Words to Remember….

I remember quotes. Some people think I have a photographic memory, but I think that my brain just soaks up words and keeps them in a special place where it’s easy for me to reference back when I need to. When I find a good quote I’ll sometimes write it down and keep it in random places. On my desk. In a book that I might never read again. In my truck on the back of a gas station receipt. I find quotes everywhere because instead of focusing on where I’m writing it down, I’m only focused on keeping the words in my head.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

I keep that one on my desk. It reminds me that the more I work towards having a great spirit, or becoming a great spirit, the more I’ll find violent opposition from minds that can’t keep up. It’s ok for people to disagree with me as long as my spirit is great and unbroken.

There is only one way to avoid criticism; to do nothing, to say nothing, and to be nothing.

I keep that one written down on an old piece of paper in my wallet. I like it because it reminds me to do things no matter what people might think. As long as I’m doing something, it’s better than the opposite. And we all know that “Well behaved women rarely make history…” Right?

Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.

Tell me you can’t relate to that one?! People love a good show, especially when they’re not the one getting their head chopped off. In today’s world of social media I think this one is especially true. You want to get attention, but only in a good way. The crowd will still be reposting, retweeting, and hashtagging your name when you fall from grace.

The trick to surviving in this sometimes cruel world is to love endlessly. Forget the golden rule. Forget what you know about treating others the way they’ve treated you. We should all treat others with love and respect even when they don’t do the same for us. It’s not an easy thing to do, but no great things come from easy beginnings. And this goes back to what I said in the beginning about great spirits and mediocre minds…

Shooting Adjustments – Learning to Listen

We just wrapped up a quail hunt in Georgia on a beautiful plantation. I’ve always loved wing-shooting, but I love it even more when I’m shooting well. Getting some pointers along the way is crucial if you want to improve, but I’ve also learned that actually listening to what that person is saying is the key. And I mean really listening.

I tend to lean back prior to pulling the trigger. I have a natural posture that pulls my shoulders back, which is great for everyday life. It’s not so great for shooting sports. Learning to lean forward onto my leading leg has been an ongoing challenge for me for a few years. Am I getting better about it? Yes. Do I have to be reminded from time to time? Absolutely.

In the field when the birds are flushing well and the dogs keep finding coveys, I try to shoot by instinct. I bring the gun up to my shoulder, I aim, and I pull the trigger. The voice in my head is constantly telling me to lead the bird just a little, not to close my left eye, and to follow through. Oh, and also to not stand up completely straight. Lean in to that forward leg and put your weight onto it, allowing your hips to pivot and move with the birds in any direction they might go.

This past week during the closing days of quail season in Georgia I shot well. Some of the birds I took were my best shots ever. But I’m a work in progress, and I enjoy the process of working for it. I don’t take professional shooting lessons, but I do listen to what the people around me are saying. If they say that I lead a bird too far forward, then on my next shot I make that adjustment. If they say that I should have followed up with a second shot, then I focus on that next time around. But I think that the ultimate correction and advice comes from watching yourself on film. Playing back footage from the day in the field can be the game changer that we all need. We see our true response time, our true reaction to the trigger, and what our follow through actually looks like. Even if you aren’t filming for a television show, I always recommend that you film your hunts in some way. Not only does it preserve the memories and create a legacy from your day in the field, but it just might help you become a better shooter.