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Master Five Important Shots

These tips from expert wingshooters will help you master waterfowling's toughest shots
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  • photo by Chris Jennings
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Some tips to master these five tough shots:
  1. The Crossing Shot
  2. The High Overhead
  3. The Flushing Shot
  4. The Dropping-in Shot
  5. Layout Shooting

by Bill Nichol

I used to duck hunt with a dog that really hated a miss. Whenever a volley failed to produce a splash in the decoys, she would let out a long, loud, quavering whine. For those present, her pining notes definitely added insult to injury. Yet, they also expressed how each hunter was feeling inside. The plain truth is that nobody likes to miss birds.

Even though waterfowling encompasses much more than pulling the trigger, shooting is perhaps the pivotal moment in the sport. In fact, few other elements of the hunt can evoke such strong reactions. Dropping a 40-yard bird at the edge of the spread produces satisfaction for a shooter and cheers from his hunting partners. On the other hand, four-letter words rarely do justice to the frustration that comes with missing an easy 15-yard shot at a cupped-up bird.

Each season, waterfowlers pursue ducks and geese in many different environments throughout North America. Nonetheless, the shots they find most difficult can be grouped into a handful of general categories. So here is a look at five of the toughest shots in waterfowling, along with tips from veteran duck hunter Gary Goodpaster and professional shooting instructors Bruce Bowlen, Wendell Cherry, and John Woolley on how to correct your mistakes and fill your bag with fewer shots.

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