Before firing your gun, get the proper fit

rodcrafter@islc.netAugust 18, 2012 

My fishing and hunting partner, David Pointer, is back in town. He loves the Lowcountry and usually times his visits to seasons of the best fishing and dove hunting.

On one particular visit, things didn't work out and I missed our first round. (We usually shoot three days, take a fishing break and finish the week shooting.) Meeting up at the end of the day, I asked him how things went.

"Man, doves were everywhere, except I couldn't hit a thing." he said. "I missed a dozen easy shots and went through two boxes of shells before a dove fell."

David seldom misses, and this seemed odd until he mentioned he was shooting a new gun. As it turns out, his new firearm was not properly fitted to his size.

Any new shoulder weapon needs to be matched to the shooter. A shotgun needs to shoulder and swing on target quickly. Expecting a shotgun to fit properly right out of the box is almost impossible.

Shotguns come with standard lengths to fit a majority of shooters. But since we are not created identical, in order to be properly fitted you should consult a qualified gunsmith.

Trial and error is an alternative, but far from being the best choice. Hunters add or remove recoil pads to compensate. Some will shorten their stocks, which often results in the wrong length and further expense.

Regardless if you spend a few hundred or opt for a more expensive model, if it is not sized properly, hitting your target will be more difficult.


The 2012-13 dove season will run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 6, Nov. 17-24, and Dec. 21 to Jan. 15. Hours are noon to sunset Sept. 1-3, and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season.

The bag limit is 15 doves per day, and hunters are reminded of the requirement to obtain a migratory bird permit before hunting. The permit is required in addition to a hunting license and can be obtained free of charge from any hunting and fishing license vendor.


A Washington visitor, dove hunting in the Lowcountry, found himself at odds with a property owner. It seems a wounded dove had landed in a field where hunting was not permitted. A confrontation with the shooter and property owner resulted.

The visitor boasted about his status, which failed to impress the landowner. Searching for a suitable resolution, our local hero came up with a plan.

"We settle things in the Lowcountry by the three-kick method," he said, explaining the procedure. "Each of us gets three kicks and the one left standing is the winner. I go first."

The visitor sized up the competition and agreed. Since he spent most of his time at the taxpayer subsidized gym, pool, spa and cafeteria, he figured he would win.

Our local hero placed his first kick square on the shin, the visitor barley noticed. The second kick hit squarely on the knee cap. The visitor winced but held his ground. The final kick landed in a more tender area and the visitor fell in agony. But, he mustered all his strength and got back to his feet, stating, "Now it's my turn."

Our local hero told him, "I don't care much for doves. They are not nearly as good as most people claim ... I give up. The dove is yours."

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