance to gage range
I drew and released ,. didnt even look at the deer ( was actualy looking at the ground ) seeing him mentally.
The arrow gone ,.I didnt look up intil it was striking ,. everything was in slow motion,.
Could see the hide seperate as the arrow struck , the blood blossem then the "wet chunk" sound an arrow makes when it hits.
He dug in ,.made one huge leap and he was gone.
Found him piled up about 80 yds away
Didnt intend that to happend ,.and guarantee didnt go into the woods saying,..
To day I will graduate from my grasshoper-ness.

Something way more than day to day presence took over.
Everything was in slow motion, from the act of standing and drawing .. and only snapped back into realtime focus when I heard breaking brush durring what i knew (and Im sure so did he ) was his last futile flight.
No doubt the "zen" part of shooting certain weapons is a fact.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

PB~

So Phil, last week I remained calm and trusted in your focus point of 5 o'clock. Good news, it worked. Now I don't miss high. Or low.

But isn't shooting at a moving clay with the peepers shut alot like running with scissors. Or, trimming the fat off of backstraps while watching Predator Quest?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Yoda very wise ... rub off on PB.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Sounds like point kill, until the part about closing your eyes. Instinctive shooting works well, but I will have to try it with my eyes closed before I get to be a believer. How does it work on doves?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil, had a similar scenario hunting grouse in Montana. The bird got up, I was tracking and ready to shoot when it flew behind a tree - totally out of sight. In an instant I thought: your on him, its a lightly leafed tree, and your shooting a heavy load, shoot. I did and he fell dead. I was amazed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Try that with our Texas Panhandle bobwhites or doves with a 35 mph wind under their ass Obi Wan Bourjailly and you will need more than a Jedi master to help you connect.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Been dar, tried dat and it works!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Phil, on the show the other night, the Winchester Model 12, my Father was hell both on Clay's and in the Field. It digested anything you put into it from #9's to Buckshot to Slugs! Don't make guns like that anymore!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

And when you have reached Shoodi Master, you just do it up and shoot!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All this razzel dazzel reminds me of this video, if your going to do, just do it and make it 2nd nature!

http://s625.photobucket.com/albums/tt334/rla1942/?action=view&current=Wh...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Interesting advice. It makes sense -- I'll give it a try. Does the Force help with finding lost birds?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Steve in Virginia

Nah, you need a good black dawg for that!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Can it be yellow if it is a Lab? Mine works....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

We used to clean our quail after every hunt and inevitably my father would have several birds with no lead in them... I always asked him what was up with that, did he scare them to death? No, he just said he lead them enough to only hit the head. Never figured out if he was kidding or not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,

Yep, them yeller dawgs just show more dirt. LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

Few long time shooters will be the least bit surprised by this. So-called instinct will allow you to do most anything. Speaking for myself, I never see the gun as I fire, just the target, live or clay. Impossible to explain. Going back a few years, I seldom missed anything with shotgun or rifle. My dove average was way over 90% when I used to hunt doves in Nebraska. Thinking about your target and looking at the sights on a shotgun is usually fatal. Don't do it! I suspect that with the right training, most anyone can become truly deadly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All this reminds me of the list in the newspaper, if you did all the stuff from checking the tire pressure to no jack rabbit starts about 15 in all, why isn't my 10 MPG truck producing gas. On the same token if you do all this razmataz stuff, the gun should load, shoot, field dress, load your game in your truck and butcher it all for you! All this stuff cracks me up!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

O' I forgot one, gun should be self cleaning!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buck20 wrote 3 years 39 weeks ago

All I need to do is think about it... that's the end of that pigeon!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

Hunting snows on the Eagle Lake Prarie with heavy fog that had lifted maybe 20 yards off the ground, so visibility at ground level was pretty good for a long distance. Geese passing over were invisible, but you could hear them so we called and had had some pretty good shooting. Some groups would circle and drop down out of the fog over the deeks, while other might drop down a hundred or so yards out and zoom into the spread. Several groups had dropped down and started in then picked back up, seeing something they didn't like. About the third time that happened, I had my I on a 'bald-headed blue' and the rose back into the fog. I kept swinging and as they passed overhead(you could hear their wing beats), I fired. Took some immediate grief, then -- 'whomp'; about 30 yards behind us the bald-headed blue hit the ground, stone dead. Sent Rocky (lab) to fetch it and settled back into my shallow pit, with only a #$%&-eat'n grin on my face. Later, there were lots of wagers made on a repeat performance, but the situation never presented itself again.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment