View Full Version : help hitting birds

August 23, 2006, 06:44 PM
alright, i've been practicing all summer, and getting damn good at killin skeet, empty hulls, boxes,bottles, anything in the air BUT BIRDS!!! what the hell is going on? any pointers for anyone who has this problem. i've practiced crossing, incoming, and regular throw and shoot em and i still cant hit the birds.:confused: any help appreciated.

August 23, 2006, 07:15 PM
I had that problem using the wrong loads (heavy & larger shot) in my shotgun years back. I switched to 7 1/2 and 8 light field loads and that took care of it. Also are the birds a different distance from you than the targets you shoot at? If so try a different choke and load. What gun and ammo are you using?

August 23, 2006, 07:40 PM
i'm using 1 1/8 oz of #8 out of my citori with light mod first shot, imp mod for the second shot. i try to wait till i think they are inside of 30 yds. i'm sure the clays never made it to 30 yds though. should i try less or more choke for doves? honestly, i dont think the choke really makes a difference(except maybe cylinder vs. full), but i'll try anything once.

Dave R
August 23, 2006, 08:32 PM
All I can tell you is what MY problem was. I was leading them too much. Once I started "aiming" for the beak, I started dropping them regularly.

Also, don't lead 'em when they're moving straight away. I made that mistake, too. Hold right on those.

August 23, 2006, 10:00 PM
What kind of birds are you shooting? I think your chokes are too tight. I would go with imp cyl for the first and light mod for the second. If your shooting birds flying away less than 30 yards I would go with a cyl and imp cyl.

Fat White Boy
August 24, 2006, 12:21 AM
+1 for improved cylinder. I shoot an 1100 12 ga with a 26 inch barrel with improved cylinder choke. I shoot quail, chukars and waterfowl with it exclusively...It's been in there for over 10 years, except for occasional cleaning...

August 24, 2006, 12:34 AM
Been hunting birds a long time. I'm planning a big dove hunt during my state's late season in December. The hunt will be to celebrate my 75th birthday and my 65th year of bird hunting.

In my experience, most bird hunters use a choke that is too tight and loads that are too heavy. Try low-base field loads with #8 shot and an IC choke.

Works for me, YMMV.


August 24, 2006, 03:07 AM
I use my '99 Ford F250. Got two pheasants, a grouse, and a turkery w/ it between this year and last. :rolleyes:

August 24, 2006, 05:29 AM
my chevy has only gotten two pheasants and a dove this year:D have you ever noticed that pheasants like to fly under not over the truck?

try different chokes. if your shooting 8's or 7 1/2's the load isn't the problem. everybody's different. i could grab somebody Else's gun that they hit anything and everything with, and not kill a single bird. i like full chokes and shooting birds farther out there. currently I'm using a extra full turkey choke in my browning gold. Ive switched out the chokes in the past that only lasts for about a box of shells, then i just put my extra full back in.

so my advise keep changing chokes until you find one (or in your case two) you like.

August 24, 2006, 01:29 PM
Good points here about light shot and IC choke. But like Dave R said, Don't aim for the bird. Aim for a beak,eye, tip of a wing.

Kind of like a golfer aiming for a single blade of grass on a short putt.:)

August 24, 2006, 02:04 PM
I used to score about 30% of the time until I started shooting at the birds' heads. Birds fly faster than you can throw a clay pigeon with a hand trap, about the same speed as a skeet clay target. Just stop aiming for the body and shoot for the head.

August 24, 2006, 03:14 PM
Use the following when shooting at birds: BUTT, BIRD, BEAK, BANG! and keep passing the bird up as you shoot. Remember, your birds will be at different ranges unlike skeet which comes at a constant angle and speed, so you have do adjust your lead. Opening day, your lead will be very little on those scudding birds, and will increase w/ distance, and after they get shot at a few times. I always tend to overlead at the beginning of the season, until I slow things down a bit. Hope that works...and good luck.

Fat White Boy
August 26, 2006, 12:11 AM
I shoot with both eyes open with my shotgun...

August 26, 2006, 08:14 AM
i do close/squint my left eye, because i am cross dominant. this is not a problem shooting clays though. is it a problem for birds?

August 26, 2006, 12:29 PM
I am also left eye dominant and shoot right handed. I squint my left eye just enough for the right eye to take over. I can still see out of the left eye for depth perception. It should not be a problem as it doesn't affect my shooting.