Do the soft shoe shuffle…
QI can’t connect with driven birds once they’ve passed overhead. Can you give me some tips on how to shoot them behind?
John says: Some people would say that any bird that makes it over the Gun line has beaten you and should be left to fly another day.
I can see the sporting reasons behind this, but what it doesn’t take into account are those birds that have been pricked, and which might escape the pickers-up and their dogs if not found quickly. As such you need to know how to take a second shot when the situation presents itself.
Oddly enough, it isn’t as difficult as you think – in fact it’s a pretty straightforward shot approached the right way.
The key is being able to dismount the gun and, with the muzzles tracking the bird, turn smoothly in the direction of its line of flight by moving your feet. Done correctly the gun will come to bear under the line of the bird (ie in front) ensuring that you stay ahead of the target as you bring the stock to your shoulder again.
However, the barrels now need to be moving in a downward direction to keep in front of the bird’s beak so, when you complete the turn, have the weight on your back foot. Transferring your weight to the leading leg as you mount the gun moves the muzzles in the right direction and ensures you stay ahead, reducing the chances of missing behind.
As ever with shooting, timing is everything. Don’t dwell on pulling the trigger when the stock has been re-mounted because the longer you leave this bird, the harder it becomes as the distance increases.
The turn, weight shift and re-mount can be perfected with a bit of dry mounting practice at home.