by James Card
In 1969, the Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published the five stages of grief, a process that people go through when faced with a terminal illness. Since then, the model is now applied to all of life's troubles and trials. If these five stages were applied to a waterfowler experiencing a season of miserable shooting, the process might evolve as follows:
1. Denial: "My shooting is a little off today, but did you see how fast that duck was moving?"
2. Anger and Blame: "Aargh! Why am I missing? I can't believe I bought this piece-of-junk shotgun."
3. Bargaining "Just let me hit a duck, any duck, please ... just one duck. Is that a coot over there?"
4. Depression: "I'm such a loser. I'm never going to hit anything. My shooting is so poor a mallard drake threw his loose change into my duck blind."
5. Acceptance: "I've got to get some help. Practice more. Deal with my shooting so I can get back in the game."
Chances are most waterfowlers have been through this process at some point in their hunting career and can easily fall back into denial, blame games, and the rankled dejection from missing familiar shots. If missing is like a chronic disease, then it's prudent to practice some preventive medicine and see if you have any of the following symptoms that might be bringing your shooting down ... and not the ducks.