May, 2016: Whether you’re on the range shooting clays or out in the field shooting birds there’s always room for improvement in your shot. Since I fall into the “intermediate shooter” category, I am always looking for better ways to improve my skills, especially for consistency.  As an avid golfer, I consider pulling into my backswing and pulling the trigger of a shotgun as having comparable qualities. Yes, this might seem strange or farfetched, but follow me here.

When I string together a couple of nice swings on my drive, it seems like I’ll be on the tour by next week. Then the next time I step up to the tee box and swing, everything goes wrong and end up slicing it into the parallel fairway. The same thing goes for shooting. When I’m out practicing on the range by shooting some trap, I string together two perfect posts and everything feels great. On the next pull, I end up missing the clay completely, and it throws off my rhythm. In my comparison of these two sports, the thing that matters the most could be the smallest detail that could end my shot awry.


Here are a couple simple tips that will help you score more bird out in the field.


  1. FOCUS – When you’re out in the field, quick thinking is key. You never know when or where a bird could fly up from the brush. That doesn’t mean you have to rush your shot. An essential element is to only focus on the bird, and try to remove all distractions from your mind. Make sure not to focus on the movement of the gun. If you’re focusing on the flight path of the bird, the direction of the gun will follow suit.
  1. CONTROL – When shooting, it is crucial to be in control of the gun rather than letting the gun control you. To control the gun more make sure to be aggressive. It’s important to have the gun right up against your face when looking down the sight. Be aware that you should not bring your face to the gun, but to bring the gun to your face. You also want your stance to be aggressive. Leaning forward in your posture gives you more control over your accuracy.
  1. REPETITION – Consistency is one of the hardest things when it comes to shooting. Like they say “practice makes perfect.” You don’t have to go out and shoot clays every day to practice. You can practice at home by mounting an unloaded gun in front of a mirror. This will give you a better understanding on what you might need to fix in your posture and stance. Make sure that when you’re mounting the gun that it’s the exact same every time. This will give you quick almost reflex-like mount next time you’re out in the field.

Anthony Conti, Cory Van Horn, and Mike Fitzgerald take in a day of shooting clays.


By: Anthony Conti


As son of the Frontiers founders, Mike Fitzgerald, Jr. was brought up in the outdoor travel business. He has handled a number of sporting programs for Frontiers through the years. Today as President, Mike works closely with the Senior Management Team and the department heads and is quite involved with the Southern Hemisphere freshwater programs. Mike loves to travel with his fly rods, shotguns and cameras. He is passionate about trout, salmon and conservation. He sits on the boards of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.