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Missing The “Easier” Birds…


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Hi all

i shot over decoys from a hide on Monday and whilst I dropped plenty stone dead 30-50 yards I found I struggled with the ones close in landing on the decoys. 
Any tips for a beginner where I’m sure I was making an obvious mistake. 
 

 

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Probably stopping your swing and of course your pattern close in is going to be considerably tighter than at 40yrds.  My 410 throws a 30 inch circle at a meaured 35 on full choke so at 17yrds the pattern will only be 15 inches or thereabouts so need to be more accurate. 

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Shoot not where you think they are going at but where they actually going! A dropping and curving incoming target is always difficult and most folk tend to miss over (and in front) rather than under. There's an old interesting clip on You Tube about US airgunnners in WWII that explains something similar. If it has any use at all to decoying pigeons I don't know. As, of course, your shooting location is fixed and only the target is moving. But it illustrates well however the idea I'm trying to put across of shooting where it is actually going not where you think it's going. And anyway it's an interesting video in itself. 

 

Edited by enfieldspares
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The easy answer would be putting all your decoys well out if you were dropping them stone dead at 30-50 yds , and then when you have spent more time shooting over decoys you can put the decoys out to your advantage , if you like shooting from right to left then put most of your decoys to the left of you and visa / versa if you prefer from left to right and that is the same if you are shooting over a magnet , the art of decoying is to bring them in to your decoys where you can hit and kill the most in a decoying session , something I rarely achieve :lol:

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On 22/09/2021 at 14:57, Andilicious said:

Hi all

i shot over decoys from a hide on Monday and whilst I dropped plenty stone dead 30-50 yards I found I struggled with the ones close in landing on the decoys. 
Any tips for a beginner where I’m sure I was making an obvious mistake. 
 

 

All the tips above 👍. I would like to know: how far out were your decoys? Cylinder choke over the decoys (25 yards ish) is  highly effective. 
 

If the birds are flittering about like a moth, not quite sure where to land, just wait for a brief hovering moment and shoot their feet…so to speak. They are usually descending. 
Good luck!

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On 22/09/2021 at 15:25, enfieldspares said:

Shoot not where you think they are going at but where they actually going! A dropping and curving incoming target is always difficult and most folk tend to miss over (and in front) rather than under. There's an old interesting clip on You Tube about US airgunnners in WWII that explains something similar. If it has any use at all to decoying pigeons I don't know. As, of course, your shooting location is fixed and only the target is moving. But it illustrates well however the idea I'm trying to put across of shooting where it is actually going not where you think it's going. And anyway it's an interesting video in itself. 

 

I have never really been into clay pigeons but the longer you watch them you can start reading where they are going and the rest is up to you , In a way Pigeon shooting over decoys is similar and the longer you spend in the hide the more you will start reading their next move , this will be an advantage when they cross that invisible line and you know a shot is on , if the op can hit and kill them up to 50 yds he shouldn't have to much trouble hitting them a bit closer , as already mentioned , keep the nearest decoys well out so you don't encourage them to come to close , a shot the op is not keen on . 

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Something to think about is your shot speed in relation to the range of the pigeon, the average cartridge will fire shot at 1350 feet per second, if your trying to shoot a bird that has come in to 15 to 17 yards (too close really) , a direct hit on this bird will smash it so badly it will be mush or as we call them 'feather pillows', but at that range the shot reaches the bird in less than 1 / 10 th of a second, so any lead will result in a miss in front , also the bird is slowing as it descends so aiming directly at it will probably result in a miss over the top, my aim is around the head but slightly low, the bird should drop into the centre of the pattern and result in a positive kill . Bird speed and range will cause some variation on the aim point but within 20 yards the difference is minimal, if you are constantly trying to take birds at these close ranges put your skeet choke in, but my advice is the same as Marshman, get your decoys out 30 to 45 yards and try to take your shot over the decoys, using them as a range mark, 1/4 or 1/2 choke and around a bird length lead, as the old boys used to teach us, pull through the bird, sighting from tail 'bum, belly, beak, bang and keep the swing moving until you see the bird hit , always be ready to follow up with a second shot if the bird doesn't immediately drop. Lots of practice will result in a muscle memory instinct that will bring your hit rate up to a good standard, I really enjoyed the aircraft gunner video but its a bit misleading as only the pigeon is moving and not the point of fire , the speed of your swing will dictate the firing point and most pigeons will be moving through your kill zone in a forward direction unless you are trying to kill a bird moving downwind and arcing back into your decoys, and in that case just wait until the bird is moving forward again before attempting the shot, the frustration of a few missed shots is soon forgotten when you drop one or two high birds or hit the elusive left and right, its all worthwhile 😁👍

Edited by lakeside1000
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