Shotguns, Shooting and The Cool Plunge

Its been a busy week and after a while I’ll catch up on some blogging around the events of my vacation week, but I thought that I’d make a quick note this morning.

Most of us who point smooth bores in the general direction of grouse, woodcock, ducks, pheasants or quail and the like have shaken hands with a fella named ‘Slump’.

‘Ol slump shows up whenever he wills and doesn’t care to give us the time of day and seldom the stop and start of his visit. Sometimes we can point to his tactic of the day and sometimes not. Either way–‘Slump’ can be a bewildering fella to get along with and his arrival can lead normally rational and clear thinking folks to both think and conduct themselves in unusual ways. I have come up with a few lame-brained responses to his antics in my time. Some pretty embarrassing. The resulting language is not suitable to blogging.

Most of us know how to shoot in reasonable fashion–after all we have had at our disposal over a hundred years of books and journals of uncountable shotgunners describing these things. Such howtos and descriptions ranging from esoteric to scientific and making darn sure that there is truly nothing new under the sun in this pursuit. Diagrams and moving pictures have told the story in such detail as to sate the most information thirsty of us.

It is true that many times Mr. Slump causes us to forget or neglect some simple mechanical thing like ‘wood to wood’ or looking at barrels and thereby stopping the swing of those barrels. Most of us have been duped into those things more often than we’d like to admit. Sometimes the problem starts mechanical but is aggravated by what happens between the ears or in the breast of a man as he becomes more and more frustrated or even a bit agitated at himself, his shotgun or Mr. Slump.

This a most dangerous and expensive time. More shotguns have been traded away or bought and sold at this point than have been for good practical reasons by far.

The reasons for my last slump are legion, but started with a simple change in eye sight. Mr. Slump will take a thing like that and lead his captive down a rabbit hole designed to constrict the gut and bewilder with twists and turns–regardless of what said captive knows full well when he’s got his ‘mind right’.

My friend in Maine–one Mr. Lee Sykes rescued me from such a place and pulling me out of that rabbit hole with the simplest and yet most brilliant of ‘shooting methods’ devised over these past hundred years or so. “The Cool Plunge Method” of shotgunning.

Relax, take a breath and picture a relaxing dip into nice cool water. A plunge that removes all the foolishness and leaves only a broken bird.

Ahhhhhh. That feels good.

A wink to Mr. Slump and a thanks to Lee and the ‘Cool Plunge’.


~ by John McGranaghan on May 21, 2010.

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