The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lost Bird

Is there a Golden BB?

Today I braved the summer heat and shot a couple rounds of sporting clays at Cedar Rod & Gun Club at the heart of Leelanau Peninsula, and not far from my home and closer yet to Neverland.

In the first round Dave, Jim and I must have set the club record for fastest round ever, as we completed the 10-station 50-bird course in no more than 30 minutes. The reason for the frantic pace was that Jim had to attend a golf outing. In my mind, and as Dave reminded me Mark Twain said this first, golf is just a perfect way to spoil a good walk. But enough of that!

But during the slower second round, now in a five man squad (Kevin, Dan, Dave, Rick and the author, not necessarily in this order), I found between stations 8 and 9 a couple Midis that reminded all of us that unless you hit the target with the center of your pattern, luck can play all sorts of games with the shotgunner.

First I found a target that had a nice BB hole through the rind that either joins or separate, depending on your point of view, the center and the rim (or should it be the brim) of the clay pigeon. I think that one or two millimeters either towards the center or the edge would have resulted in a broken target, as the material is thicker. But as luck wanted, this was a lost bird for the shooter.

Looking around for just just a couple more seconds I found another lost bird, this time hit by three pellets, as you will be able to see in the photo below.

Apparently three are also not enough!

Clearly I have no idea which gun, gauge, load or chokes were used, of even if the two birds were shot by the same shooter or in the same day, but this weird findings serves to remember us about the uncertainties and art, rather than science, of shotgunning.

And while this is inconsequential for the weekend shotgunner, what could this have cost a competitor? But the really serious aspect of this is to the hunter, for there is little worse than wounding a bird and not putting the effort to retrieve it. And a bird hit by one or a few pellets from the edge of a pattern could be a lost bird, just like these unfortunate clay pigeons.

I don't know what the answer is, except to keep your eyes on the bird after you shoot and if you believe that you could have hit it, even by a single BB, gloden or otherwise, to go after it!


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  2. Very good advice at the end. It is super important to go looking after anything we think we shot. It's terrible for the animal to be wounded and left.

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