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Old September 19, 2011, 10:31 AM   #1
Pahoo
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Be sure of your target and backstop!

During a recent Hunter Safety Cass, I went into a hunting scenerio. We were standing at the bottom of a small rise and I explained that a Rooster just flushed up in front of me and was flying up, toward the top of the rise. I then asked, Good shot or Bad shot? I got about a 60 to 40 answer on Bad shot. We then got into a discussion as to why it was not so good. I then asked; What is our target? Answer; Rooster. Question; what is our backstop? No answer !! .....

Question from Female student; Why would you want to shoot a rooster??
Answer; I should have said; Rooster-Pheasant.

Question; Well, make up your mind, which is it, a Rooster or a Pheasant? ...
Answer; It's a Rooster Pheasant or male, as opposed to a Hen. ..

Question; Well, why would anyone want to shoot a Hen?

Another student then said; Well, you had to go there didn't you?? I answered ; Yep !!

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 19, 2011, 04:14 PM   #2
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On a pheasdant the sky should be yer backstop or dont shoot. Seen a dog get hit that way.
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Old September 19, 2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
On a pheasdant the sky should be yer backstop or dont shoot.
markj, you might want to consider taking Pahoo's hunter safety course. The sky is not a backstop.
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Old September 19, 2011, 05:52 PM   #4
Major Dave (retired)
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I learned about backstop at age 8,

when I shot my new Daisy Red Ryder BB gun at a clothspin on a cloths line. The backstop, in my case, was the kitchen window. My father was eating his bowl of cereal and reading the morning newspaper when my BB showered window pane glass into his newspaper, barely missing his face.

The rest of the story is too painful to relate.

Did you know a Daisy Red Ryder can be thrown a good 40 or 50 yards?!!
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Old September 20, 2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
The sky is not a backstop
Only way to shoot a wild pheas legally is in flight, no shooting on the ground. Must be 200 yards from any occupied dwelling or livestock. I took that course a few times and will again when my son is old enough. you is too funny Mr., but whatever.
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Old September 20, 2011, 04:11 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding the use of the word... but how is the sky not a backstop when you're shooting at flying animals?

I mean, yeah, you've got to be careful where your shot lands, but there essentially ISN'T a backstop, except the air.

The ground certainly isn't a "back stop", it isn't "back" of your shot. You're just raining down BBs on the ground.

Actually, I would say that unless you're shooting at a range type environment that LITERALLY has a backstop, safe shooting doesn't even require the concept.

Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

"Beyond" doesn't imply "backstop" to me. It implies that I'm not going to hit anything important. It might be the ground, or a tree, or mostly air until it rains back down, but it's not a "backstop".

A backstop is something intentionally hit to stop the bullet intentionally, not a random safe place that it ends up.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; September 20, 2011 at 04:18 PM.
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Old September 20, 2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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I am reading this one with intrest..........

Being kind of a safety nerd I have to admit that I was left confused by the word "backstop" in relation to a flying bird.

Knowing to be careful of what is behind the shot that might be landed on I get.......are we just hung up on semantics or have I missed something......?
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Old September 20, 2011, 05:58 PM   #8
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... I'm thinkin'.... 'toward the top of the rise'... is the key phrase. It's not good to shoot pointing uphill in such a situation because we can't see whether or not someone simply out for a hike, for instance, might be just coming up, exposing their head, on the other side of the rise just at the moment we shoot...

Did I get it right?
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Old September 20, 2011, 06:05 PM   #9
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peetza, you are splitting hairs..... the point is the shooter does not know what is beyond his target, as in where the pellets will end up: there could be a herd of cows, a boy scout troop, or Barnum and Baily's Circus just over that rise..... a bit of scouting beforehand could have answered that question, though. Plan your hunt, people.
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Old September 20, 2011, 06:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
That covers it.
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Old September 20, 2011, 06:19 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Originally Posted by jimbob86 View Post
peetza, you are splitting hairs..... the point is the shooter does not know what is beyond his target, as in where the pellets will end up: there could be a herd of cows, a boy scout troop, or Barnum and Baily's Circus just over that rise..... a bit of scouting beforehand could have answered that question, though. Plan your hunt, people.

Splitting hairs, maybe, but the real difference is that I was where you're at with the assumptions about previous scouting.

I picture that the shooter in the scenario is familiar with his/her surroundings. Safety doesn't start with not taking a shot. It starts with KNOWING whether or not to take a shot. You can cost yourself a lot of good opportunities because lack of knowledge of the area you're hunting prevents you from taking shots that would be perfectly safe.

