Jerking the Trigger
It’s pretty rare for the average hunter to find himself jerking the trigger or flinching when shooting live birds. This phenomenon is typically found in the intense competitive clay target shooter, who has shot literally thousands and thousands of rounds of ammunition over the years.
A flinch is best described as a mental refusal of a physical act, such as pulling the trigger. In other words, even though the shooter attempts to pull the trigger, the brain sends a message to the muscles in the trigger finger that will not allow it to move. This is most often the result of a fear of missing or the anticipation of recoil, and is almost always followed by the trigger being jerked with little or no success.
When shooting birds, hunters will usually not refuse to pull the trigger, rather they have a tendency to yank the trigger and fire the gun before it is properly positioned on the shoulder. When this happens, of course, the timing of the shot is significantly affected and the target is usually not hit.
This typically occurs on flushing birds or when the shooter is surprised by the sudden appearance of a bird. Sometimes in a rush to get off a shot, the shooter gets into the trigger too quickly. The flinch in hunting can be eliminated if the shooter realizes that he usually has more time to execute a shot than he thinks. There are no gamebirds that can outrun a speeding shotstring, so rushing a shot just isn’t necessary. By slowing down his approach to shooting the bird and giving his eyes time to focus on a specific target, the shooter will have better control of his movements and the technique required to properly mount and swing the gun. If the shooter will stay in the gun by keeping his head down and his eyes through the rib in order to watch the bird fall, he will be less concerned with shooting too quickly.
It’s been said that 60 percent of shooting is confidence. That’s confidence in yourself, confidence in the gun and confidence in your ammo. Having this level of certainty that a successful shot can be made by taking the time to properly position the gun will certainly improve one’s percentages of success afield.
This article is an excerpt from the Gun Digest Book of Shotgunning. Click Here to get your copy