Waterfowl Hunting Tip: How to Shoot Your Lane Like a Pro

When hunting with a group of people, everyone knows to shoot their lane: Take the birds in front of you rather than reach out across the spread and into another hunter's air space. But you can take this concept to another level by knowing your own abilities and those of the hunters around you.

Avery Pro Staffer Mike Bard was in a fairly serious car accident in September. It canned his bow season, and almost finished his waterfowl hunting. But with determination, practice (and a good physical therapist) he was back in the blind mid-season. Still, he has trouble extending his arms up and over his head, so high shots are all but impossible for him this year.

One day one of my hunt with him, Mike explained his situation to everyone in the blind. The fix was easy enough: the guys next to him took the high birds, Mike cleaned up the lower birds across a wider window. It worked perfectly as everyone shot limits. And therein lies the lesson: know your ability, communicate it, and adjust.

The Avery guys hunt with new and varied people all season, so figuring who can do what is second nature to them. Southpaw shooters always get placed on the right end, so they can light up flanking birds. When they hunt with kids, they put them in the middle to target feet-out decoying birds, and the more experience hunters work a rainbow of airspace around them.

Considering and communicating your own ability, and those of the guys in your blind, will make for a better hunt. If hard-crossers are problematic, give them to the guy who routinely nails them, regardless of what blind the birds are over. If quartering birds, like the No. 2 or No. 6 station at skeet, are your forte get in an end spot. As Bard says, if everyone is upfront about their ability, the whole crew will shoot more birds.