Shooting Instinctively to Take More Doves with Barry Kelly of the Willows Sporting Clays in Tunica, Mississippi
Day 1: Take Doves – Disengage Your Brain with Barry Kelly of The Willows
Editor’s Note: Barry Kelly is a master class shooter and the manager of The Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center in Tunica, Mississippi, the site of the 2010 U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship and the 2010 Mississippi State Sporting Clays Championship. Kelly can help you shoot better – especially with dove season starting.
Question: Barry, how do you teach people to aim at doves? How do you teach them to figure-out the lead and to estimate range and distance to shoot accurately?
Kelly: I don’t. Rather, I teach students to shoot instinctively. One of the biggest problems a hunter has in a dove field is trying to think of where to put the bead on his or her shotgun. So, when a hunter squeezes the trigger, he will have a good pattern into which the doves can fly. You’ll never shoot a shotgun successfully, if you try to go through those mental gymnastics to determine lead and swing.
Question: Okay, how do you teach a dove hunter to take more doves?
Kelly: First, I try to teach him how to disengage his brain, not to think about the lead, how fast the dove’s flying, and where he needs to aim. Dove hunters to be successful need to learn to shoot instinctively.
Question: How does someone shoot instinctively?
Kelly: Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golf players of our time, doesn’t pick up his club and aim it at the ball. A baseball pitcher doesn’t aim the ball before he releases it. If you’re playing center field, you don’t aim your glove at the incoming ball. A baseball player with a bat doesn’t aim the bat at the ball when the pitcher releases the pitch. In football, the quarterback doesn’t aim the ball at the receiver. Rather, the player instinctively moves to swing at, throw or catch the ball. The same is true of most sports. In dove shooting, you have to erase the notion of aiming the shotgun.
Question: If we don’t aim the shotgun, how will we shoot the dove?
Kelly: You’ll trust your body mechanics, just like a professional baseball player, football player or golfer does.
Question: How do we trust our instincts when a dove is riding the wind at breakneck speed to an unknown distance?
Kelly: In the same way a quarterback throws the ball. To complete a pass, the quarterback has to look at the receiver, concentrate and focus on that receiver and then depend on his body mechanics to throw the football to the spot where the receiver can catch it. That quarterback doesn’t look at that wide receiver breaking across the middle of the field and say, “Okay, he’s about 30-yards away, he’s probably moving at 25 mph, I’ll need to lead him about 4 or 5 feet and throw to that particular spot where he should be when the ball gets there.” A quarterback who tries to go through that many calculations will get sacked before he ever releases the ball. If you try to make that many calculations as a dove’s crossing in front of you, flying to you or away from you, by the time you decide to aim, that dove will be out of range. Therefore, to be a good wing shooter, whether you’re shooting sporting clays or dove and quail, you’ve got to learn to shoot instinctively.
To learn more about The Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center, click here, call Barry Kelly at (662) 357-3154, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow: Barry Kelly of The Willows Tells the Shells that Make a Difference for the Dove Hunter