I try to be careful with the shots I choose. I am not trying to protect my average but to keep my crippling losses to a minimum. I want doves close, and I want to shoot them so they fall where I can easily retrieve them. Yesterday, however, hunting a very bare cut cornfield where birds were easy to find and knowing we had a Lab on hand in case I screwed up, I loosened up on my shot selection. I missed a lot, made some long shots and generally had a blast ruining my bird-to-shell ratio (eight doves and a pigeon with 45 shots). And, I lost no doves and never needed the dog's help. While my bird-to-shell average is sort of fun to track, what I am proud of is that I have had only two doves hit the ground that I couldn't retrieve this year. That, I suspect, is well above average and a topic for a more serious post on another occasion.