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What’s your Rooster Shooting Percentage by Shot?

I traditionally shoot an over/under, so I'm limited to two chances on a rooster.

Depending upon what style of shotgun you prefer, a rooster has between one and five shots to evade your pellets.  This numbers game got my baseball mind wondering about batting averages and shooting percentages.

If you were to break down the roosters you kill with each shot in your gun, how would the percentages fall?  So to clarify, I’m not looking for the percentage of kills out of total shots taken; rather, I’m wondering which of your shots is the most effective.  Think of it as Sabermetrics for shotgunners.

For me, I bird hunt almost exclusively with over/under shotguns, so I’m limited to two shots.  Without ever tracking my shooting percentages, I’d estimate 60 percent of the birds I killed last autumn were dropped with my first shot, leaving 40 percent to my second trigger pull.

Conversely, I have a buddy nicknamed “Two Shot” because of his propensity to rush his first shot into a miss, but he almost always follows up his second shot from his Ruger Red Label over/under with a kill.  I’m guessing his first shot pulls down close to 30 percent, while his second shot skyrockets up to 70 percent of his roosters bagged.

Purely based on the observations of hunting with a wide variety of pheasant hunters over the years, I’d estimate the collective percentages to fall somewhere along these lines:

First Shot                     60% of all roosters bagged

Second Shot                 30.5%

Third Shot                    8%

Fourth Shot                  1%

Fifth Shot                     .5%

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the rationale for shouldering a semi-auto shotgun with a magazine holding five shells on a pheasant hunt.  As an over/under guy, I get caught with two empty barrels a few times each season only to have a tight-holding rooster emerge from the grass at the perfect moment for his escape.  There is no doubt I’d have a superior advantage for those situations with a beautiful Beretta Xplor in my hands.  I simply think I personally take better shots knowing that I’m limited to two trigger squeezes.

What are your shooting percentages with each shot taken in pursuit of a flushing rooster?

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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One Response to “What’s your Rooster Shooting Percentage by Shot?”

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  1. Terry J. says:

    I would guess that my percentages are 60/40 to 70/30. I hunt with an over/under and semi-autos, depending on the time of the season, the conditions, and amount of clothing I’m wearing. I only load 3 in the semi-auto, to keep the weight down, so I never have a fourth or fifth shot. I often carry shells on the stock of the over/under for those quick reloads.

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