How do you avoid your crippled and "winged" birds? Frist off, learn your guns effective range.
by David Rose
To a serious duck hunter there is nothing worse than shooting a duck, mortally wounding it, and then watching it continue to fly or swim beyond the reach of foot or dog.
You know you hit it, it staggered, and shuddered and peeled off from the flock. But its wings kept beating, carrying it on a long drooping trajectory, out of sight. It will die alone, often at the mercy of a coyote, raccoon, or a predatory bird.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 25 percent of the ducks and geese shot by hunters are never retrieved. That amounts to 3 million birds annually in North America! Its a disgrace and a very real threat to the future of our sport. Indeed, hunting opponents in Australia were able to use similar wounding statistics to outlaw duck hunting in two provinces there.
In recent years, a number of fish and game agencies have created programs to help waterfowlers to become better, more careful shots. Many now offer clinics put on by the Cooperative North American Shotgunning Education Program, a non-profit group that teaches effective scientifically based techniques for improving shooting performance.
Their clinics emphasize:
- Patterning your shotgun
- Using shells and chokes appropriate for the birds and conditions
- Determining your guns most effective range
- Practicing with clay targets to judge speeds and distances
- Improving your ability to estimate range
- Carrying "spatter" shells to finish off crippled birds
When it comes to estimating range, the average waterfowler is no expert. Most hunters will shoot at ducks that are twice as far away as the effective range, and at geese that are three times the distance.
Fortunately, hunters can take steps that will make them much better judges of distance.
And they are all free!
TECHNOLOGY ISN'T THE ANSWER! Improper estimation of distance is hardly a new problem.
In his Arms and Ammunitions Manual, Jack O'Connor had this to say; "Judgement of distance is exceedingly difficult, particularly for an excited man whose heart is full of hope. The same man who will shoot at a flock of ducks 100 yards away -- or fully 40 yards beyond the most hopeful range of his gun -- will nevertheless swear that he has killed a duck at 80 yards when actually it was about 50."
....For the rest of the article head to http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/ducks-geese-hunting/RA_1208_02/#cont its well worth the time to read.
I hope it helps you as much as its helped me through the rough shootin times. Good luck out there.Jared Danke, WI