TV host, trick shooter and deep-voiced Benelli user Tom Knapp was recently interviewed by Dennis Anderson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune – which we are gradually becoming convinced has the best bird-hunting articles of any newspaper – and offered the following tips and tidbits for upland shooters. Here goes:
Q: When a bird flushes, or a clay target is released, a common problem hunters have is keeping their heads down, cheek on their stocks and eyes aligned down the barrel.
A: Exactly. It’s very typical that when hunters approach the ready position, preparing to shoot, they’ll have their head high, watching the bird, not down on the stock. This obviously creates an incorrect point of impact. I’ve created a shotgun sight that reduces the likelihood of this possibility, because to see through it, and align the gun properly, the head has to be held low. Called the EasyHit fiber optic sighting system, it’s available at outdoors retailers and on my website, tomknapp.net. It’s low-profile, and makes a nice match for everyone. And you don’t have to remove your gun’s front sight to install it. That may sound like an advertisement. But it’s a sight that works, and has helped a lot of people.
[SBH comment: Both of us have this problem at times. Anyone try that sight?]
Q: Turkey hunters are often advised to pattern their shotguns. Is it important for wingshooters also?
A: Very important. Each gun and shell combination will fire differently, and unless the shooter knows how his gun points and shoots with various loads, he is really guessing as to what’s going on. So, yes, always pattern your shotgun.
[SBH comment: Yep! We talk about this – making sure you test your gun with various loads and chokes – in Serious Grouse Hunting, Book 1.]
Q: Which clay target game is best for improving shooting by the bird hunter?
A: Skeet can simulate some shots you would get while hunting quail. Trap is good for pheasants. Sporting clays simulates many different hunting scenarios, ducks to pheasants, and is really the best, I think, to help bird hunters.
[SBH comment: That's what we shoot – when we get time....]