by Adam Brassfield - Pro Staff Contributor
Shot selection is the most important part of duck or goose hunting. Being able to figure out when the best opportunity is to smoke that duck or goose is sometimes a big challenge. In most groups a single person is elected to do this job and make the call for everyone to shoot. No pressure, but don't screw up or you will be swimming with the fishes! Patience is the key, which is something that I have none of. In every aspect of life patience is not an option. For me to learn this conduct of life in the duck blind was at first impossible. However, as a youngster, the first time that I pulled up too quickly and found a boat paddle connected to my ear, I kinda learned the idea.
The thought that waterfowl hunters would even think about not letting that bird get close enough to read their mail before they shot was as scarce as duck teeth. Oh, but they are out there. If duck or goose hunting were just about seeing how far I could shoot then sail a bird and getting busted because I pulled up too quickly, there would be a lot more pros out there. Waterfowl hunting is an art. It is painting a picture in your mind of what you will shoot at or move to and then carrying it out with passion. I get so frustrated with people who take 50 and 60 yard shots with choke tubes the size of a .50 caliber mortar shell, then get aggravated when they can't find their duck or have trouble shooting a limit.
Practicing the art of back-paddling and having a little patience will help any waterfowl hunter. For crying out loud, go hunting with someone who knows what they are doing. Watch when they give the signal to shoot. See where the birds are and how they got there, then start putting your own plan in place. Shot selection is easy but we can make it very difficult if we develop bad habits. Trust me: some hunters have two brains; one is missing and the other is looking for it. Excellence is your best "plus one." Find that one thing that you do well and add good shot selection to it. It will make you a better hunter.