Polishing your form
Shooting Times & Country|April 21, 2021
Perhaps always carrying a gun is a step too far — but continual gun handling and aiming will make you a better Shot, reasons Scolopax
Scolopax

A relative of mine used to carry a gun all the year round. I suppose I inherited the habit. There have been times when I have not felt properly turned out unless I had a gun under my arm. The fact is there is always something to shoot. And so long as a man does not mind the weight, it is a good plan to have a gun as a constant companion — assuming he is on his own ground or where he has the right to shoot.

At this time of year I used to carry a heavily choked gun for long shots at vermin. At the time, pigeons were not universally classed as pests. For all that, there were places where they had to be discouraged and it was never easy to approach them. Crows and other vermin too usually kept a good gunshot away.

A choke bore was certainly more justified than it is in ordinary game shooting. But another advantage was that by the constant use of a gun you kept yourself in training for the more important kind of shooting later on. For it is only by continual aiming and gun handling that you can maintain your mastery of the art.

It is all very well to think that because you can shoot with reasonable efficiency, you cannot do better. To maintain a really high average, year by year, where big figures are involved, is admittedly a tremendous undertaking. But, for all that, it is within our reach — if we train for it and keep in training. Of course, it is often a surprise to find how well we shoot after a prolonged absence from the field. But fate is sometimes kind and lets us down gently.

Easy target

“It gave me a nice shot.” It is common enough to hear such a remark. Just what does that mean? Does it mean that the bird obliged by making itself an easy target? Or does it mean that it presented itself in such a way that it exacted a worthy measure of skill from its opponent in the shooting?

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