“If I have time to miss it twice I would have had time to hit it once.” That is one of best and most concise bits of shooting advice I’ve read in a long time.

It came to me in an e-mail from Matthew Miltich, a friend I’ve never met face to face, a bird hunter, jazz musician* and owner of Cosmo (great dog name), the handsome Welsh springer seen here.

Matthew’s season in Minnesota is coming to a close, and he says he’s had one of his best years shooting ever by learning to slow down.

Shooting quickly is overrated, even in the grouse woods where chances are fleeting. Rushing leads to throwing the gun to your face hastily, resulting in both in bad gun mounts and in looking at the gun. (try this experiment: take an unloaded gun. Mount it slowly while keep your eye on a distant object. Now throw the gun to your face. Notice how your eye goes to the gun).

Shooting fast also means you pull the trigger before your eyes are locked on the target. You can’t move the gun until your eyes can tell it where to go, and to do that, your vision has to be focused on the bird. That’s where Matthew’s advice is sort of the shooting equivalent of “measure twice, cut once.” You make sure your eyes go where they have to go, and only then do you move the gun and make the shot without hesitation – all in the time it takes someone else to miss twice.

*Matthew plays bass and his son Sam ( plays guitar. Together they keep old school jazz alive in northern Minnesota.