I spent a lot of time waterfowl hunting with new shooters this past season. As a result, I was reminded of how many different ways there are to miss a duck. One of the most common mistakes is to not pick out a single bird when a large flock comes to the decoys.
As a duck hunter, we’ve all done it at one time or another- the unavoidable “flock shot”. Surprisingly, it usually results in missing absolutely everything. How is it possible to have so many birds packed into such a tight space and not hit one? I don’t know, but it happens more often than not. It’s just so tempting to shoot into the biggest part of the flock, but you need to try and avoid it.
Over the years I’ve learned to minimize this bad habit by doing a few things:
- Focus on the side of the flock you’re supposed to shoot at in relation to your partners, which helps to visually cut the flock in half. If I was sitting on the left side of the blind in this photo, I would look at the left side, or back half of this flock.
- Focus on finding a drake in that “zone”, which for me would be one of the back 3 birds in the picture.
- Zero in on that bird and forget about the rest of the flock, now drop him!
It looks easy when the picture is frozen, but it’s totally different when they’re rocketing into the decoys, shifting in the wind and constantly changing positions.
Not only will these simple tips help you to pick out a bird, they should also keep you and your partners from zeroing in on the same bird when a flock comes in.