I can’t believe it’s July already! June was steamy hot on the East Coast and July looks to be as bad. The bright side of being smack in the middle of all this summer heat is that we are getting that much closer to the fall, my favorite time of year for several reasons.
It’s the time of year when the trees begin to put on an extraordinary color show, the weather cools down and the bird season begins! If you have never tried wing shooting you really should. To walk through pine woods behind dogs looking for quail is a beautiful experience. To walk through large open fields with a great flushing dog in anticipation of a large pheasant rooster flushing sets the heart thumping when a bird busts up out of the milo, making one hell of a racket. The pleasure of sitting in a duck blind admiring the sunrise on a cold morning and all of a sudden the ducks start coming into the decoys is, well, exhilarating. Though I have never tried it, they say crow hunting is great fun and it goes without saying that dove and pigeon shooting is not only fun, but these are usually social occasions with friends and family.
Now, in the midst of steamy summer months, is the time to get ready for bird hunting. There are several things you can do that will make you successful in the field. One is to practice your gun mounts. There are many tips available online for practicing gun mounts and a well honed gun mount allows you to focus and move the gun easily to a bird without thinking.
Another great thing to do is practice with clay birds on a skeet field. It is actually what the game of skeet was created for, to practice wing shooting in the off-season. You can practice on a wobble trap or if you know someone with clay target machines, you can set three or four in a line and throw a flurry of outgoing targets, learning to pick one target/clay bird at a time. After perfecting that gun mount, you can focus then on letting your eyes guide your hands to the bird. Again, there are great videos online about practice tips and tactics for bird hunting.
There are so many fun places to bird hunt. For the last four years, I have taken a group of women to Highland Hills Ranch in Oregon for some fantastic bird hunting, amazing food and just all around fun. It is unlimited wing shooting over great dogs with fantastic guides. This is just one of many, many places to shoot birds. We go to Argentina every year, and we are headed to the Carolinas, Delaware, Nebraska and who knows where else in the pursuit of great bird hunting. There are just so many great lodges and bird shooting venues it is hard to narrow down the choices.
If you love wingshooting or have ever entertained the idea, now is the time to get your bird game on!
In preparation for a great wing shooting season, Jean Claud is getting a little tutelage from Elizabeth Lanier. When Jean hits a bird, the entire county knows it!
A typical morning sight when you venture out for a great day of bird shooting.
Can you tell by Jean Claud’s face in this photo that she loves shooting birds? The whoops and hollars cannot be captured in a still photo, but believe me, they happen!
Marge Samuels might get just as excited crow hunting as Jean Claud does dove hunting! Just ask the neighbors, they will probably agree, when they hear those whoops and hollars. No one says you have to be quiet after crow hunting.
How about this smile of success? Here’s April Asbury at the Primland resort with her first bird ever. I think her smile speaks for itself. (www.primland.com)
Dr. Paula Formosa proudly holding her first chukar on a walk up hunt over dogs at Highland Hills Ranch. (www.highlandhillsranch.com)
Do you think Kate Ross’s smile is fake? Hardly…This candid shot reveals her success on an afternoon of dove hunting.
Huntress Margret Coffey, with her two bird dogs, after a day afield, another great smile.
One of the many great groups of women we have hosted at Highland Hills Ranch.
Paula Brooks, a great shot enjoying an afternoon of dove hunting at Estancia Los Chanares in Cordoba, Argentina. (http://www.loschanares.com)
A successful afternoon in the field at Drake Landing. Pictured here (from left) are Margot Rawlings, Mimi Wingfield, Annette Beavers, and Marge Samuels. (www.drakelanding.net)
Nothing like the fellowship after a great hunt. Pair that with extraordinary hospitality from Drake Landing and you have the perfect end to a great day in the field.
And this is me wishing you all great success and great fun in the field wherever your travels may take you. Cheers and happy bird hunting!
Elizabeth Lanier is an NSCA Level III instructor and certified instructor for the Coordinated Shooting Method (CSM) who is based in Virginia. For more information, visit her web site at http://www.laniershootingsports.com. Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.laniershootingsports.com.