It won’t be long now and waterfowl season in northern Alberta Canada will begin again. We’re already excited, and the decoys, blinds and trailers are all ready to go. But, there is something else we need.
Each year, we contemplate what to do when it comes to buying shot shells. Which company? Which shells? We have convinced ourselves that we need to purchase a pallet of shells for the obvious savings, but we struggle with which type to buy. Each year, the ammo companies seem to come up with some revolutionary new product that is sure to improve your odds of hitting a duck. Here’s what we know after years in the blind – Ducks aren’t hard to kill, just easy to miss.
The standard steel is always the least advertised. It seems they now say we need some revolutionary shot shape, pushing the speed of light, to effectively kill ducks. After years in the blinds watching many different shell “improvements”, my “guide’s observations” just don’t match up with their thought process at all.
Each season we see lots of clients with shotgunning skills and performance that range from dismal to “wow what are they doing that the rest of us are not.” After years in the blind calling in the geese and ducks, here is what I see. Get out and make a few trips to the clay course prior to the big hunt – it helps a lot. It’s like riding a bike – you need to get out and practice to get your skills up to speed. It also helps to reconnect with how your firearm feels and performs.
Then last year, there was an exception. I had clients that shot better on the second and third day than they had ever shot in their life. No duck or goose within range were safe on day three. They were hitting the decoying birds, and I thought “good Lord, who are these men”. And, you know what? It didn’t make one bit of difference whether they shot a premium load or a box of steel shells. This really got me thinking, why?
Most of our waterfowl hunters have experienced similar “streaks.” When you shoot a duck with a 12-gauge shotgun in the head and chest, at ranges shorter than 40 yards, it’ll kill it – regardless of what the pellets look like. I’m a big believer in shot speed – primarily because most people tend to be a poor swinger of the gun or stop their swing when pulling the trigger. When they miss, the pattern of shot is usually missed behind the bird, because they stop the swinging motion of their gun when they pull the trigger. Shot speed can at times help compensate for this, but not always.
I find it hard to believe that we need anything other than good, fast, round shot. If I’m hitting ducks, they fall. If I’m missing them…well, I miss. It doesn’t matter what type of shell I’m using. What are your thoughts?