Help with wild bird shooting

A5 Sweet 16

Member
I don't know anybody that has not shot one. In low light,snow, wind, it can happen.
I don't know anybody (that's hunted many years) that hasn't shot one either.
But saying low light, snow, etc. made it an accident seems absurd to me. If you were 100% certain it was a rooster (because you saw color or heard a cackle), then it would turn out to be a rooster.
I thought I saw color! I thought it cackled! But what a nice hen you shot.
In those cases, there's no way a shooter was 100% sure. He/she was pulling the trigger & hoping for the best.
It's hard to hold off sometimes (used to be harder when I was young). But if you don't, & you're wrong, it wasn't an accident. It was a mistake; an error in judgement; a poor decision.
It was a violation of one of the basic rules of hunter safety. "Be sure of your target." It doesn't say, "Be mostly sure & feel free to call it an accident if weather conditions make identification tough."
 

waterdog09

Member
I would recommend shooting a IC choke maybe a Light MOD at most. No need to go to anything more than that, from opening day to the last day of the season I shoot an IC in my A400 20GA and can easily kill birds to 40+yds. Having that open choke will help in getting more shot on target at a closer distance. Most IC chokes are effective out to 40+yds doesn't matter the gun or ammo. I love the hevi-x #4 in 20ga for my gun and just purchased the same shell in 28ga for my new a400. Keep at it you'll get your first bird in no time, just relax and don't put pressure on yourself, it'll happen!
 

Goosemaster

New member
I would recommend shooting a IC choke maybe a Light MOD at most. No need to go to anything more than that, from opening day to the last day of the season I shoot an IC in my A400 20GA and can easily kill birds to 40+yds. Having that open choke will help in getting more shot on target at a closer distance. Most IC chokes are effective out to 40+yds doesn't matter the gun or ammo. I love the hevi-x #4 in 20ga for my gun and just purchased the same shell in 28ga for my new a400. Keep at it you'll get your first bird in no time, just relax and don't put pressure on yourself, it'll happen!
12 gauge, "2 shot. Works great in ic.
 

waterdog09

Member
12 gauge, "2 shot. Works great in ic.
For any person struggling with shooting, there is no reason to make it harder on yourself by putting a mod or full choke in. if your missing with a choke like that you need to open up your pattern by going to a lighter choke. Shot size does play a part in it but if your shooting with the wrong choke you'll have a tough time hitting birds. I can honestly say in all my years of bird hunting going on almost 30yrs now, the only people I see shoot full chokes are either guys with guns that have a fixed choke that is a full or duck & goose hunters shooting longer distances. In my opinion when pheasant hunting you should really never need anything more than a IC or Light MOD choke. Both are effective out to 40+yds and that is typically a long shot when pheasant hunting.
 

Goosemaster

New member
For any person struggling with shooting, there is no reason to make it harder on yourself by putting a mod or full choke in. if your missing with a choke like that you need to open up your pattern by going to a lighter choke. Shot size does play a part in it but if your shooting with the wrong choke you'll have a tough time hitting birds. I can honestly say in all my years of bird hunting going on almost 30yrs now, the only people I see shoot full chokes are either guys with guns that have a fixed choke that is a full or duck & goose hunters shooting longer distances. In my opinion when pheasant hunting you should really never need anything more than a IC or Light MOD choke. Both are effective out to 40+yds and that is typically a long shot when pheasant hunting.
Thats right! I went to ic 30 years ago, and never went back to modified.I may try full, in late dec.
 

JMc

Super Moderator
Unlike trap, a pheasant never will fly 30-45 degrees right or left. POI is the birds beak; just like a clay, keep swinging the gun. Most trap guys I know that are poor bird hunters miss because they stop swinging the gun and start watching for the bird. Cover the head and beak, pull the trigger and keep moving across the flight path. Let the dog do the rest.

Another issue may be your gun; is it set up for trap (built in rise)...if so, ditch it and get a field gun and last but certainly not least...get rid of the #2's and forget the 3's. Shoot 4's - 6's in lead (if you can) and put some shot in the air.

Good luck.
 