Not taking that shot is the right thing, at that moment. The "righter" thing is to KNOW if it's safe or not.

Still though, I don't consider "the ground over yonder" to be a "backstop". A backstop is something specific that you hit on purpose to stop the projectile.
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Old September 20, 2011, 07:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the use of the word... but how is the sky not a backstop when you're shooting at flying animals?
What part of "stop" don't you understand?

The sky is not where the shot stops. Hence, it is not the backstop. The sky may be behind your target, but only for part of the trajectory of the shot.

On open terrain, sky starts at the horizon and continues upward. Your sky "backstop" may be a perfectly level shot as a bird rises into the air. Or, it may be a slightly elevated shot where all you see is sky behind the bird, but the shot is returning to earth and certainly may hit things other than the sky which has failed to stop the shot.
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Old September 20, 2011, 11:19 PM   #13
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Not all states have laws against shooting pheasants on the ground. Some states even allow rifles to be used*.



*In some cases, this should read "...used to allow rifles to be used."
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Old September 21, 2011, 09:35 AM   #14
Art Eatman
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To get back to the OP and away from all this extraneous noise: "We were standing at the bottom of a small rise and I explained that a Rooster just flushed up in front of me and was flying up, toward the top of the rise."

That says to me that it's a low-flying bird and there is the possibility of some person or livestock which is out of sight but could be hit by pellets which still have enough force to cause injury. From the hunt shows on TV, it appears that pheasants tend to be low-flying birds, generally, so more care is called for.

IOW, don't take chances when you're unsure of what is or might be downrange. That's easy enough.

This sort of situation is not at all common when hunting waterfowl, dove or quail. Those shots are commonly taken at rather high angles, and by the time the shot falls back to the ground they're harmless.

I know from experience that the logical reaction to #8 or #7-1/2 shot falling on a person from shots fired a hundred yards away should be to sing, "Listen to the murmur of the falling rain..."
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Old September 21, 2011, 10:36 AM   #15
twins
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What's a safe range for shotgun shots?

Since we're on the topic of safety, what would be considered a safe distance for shotgun backstop (for pheasant hunting, #5 shot)?
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Old September 21, 2011, 10:44 AM   #16
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Hunting enviroment is not a controlled enviroment.

When I first posted this, it was to show the funnier side of working with students on an unfamiliar subject. In this case, it was the lady that was confused over what we were shooting at. I did not expect many replies but then the "backstop" issue kicked in and so it progressed.

More Detail;
At our M/L station, we present the four major gun safety rules, as written. At the end of each one, we present an example or scenario to further explain what we want to get across. Prior to the Pheasant example, I'm standing between the the students and targets behing me. I ask the strudent; What is our Target?
Answer; those targets behind you. I then ask, what is our backstop; Answer; the wall of wooden ties that the targets are mounted on and berm. ...
I then explain that this is a controlled enviroment but that in hunting, it is not a controlled enviroment and you have to think beyond just taking the shot. In short, there probably won't be a backstop but a safe zone that we have seconds to define. Most of the class replied that it was a bad shot for the reasons that Art has posted as we had no idea of what was behind or just over the rise.

We further explain that in a hunting enviroment, you clearly identify what you are shooting at, what is beyond as well as what is happening around you. One student even commented that his Grandfather owned the farm behind the hill and he could be out in the field.

Be Safe!!!
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Last edited by Pahoo; September 21, 2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old September 21, 2011, 01:23 PM   #17
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Well put Pahoo,

It is getting harder all the time to communicate with the students. Your loose term of Rooster is a very good example being you are in Pheasant habitat. I have to be careful when referring to Ruffed Grouse as most commonly call them Partridge around here.
Quote:
but a safe zone that we have seconds to define.
and this is done simultaneously with positioning our body, mounting the shot gun and finding the bead. Then as we swing our site picture is difficult to find hazards when we are focusing on the sight bead.
So sometimes the safest shot for a young shooter may very well be a ground shot.
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Old September 21, 2011, 01:47 PM   #18
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Easy to say but not always to do.

Our classes usually runs about 50/50 adult to young folks ratio. We have a pretty good mix of shooters that you can spot right off. Lately about 25% female. Seems that more females are getting into shooting sports. ....

We also "Try" to explain the primative condition of Tunnel-Vision, where we are so focussed on the target, that we naturally ingnore everythng else in view. Like trying to take a good picture of your dog and then notice that your cat's behind is walking out of the frame. .....


