Right on Target: Follow these tips to better wing shooting success

shootingBy: Brenna Kohls

This Saturday Oct. 3, is the opening day of duck season, and if you haven’t been dove hunting for the past month to get all the rust off of your wingshooting, then you probably will be pretty unprepared for shooting ducks.

The best way to practice for duck hunting is to head out to the skeet range. Here are some things you need to do to be able to shoot on the wing better, but just to let you know before anyone yells, “Your tips didn’t help me,” these tips will not work for everyone. It all depends on what works for you, but if you can incorporate these tips into your method, then you will increase your shell-to-bird ratio.

Keep Both Eyes Open: 

Most bird hunters go with the stereotypical close one eye and keep your dominant eye open. That is what you are supposed to do … if you’re shooting a rifle. You want to keep both eyes open for bird hunting because you should be looking at your target rather than the bead on the barrel. You don’t aim a shotgun, you point it, which leads into the next tip.

Point Your Index Finger 

Underneath the Forearm: 

Another thing most shotgun shooters will do is curl their fingers with the shape of the forearm. Wrong. As previously stated, with a rifle you aim, but with a shotgun you point, so what better way to point your shotgun than to point your index finger. Pointing your index finger makes the gun basically an extension of your finger. When you see the target, just “point” your index finger at the target,  and then adjust your lead and fire.


This is by far the hardest thing for even the most experienced bird hunter. The only way to perfectly lead a bird every time is practice. A way to increase your chances of hitting a shot that you have to lead is to keep your barrel moving. That is definitely the thing that messes most people up on crossing shots. When you get your lead of however many feet, keep your barrel moving as your target crosses your field of fire. This is where your index finger pointing comes into play, for if you keep your finger pointing in front of the target and then stop, your target is going to be long gone from where you are pointing. The key is to keep your index finger pointing where you set your lead, then fire. As long as you keep the barrel moving, you have a much better chance of hitting your target.

Keep Your Elbow Up: 

Another important thing is to keep your elbow  level with your shoulder. This will help you with your swing. It will make sure that your point is steady and your swing is smooth.

Cover the Target 

With Your Barrel: 

When the clay bird shoots out of the high house and you instantly swing and point your gun towards it, you cover the target with your barrel. When you are going to fire, cover the target completely with your barrel. The spread of BBs will most likely cover the target’s area. When doing this, also factor in your lead, which may mean that you cover up the area where you think the target will be in one or two seconds.

So when that mallard cups its wings and is gliding into your decoy spread tomorrow, make sure when you bring the gun up that you have both eyes open, your index finger pointing at the target, lead the bird by however many feet you deem necessary, keep your elbow level with your shoulder, cover the target while adding in your lead estimates and then take ’em. Good luck!

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