Tips on Shooting Kansas Pheasants
Boom!Boom! The shots fire but the Kansas pheasants beat their wings and flee toward the next thick tree belt. What usually follows is “How did I miss? Maybe I didn’t lead enough.”
Knowing the exact lead and angles for successfully knocking down a speedy rooster is one of the few things the hunter’s fancy mobile device cannot do for him (at least not at this writing).
Developing the smoothness and consistency of a wingshooter’s shotgun swing and lead requires a dedication to practice time and if possible, the aid of a friendly guide or shooting instructor.
Hunters will amaze themselves at how much they can improve if they at least try to practice trap, skeet or sporting clays more than the day (several weeks!) before donning the blaze orange.
Even among the experts, dissension can be found as some may argue whether your lead on that hard crosser needs to be four or six or seven feet.
However, when it comes down to the science of those inches or feet, many experts will just tell you to “get a feel” for how far out in front to swing your muzzle. Ultimately, the shooter only figures out that feel after many boxes of shells, and it is worth the price.
Here are a few basics pheasant hunters should keep in mind:
1. Adjust your feet when the bird flushes so that you can swing through it without contorting your body.
2. Move your muzzle toward the bird while you mount your gun.
3. For most shots, think, “Butt-beak-bang!” Don’t allow flapping wings or long tail feathers to distract you.
4. Generally speaking, the angles are a review in geometry: the closer the pheasant’s flight is to a right angle to you, the farther in front your muzzle needs to be.
5. If the rooster is quartering away, think of shooting the near wing off.
6. A bird rising hard? “Wipe it out” with your shotgun before firing. That is, cover up the bird before pulling the trigger.
7. If you forget all else, just remember to keep the gun moving and keep your eyes on the bird.
Good luck with your practice!