30 Mar 24
“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship”
Denzel Washington
Red dots, bird hunting, and exasperating lessons!
Yesterday afternoon, I was upland bird hunting at our local club here in CO. My quarry was the wily, drab-colored chukker partridge.
I’ve hunted chukkers many times, and I’m painfully familiar with their annoying habit of flushing like patriot missiles, and then flying low!
I was armed with a 12ga MAC 1014 Tactical Autoloader and 2 3/4″ Federal 7 ½ shot
My 1014 is equipped with a Vortex Venom Optic, 3MOA dot. I’ve used it extensively during Defensive Shotgun Courses, and it always runs well (and did this time), but I’ve never hunted birds with it.
So, I decided to use it for yesterday’s Chukker Hunt!
I did not do well!
I am no stranger to RDOs, and the Venom is an excellent and respected representation of the RDO genera. Yes, my equipment-shotgun and optic- all ran fine and “worked” as advertised.
What I discovered was, as the bird flushed (usually within only a few meters of me), it came up fast and then flew very rapidly, but close to the deck. I got on them, and I could see my red dot clearly, but I lost sight of the bird against the background!
When the bird made the mistake of flying high enough so that I could clearly make it out against the sky, I met with some success. But, so long as they stayed low (and blended so well against the background) I kept losing them!
While still an unwavering fan of RDO-equipped shotguns (when used for serious purposes), the combination is obviously not suitable for some applications, as I unhappily discovered!
I know many skeet and trap-shooters are now using optics, but their target (clay pigeon), though moving, is still clearly seen against a bright sky. That’s the part I didn’t adequately appreciate- until yesterday!
We live and learn!