Strikeouts, Home Runs and Wingshooting
Recently, a fan of Pheasants Forever on Facebook posed the question, “Why do I always miss the easy shots and seem to make the unbelievably difficult ones.” I’ve been thinking about the answer to that question a lot. I seem to have a similar track record of shooting.
In baseball, they say the best hitters have the shortest memories. Cooperstown is filled with .333 hitters that Howe Sports Data also attributes thousands of strikeouts to their names. Guys like George Brett, Willie Mays or Carl Yastrzemski could strike out the first two times in a game before delivering the game-breaking home run. Ice cold veins, confidence and a short memory.
I was a lifetime .264 hitter and I swing my Beretta with about the same command as I swing a Louisville Slugger. I have a hard time letting the strikeouts and missed shots roll off my back. Today was no different.
At 8AM, my pup went on point. I approached and a hen lifted off. Immediately behind me a rooster made an expert escape at the edge of shooting range. I chased him completely out of range with two shells. Quickly, I reloaded my over/under in time to have a third bird, a rooster, rise a few yards in front of me. I raised my gun and squeezed the trigger hard. And, I missed. I must not have let go of the trigger, because I couldn’t fire the second shot right away. By the time I figured out the malfunction, I had lost my concentration and shot well behind the rooster’s multi-colored tail. And then the pressure mounted.
One of our goals for the Rooster Road Trip was to show how anyone can plan a public lands hunt, sight unseen, and find success. In the span of seconds, I had an opportunity to put us on the board and relieve the pressure for the day. And I missed.
Over the next six hours, the pressure to produce mounted on all three of us. Our Sprint cards weren’t producing an internet connection to post Facebook or Twitter updates and the PLOTS lands we selected weren’t producing additional rooster opportunities. Our luck turned at Thor’s Bar & Grill in Fort Ransom. Thanks to the friendly proprietor, we connected to his wireless service and he pointed us southwest toward better bird numbers.
At 2:24 PM, we pulled into a Waterfowl Production Area that featured a promising looking shelter belt. Like Buster Posey, this hot prospect tract of land produced almost instantly.
My shorthair worked a bird through a row of trees until it finally wouldn’t hold any longer. I had a split second to swing and squeeze before a tree would end my follow-through. Bang . . . and it fell. And the pressure dripped away with the sweat on my back. A few minutes later and two more roosters were added to the day’s take.
So, why do we miss the easy shots and make the tough ones? I’ve still got no idea. I’m just thankful I don’t miss every shot. Well, at least I can’t remember missing every shot.
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.
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