_by Phil Bourjaily

_This video shows the right and wrong way to shoot a double. As I say in the narration, the best way to shoot a double is to choose your first target wisely. Pick a bird to shoot that leaves you in the right place to take the second shot.

With the geese in the video, there’s a bottom and top bird. If you shoot the bottom bird first, the second one is in clear view and it’s an easy move up to it to complete the double. Sometimes when there are two birds–one behind the other–it’s easier to swing through the second bird and keep moving the gun to the leader. Do it the wrong way, as in the sea duck video, and your first shot blocks your view of the second, making it much more difficult.

That said, I am being unfair to the shooter in the sea duck video. Although he puts his gun in the wrong place for the double, he does the right thing in taking the easy bird first. Then, when it folds obviously dead, he tries for a second.

The difference is, the first hunt is in a cornfield where cripples are easy to catch, the second is on open water where even power boats and retrievers are no guarantee you will recover a crippled duck, much less two crippled ducks at once. Part of planning a double is knowing when not to shoot one.