Be Safe !!!
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Old September 21, 2011, 03:11 PM   #19
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I'm in my first Hunter Safety class this week as an apprentice instructor. I'm assuming that the OP is using the same or similar IHEA-based materials. In our materials, "skylined" game is specifically addressed as an unsafe shot. A bit of my evil side may come out this evening and I may pose a question about "skylined" game and birds in the air.
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Old September 21, 2011, 03:39 PM   #20
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Great Question !!

Quote:
I'm assuming that the OP is using the same or similar IHEA-based materials.
I am a member of the IHEA as all of our instructors are. We follow the material as listed in the current student manual which is fairly basic and simular to material found in the IHEA course. Yes, our information, in part, comes from the IHEA but is issued by the state. I also use material from the NMLRA.
Quote:
A bit of my evil side may come out this evening and I may pose a question about "skylined" game and birds in the air.
If it gets them to think, why not and of course, you will keep it positive. I might add that I have seen some material presented, that just makes me cringe. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Last edited by Pahoo; September 21, 2011 at 03:49 PM.
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Old September 21, 2011, 04:00 PM   #21
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Critter nomenclature can be a problem in fishing as well as hunting. The reason a seafood menu has "mahi-mahi" is because so few people know that there is a fish called a dolphin. Not all dolphin are Flipper.

You can get an interesting reaction by pointing at the mahi-mahi on the menu and telling the waitress, "I'll have the dolphin." Deer. Headlights.
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Old September 21, 2011, 11:06 PM   #22
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I have to be careful when referring to Ruffed Grouse as most commonly call them Partridge around here
....which could, potentially, be very bad. Partridges are absolutely not related to Ruffed Grouse.

It's like we westerners referring to our Sharp-tailed and Ruffed Grouse as "Prairie Chickens" in the wrong company. Since there are, in fact, two species of protected (or "vulnerable") birds with variations of the name "Prairie Chicken", the wrong impression (or even a call to wildlife officers) could be made.

We use "Pine Chicken" and "Prairie Chicken" quite frequently, but it doesn't make it right.


Quote:
Critter nomenclature can be a problem in fishing as well as hunting. The reason a seafood menu has "mahi-mahi" is because so few people know that there is a fish called a dolphin. Not all dolphin are Flipper.

You can get an interesting reaction by pointing at the mahi-mahi on the menu and telling the waitress, "I'll have the dolphin." Deer. Headlights.
You aren't quite as far from seafood as we are, but may be able to relate:
A couple years ago, I saw a fairly decent selection of seafood on the menu of a restaurant in Wyoming. The selection was good enough, and pricing high enough, to make me wonder if they were actually flying in the product (versus the standard 'it's been frozen since 1997, but we're still calling it "fresh"'.). I asked the waitress if they had any mahi-mahi. Her reply: "I don't think we got any ahi, but I think we have some all-white-meat albacore." ...... I ordered the Reuben.
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Old September 22, 2011, 07:36 AM   #23
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Pahoo, yes, I would most certainly keep it positive. Since I'm not leading the class - I'm an apprentice - I didn't have the chance to bring up the question, but I think it's a good one nonetheless.
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Old September 22, 2011, 03:26 PM   #24
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Not all states have laws against shooting pheasants on the ground. Some states even allow rifles to be used*.
Dad called ground shots "Arkansa" shots so I presume it is legal there, but I dont hunt there so all I know are the laws in the states I hunt in. I only hunt private land so I dont run into folks while I am hunting. I did hunt a public land once but a group of guys went into the filed across from us and hunted towards us so I left and havent gone public since.

I was in a situation like the OP posted I saw a pheasant fly up to the top of the ridge and fold. I went up and found a dead pheas, the group shot it was headed in the other direction so I added it to my bag and bird count.

Was hunting a field, saw a buck come into it lagging he was hit low in the gut. I was in Nebr so I didnt have avalid deer permit but I did show the guys come after it the blood trail it left, they got into the truck and drove off without trying to track it.

Never saw this in the 60s, 70s, or 80s just recently last 5 years or so. Made me want to puke. Came out of a field 3 years ago to find my truck shot.
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Old September 22, 2011, 04:27 PM   #25
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Its sad they don't teach critical thinking anymore. A good cheese eater could make the case that no safe shot is possible in the hunting fields. I would not agree with him, I would go on to make the case that where the written rules end, a responsible man with common sense stands up.

That shot at the pheasant was a bad shot because you were downrange even if the bird was going up. I think its a given that the hunters would have already scanned their respective fields of fire and seen you inside the fof, precluding the shot. but they grade on the curve now, hmm. No wonder you got the responses you did.

I hope you don't grade on the curve, Mr. Instructor! Fail the bums that aren't safe!
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