Every duck season I go through a shooting slump late in the season. Ducks fly faster in January and you have to take that into account.
I’ve hunted almost every shoot day during the past three weeks and I’ve been hitting a much lower percentage of my shots. On my last trip I concentrated on taking a long lead on my shots. It’s the “aim to miss” strategy.
It’s hard to pull the trigger on shots that your senses tell you are off target, but that’s what I have to do to get a correction going. I’ve found that once you hit those shots that seem to be off target, you can re-calibrate your aim point and get back on target again.
Not all misses are due to under-leading your target, but most of them are. After two months of shooting at ducks and watching them fall, it’s hard to convince yourself that suddenly you’ve got the wrong lead.
Why? Not only do the birds fly faster, but they tend to give you longer shots. The variation is not large – maybe an extra five yards, but it adds up.
I remember a trip to Delevan National Wildlife Refuge about fifteen years ago. My partner, Tom Billingsley, and I had the first draw for a space blind. We picked the blind that had been the most successful during the season. We believed that we would have no trouble bagging limits of mallard and sprig.
We were somewhat correct, but until we began to swing faster and lead further, those late-season ducks were making us feel silly. In the end, we increased our leads and came home happy, but those ducks were really humming.
Not only does it help to swing fast and increase your leads, you may want to consider upping you load a bit. Going from steel fours to threes or even twos may help out.
That’s what I believe. Yesterday, I added two or three feet to my leads and the ducks began to fall more regularly.