Goosemaster

New member
Unlike trap, a pheasant never will fly 30-45 degrees right or left. POI is the birds beak; just like a clay, keep swinging the gun. Most trap guys I know that are poor bird hunters miss because they stop swinging the gun and start watching for the bird. Cover the head and beak, pull the trigger and keep moving across the flight path. Let the dog do the rest.

Another issue may be your gun; is it set up for trap (built in rise)...if so, ditch it and get a field gun and last but certainly not least...get rid of the #2's and forget the 3's. Shoot 4's - 6's in lead (if you can) and put some shot in the air.

Good luck.
What? Nobody can see a bird's beak! I like lead 4's, but in heavy wind, I will go to 3 inch lead 2's.Always in IC.
 

JMc

Super Moderator
What...?...you can't...LOL. I was just using that as a reference...OK, the front of the bird (aka beak). But sometimes after a miss, I really do think I see their beak as they're laughing on the flight out.
 

Goosemaster

New member
What...?...you can't...LOL. I was just using that as a reference...OK, the front of the bird (aka beak). But sometimes after a miss, I really do think I see their beak as they're laughing on the flight out.
I get what you are saying.For me, I can shoot modified pretty well on geese, in certain guns, but for pheasant, I like IC.It's a matter of finding the right fitting gun.
 

birdshooter

Active member
Anything distinguishable on the head should suffice. I find the white ring on the neck draws my old eyes the best. That dark/light contrast. If really close the red patch on the eye really pops on a mature bird.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
When you are shooting at a going away bird and can't see any beak, ring neck, eyes, etc. then what do you concentrate on?
:cheers: Nice one! Pretty sure I know where you're going with that. You've gotta have really good eyes, but I think it can be done.
 

birdshooter

Active member
If in fact it is a true dead going away bird then all you have to look at is the back end of the bird, there's nothing else to look at. If you look closely though many of those seemingly going away birds are not actually dead going away but rather have a very shallow angle to them. In that case if you can see the head at all, than that is what what your focus should be.

Here is my opinion on this topic for what it's worth, a good percentage of misses are due to rushing the shot and or feet out of position. Those two reasons right there will cause more misses than anything else. Shoot too quick and your eyes have not been given the ability to acquire the target. Feet out of position and your body is inhibited from mounting and swinging the gun smoothly and accurately.

Other things that could potentially cause misses is gun fit. I'm not talking about being a little off but a lot off. Off the shelf guns fit most of us reasonably well, enough so to be successful. A gun that is way out of fit will most certainly cause you issues. Even a gun out of fit we can adjust some shooting Clay's with a pre mounted gun. But if we have to quickly mount and shoot the ill fitted gun, you can see where the problem is.
 
Last edited:

Vammy

New member
When you are shooting at a going away bird and can't see any beak, ring neck, eyes, etc. then what do you concentrate on?
Feet.

If the feet are tucked up tight to the body, it's a hen, don't shoot it.

If one or both feet are lowered from the body, with the feet balled up except for one toe extended straight out, that's a rooster. SHOOT!!:D
 

goldenboy

Active member
Feet.

If the feet are tucked up tight to the body, it's a hen, don't shoot it.

If one or both feet are lowered from the body, with the feet balled up except for one toe extended straight out, that's a rooster. SHOOT!!:D
Where did you hear or learn this? I have never heard that before. I have shot and seen thousands of birds get shot and I have never observed that between hens and roosters. If it is true I am going to start looking more closely.
 

randywatson

New member
i actually sized down my fiberoptic on my SBE2. I was finding that the larger fiber was keeping me from getting my head down on the gun. i would see the big green fiber on the target and shoot but was no where near where I needed my head. I figured this out duck hunting in devils lake missing on gimmes at 15-20 yards on bluebills moving slowly into the wind. i took my fiber off the next day when we started pheasant hunting in SD. I went 7 for 7 on live birds couple at 40-50 yards stone cold dead. be sure your head is down on the gun, my SBE 2 has 2 sights that need to be lined up.

good luck it can be frustrating but shoot to get hot shoot to stay hot.
 

Altillathedak

New member
Feet.

If the feet are tucked up tight to the body, it's a hen, don't shoot it.

If one or both feet are lowered from the body, with the feet balled up except for one toe extended straight out, that's a rooster. SHOOT!!:D
Hilarious. Thanks for the morning laugh. I think most people got it?
 
Top