Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Never worked so hard for a four-ounce bird in my life, but when this one finally dropped from the sky I was whooping like an idiot.
It almost didn't happen, though. A strong cold front came through on Thursday and pushed out a big chunk of our local birds. And what birds remained were skittish and erratic fliers that were by now quite used to dodging the laughingly ineffectual shot strings of the hopelessly slow and earthbound.
And just like opening day, the shooting didn't start out well. Most of it went something like this...
A classic example of the "poke it in the sky, pull the trigger and pray" school of shotgunning. The birds were just coming in too fast for him to swing on, and I was beginning to wonder if switching shotguns on him had been such a good idea.
See, earlier that day, deciding that maybe I should take to heart his advice that perhaps there was "something wrong with the gun" (at least, wrong for him trying to hit a fast-flying dove) I had switched him to a different gun. I decided to try a little less choke, a little less length-of-pull, an additional barrel and a little more barrel length.
Thusly set up, I picked up progeny #1 from school and we went straight to the shooting range where, after about five minutes with the new gun he began to break hand-thrown clays with a fair degree of regularity. Not too fast, but I was more interested in building confidence than presenting a challenge.
But sitting there in the field, watching the hulls pile up I started worrying that maybe I should have thrown him a few zingers.
And about that time when I really began to despair, everything - for one brief moment - went right. A flight of three birds came in right at us, and in one fluid (for a nine-year-old), practiced (well, semi-practiced) motion Brayden shouldered the shotgun, picked out the middle bird, swung through it (finally!) and dropped it stone dead. No one was more amazed than him. Except perhaps me.
And then, of course, he went right back to missing everything. But that was OK. That first giant, intimidating mountain had finally been summited.
Now maybe I can finally take a shot...
Posted by Chad Love at 12:48 PM