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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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  • Dropping-in shots are common in flooded timber.
    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

4. The Dropping-in Shot

For waterfowlers hunting in flooded timber or during stormy weather, having birds lock up on a spread and recklessly plummet into gun range can be a regular sight. Yet, this picturesque scenario can present hunters with deceptively tough shots.

Goodpaster believes that shots at dropping-in birds are missed when hunters fail to move the gun through their target. "They will see a big greenhead at 20 or 25 yards and hold the gun right on it," he explains. "But when they pull the trigger on that dropping bird, they are actually shooting right over the top of it. They're shooting where the bird has already been, because it has already passed below the shot. And as soon as they fire that first round, the bird reverses and starts climbing out of the spread. As it's going up, they are still shooting right at it. So they frequently miss over the top with the first shot and miss underneath with the next two. It doesn't matter how much a bird looks like it is almost standing still out there over the decoys, you need to remember that it is always moving in some direction."

While considering lead is critical in this case, Cherry notes that accurately reading the bird is equally important. The dropping-in bird is a common shot he sees when hunting ducks in flooded timber. As with high incoming overheads, he says few dropping-in birds advance directly toward the shooter and that most of these shots are taken on birds quartering to the shooter's right or left.

To prepare himself for these quartering shots, Cherry calculates the angle he needs to swing his gun as if the angle were a hand on a watch face. "If I am positioned at 6 o'clock and facing 12 o'clock, the downward angle of my shot for any right-to-left, quartering-in duck is always going to be 8 o'clock," he says. "For any left-to-right quartering shot, it is always 4 o'clock."

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