5. Build confidence with sporting clays
Dogs aren't the only ones in need of a refresher course; Roby recommends hunters use the weeks leading up to opening day to visit a sporting-clays course.
Targets on a sporting-clays course tend to replicate realistic hunting situations, says Roby, and the more comfortable you get with shooting a small, 4-inch target screaming across the course, the more comfortable and confident you will be in the field.
The "aim small, miss small" attitude adopted by many shooters translates well to a waterfowl hunter who focuses on the head of a decoying bird, Roby adds.
"By focusing on the green head of a mallard or the white cheek-patch of a honker you are concentrating more on a target rather than on the bird as a whole," says Roby. "And if your aiming point is the head of the bird, you are increasing your lead by 6 to 12 inches, which lessens your chance of shooting behind or crippling the bird."