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Georgia DNR

We are waiting at the airport for our 2:55 PM flight to leave. It’s 4:45 and we are still on the ground. Ah, the joys of traveling for a living.

Oh well. It gives me time to tell you about our exciting trip here in Georgia with the Department of Natural Resources folks. What a great trip and so many good things came out of our three days here. We went to the DNR campgrounds which are 6,200 acres of forest. They had a lodge and meeting rooms and dining and banquet hall. Great facility with no TV, and it’s very quiet.

We got into Atlanta early on Monday morning and drove an hour and a half east to the camp to begin the session. We had five members of the DNR to coach for the next two days. These are the folks that teach the kids hunter education and needed help getting kids more interested in the shooting sports. They have a great group of kids that all want to learn to be better shooters so we taught them the OSP system. And they all went crazy at how easy it was.

We had a lady named Jennifer who had always shot closing an eye and wanted badly to learn to shoot with both eyes open. At the end of the first afternoon, she was shooting with two eyes and surprised herself with how she was able to use them after being told for so many years she was going to have to close or patch the eye. Knowing that it’s not the eyes but the brain that sees and makes the calculations made her transformation a lot easier to accept – but not necessarily easier to do. There were times when she would accidentally close the eye but then would go right back to leaving it open. It will still take some time for this to stick, but it was a great start.

Building a new habit takes 300-500 repetitions, and to change a habit takes between 3,000-5,000 repetitions, so we built new ones. This gave her a great building block to teach her trap kids how to shoot better and learn from failure. Failure is a stepping stone to success, not a life sentence.

Then there was Walter, who told us he didn’t shoot well – “sucked,” I think was the word. By the third day, Walter didn’t miss many. The longer targets that he would have told everyone in the duck blind to pass on he hit from 57 yards away. He really got it. He called his hits and more importantly, he corrected his misses. He gets the Most Improved award as well. Did I mention he was the boss of this crew?

John the elder statesman, but not as elder as Gil or me. He was a good shooter to begin with. We just slowed him down and made him look at the front of the target. “Same speed at the end of the shot” was his goal. He had never really seen the front of the target and was amazed that there was a front of the target. When he remembered that, he shot well.

Matt, our fast and furious hunter, had to slow down from Mach 3 to speed of the target. The first day was rough, as he was trying to do too many things. But his second day was better, and the third was fabulous. He was used to coming from behind and swinging through, so he had a little work to do on the slowing down part. But by day three, he was there. Good job, Matt! It was a struggle, but you got it.

Mark was with us in Florida, so he had seen the results that could happen. And that’s why he had arranged for us to come to Georgia. He hadn’t forgotten much but did still have to be reminded that there is a front edge to the target and you need to look at it. He had a great slow move with the target, but then would forget and go a little off the reservation (not too far) and got back on track quickly. It was a pleasure to watch when he was going slow.

What I thought was interesting is that most of the targets were missed in front due to that magical three feet of lead. Don’t worry about the lead; it will happen if you give the brain the correct information and allow it to make the calculations and the shot.
Remember, the eyes don’t see; it’s the brain that makes the computations. Let it go and it will not desert you. Good shooting! And enjoy the ride, because this is a journey. There is no end.

We’re finally off to Colorado, only two and a half hours late. Now we’re off to another exciting adventure.

Until next week.

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