Q&A: "Should I dismount for the second bird of a pair?"
Should I dismount for the second bird of a pair?
Doctor Stewart, Lafayette, LA.
If on the second bird you have time to bring the gun away from your face, our suggestion would be yes. Remember, the first thing you need to do is to see and focus on the bird. If the gun stays in your face and you move to the second target, then your eyes will go to the barrel of the gun. The reason for this is your eyes naturally go to the fastest moving thing in the picture. iI you move the gun to the target faster than the speed of the target, your eyes will go to the gun. The most important thing, no matter how much time there is in between shots, is to make your eyes find the second bird before you move the gun to the second bird.
Eyes first, then the gun!
On two outgoing targets, you don’t have the time to dismount to get to the other bird. You must find a breakpoint for the first target and pull the trigger no matter what. Then find the second target with your eyes, then go to it. You can slightly pull your face from the stock of the gun in order to find the target or you can take your eyes immediately to the place where you can see the second target, then move the gun. If the eyes and gun both move to the target at the same time, you will not only look to the gun, you will outswing the target.
To see this work, point your front hand that would be on the forend at something, then move the gun and your eyes to another object. You will notice that your gun will outswing your eyes. Now, point your front hand at something, then move your eyes to focus on something else. Then move the gun to where you are looking. Now you are pointing the gun where you are looking. Eyes first, then the gun.
If you have a quick outgoing target and a real slow incoming target, dismount the gun. They are two different moves – real fast outgoing and real slow incoming. If you don’t take the gun away from your face to see the incoming target clearly, then the gun will move into your sight and your eyes will go to it. Your focus then shifts to the gun and not the target. This does not mean you have to completely dismount and bring the gun down off your shoulder. It just means to separate the eyes away from the gun so that you can focus on just the target.
You want an efficient move with the gun to the target. Any extra movement will increase the risk of missing the target. See the target, move to it and pull the trigger. And always – eyes first, then the gun!