Keep your shooting skills sharp this Summer

What are your plans to keep your shotgun shooting skills sharp this summer? How many of you are going to wait until the weekend before your first Fall hunt to break out the shotgun and do some shooting?  And does practice really make perfect?  Did you get a new shotgun over the summer?  Some new shotguns can have up to a 500-round break in period.   Well, the first step to successful shooting at ring necked pheasants, quail, and other upland game is to get out to the range during the summer.   Most shooting clubs offer a 5 stand or sporting clay course.  Here are some tips to keep your shotgun shooting skills in check over the summer.

BAnquet Chair David vogelsang at elm Fork in dallas, tx

BAnquet Chair David vogelsang at elm Fork in dallas, tx

·   Most ranges have a practice area.  Find your weakness, and work on it.  Especially the trap, or “flushing” shot.

·  Be prepared and practice leading the clays. When we miss, we are usually shooting behind the bird.

·   Don’t hesitate to try pheasant loads at the range.  How will you and your shotgun handle heavier loads?

·   Get good at the long shots, and learn how far you need to lead the clay.  This is a good time to try out those heavier loads.

·   Don’t mess with your chokes, use what you will use in the field. If you shoot modified, stay with the same choke out on the range.

·   Go Dove hunting.  Dove Season is usually the first season of the year, and it is a great way to get tuned up.

·   If you have your own property, or a lease, you can use a thrower.  Try a hand thrower or pick up a clay thrower.

·   PLEASE do not take your puppy or young dog to the gun range! In my opinion, 90% of gun shyness is created by humans.  And a very high percentage of that happens at shooting ranges.

Get out and practice some with your shotguns.  You will drop more birds, and wound less by shooting better and you will get refamiliarized with your shotgun.   Have fun, meet up with buddies, plan a lunch after words.  Our Lone Star Quail/Pheasant Forever chapter is going to meet once a month from March to August out at the range.  You are welcome to join us!


Alan Blakemore is an upland enthusiast and an owner handler, owner trainer of Hungarian Vizslas. ( He is currently the Secretary of the Lone Star Quail/Pheasant Forever chapter of Dallas/Fort Worth. (