Butt, beak, bang… A lesson to live by.
It’s funny how we lifetime sportsmen take things for granted. Sometimes manifested as knowing where to be at the right time of day on a hunt, or knowing how seasons and weather change the way animals behave. It’s the whole adage of thousands of tiny lessons develop a larger understanding. I suppose we have our fathers, friends, and relatives to thank for that.
One of our Nat Gear family shared a story we thought you’d appreciate that illustrates this point perfectly. We call it “Butt, beak, bang”.
“While shooting clays with my girlfriend this spring, I noticed she started to get frustrated with the faster overheads and crossovers. Understandably so, being a new hunter and shotgunner. But even after multiple words of encouragement, her frustration was clear and her big “sigh” was telling. Having grown up in a family largely run by women, my dad and I were all too familiar with the “sigh” and what came next. Really, I just wanted to keep it fun and offer her any advice I could to keep her excited and engaged.
I was suddenly reminded of the simple advice my dad told me years ago as a kid. “Butt, beak, bang!” I yelled. Maybe it was the way I said it, or maybe it was the excitement on my face having remembered…but her raised eyebrows and smirky smile were a good indication she was at least amused. “Butt, beak, bang” I said again. “That’s the way, Butt, beak, bang. Pretend it’s a bird and swing through its body, starting with its butt, then it’s beak…THEN BANG! Butt, beak bang.” It’s simple really. She laughed, then whispered it to herself… "butt, beak, bang." It was kind of funny to watch her say it again and again, her lips moving distinctly with each “b”. Let me tell you, the next few clays were center punched like a pro. More importantly, the smile was back and the eyebrows were raised in excitement. The light had come on, and it was evident she understood the lesson. The true test came two weeks later while hunting big resident Canadas. A big target for sure, but one that’s deceiving in its speed and agility. Any doubts about her prior training were quickly squashed when a pair of fast cruising geese skirted the decoys and peeled up directly overhead. “Shoot em!” I yelled. I took the far-right bird, and sure as a sunset, she crushed the other. She looked over proudly, and said slightly cocky…”Butt, beak, bang…goose!” We laughed uncontrollably. It’s a memory we’ll never forget.”
What a great story and friendly reminder. There are times when it’s easy to oversimplify the art of good shotgunning, and take for granted what comes naturally as a lifelong sportsman. The next time you happen to be among new hunters or someone struggling to center punch their next moving target, remember the “Triple B” technique “butt, beak, BANG."
Good luck and safe hunting.