Top Tips for Mastering Partridges
14th October 2019 by Simon Ward
The secret to a good game shot requires more than just skill and technique, time, patience and focus play an essential and incredibly important part too.
Top Game Shooting Instructor Simon Ward shares with us his top 10 tips for getting the best results when out partridge shooting. As a Schöffel Country brand ambassador, Simon has an incredibly keen eye for shooting and his years of experience are an invaluable asset to our Schoffel Country brand.
1. Use your fieldcraft
Once you are on your peg, try to anticipate where your birds might come from. It is also important to check the positioning of your fellow Guns and your safe angles of fire, both in front and behind the line.
2. Get into the swing of things
Before the drive gets underway, have a few practice mounts both in front and behind. Also practise your footwork before the drive gets underway, so when the drive commences, you are ready to shoot instinctively.
3. Remember your lead hand
Remember that it is your lead hand that does the pointing, and as you mount your gun and lock onto the bird, be conscious of what your lead hand is doing. By doing so, you will be in harmony with the bird. Remember also to trust your instinct and take your shot without hesitation – i.e. once the stock is firmly in shoulder and on your cheek, and the picture looks right, take your shot with confidence.
4. Keep your head down
Keep your cheek welded to the stock until you see the bird tumble from the sky.
5. Stay focused
Pick your bird, stay focussed on it and don’t deviate. If you keep your eyes glued on the bird from start to finish, you will naturally keep your gun moving. If you take your eye off the bird, either before or after the shot, this will result in a guaranteed miss. Great shooting is no accident – it comes from a combination of firm focus on your chosen bird, good footwork and the timing of the shot.
6. Don't forget your feet
Remember to move your feet swiftly to where you plan to kill your bird. It is often said that great sportsmen seem to have so much time – this is because they make time by anticipation and perfect footwork to get themselves into position that bit sooner than their peers. And remember, moving both feet and gun together will cause an ungainly and un-coordinated movement with limited success. Move your feet first into position so you are balanced to start the shot, then lock the muzzle to the bird before mounting the gun smoothly.
7. Follow through
Remember to keep your cheek on the stock for an appreciable time after you have pulled the trigger so you are training yourself to finish the shot, i.e. follow through. Remember it's the finish of the shot that kills the bird.
8. Shoot early
As long as it is safe to do so, attack your birds in front.
9. Maintain the line-of-flight
Remember to keep your upper body, eye-line and muzzles of your gun parallel to the line of the bird. It is very easy to rainbow off the bird's line, resulting in your shot ending up beneath the bird, particularly if you haven’t moved your feet into the correct position.
10. Make it instinctive
A little practice in the comfort of your own home can make a big difference. Practice both your footwork and gun mounting skills. As with most things, practice makes perfect.
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